Nathalie Emmanuel: Just lying on a mat & breathing with intention counts as yoga

Nathalie Emmanuel covers the July/August issue of Women’s Health to promote her role in F9, the ninth film from the main Fast & Furious franchise, not counting the spinoffs. Nathalie is also well-known for playing Missandre in Game of Thrones, where she was great and poorly served by the scripts. Nathalie is 32 years old and she could pass for 21. She’s vegan and she works out hard, and she works with a private trainer. Most of this Women’s Health piece is just about diet and exercise, but she comes across well. Some highlights:

She loved being home during lockdown: “It’s my natural state of being. When the lockdown happened, I was like, ‘I’ve been training for this my entire life. I’m ready.’ There’s always a couple of weeks when I’m like, ‘Wait, I need to find things to do.’ Then eventually I relax, surrender into it. Also, your body lets you know it’s time to stop. That’s what happened to me. I got a bit under the weather. My body went, ‘You’ve earned a rest, so if you’re not going to do it, I’m going to make you!’ ”

Looking back to how we used to look: “You know how on Facebook it shows you a memory of yourself from six years ago or four years ago? A picture came up on my phone, and I went, ‘I look so great!’ But I also remember that at the time [of that photo], I thought I was overweight and needed to do all these unhealthy things. We just beat ourselves up constantly, and we’re never perfect enough.”

Now she asks herself “What is it you want?” when she spirals: “I had to change how I interacted with exercise and decide what I wanted to get from it.”

She loves yoga: “What I love about yoga is there’s no pressure to be the best at it. Even if you just lie on your mat for the hour and breathe with intention, you’re doing yoga.” Her dedication to the practice started back when she was 18 and going through a tough time. “My mental health was deteriorating, and I took my first class in reaction to it.”

She follows a vegan diet: She decided to try veganism for a week. The results were quick and noticeable. She was sleeping better and waking up without an alarm. Other friends were dousing her in compliments about how bright she looked. “Then I did it for two weeks and felt even more energized. And then I was like, “That’s it; I’m going for a month!” The final test was going home to England and eating some of her mother’s nonvegan dishes. “She made all the delicious things I ate growing up, and I thought, I’m not feeling so good, actually. Then I said, “Oh, guys…I think I’m vegan.” That was eight years ago.

[From Women’s Health]

I felt similarly during the lockdown – I already live a very lockdown-friendly lifestyle and I’m very comfortable just being home with the cats. So lockdown was just an extension of that. I didn’t know/remember that she’s vegan though – she explains in the interview that she was feeling like garbage and she always had a bad headache, so she did an elimination test and found that dairy was making her sick. She decided to go full vegan when, as she described, she got sick as a dog eating non-vegan food. And yes, whenever I come across a photo from college, I’m always like “damn, I was thin back then, why did I think I was fat?”

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Cover courtesy of Women’s Health.

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