You knew and loved her as Cece Parekh on New Girl for seven seasons, and now Hannah Simone is available again and looking for her next great gig. In the meantime, she’s focusing on self-care and her own well-being. “You know, New Girl was so funny,” she told HelloGiggles in a recent interview. “It was my first foray into TV and was nearly a decade of my life. I worked with the best people on the best project, and got to play this incredible character. So I just want to make sure that the next project I dive into, I have a similar kind of experience.”
She hasn’t been eating bonbons since the show ended, though. She filmed a pilot for The Greatest American Hero—a series that centered around Simone as the first woman of color superhero lead in television history (but sadly wasn’t picked up for a full season)—she’s been traveling, and she voiced a series of educational videos for SmartyPants Vitamins.
See? We told you—your girl’s been busy.
HelloGiggles had the chance to chat with Simone recently about her self-care and wellness routine, her recent travels home to Canada, and most importantly, what she does with her iconic bangs when she’s working out.
HelloGiggles: Why is this partnership with SmartyPants important to you?
Hannah Simone: I don’t know about you, but when I would go to the grocery store—I knew I should be taking a vitamin and I’d go to the vitamin aisle—I would get so overwhelmed and I didn’t know which ones actually worked, I didn’t know which ones I should be taking for this stage in my life. So either I would spend a bunch of money, bring all of these vitamins home, and then stare at 20 different pills I’d have to take every single morning and not even know if they were doing anything, or I’d walk out empty-handed.
SmartyPants is just a phenomenal brand, because they just have the best research and science to source these incredible ingredients, super-star ingredients, and they tailor them in formulas for every age and stage in your life. And it’s all in one, so it’s a simple, easy thing you can do for your health and you don’t have to worry about it. I take their Women’s Complete [every day now].
HG: What’s one thing you do for self-care that you think your fans would be surprised to know about?
HS: I don’t know what they’d be surprised to know—I feel like I share all my weird things on Instagram. I try to make my health and wellness very simple habits. We have so many options in today’s world and it’s complicated and overwhelming, and then all of a sudden things that should be healthy and make us feel good end up feeling like a chore so we don’t do it. So I try to remind myself that I’m supposed to feel good afterwards…and I’ve found that the key to doing that, for me, is making it as simple as possible with results that I can see and feel. Whether it’s taking an all-in-one vitamin, whether it’s working out for an hour a day, watching four episodes of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, whatever you need to do to make yourself feel like, “That was time well spent, and I feel better for it on the other side.”
HG: What is your go-to form of exercise?
HS: I like working out with someone, otherwise I don’t feel motivated—I like company. So I work out with Amy Rosoff, who’s a phenomenal trainer. I actually worked out with her really intensively to get ready to shoot a pilot called The Greatest American Hero—so when I was training to get into a super-suit. Trust me, you want someone who can whip you into shape and get really good results.
I’ve also worked with Trish the Ish, who is a great, great trainer. I’ve gone to Shapehouse [an “urban sweat lodge” in Southern California]. You just have to figure out what works for you and what you will do every day, and that you’ll enjoy it and feel great about yourself afterwards.
HG: Okay, one of our editors is dying to know what you do with your bangs when you work out to keep them from getting gross.
HS: They are pinned up—don’t get it twisted. They are pinned. You can’t sweat through your bangs, it’s not cute, it’s not a fun look at all. So I just pin them, but as soon as it’s over they’re unpinned, otherwise you get a weird kink. It’s tricky business—that should be a whole YouTube tutorial.
HG: Yes, please. It’s needed! So shifting gears a little bit, I’m Canadian too and I noticed that you’ve been posting a lot of videos from Salt Spring Island. Did you move there?
HS: I was there for a while this summer. You’re talking about self-care—I was like, I need to go to an island, and then go to an island off that island. I found a gorgeous cottage with its own little farm and garden, right on the ocean, and it was great. I cooked every day, I went for walks every day. There’s no place like home—Canada is such a beautiful place.
HG: Did you find that your health, exercise, eating habits, all of that changed while you were on Salt Spring?
HS: I think it’s a little more connected to nature—there was a farm and a garden, so I was just sourcing from there every day and cooking and baking. And because the grocery store was just down the road, and the coffee shop was just down the other way down the road, I just walked through the forest to get there.
HG: Is there anything about living a healthy lifestyle that still feels daunting to you?
HS: Not since I simplified everything. Not since I was honest with myself about what works for me. When I used to take 12 vitamins, and every single time I’d go back to the store I would grab a few more, I found that really stressful because I didn’t know if it was doing anything. When I used to have a gym membership and I would feel guilty because I never went, and then when I would go I would just wander around, then it felt like work. Now, it doesn’t feel daunting anymore.
HG: I would love to know what the top five things are that you always have in your fridge.
HS: Hot sauce. Right now, cherries. I’m really obsessed with Primal Kitchen’s avocado mayo, super delicious. Oh, and their ketchup is also super delicious. And my dad makes me this masala when he comes over where he blends up fresh ginger, fresh garlic, onions, and he puts in his blend of Indian spices and it makes a paste, and it’s incredible. So I just throw that in a pot with whatever I want and it makes an instant Indian curry. I always have a jar of that in my fridge.
HG: Okay you’ve got one more left—what’s the last thing in your top five?
HS: I mean I’m sure there’s a few bars of chocolate if you push aside a jam shelf or something that are just hiding there that sometimes just disappear—I don’t know where they go—and then they just replenish. But I’m not sure, you’ll have to ask somebody else.