Self Isolate with Tenet Star Libby Rollins

June 9, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed daily existence as we know it. It has also shown us how strong and inspired we can be, even in isolation. We're asking some our favorite artists how they are keeping creative during this time of upheaval to the normal venues for artistic ventures. In this latest installment of our self-isolation diaries, actress Libby Rollins gives us a glimpse of life under lockdown in Brooklyn, where she has been hunkered down with her best friend (Tenet costar and frequent collaborator Will Browder), his dog, and her new cat.

I'll be the first to admit that my quarantine has been privileged — I'd even call it "cushy" — but it's still been mentally challenging to have everything on hold professionally. That's why I've been working hard at finding ways to feel inspired and creative, even if on a given day that just means putting on a real outfit instead of sweats and parking it in a sunny spot to take self-portraits.

Just before the pandemic hit the country, I had been working with an amazing organization called Anjellicle Cats Rescue, and I was so very lucky to get to welcome this beautiful kitten into my family just before businesses had to close their doors to the public. His name is Bash and he is so curious and loving. Watching him play and explore the space has made me look at things from a new angle, sometimes literally when I have to rescue him from some high place he’s climbed onto and gotten stuck.

I’ve been working on location for a long time and was excited to spend this summer at home in the city doing a play with New York Theatre Workshop. The play may be on hold for now but a lot of the things I love about being home don’t have to be, like taking care of my body and having my full range of skincare potions and tonics at my disposal. I love that in this day and age you can give yourself a full luxury-spa-level treatment from the comfort of your own bathtub.

I’ve been brushing up on my bartending skills as a creative outlet. One of the first jobs I got when I moved to New York was bartending at this little bar near campus that doesn’t exist anymore. I like to think I have upped my cocktail game since then. The secret ingredient to my Negroni is a squeeze of fresh grapefruit juice. You can have that little tip for free.

It’s no secret that I’m pretty serious about practicing yoga, and that’s even more crucial in this time for both my physical and mental health. It’s hard to feel totally centered right now, I’ll be the first to admit, but choosing to make that effort in those moments when things feel most out of control has always helped me figure out what to do next.

I’m so proud of these radishes! I’ve really loved making use of the outdoor space we’ve got here to do some gardening. There’s something really healing about getting my hands in the dirt and nurturing life in all my vegetables and herbs, plus then we get to use the freshest ingredients for cooking dinner.

Speaking of dinner, it’s been nice to support the incredible local restaurants here in Brooklyn beyond our own culinary creations. To me, the key in making it feel a little less monotonous is really dressing for dinner, the table and myself! With this set-up and their takeout bread-baking kit, I almost convinced myself that I was at Colonie, one of my favorite spots.

One of the things I have been missing the most is the ability to visit the theater. Nothing stirs up inspiration for me like seeing art be made before my eyes like it normally does on stages across the city every night, but I have been reading a lot of plays to soak up that experience from the words on the page. Jeremy O. Harris is one of the most exciting artists out there today - I am such a fan of all his challenging, illuminating, vibrant work.

A thing to know about me is that I love games, especially board games; I tend to be pretty good at them, which is lucky because I am naturally very competitive. Playing games really wakes up a creative and strategic side of my brain that has been needing a different kind of workout these days, which I highly recommend. That said, these two definitely cheat at Scrabble, but at least they make it fun.

I can’t leave out my buddy Charlie, either. He and I have gotten really close during this time self-isolating too. We love to go on long walks, even though I usually end up carrying him by the time we make it back to the house. Don’t worry, I always wear my mask when we’re on the streets. Doing everyday things might look a little different now, but it’s worth it to do our part in keeping each other safe.