Creamerie star Tandi Wright shares her wellness journey

A ‘little bit shy in the world’, the Kiwi TV star shares how she finds her courage
Emily Chalk

Well-known actor Tandi Wright, 53, plays Lane, the head of Wellness, in the second season of Creamerie, TVNZ 2’s black comedy set in a post-apocalyptic world. She talks to the Weekly about her own wellness journey.

Tell us more about your character.

In the world of Creamerie, all the men have died from a virus. My character Lane heads Wellness, which is an organisation that has sprung up to take care of the women who remain. If you can imagine Vladimir Putin wearing silk and with Gwyneth Paltrow’s hair, that’s my character!

You’re one of New Zealand’s busiest actors and an intimacy coordinator on sets. What are three things you do to keep yourself healthy both mentally and physically?

I’ve always eaten well – I don’t buy processed stuff. I have a dog, so I’m out walking once or twice a day. I also try to look outward. I think if I get into too much navel-gazing, I’m in trouble.

As you’ve aged, has the way you look after yourself changed too?

I used to do ashtanga yoga, but then it just got too hardcore for me. I do use good skincare now – I use Environ and that is great. I definitely notice I’m losing muscle mass, so I need to do a few more press-ups and strength-building.

Do you have any particular diet guidelines that you follow for health?

I shop at the local farmers’ market and I go to the local bin refillable store. And that’s where we get all our grains, legumes and nuts. And everything really is made from scratch – which does take time and it is a pain sometimes – but there’s a whole lot of preservatives and salt and sugars you just don’t need.

How do you keep yourself centred when things get a bit hectic?

I do sometimes have to take a breath. I listen to classical music, which slows my pulse rate, particularly when I’m cooking dinner, usually something by Bach. I will also grab my 15-year-old daughter Olive. I hold her and I smell her, and I feel that changes my brain chemistry.

Using your experience as an intimacy coach, is there one thing you can share about how we can all improve our approach to intimacy?

I think consent and communication is huge. I think if you have boundaries, sharing them is really useful, letting people know what you like and what you don’t like.

Tandi stars in Creamerie alongside Perlina Lau (left).

What is the best thing you’ve bought, created, found or been given, which makes you happy?

There’s the daughter and the dog! One I bought and one I created. I think the artwork on my walls is special. Our artworks don’t have a commercial value, but they give me joy daily. I think art is really important in life and hugely undervalued generally.

What did you learn from your parents about healthy living?

We ate a lot of muesli when we were kids. The big thing in my family was about what you’re thinking and what you’re doing – it’s not about how you’re looking. How beautiful is your brain? That’s actually what matters.

What is the best advice you’ve given Olive about keeping healthy?

To trust her own instincts and trust her own body. I want her to be more empowered than I was. I think to be a woman and survive these days, you’ve got to be able to stand up for yourself. I want to impart those skills so that she can be really clear about what she’s thinking and have a healthy sense of self-esteem.

Tandi’s daughter Olive and partner Michael keep her grounded.

What is the best thing about your life at the moment?

My partner Michael Beran has recently had a complete career change and he’s now an Air New Zealand flight attendant. He loves it and is really good with people. He’s still a writer, but this is his side hustle at the moment and we get half-price flights!

When and where are you happiest?

I think it’s coming home. I love it. I am a little bit shy in the world, so when I come home, I rest and repair.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.

I’m really bad with names and faces, and it’s really embarrassing because people think I’m a snob. But I’ve self-diagnosed a neurological disorder called prosopagnosia, which means you have an inability to recognise faces. So it’s not my fault and I feel much better about it.

Creamerie is available to watch now on TVNZ+.

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