Amelie Zilber Is Living More In The Moment And Less On The Internet
The actor and activist opens up about work-life balance, relationship boundaries, and the wildest TikTok wellness trends she’s tried.
More than 7 million people follow Grown-ish actor Amelie Zilber on TikTok. While she shares the kind of content that skyrockets Gen Z content creators to fame — #GRWM ’fit videos; lip-synchs with her boyfriend, Blake Gray; and photo booth bloopers included — the 20-year-old also takes the time to draw attention to important global issues. Between posting fashion and beauty content, Zilber openly talks about white supremacy, abortion rights, and political policy. As one of the few influencers of her generation to do so, it’s wildly refreshing to see, and it’s even more exciting to experience Zilber in person. When she gets going on a topic that’s important to her, the Georgetown University student lights up. Not only is she well-informed, but she’s willing to do the work, dig deep, and examine uncomfortable truths about herself and the world she lives in.
Zilber isn’t just self-aware. She channels her self-awareness into positive change. Whether that means setting boundaries in her relationship to prioritize her own needs or logging off of social media to engage in self-care rituals, Zilber is committed to the side of wellness not frequently featured on your FYP. You’re also not likely to see Zilber sharing her favorite methods of winding down or centering herself on social media. “Mental health and wellness is a sacred practice for yourself,” she tells me over Zoom. “My sacred practice of self-help is not something I feel inclined to share with the world.”
Despite jetting off to attend film festivals and shoot beauty campaigns around the world, Zilber describes herself as an introvert. “For me, it almost feels like burnout,” she says about the feeling of running around with her internal social battery on low power mode. “My body lets me know when I’ve reached that point by manifesting in physical problems, severe exhaustion, and negative perceptions about myself and the world around me.”
Positivity is important to Zilber and she works hard to maintain an outlook that steers clear of pessimism. Ahead, she shares her favorite self-care rituals, the wildest wellness product she’s bought off of her social feeds, and how she juggles her acting career, college education, famed relationship, and activism without dropping a single ball.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Elite Daily: Between an increasingly busy acting schedule, activism, and attending Georgetown University, how do you make time for wellness and self-care?
Amelie Zilber: I struggle to give myself the freedom and grace to wind down, but I’m lucky to have people in my life who remind me of the importance of that, so I spend a lot of time with my family. That’s my No. 1 way to wind down. I’m highly introverted, and most people drain my social battery, but my family does not.
I don’t ever think beauty should be painful. The idea of beauty itself is feeling beautiful, so how can you be in pain and feel beautiful? That doesn’t make any sense.
ED: Can you talk me through some of your favorite self-care rituals?
AZ: I love skin care. I feel like it’s such a natural way to give time to myself without making myself feel bad for taking that time. I love to watch television while I do my skin care — just me, my skin care, and whatever show I’m watching.
ED: What skin or hair care products do you use in your routine?
AZ: I love moisturizing my body. I love the Nécessaire body lotion. I've struggled with KP (keratosis pilaris) since I was like 4 or 5, [and] the Nécessaire body lotion has really helped. I love the Jouer Hydrating and Repair Moisture Mist, the Sunday Riley Auto Correct eye cream, Eucerin Advanced Repair [Cream], and Ouai hair products. When I get out of the shower, I use the Ouai leave-in conditioner and the Living Proof Triple Bond Complex. I’ve been using that recently, and I’ve seen such a difference.
ED: I love that you’re listing all of these moisturizing and healing products because so many people only want to talk about acids and things that really strip their skin and hair down.
AZ: For me, acids are important for sure, but I have such sensitive skin. I have struggled with acne for basically the last decade. I’m 20, and I can’t remember the last time that I didn’t have acne on my face. Part of the terrible cycle that I’ve put myself through is using all these acids and trying to get rid of the acne, and then not repairing the moisture barrier. It’s just a bad cycle.
ED: Do you have a self-care ritual when it’s time to moisturize from head to toe?
AZ: I give myself one day a week, usually a Saturday or a Sunday, when I do my full head-to-toe routine. Usually, I’ll put on a podcast while I’m doing it because that’s really grounding for me. I listen to a lot of political podcasts and a lot of the time, politics can be really unnerving and unsettling, [but this way] I can calm down and unwind while still educating myself and learning about the world.
ED: I love that hack and I love your focus on taking care of your body because there are all these ideas about how beauty is pain and you have to suffer for it.
AZ: No, I don’t believe in that. I do in a way understand [it], when I have to wear super high heels or earrings that hurt my earlobes, but I don’t ever think beauty should be painful. The idea of beauty itself is feeling beautiful, so how can you be in pain and feel beautiful? That doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps it’s beautiful to someone else’s eye, but you in pain doesn’t signify beauty. It just signifies trying to adjust to someone else’s perception of what beauty means.
ED: A lot of Gen Zers struggle to integrate wellness and self-prioritization in relationships. Does wellness play a role in your relationship?
AZ: I definitely prioritize wellness in my relationship. I’m easily overwhelmed because I let my work life take up so much of my everyday existence, so it’s really easy for me to get overwhelmed. My partner is really forgiving about that. He’s really understanding of my needs. We’ve talked about this a lot because he’s much more extroverted than I am, so we’ve had to communicate about this quite a bit in our relationship, which I think is very normal and natural and healthy.
Recently, I made it known to him that given my busy, busy work schedule and my really long hours on set, what I need for my body and my mental health is completely just resting and relaxing. I give him the option to be a part of that or not. If we want to hang out with each other on an off day when I’m not working, then I will make it clear to him that today I plan on just really prioritizing myself and resting and relaxing. It’s just really about setting clear boundaries between what you need and what your partner needs, and finding the balance where you can both do it together.
ED: Oh, I love that.
AZ: It didn’t happen right at the beginning of our relationship. It’s an ever-evolving conversation.
ED: I loved the TikTok video you shared where you talked about how in the past you spent too much time being more concerned about how others perceive you than nurturing who you actually are. How does this feeling impact how you define and prioritize your own wellness?
AZ: That’s something I’m still learning how to do. Growing up in a society where so much of our existence is defined by how others perceive our existence makes it really hard to dive into who you are, what you need, and [how to] go forth and give that to yourself if that potentially means sacrificing the way someone perceives you. That’s a really difficult and complex concept to grapple with, and I’m definitely nowhere near having perfected that, but I’ve realized that if I’m neglecting a part of myself, I’m not serving anybody. If I think that it will look better to others if I go out and socialize and go to this party and get photographed at this party but I’m neglecting myself, that’s not serving me or anyone else.
I think we really don’t remember that the things that we ingest, not just physically with food but through media, through what we hear, what we see, really affects the way that we exist in this world.
ED: Have you found that as you have these really long days on sets, that it is easier or more difficult to prioritize yourself, versus being on TikTok?
AZ: I definitely feel like I gave myself more freedom to take care of myself while I was shooting on set. I genuinely think that’s simply down to the fact that I was working 14 to 16 hours a day, five days a week, for months on end, that there really was no other option than having to take care of myself. If I didn’t, then I would be a complete mess. Whereas when [you’re] an influencer, there are no strict hours in your day. So instead of working from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., you make your own hours and, sometimes, don’t give yourself the time to do self-care because there are no strict hours to your workday. It almost feels like your workday is 24/7.
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Amelie Zilber’s Self-Care Faves
ED: After these really long days on set, what products did you use to wind down afterward?
AZ: I love melatonin. I swear by [it]. I’m a fan of any type of gummy melatonin. It feels like my nighttime candy. I [also] use under-eye patches and those feel really refreshing to me, but really melatonin is my key to really winding down at the end of the night.
ED: Over the years, wellness has become more about sponsored selfies, yoga pants, and drinking tummy tea than actually doing self-care work, which can often be uncomfortable, if not flat-out painful. How do you separate self-care and wellness from capitalism?
AZ: I think that it’s so easy to fall into that trap. At the end of the day, I am not a biologist, I'm not a scientist, and I don’t study human anatomy, so I can’t differentiate between what is true and what is false. I’ve fallen into the trap of buying products simply because they’re in the vein of wellness and health. I think that it’s totally normal for all of us to not be able to differentiate between mental well-being and capitalistic opportunities [that] take advantage of mental well-being, but what I’ve taught myself is mental health and wellness is a sacred practice for yourself. It’s not about the materialistic things or sharing or posting about [it].
A lot of the time I spend working on my mental health is spent reading because it’s really grounding to me and it gets me off my phone. People usually take a picture of themselves reading to share with the world that they’re reading, and I’m just not about that. Everyone can do whatever feels natural to them, but my sacred practice of self-help is not something I feel inclined to share with the world because it’s not for the world to make judgments on or to make assumptions about.
ED: You mentioned that you’ve tried a number of TikTok trends related to wellness. What’s the wildest wellness product you’ve actually gone ahead and purchased?
AZ: [TikTok was] saying chlorophyll was really good for your skin for weeks. Then all of a sudden, all these doctors were coming on TikTok and they were like, chlorophyll actually does nothing for your body.
ED: I remember that one!
AZ: We were all just drinking some weird liquid! That was definitely one of them where I was like, “Oh, Amelie, you have fallen into the trap.” This was embarrassing. I’ve definitely bought some sort of gut health pill to help cleanse or detox your body. At the end of the day, it just really messes with your bowel system. And I’m like, “Oh, my God, that’s not what I wanted, but here I am taking this because the internet told me to.”
ED: How do you think white privilege has shaped the wellness landscape of Gen Z?
AZ: I think a lot of the time when we talk about wellness, we overlook the majority of people in this country who don’t even have the privilege to think about wellness. Most people in this country are working to survive and they don’t have the freedom to spend $30 on a random liquid like chlorophyll to help detox their system. I would love it if we started directing the conversation toward how [people who] work three jobs to put food on the table for their families can take care of themselves, but I don’t think we have gotten there yet.
ED: Hard agree with that one. How has your understanding of the importance of not neglecting yourself and not abandoning yourself informed how you approach your activism work and the things you talk about?
AZ: I feel things really deeply, and when world atrocities happen, I’m very sensitive to them. Because I have to inhale all of this information and then regurgitate it back out in a synthesized way on my platform, I ingest a lot of negativity. I think most people probably do, so self-help is really, really important. It can seem really ridiculous, like, “Oh, you weren’t a part of this mass atrocity, so why must you take care of yourself?” But I think we really don’t remember that the things that we ingest, not just physically with food, but through media, through what we hear, what we see, really affects the way that we exist in this world.
See Amelie Zilber in Grown-ish on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Freeform.