Southside With You’s Tika Sumpter

Not to be political, but we feel there isn’t a more apt time to debut a movie about Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson’s very first date than this very moment. In light of the current election, it’s a bit of a comfort to say the least, and the gorgeous actress Tika Sumpter is the actress playing our current FLOTUS in Southside With You, which premiered at Sundance to rave reviews, and was officially released last week.

In the movie, the two see a Spike Lee film, then opt for ice cream, so of course we sat down with Tika for a cone and a deep dive into all things concerning the movie, her ideal food day and of course, her beauty regimen…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

I start my mornings with a smoothie that my boyfriend makes with bananas, strawberries and blueberries – or sometimes I’ll have a bagel toasted with butter and black tea with honey. A bowl of my childhood favorite, Frosted Flakes, also works sometimes. For lunch, I usually have a salad or a tuna fish sandwich with tomatoes. For dinner my boyfriend and I cook something delicious from our HelloFresh delivery.

How do you practice beauty from the inside out? 

I try to mix it up between hiking, walking, SoulCycle and bicycle rides. I don’t have a restrictive diet. I’ve never been one to diet, I know I won’t uphold it so I balance with good food and exercise. I eat what I want within moderation. I love candy, so I treat myself.

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?

Every morning and night I wash my face with Sanitas Lactic cleanser and follow with a toner by Sanitas as well. Then I use Sanitas Hyaluronic Concentrate Booster Serum followed by Sanitas Vita C Serum. Every morning after the two moisturizers I put Clear Choice Sport Shield SPF45. After every shower I use Lubiderm lotion.

What’s your workout routine? 

There really isn’t one. I try and stay active at least three times a week with a hike, walk, Zumba, yoga or SoulCycle.  

In Southside With You, what was it like to play Michelle Obama? Did you learn anything about her that you didn’t already know? 

It was great to play her! I actually played Michelle Robinson, so a little less pressure. I learned more about her parents and upbringing; it made it very clear as to why she is the strong and confident person she is today.

The thing in the movie that was true that most surprised you…

That she was reluctant to date Barack at first! That’s my favorite part of the story.

Why do you think this movie is important right now with the impending election? 

I don’t think it’s a political movie. I think it has overarching themes and I think it’s a refreshing movie that anyone would enjoy. It’s set in realism and it’s relatable.

You were a producer on this film, and were involved in financing as well as casting. Is there a reason you were so dedicated to ensuring this story was told? 

I think it’s important imagery to show all kinds of people falling in love, having intellectual and real conversations. Ultimately, I wanted to see someone who looked like me on the big screen.

Is there an issue – political or otherwise – you feel most passionately about? What is it and why? 

I don’t think every American wants to be a bizzillionaire. I think people want to be able to provide the basic needs for their families with wiggle room to spare. When people feel they don’t have that fair shot, I think the American Dream is in jeopardy. A job, food, clothing, shelter and insurance – that’s not asking for much.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The worst?

The best was to “create so you have ownership.” I don’t take bad advice. It usually goes in one ear and out the other.

What advice would you give women looking in the mirror, and getting dressed in the morning? 

Know that you’re enough. Comparing yourself to anyone else is like dying a slow death. You’re worthy of all the love in this world.

What’s always in your fridge? Your pantry? 

Water, milk, apple juice, nectarines, mangoes and chocolate milk. We have an entire snack closet, so anything you desire, it’s there. Twix, popcorn, twizzlers…

How do you always start your day? What’s your go-to breakfast?

It changes with whatever I’m feeling. It’s usually simple. Bagel with butter, oatmeal or a bowl of cereal. Always black tea with honey.

What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?

Atlanta, Chicago and New York. I eat everything, so if it’s good food I’m there. I love steaks, oysters, tacos, Chinese and Italian food. I’m pretty open.

If you had the Obamas over for dinner, what would you cook? What would you hope the conversation would look like? 

I’d cook lamb chops, mash potatoes and collard greens with apple pie for dessert. I’d hope the conversation would just be lively and interesting.

In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s the new potato right now?

The new potato for me is stop being so busy with being busy and enjoy your friends and family. Oh – and take as many naps as possible!

Have you read our interview with Joy Williams yet? Also click here to read about the time we had sushi with Natasha Lyonne. 

*Tika Sumpter, photographed in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann