Vishaal Reddy is the best kind of multi-hyphenate. The kind that takes it upon themselves to create the art they hope to see in the world. For this Tennessee native, who's acted and sung both on stage and on screen, that art was the story of a bisexual South Asian who combats his insomnia by working as an escort. This is the premise of Reddy's buzzy six-part miniseries, Insomnia, currently streaming on YouTube. The show is honest and funny with Reddy's character, Nikhil, stopping to talk to the camera (à la Ferris Bueller) in the middle of a sex scene—that is, when he's not working his day job or caring for his sick aunt. Frustrated with both the lack and misrepresentation of roles for someone of his race and sexuality, he started writing and producing his own screenplays. Pride month seems like the perfect time to catch up with this hilarious and talented guy, so we wanted to know more about how he starts his day.
Those moments between turning off the alarm and getting into our work routine can be the most defining 60 minutes of our day. Benjamin Franklin set a day's worth of plans by 5 am and Steve Jobs asked a simple question: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" Our rituals are a reflection of us. So we've ventured out to discover how some of our most influential and fruitful peers get started.
I get up at 7 am. Or, at least, I try to anyway.
Well, I basically hit snooze repeatedly from like 7 to 8 am. Does that even count?
I'm definitely a night owl.
I tend to get into a work groove or read late into the night, but try to get at least six hours of sleep. If I can get eight, even better.
The first thing I do after I wake up is stretch.
I really try to stretch out or attempt to do some yoga. I am truly the least flexible human known to exist. No seriously, it hurts to touch my toes. Then I listen to some NPR to get a little morning news.
I like to make my coffee at home.
Just plain black coffee with a little oat milk. Why buy it when I could save myself five bucks?
Then I crack open a book of poetic affirmations.
I like to look through it before I go about my day. Then, I write down three things that are working well for me in my life, plus three more things I want to accomplish for the day. While it might sound odd, it makes me feel at peace.
My breakfast is hearty but healthy.
A spinach, Swiss, onion, roasted pepper breakfast burrito with a side of turkey sausage and some sweet potatoes is the key to my heart.
The gym's probably the most important part of my morning.
It's the one time I have to myself and it truly is where I can destress before my day begins. I prefer working out in the mornings and it's pretty consistently five days a week. Four days of weight training and cardio and then one day where I'll do a rowing or kettlebell circuit. I also love switching it up and taking classes every so often.
I'd be lost without my calendar and to-do list.
Honestly, Google Cal and the Notes app are basically my best friends and ride-or-dies.
I'm into grooming and like to keep it pretty clean.
These are the products I swear by. And I pretty much shave everyday. Always with an electric razor. Otherwise, I look like a 70 year old man and I'm only 28 ... so, there's that.
Clockwise, from top left
Super Rich olive body lotion,
$10 by Mario Badescu
Midnight Recovery eye cream,
$37 by Kiehl's
Beeswax lip balm,
$5.79 (for two) by Burt's Bees
Series 3 ProSkin razor,
$69.97 by Braun
Barista blend oat milk,
$3.99 by Califia Farms
Electric toothbrush set,
$40 by Quip
Acne facial cleanser,
$15 by Mario Badescu
I'm a pretty clean cut,
I always go for comfort before style. But I tend to like things that are nicely tailored. You'll most likely spot me in a pair of black chinos (shoutout to ASOS!), white sneakers and a T-shirt, likely tucked in.
Reddy's advice for anyone suffering from insomnia: “Lots of water, determination, and prayer.”