Every week, Vogue will be spotlighting tastemakers across industries to hear how they’ve been approaching self-care during the coronavirus pandemic. We asked actor Ross Butler who stars in the romantic comedy To All the Boys: Always and Forever, out today just in time for Valentine’s Day. It marks the third and final installment of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy. Here, Butler shares how he is keeping sane.
1. I’m learning to play a new instrument.
I played a lot of music in quarantine. I play piano and guitar, but decided I wanted to learn something new so I bought an inexpensive saxophone off of Amazon and I loved it. It’s an interesting medium between piano and singing where you have keys to press, but you are still using your breath. Whether or not my neighbors enjoy it as much as I do is unclear.
2. I’m diving into literature.
Obviously reading is a “quarantine pastime” but I chose to read genres I’m not used to. I started reading books on stories, and why we as humans have been telling them since before recorded history and why we continue to crave them. Understanding characters that go back to the Greek classics, and seeing how they evolved into our current iterations has been extremely enlightening. Not only from an actor’s point of view, but also just as a human. Knowing that characters of myth and reality had the same insecurities and shortcomings hundreds and thousands of years ago makes the loneliness of quarantine feel just a little less lonely.
3. I’m perfecting my morning coffee.
During the lockdown, I have had the time to finally get back to making pour over coffee. In the pursuit of your perfect cup of coffee, it’s easy to get lost in balancing beans roasts, grind fineness, and water temperature, amongst other variables. I was connected with a roastery called Sir Owlverick’s a while ago, who makes incredible beans which I have sent to a few of my coffee loving friends. On top of amazing flavor, Sir Owlverick’s is also a certified minority and women-owned coffee roaster. The bag featured in the photos is their Themiskyra Roast which is one of my personal favorites. It is named after the island Wonder Woman is from and the beans for that roast are sourced from Asociación de Mujeres Cafeteras Plan Mil, an all women’s organization that operates in Columbia.
4. I’m playing chess again.
I played a lot of chess growing up, but after watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, I was inspired to pick it back up. Chess is one of those games that you can never truly master and takes a long time to play: the perfect quarantine activity.
5. I’m exploring woodcarving.
This was another activity I did not have much time for before quarantine. Woodcarving takes a long time when you are only using a knife. It is also an art medium that isn’t forgiving. If you cut off too much you obviously can’t add more wood, and you can’t reshape if you mess up. Thankfully, wood is cheap and art is subjective. One thing I’ve learned from carving is to trust in the process. Whatever you are carving looks nothing like the end product until the last 10 percent when you finally get to the details. You just have to trust that you will know what to do and how it should look like when you get closer. It’s a lesson in adaptation.
6. I’m taking the scenic route.
Over the lockdown, I got my motorcycle license and I was able to ride with my friends to Malibu and other scenic places around LA. The feeling of riding down the PCH after being stuck in the house for weeks on end was very freeing. As a Los Angelite, it was also irresistible to take advantage of the lack of traffic.