When you ask Adria Arjona how she’s coped with lockdown, her answer is unflinchingly honest. “Lockdown? Oh, it fucked me up,” the 28-year-old actor admits candidly. “It’s been so harsh. I’ve never spent this amount of time at home, never.” Since childhood, Arjona has rarely stayed in one place for long. After living a nomadic childhood on account of her father’s job (he is renowned, award-winning singer-songwriter Ricardo Arjona) and traveling frequently from set-to-set as an adult with roles in True Detective, Emerald City, and Pacific Rim: Uprising—to name a mere few—Arjona has struggled spending months-on-end in the same place for the first time in her life.
“It’s messed me up,” Arjona adds, speaking from her L.A. home over Zoom about adjusting during lockdown’s early stages. “I felt a bit trapped, but I also understood everyone else was going through the same thing. If it weren’t for quarantine, and I was trapped because I was trapped, I would be going manic: because I knew and I understood that everyone had to stay put for the safety of everyone else, it made it bearable.”
There were further struggles too. As Arjona saw the detriment the pandemic inflicted, her thoughts turned to a vulnerable friend shielding to keep safe. Even after restrictions eased, she was still fearful to see them. “Because I’m human,” she shares, “I really cannot deal with the responsibility of potentially giving it to someone else. I have a friend who has an autoimmune disease. I don’t want to see them just in case… I became that paranoid person. I’m always wearing a mask and gloves; I still wear a face shield. People look at me like I’m crazy, but I don’t care. If I have it, I don’t want to give it to you and I don’t want you to give it to me… I go the whole shebang. I’m Miss Covid Cop,” she laughs, “That’s what my friends call me now.”
The process took an emotional toll, Arjona says, explaining that while everyone else was seemingly keeping busy and active during the start of lockdown, she was the opposite, unable to focus on anything at all. “Towards the beginning, I was so unproductive,” she recalls. “On social media, I kept seeing workout routines, meditation, all of that. It made me feel bad about myself because I was like, ‘All I’m doing is watching Friends!’ I always say I need time, but when I had it, I wasn’t doing much with it… I think at the beginning, it hit me more. I was sad for what people were going through.”
Eventually, she found some solace. Arjona read the works of Haruki Murakami and started to write herself, something that proved a timely distraction. It also helped her to cope with missing her family at home in Puerto Rico (she was born in San Juan) and in passing the time before she could return to work once more. “I got really lucky that right before quarantine, I got my next job,” she continues. “That gave me peace of mind. I didn’t have to look for another job in the middle of a pandemic: I got very lucky there. I know a lot of people can’t say that, so I feel very grateful for that.”
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