"I think it's important to allow yourself time to take breaks to reset and recharge."
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Gemma Chan
Gemma Chan
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

As 2021 winds down, headlines full of doom and gloom persist, and L'Oréal's annual Women of Worth special couldn't come at a better time. The documentary-style program, airing on Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, spotlights the uplifting stories of 10 honorees who are change-makers in their communities.

On-screen Marvel hero Gemma Chan (one of the brand's global ambassadors) plays a leading role in the special, interviewing the everyday heroes to highlight the work they do across their non-profit organizations.

"Particularly at this time, it seems like we have a lot of bad news and it's easy to feel helpless with everything going on in the world," Chan says. "What's incredible about the Women of Worth initiative is the fact that it puts the spotlight on women who are doing such amazing things."

Ahead of the Women of Worth special, InStyle caught up with Chan on the phone to chat about the importance of this L'Oréal initiative, the 50th anniversary of the brand's iconic "Because You're Worth It" tagline, and her advice on staying grounded and centered during tumultuous times.

What does being a "Women of Worth" mean to you?

Self-worth is something is so important for women to feel worthy and that they're enough. Women of Worth is an incredible initiative because it's celebrating women who are doing things to uplift their communities at a grassroots level. For me, it's been incredibly inspiring to listen to their stories about what has inspired them to do the work that they're doing. No matter how bad things seem, you look around and there are people who are trying to help, and that makes me hopeful.

What stories particularly stood out to you?

I was lucky enough to go to Paris and meet the entire group of honorees and I was able to interview Briana Daniel and Michelle Tran. Briana has an amazing story. She initially befriended a homeless man, and that inspired her to live on the streets voluntarily for 32 days. In that process, she discovered what was available to homeless people, in terms of support, and what was lacking. Things like laundry service and personal hygiene are so intrinsic to our self-worth and dignity as human beings, but they're often overlooked. It's what inspired her to found Street Team Movement.

Michelle Tran is the co-founder of Soar Over Hate, which was created in response to the surge in anti-Asian attacks that have been happening. They provide personal safety devices for the community. Both women have stepped up at a much-needed time.

This year, L'Oréal also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the iconic tagline, "Because You're Worth It." What do you do to remind yourself that you're always worthy?

To me, "Because You're Worth It" is an expression of self-worth and permission to take care of yourself. It's also a reminder that no matter where you are in your journey, you are enough. I find making time for myself and spending time with people I value and who value me are absolutely the answer to that. 

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How have you managed to stay grounded and centered during these tumultuous times?

During lockdown, I found a lot of release and relief in having parties over Zoom with my friends. We would have a couple of drinks, let our hair down, and have a dance. I think it's important to allow yourself time to take breaks to reset and recharge. I do feel a certain responsibility to keep up with current affairs, but I think it's important to take time out if you need to because it can be overwhelming. Also, I'm now deeply appreciative of the time I do have with loved ones and family and friends, especially because of everything we've been through over the last couple of years.

You've been back on the red carpet to promote the Eternals with some gorgeous and fun beauty looks. How has your approach to beauty changed since the beginning of the pandemic?

When we were all in lockdown I barely bothered to brush my hair, but then I realized that you feel a lot better when you do do that. Even putting on a bit of bright lipstick can lift your mood. I also really loved giving my skin time to breathe and not really wearing a lot of makeup. But it's also been fun to get dressed up again. I've been really happy to experiment and be playful with these recent looks.