What “The Neighborhood” Star Tichina Arnold Wants The World To Know About Living With Lupus

Tichina HeadshotPhoto Credit: Tichina Arnold/We Win Foundation
This Friday at Lupus LA’s 16th annual Hollywood Bag Ladies luncheon (where designer handbags from Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Fendi and Roberto Cavalli, as well as bags donated by celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Toni Braxton, Selena Gomez, Natalie Portman, Sharon Stone, Kris Jenner and Julia Roberts) “The Neighborhood” star Tichina Arnold and her sister Zenay are being honored with the non-profit’s Women of Achievement Award for being dedicated lupus advocates and co-founders of the We Win Foundation.

Tichina’s sister has seven autoimmune disorders, lupus being one of the more ferocious diseases. Zenay was told she would be in a wheelchair by now (she’s not). That she would lose her hair from chemo treatments (she didn’t). That the fatigue associated with lupus would not allow her to work full time (she does). Zenay considers herself a walking miracle, and as a result, the Arnold sisters now strive to give back to others who have been stricken with lupus and other related illnesses.

We chatted with Tichina in advance of the chic event about why she wants to educate the world about lupus, the We Win Foundation and how her “The Neighborhood” co-stars are like family… so much so that co-star Beth Behrs will be on hand to cheer her on when she accepts her achievement award.

Tichina and Beth Behrs
Tichina and Beth Behrs

Photo Credit: Tichina Arnold/We Win Foundation
You’re being honored for your work as a lupus advocate. What’s the most important thing for people to realize about the disease?

Lupus not only affects your body, but it affects your mind, it affects the people around you, it affects your livelihood. It affects every extension of your life.

You and your sister even created the We Win Foundation. Tell us how that came to be.

My sister was diagnosed with seven diseases. The seventh was lupus. She wanted to make sure she did something to help people who have lupus and other autoimmune diseases who are suffering. She wanted to start a legacy so that people wouldn’t have to go through what she went through.

How difficult has it been for you to deal with your sister’s illness in the most basic of ways?

It has its difficult moments, but because she’s so strong she’s been able to handle it as best she can and, with God’s help, we don’t focus on the difficult times. We focus on the times that are good to get through it. That’s part of the solution – not focusing on difficulty – we focus on getting through it, living through it, surviving it – just plain surviving.

You seem to advocate for a plethora of causes. Besides lupus, what’s your current focus and why?

I will always focus on children and animals. The reason for that is because they can’t help themselves.

Your “Neighborhood” co-star Beth Behrs is supporting you at the bag luncheon. How close is your cast? Can you share an example of that closeness?

The cast-mates on the “The Neighborhood” are close because we’re all good people. Everyone is coming to set to do the best they can do. We want it to be a good show; it is a good show. We all want this show to last because it feels so good. And everyone has their own expertise in their own ways in the industry, so we call came in having a mutual respect for one another. Closeness starts with respect. Once we have respect and adoration, closeness is just automatic. We love laughing and making people laugh. Laughter always pulls people together… [Plus] Beth is a white girl. I’m a black woman. She knows how to twerk, and I don’t.

Tichina, Jodie Foster, Zenay
Tichina, Jodie Foster, Zenay

Photo Credit: Tichina Arnold/We Win Foundation