The world didn't need another celebrity-turned-lifestyle expert.
From one goopy star to the next, we've certainly filled our quota on celebs who think they know best about wellness. But when they look as freaking fantastic as Halle Berry does, who are we to argue?
If you don't follow the Oscar-winning actress on Instagram, you might not have noticed, but over the last year or so, Berry has begun a transition into one of Hollywood's most inspirational fitness gurus, preaching her health gospel to her three million followers. And while the idea that one of the industry's most beautiful women knows a thing or two about getting into shape is no big surprise, it's the way in which the icon, who celebrates her 52nd birthday today, has gone about completely reinventing her image that has us paying attention.
After years of headlines dominated more by her rocky love life than her professional accomplishments or her personal growth, Berry has spent 2018 truly taking charge of her narrative. Amidst the backdrop of a industry rocked by the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, the actress has spent the year focused on herself, free from any man—she and music producer Alex Da Kid went their separate ways in December after five months of dating when Berry "really put things into perspective " and decided that the relationship was "not for her," a source told E! News at the time—and it shows.
With no projects to promote in 2018—Berry hits the big screen next alongside Keanu Reeves in 2019's John Wick 3: Parabellum—she's had the opportunity to dedicate her time to herself, while letting her fans into her world in the process—one #FitnessFriday post at a time.
Berry announced her intention of documenting her fitness journey with trainer Peter Lee Thomas in January with—what else?—an Instagram post. "Each Friday I'll be posting something about fitness that I hope will inspire you. So many of you are asking how I have managed to stay in great shape over the years. Well, part of it is genetics, that's true. I was a gymnast growing up and that certainly has helped as I have always been very athletic," she explained, before introducing Thomas, whom she referred to as her "secret weapon."
"With his help, I have learned so much about fitness and nutrition and I'm excited to share it with all of you. He's taught me boxing, self defense, and much more," she continued. "Not only am I in the best shape of my life, but I can actually defend myself and most importantly... my children! As a woman there is nothing more empowering."
It turned out that, above looking great and feeling good, the fitness journey represented more for the domestic violence survivor who'd just publicly attached her name to the Time's Up movement. It was a means of protecting herself in the future.
With each passing week, Berry's stated mission was to, along with Thomas, tackle a question she'd received from her fans, complete with video demonstration of their exercise advice. The posts soon gave way to full Instagram Stories on Fridays, featuring Berry and her trainer discussing food (Berry swears by the ketogenic diet and the use of superfood supplements), proper stretching, meditation, and just motivational thoughts to keep on keeping on when the fitness journey feels too tough. And while Berry's indispensable advice is delivered but once a week, it's clear that this is all building to something much larger for the actress as she's preparing to relaunch her website Hallewood as a one-stop lifestyle shop.
The website, initially launched in 2000 as a fan site before social media made those pretty much obsolete, will, eventually, be a place "where we can stay connected through curated content made just for you," as Berry writes on the homepage. Currently, the site only offers a place to sign-up for a newsletter, while touting content categories including beauty, consciousness, style, health and fitness, and family. But between her #FitnessFriday and #HBBooksFromBed posts (which Berry uses to promote the books she just can't put down), as well as her continued work with Jennesse Center, a domestic violence intervention program in Los Angeles, it's clear that Hallewood won't be all jade yoni eggs and vaginal steaming as preached by her contemporaries. (Though bone broth does play a big part in Berry's diet, so there are some Goop crossovers that can't be avoided.)
Rather, it seems that Berry's mission is to inspire her fans, especially the women, to find their strength and power through hard work, sweat equity, and a healthy dose of mindfulness.
"There is a lot of strength and power in stillness. I find that having the ability to be still and calm in the most stressful situations is extremely powerful and empowering," Berry wrote in June. "Lord knows I have faced my fair share of adversity—as I'm sure many of you have—and the ability to be still and access my personal power has been a lifesaver."
At a time when Hollywood finds itself in an unprecedented upheaval as women in the industry are standing up and reclaiming their time, there's no better example of that ethos in action than Berry. Here's to many more years of her kicking ass and inspiring the rest of us while she does it.