Healthy in Hollywood

Hollywood’s leading actresses are portraits of beauty who seem to have endless
energy and look great from one film to the next. We decided to glimpse into the
lives of Jennifer Aniston, Natalie Portman, Halle Berry and Courteney Cox to glean
some insights into what keeps them so fit in mind, body and spirit.


June 2011

 

Natalie Portman

When Natalie Portman picked up the Academy Award for her lead performance in “Black Swan,” you could easily have attributed the glow around her to both her pregnancy and healthy living.

Portman, who turns 30 this month, is one of Hollywood’s famous vegetarians and animal rights activists. After more than two decades as a vegetarian, Portman took her animal-friendly lifestyle another step by going vegan a few years ago. In a famous post on the Huffington Post web site, Portman said she was inspired by Jonathan Safran Foer’s book “Eating Animals,” which starkly exposed the environmental and psychological effects of the mass production of animals.

Portman’s love of animals was apparent when she was on assignment for an Animal Planet documentary, traversing Rwanda’s rainforest to study the endangered mountain gorilla. She has since extended her veganism to fashion by creating a line of clothes for Té Casan made with no animal products, though she has returned to being a vegetarian during her pregnancy. “I was listening to my body,” she said during an interview last month with the Q100 Bert Show in Atlanta.

You’d be on the mark if you sense a certain cerebral quality in Portman’s performances. She studied psychology and neuroscience at Harvard University, waiting to complete her education before returning to film work.

Even pregnant, Portman manages to look fit and svelte. Before her pregnancy, she has been known to run up to four times a week, lauding running’s physical and mental benefits, and has been an avid scuba diver. She once proudly told Australian Dolly Magazine that she never smoked or tried drugs and doesn’t drink. Portman is engaged to “Black Swan” choreographer Benjamin Millepied, with whom she is expecting their first child.

 

Jennifer Aniston

The 42-year-old comic actress has had our attention ever since she endeared herself to audiences as Rachel, the suburban princess turned coffee hawker, on the hit show “Friends.” In great shape and harboring a decidedly upbeat approach to life, the 5’6” Aniston clearly puts a big emphasis on health and wellness. She told the British magazine Red that she works out every other day and has a personal yoga instructor. No wonder she was once reported to offer to be “Friends” co-star Matthew Perry’s personal trainer to help him slim down.

Still, Aniston isn’t too tough on herself when it comes to staying in shape: She won’t skip wine, coffee, dairy and nights out with girlfriends for margaritas and nachos, she told Red, which calls Aniston “The Most Beautiful Everywoman in the World.” Aniston told the magazine she is experiencing a new calm in her life.

She is enjoying her two dogs, Norman and Dolly, and looks forward to continue aging naturally, treating her beautiful skin to high-end serums and the expertise of what she calls a “facialist.”

It takes a healthy body to keep up with Aniston’s busy schedule. Next up for Aniston on the big screen is a role in the new comedy “Horrible Bosses” with Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey, due out in July. She’ll also be seen in the Judd Apatow comedy “Wanderlust,” set for an October release. Aniston has taken her interest in wellness behind the camera, too; she makes her directorial debut in “Project Five,” a Lifetime series of five short films about the effects of breast cancer in people’s lives.

 

Halle Berry

This stunning Academy Award-winning actress has made no secret of what keeps her so fit and beautiful. As a diabetic, Berry told Harper’s Bazaar in 2009, she has long been accustomed to keeping a watchful eye on her health. She is said to love to rollerblade and practice yoga daily. The added busy pace of motherhood after daughter Nahla was born, she told the magazine, put exercise, diet and supplementation even more in focus. “Having a baby takes so much from you. It’s the most glorious thing you'll ever do, but the aftermath is not so glorious! So now I’m having to exercise, eat a little bit differently, take a lot more vitamins,” she said then.

Berry, now 44, has pointed to the relatively little makeup she wears as a reflection of her simplicity and natural approach to life, as well as her honesty. “I’ve always been honest, even when I haven’t had good times in my life or my movie bombed or I’ve had great success,” she told Harper’s. “I’ve owned up to all of it.” That honesty is apparent in her acting and has paid off. Berry is the first African American actress to win the Oscar for Best Actress, for her role in “Monster’s Ball.”

She was also named one of the “50 Most Beautiful People” in People Magazine, appearing on this list eight times and tying with Julia Roberts for the most appearances.

Humor, Berry has said, has served her well. Case in point: In 2005, she became the first actress to show up and accept the Razzie award for Worst Actress, for her role as Catwoman. Accepting the award, Berry smiled and said, “Thank you and I hope to God I never see you guys again.”

 

Courtney Cox

Becoming bored easily can weigh heavily on how one approaches health and fitness. Take Courteney Cox.

The actress, first familiar to audiences as the fresh-faced teen Bruce Springsteen pulled onstage for his “Dancing in the Dark” video and later for her starring role as Monica Geller-Bing on “Friends,” is among those who has a hard time staying in the same place too long. The actress, who turns 47 this month, has said she discarded her treadmill, Stairmaster and stationary bicycle because it doesn’t take much for her to be bored.

That might also explain her hectic schedule and penchant for multitasking. Cox was six months pregnant with her daughter Coco when she completed filming “Friends.” And she returned to work four months after giving birth to Coco so she could film “The Longest Yard.”

So what accounts for her beautiful body? Though the exercise equipment is gone, Cox has said she likes Pilates. And she took up karate after the birth of her daughter; as of 2009, she holds a brown belt.

The lovely 5’5” brunette likes a natural approach to beauty, avoiding heavy layers of makeup. “I only have to do three things to look halfway decent: curl my eyelashes, fill in my eyebrows and put some lipstick on,” she once said.

Cox is driven to entertain people and gets a sparkle in her eye from seeing others made happy. “To see their life change for that moment when they walk into the room and are that happy,” she once said, “it really makes you cry. It does. I hope I don’t lose this feeling.”

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