Halle Berry's Key to Self-Confidence Is to Simply "Not Give a F**k"

Photo credit: rē•spin / FitOn
Photo credit: rē•spin / FitOn

From Harper's BAZAAR

For Halle Berry, fitness is more than a vehicle to looking good—or, in her case, fantastic. It's a way of life that keeps the Oscar-winning actress emotionally centered and focused on being the best mother she can be.

Though the actress has long been the be-all and end-all fitness inspiration for women across the globe, Berry no longer wants her lifestyle to be deemed unobtainable for the average, everyday woman. That's why her fitness brand, re-spin, which she founded last year, has partnered with the wellness app FitOn to give fans and workout aficionados alike full access to her everyday exercise routines. So, yes, you, too, can break a sweat just like Halle Berry, and you can do it completely for free.

"During this pandemic over at re-spin and also with my trainer, Peter Lee Thomas, with our Fitness Fridays [on Instagram], we've been really trying to inspire people to work out at home," Berry tells BAZAAR.com. "We've been telling them that you don't have to have a big membership to stay healthy, and stay well, and stay fit and strong."

She continues, "So partnering with FitOn just seemed like a perfect fit, because it's free. Not everybody can afford a big membership. People have been in COVID and wanting to exercise at home, and we're still kind of stuck there, and I think will be here for a little while longer. Working out at home for free, to me, is the perfect solution. FitOn is so aligned with what our messaging is and what's important to us over at re-spin."

Photo credit: rē•spin / FitOn
Photo credit: rē•spin / FitOn

Re-spin's partnership with FitOn, according to Berry, is also a prime opportunity to help diversify the wellness space. For too long, according to the actress, the fitness world has not only lacked racial diversity within it, but has also shut out women of color who simply can't afford the high price of a "healthy" lifestyle.

"I don't know if we've always been provided ways that we can stay fit and be well within a means that's affordable. I think for so long people thought, 'You have to have a trainer. You have to have a gym membership. You have to have all this equipment. You have to eat certain meals. That costs a certain amount,'" says Berry. "I think we've talked ourselves out of being fit, sometimes, because we think it's something that's unobtainable or not affordable. I do like FitOn for that reason, because we are learning that it is affordable, it is manageable, and anybody can do it. You just have to have the will and the desire. And you have to make up your mind that it's important. That's the hard work that people have to do."

Berry has long been dedicated to robust, rigorous fitness routines. Diagnosed with diabetes in her teens, the actress says the disease served as a turning point in taking her overall wellness seriously.

"Being diagnosed with diabetes when I was 19—that was an aha moment that just changed my whole life," says Berry. "When I realized that I had a disease that I could actually manage by my diet and exercise, and live longer and stay healthier? That's when I got really committed to making fitness and exercise and diet a real part of my life."

She continues, "The by-product of that has been that I've stayed in pretty good shape all these years, and I feel strong, and I can run around after my little kid. Trying to manage that disease has really benefited me in so many other ways."

Berry adds that the only difference between her fitness relationship then and now is that she's more experimental with how she trains on a daily basis.

"I've always been fit, and have always thought about fitness and taking care of my body. It's only changed in terms of how I've been adding to my fitness regimen," says Berry. "It used to just be working out with weights, and then I got into Pilates, and then I got into yoga, and now I'm into martial arts."

Photo credit: rē•spin / FitOn
Photo credit: rē•spin / FitOn

Berry's incorporation of experimental exercise styles such as martial arts and boxing have also merged into her professional life. The actress underwent intensive training leading up to the production of her upcoming directorial debut, Bruised, set to hit Netflix later this year.

"I thought I worked hard training for the John Wick movie, but this took it to a whole other level, because I had to learn five martial arts disciplines, two of which I had some knowledge of, but three of them were just totally foreign to me," Berry explains. "I spent about two years before I shot the movie just learning the martial art forms, and it was grueling."

Elaborating, she shares the toll the training took on her body. "I've never worked in such a concentrated way with something, ever, and I'm not 25 anymore, so it required a kind of dedication and focus and an attention to my diet like I never had before," she says. "I trained, some days, five hours a day. It took a toll, but I was determined to do it. It probably was one of the hardest things I've ever done."

Fitness goes further than just exercise and training for Berry, however. Stuck at home during the global pandemic, the actress turned to mental-wellness practices, such as meditation, with her two children, Nahla Aubry, almost 13, and Maceo Martinez, 7, joining in.

"Especially because we've been in COVID, meditation has become a big part of my day-to-day," she says. "We've had to find solutions to our stress levels. Many of us who have children have become pseudo-schoolteachers. We're trying to juggle working at home, but also managing our children's arduous process and stressful process that they're going through."

Sharing more, she says, "I love Self-Care Sundays, and finding time to read or meditate, do yoga, things that you can easily do at home. Finding time to destress has been very important for me, because a few times I've had to stay calm and be positive for my children when they're falling apart. It's been a year of this lockdown, and they don't see their friends, they don't really leave the backyard. It's been stressful for all of us. So I've got my kids into yoga. They're meditating."

Turns out her son has really taken to the downward-dog discipline. "My son, believe it or not, [enjoys yoga] more than my daughter. He's seven, and she's 13," laughs Berry. "She's kind of too cool for school for a lot of things, but she does it. He runs to do it, while she walks."

Berry's calm and cool demeanor is showcased best via her official Instagram account, which fans flock to not just for fitness tips but also glimpses into the star's life—as a woman, as a mother, as a friend, and a person unafraid to be comfortable in her own skin. Berry credits social media for allowing herself to be more vulnerable online with fans, as it's a way for her to control the narrative surrounding her life and career.

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"[Being on Instagram] has been really liberating. For so many years, I felt that before I was really a part of social media, many times media outlets would write articles, and they kept spinning the same story," she says. "And they were telling the story about me that they either wanted to tell for their publication or just their limited view of who I was. Now with social media, I can control what people know about me and how I present it. One of the benefits of aging—there are many—but one of them is you just start to not give a fuck anymore. Excuse my French. But you just start to not give a fuck!"

It's those four words that have given the actress her power. "I'm just going to be me, and there's power in that," continues Berry. "You realize that when you do that, people kind of just love you more for it. They want to see that you're as real as they are. They want to see that you love a good cocktail and that you love a good laugh, and you can put on a sexy dress and feel yourself, and you can take part in silly Internet challenges, and you can read cool books. You're trying to help yourself and grow. I think it just connects me more to everybody, and that's been beautiful."

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