As the Hollywood Reporter’s Paris correspondent, life was one long celebrity party for writer Rebecca Leffler. Until she changed her diet, wrote a book about it and traded the red carpet for for her yoga mat and an all new social life back in NYC. Illustrations: Erin Petson.
It’s funny – When I left “le red carpet” for the green one, I thought I was making a dramatic, 180° life shift. But in fact, the more time I spend in the wellness world, the more I see just how much the two worlds are intertwined. Red carpet life is usually very focused on outward appearances and can be quite a rush of adrenaline. But it’s a very imbalanced world, so things that harmonize body and mind like yoga, healthy eating and a meditation practice become so important – read: essential! – for “surviving” this kind of lifestyle.
While there are always quick fixes – a juice cleanse before an awards show, airbrushing a photo, a spa retreat after a hectic junket, etc – there has to be some kind of grounding. And it’s not exactly a secret that if you drink more green juice and eat less junk food, your skin will glow in the paparazzi flashbulbs. Plus, things like yoga and meditation really help with learning to love yourself and your body in an industry that often teaches anything but.
It all comes back to balance. You don’t need to eschew all material possessions, move to a farm, adopt a goat and sprout your own grains in order to live “green” – and you also don’t need to party until 4 am, wear only designer clothing and a perma-pout in order to succeed in the red carpet world.
Again, these worlds are colliding. More and more celebrities are writing health books (hello Gwyneth, hello Cameron…) or launching wellness product lines (Miranda Kerr, Jessica Alba…). Juice Press is backstage at Fashion Week shows and Lena Dunham and Jerry Seinfeld are talking about the importance of meditation.
I personally have been trying to integrate these two worlds as much as possible. I think the red carpet world can use as much green as possible and I also think it’s a shame that so many “green” brands have great products and ethics, but lack any commercial direction. At last year’s Cannes Film Festival, I launched my GREEN CHIC By Lafleur concept. The idea was that this glitzy festival needed some greening – so I brought some with me! Think celebrity gift suite au naturel. Eco-chic French clothing brand EKYOG hosted a “positive fashion” showroom, the Films for Peace Foundation set up an art exhibition, we had a tea bar from Lov Organic and a coconut water and snack bar, fresh juices and smoothies delivered daily and I organized yoga classes on the Majestic beach docks.
At festivals like Cannes, lack of sleep and stress are inevitable, so bringing a wellness element seemed like a no-brainer. And now I’m hosting events in NYC, to try to bridge these two worlds more and more to show that it’s completely possible to be très chic and also take care of both ourselves and the environment.
When I left my “old life,” I really expected everyone to be quite surprised. In fact, instead of adopting a completely new identity, it’s fely like more of an evolution. And people who knew me from my Hollywood Reporter and TV days aren’t at all surprised by the new direction my life is taking. Even before making this major leap into the green beyond, I did yoga with Alec and Hilaria Baldwin in a dress, chanted with monks at the Cannes Film Festival and worked out in fancy French clothing. I’ve just converted my passion for cinema into a passion for…vegetables and mindfulness! Plus, so many friends from who work in fashion, film and media are adopting this healthier lifestyle too. Sometimes it’s because they have no choice – having become burned out after years in the business – and sometimes because it’s “trendy”. But hey, this is one trend that’s not going to hurt anybody.
As for my “green carpet” wardrobe, it’s so much more comfortable than my old high heels and skin-tight designer dresses. I love that when I go to work-related events and meetings now, the proper attire is a pair of Lululemon yoga pants, and man are my feet in much better shape. My favorite way to dress lately is a style I call “green and glam”, i.e. a mix of yoga/sportswear and “real” clothing.
I also pay much more attention to the type of clothing I put on my body – of course, I prefer organic or eco-friendly fabrics and like to wear brands whose working conditions I can confirm to be ethical. That said, part of a healthy lifestyle is to ENJOY it and if the (Louboutin) shoe fits, I’ll wear it! I also wear far less makeup now I’m not on TV – it’s great for the skin to be able to breathe more…and that goes for me too.
As for men? On the green carpet? Sacre bleu! If you find any available ones, please send them my way. Just kidding. The green carpet does seem to be lined with more soul mats than soul mates, but I think that in general, the relationships I’ve developed in my new life are a bit more “real” than those from my former days on the red carpet. And I do find that red carpet men are adopting more of a green carpet attitude too – and that this lifestyle isn’t just for the ladies. Red carpet men may be better dressed a lot of the time, but there’s nothing sexier than a mindful man flexing his yoga muscles. I’d definitely go OM with him tonight.
Rebecca Leffler’s next event, OM Appetit! takes place this Sunday, May 4 at Suite Three Oh Six. The evening will feature a super twisty detox yoga session with Strala Yoga’s Jess Allen followed by a gourmet vegan feast by Chef Daphne Cheng. Yoga, 5pm ($25). Feast, 6.30pm ($60). Yoga + feast $75. RSVP here (password 59306) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.