Byrdie Bell: Gym Class Hero
When it comes to Byrdie Bell’s to-do list, the American-born actress, model, and socialite isn’t afraid to get down to work and break a sweat. And she doesn’t care who is watching. Photographs by Mike Rosenthal.
Sweaty, serious, and strapped with bungee cords is hardly the way we’re used to seeing Byrdie Bell. Known for her mile-long legs, the actress, model and New York socialite is more often recognized as the beautiful blonde featured on the party pages of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar or on the big screen having worked with directors Martin Scorsese and Antonio Campos.
But for Bell, health and wellness is as much part of her daily routine as dress fittings and casting calls. “I've been having a lot of fun incorporating fitness activity into my daily routine,” says Bell, who works out about six days a week and stays away from dairy and refined sugar when it comes to her diet. “The camera sees everything, so it’s a job that requires us to really focus on the inside in order to shine on the outside.”
And when your profession requires travel, long hours, and—perhaps most of all—a well-turned physique, it’s no surprise Bell has found ways to work it out no matter where she is. “Hotel gyms have become my best friends,” Bell laughs. “I also really enjoy going for a jog as a way to get to know a foreign neighborhood or city.” After a workout, Bell is quick to refuel with banana chips and nuts, which she keeps on her at all times.
In New York, where she spent her teens and still maintains a residence, Manhattan’s Chaise23, the latest iteration of cardio-driven Pilates, is where Bell goes to sweat it out.
“I read about Chaise23's Reinvention Method on Daily Candy and wanted to try it,” says Bell, who has also been practicing yoga for over 10 years. Created by fitness instructor and former professional figure skater Lauren Piskin, Chaise23 fuses sculpting, flexibility, and cardio to define the entire body. It’s no wonder then that workouts are as difficult as they are effective.
Few girls (and Bell is certainly no exception) would deny the importance of looking good even while you’re breaking a sweat. “I don't like to get too techie but I do like to look cute and have fun with what I wear,” she says. “I've always loved buying sneakers and don't really have a place for them in my work life, so I appreciate working out as an opportunity to get them off the shelves.”
At the end of the day, however, even Bell can admit there’s a time to cool your heels. “I walk and take the train, but I do love cabs,” she says of traipsing around New York City. “There's still something nostalgic about waiving down a yellow taxi.” Spoken like a true New Yorker. —Sasha Levine