No Bullsh*t—VS Models Tell Us What They Really, Truly Eat in a Day
Raise your hand if you've ever felt personally victimised by a celebrity's diet. I have on two separate occasions: once by Bella Hadid, the second time by Emily Ratajkowski. Both claim to rarely work out (Hadid does a bit of running when she's in the mood while Ratajkowski just skips it), but coupled with their supposedly gym-free life is a troubling amount of carbs and dairy—or should I say troubling for me because if I ate said diet, they'd have to roll me out of my apartment building à la Violet Beauregarde.
"My diet is pizza," Hadid told WWD. "Or burgers, French fries, grilled cheeses." Ratajkowski's diet isn't nearly as crafted from a mall food court as Hadid's, but she says she starts the day with a pastry, eats a lot of meat, salad, and always goes out for dinner. Not too bad, but I'm still stuck on the no-gym thing. What?
I have a very unscientific psychological explanation for all of this: My theory is that celebrities feel they will sound more relatable if they don't reveal their actual strict diet and fitness regimens. But this perpetuates the body image issue women face on a daily basis: Seeing Bella's lithe figure only to learn that she maintains it with pizza and grease is entirely unrelatable and frustrating.
If anything, it's admirable to learn about a model's discipline in the gym and dedication to healthy eating—in fact, it's motivating. Playing devil's advocate, maybe these models really are genetically blessed and can bypass the gym like I (try to) bypass the bread they so easily consume. But no matter how you spin it, it's discouraging.
When I recently got the opportunity to interview two models myself (Stella Maxwell and Josephine Skriver of Victoria's Secret fame) at the launch of VS's new fragrance, Bombshell Summer (available in the U.S. now), I decided to take the opportunity to glean their honest-to-goodness diet and fitness regimens—no BS allowed. Though, quite honestly, they wouldn't have given me false answers even if I'd asked for them. When I told them both how annoyed I get when celebrities say they don't work out, Skriver quickly retorted, "That's such a myth." Sharing similar sentiments, Maxwell said, "We have to."
Below, learn how each girl stays in such amazing shape year-round.
"I do a lot of yoga. Ashtanga, it's kind of like a flow. They play music. Yoga can seem like it's boring and kind of just like stretching, but once you get into the flow, it's really like a mental experience. You go through an hour of mentally thinking about how you're stretching your body into these positions, and—I don't know—I find it interesting how you walk out feeling completely different than how you walked in.
"I have a personal trainer as well that I go to see, and she does a lot of toning and lengthening. I think trainers look at models and sculpt them kind of like dancers—kind of long and lean. To do that, they use a lot of bands. I like the step machine and the climber because it says, 'You've climbed the Eiffel Tower' [when you hit goals], and it's really satisfying and you're like, Wow, I did that in my 20 minutes.
"I work out an hour a day. I kind of do it whenever—I'm not picky on what time I work out. I'd rather sleep in a little longer, so maybe not quite early in the morning, so I tend to go later at night. I work out as often as I can, in general, four to five times a week. Once you've reached an hour, your body's kind of—you don't want to exhaust yourself, and I think it's good to slowly build that and not push it too intensely."
"For food, I kind of eat in moderation. I don't think it's good to cut anything out 100% or go on some crazy diet. I've never really believed in that, and I think your body will respond well if you make it happy in a moderate way—kind of like portion control. For breakfast, I like scrambled eggs, avocado, oatmeal—I really love oatmeal—or granola and yoghurt. Lunch would be a piece of fish like salmon and then maybe some salad on the side—today we had chicken and salad. And then dinner, probably the same thing—a protein and a green. For snacks, I like nuts and those dried peas. They're really addictive."
"I've tried every workout, and I think that's a journey everyone has to go through to figure out what works for your body. The best advice I can give is to make sure that it's fun. Working out doesn't have to be lifting weights or Spinning—it can be Zumba dancing, swimming, or hiking. I've tried everything from yoga to Spinning to Pilates, and the workout that I've landed on is weights. I finally got past the myth that girls develop muscles so quickly that I was scared I would lift one weight and be bulky, but really, if you stick with it and take a few weeks off, muscle memory helps you snap back.
"On a good week, I go to the gym five days a week, sometimes three days a week, or sometimes I can't even make it one, so I really try to listen to my body. I always say that every day is a good day to go to the gym, and because of the schedule I have, I can't say Oh, I'll go on Mondays, because I don't know what I'll be doing next Monday. Don't feel guilty about it—set yourself a goal that's reachable, don't over-exceed, and find a buddy. Working out with friends really helps. [Ed note: Skriver has a kilIer Instagram account with fellow VS model Jasmine Tookes.] That's how we girls stay motivated because we're like, I really can't go, and one of the Angels will say Hey, we're doing a 7 p.m. workout—join us!' There's no such thing as a bad workout. Even if you make it a half-hour, it's good to go and get out there.
"A year and a half ago, I decided to be a morning workout person. It took me four months to not hate it—I was such a night person, but there was always a dinner, or something came up, or a friend wanted coffee, or you sit on the couch and you turn on Netflix. So I really made it a thing. It's like eating breakfast for me now. It's just a habit; it's what I do. I don't ask myself, Do I want to wake up at 5 a.m. to work out at 6 a.m.? I just set my schedule that's just what it is. So it's a habit for me, and it takes a while to form a habit.
"My workouts are an hour long. I would say 80% of my workout is weights, and then I add in cardio once or twice a week. I notice that I lose my muscles when I [just do] cardio. Some of the other girls do more cardio because it's better for their body shape—again, it's so hard for me to give you specifics and say, If you work out like this, your body is going to look like mine. Half of it's genetics, and half of it is figuring out what works for you. But it's a journey, and it's hopefully a fun journey."
"There are some people out there who can just [eat anything]. I know one of my friends, she is that person. She works out a lot but she can eat whatever, whenever, and it's kind of annoying. But that's why I love to talk about it because, for me, I want to feel sexy and I want to build shape, so it's all about working out and building that butt and building shape and curves, and you have to eat accordingly for that—you have to eat in healthy moderation.
"For me, I travel the world and sometimes have three red-eyes in a week, and if I don't eat for fuel or eat to stay energised … I can't live off of burgers! I might not gain as much as some people, but I would be slumping off if I ate sugar all the time—it's more like health consciousness for me, but I also always do the 80/20: 80% of the time, I eat healthily and work out, and I stay on a schedule because I really am all about taking care of my body. My body is like my temple, and you only get one shot.
"I've never believed in the word diet—I believe in lifestyle. I don't believe in quick fixes. There's no such thing as doing 30 ab exercises and then you get a six-pack. Even if you do really well for three months and you look great, the second you stop … it has to be like a lifestyle thing. I've always been active, so in that sense, it wasn't hard for me to work out, but I do work out a lot.
"But then you have to let yourself cheat once in a while; you have to give yourself a cheat day and give yourself a splurge—I actually hate the term cheat day, so I call them treat days. Cheat feels like, Oh, I should be ashamed! You shouldn't feel guilty about eating a burger, but for me, it's more about knowing the nutritious value of what's in a good piece of chicken or veggies. Eat the right kind of carbs and think about what will keep you energized throughout the day.
"I don't follow anything strictly. I just eat a lot of protein and a lot of veggies, and I make sure I get my carbs because the way I work out, I need healthier carbs like brown rice or sweet potatoes because if I cut out carbs, I would have no energy to do what I do. For breakfast today, I had scrambled eggs, spinach, and a cup of brown rice. I would say most of the time it's grains, protein, and rice, but sometimes for lunch, I don't do as many carbs because it makes me sleepy. But for breakfast, it's such a good start—especially after my workout, I'm dead tired and I need fuel for the whole day. My biggest meal is breakfast—sometimes I have it twice because I'm so hungry.
"I used to drink a lot more milk when I was home [in Denmark], but I don't love the milk here—that's just like a taste thing. But I don't really cut out any food groups. I think just everything in moderation—I feel like the second you cut something out it becomes Oh, I'm not allowed to have that. I obviously don't eat sugar and junk food every day, but I make sure once a week you have a good treat day and you just go all out.
"For snacks, I love everything from fruit to carrots or nuts—like a little handful of nuts keeps me going or just a half a portion of what I ate earlier. I always carry fruit and nuts with me. Nut bars are good and easy to bring in your bag."
Pssst—Skriver says Bombshell Summer is her new favourite scent, telling me, "When you put it on, it's fruity and immediately makes me think of being on vacation and being on the beach. It's all I need right now." It's not available in the UK yet, but you can shop all the Victoria's Secret scents that are available here.
Ready to start eating healthier? Try these 10 small changes that make a huge difference.