Maybe you’ve heard of the box office thriller Black Swan? We’re thrilled to share our exclusive interview with professional ballerina, celebrity fitness guru and Ballet Beautiful founder Mary Helen Bowers. Mary Helen was Natalie Portman’s personal trainer for the 2010 thriller. If you’ll recall, Portman won the Oscar for Best Actress for her mind blowing performance in the 2010 film. Ballet Beautiful brings ballet inspired training and fitness to women and men via Ballet Beautiful Custom Workouts, online classes and bestselling DVDs. BB has been featured in publications including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Elle, WWD, The Wall Street Journal Style Magazine, Shape, Women’s Health, and Self. Mary Helen’s professional journey of hard work and dedication are inspiring to say the least. From training at Manhattan’s prestigious School of American Ballet, to being invited to join the New York City Ballet at the age of just 16. It goes to show this kind of talent, dedication and determination have its rewards. Grace, beauty, and strength are the core of the Ballet Beautiful method. “Ballet Beautiful mixes the athleticism and grace of classical ballet with targeted exercises and stretches that sculpt a dancer’s toned, lean physique.” Read the full interview below and learn more about the force behind what A-list celebrities, supermodels, Victoria’s Secret Angels and woman all over the globe are raving about. Shop Ballet Beautiful on Net-A-Porter and www.balletbeautiful.com. –SoS
“I believe every woman has the ability to transform her body.” – Mary Helen Bowers
SoS: Describe the Ballet Beautiful technique? What makes it unique?
MHB: Ballet Beautiful is a workout inspired by ballet. Each exercise, movement and stretch is designed to strengthen and lengthen the body, sculpting a powerful and elegant physique.
SoS: How do you balance being a new mom and running a successful business?
MHB: Balancing work and motherhood is a challenge for so many! Time suddenly becomes so precious and more valuable than ever. I don’t think anyone ever achieves the perfect balance between these two because it’s difficult to be pulled in two very disparate directions.
I work hard to be as efficient as possible when I am in the office so that when I’m home I can put down my phone and relax! Building a positive, like-minded team around me to maximize every moment and opportunity at work is definitely key. The same is true in your home life. A working mom needs a lot of help!
SoS: What are you most excited about as far as the ballet trend that’s happening now in the fashion industry?
MHB: I love seeing ballet come into main-stream fashion! As a dancer, ballet has always had a huge influence on my wardrobe. Creating beautiful pieces that work for a workout and street wear is endlessly inspiring to me! I spent years searching for the perfect ballet street shoe for example. Now it’s so much fun to know that the shoes I am wearing of my own design, handmade in Italy by third generation artisans.
SoS: We know we’re not the only ones who became a little obsessed with Natalie Portman’s body in Black Swan. What was it like to train her for the film?
MHB: Working with Natalie for Black Swan was an incredible experience. She is hard working, generous and kind. It’s inspiring to spend your days with someone dedicated enough to their art (in Natalie’s case, acting) to spend 5+ hours a day training to prepare for a role!
SoS: Secret Obsession?
MHB: I adore an afternoon tea service!
SoS: Beauty Secret?
MHB: Water, great skin care and sleep! Plus lots of Ballet Beautiful, of course!
SoS: Favorite product that you use, love and would recommend to new moms?
MHB: With newborns you don’t need much at all! I do love glass baby bottles for heating milk or breastmilk. We use Aventi’s and they have worked so well. Now that Lumina is bigger, keeping a couple of Dr Seuss books in the diaper bag is my secret weapon for dinners out or long flights!
SoS: Mornings seem to be especially hectic for working moms. Sum up your morning routine…
MHB: I shower and wash my hair at night to save time. In the mornings I sometimes make a healthy lunch for myself while preparing Lumina’s breakfast. From there anything related to me getting ready has to happen as quickly as possible. There isn’t time to fuss over much makeup or the perfect outfit. It’s grab and go!
MHB: Always! I live in my leotard and tights. In the cooler months I layer with legwarmers and high boots and toss a dress on top. When it’s nice out I’m always in my Ballet Beautiful street shoes. I haven’t found anything more comfortable or chic!
SoS: Favorite go-to item in your closet?
MHB: Our sweetheart neck mesh leotard is available in many different colors and looks just as great with a full skirt or jeans as it does for a Ballet Beautiful session!
SoS: What do you miss most about living in North Carolina? What do you love most about living in NYC?
MHB: The pace of everything in the south is a little slower. And no one can beat my mom’s biscuits and country ham!
NYC is so fast paced and vibrant. I love living and working in one of the worlds most influential homes for the arts.
MHB: I CAN.
SH: What results can women expect from your online custom workout? What gear, if any, is needed?
MHB: Our Custom Workout has transformed so many bodies and lives! It’s been incredible to see the results from our members all over the world. The workouts are targeted and designed to help people achieve a world class workout from the comfort and privacy of home.
The best part is that no dance experience or equipment is needed. Of course, our ballet slippers will make you really feel the part but all you needed to get started is wifi, a towel or mat, and a nearby waterbottle!
SoS: Favorite Ballet Beautiful training tip?
MHB: Remember that ballet is all about the extension of the body through space. Listen for my cues on how to lengthen and extend through the arms and legs!
SoS: One thing people might be surprised to know about you?
MHB: I can’t live without chocolate and cheese! Dieting is not the way to go!
“Lily Aldridge specifically credits these workouts for getting her body back after her first child.”
“It’s just very effective for me. Ballet Beautiful has just transformed my body. I can’t speak highly enough of Mary Helen Bowers.” – Lily Aldridge
“I’m not a ballerina but I enjoy working out like one. Ballet Beautiful makes me feel beautiful, confident and strong.” – Maggie Gyllenhaal
“Mary Helen’s technique…allows anyone to achieve the long, toned physique of a dancer.” – Natalie Portman
“I adore Mary Helen Bowers: she knows how to make ordinary women look like ballerinas. Mary Helen’s intelligence, attention to detail and extensive training as a ballerina has made her a wealth of knowledge. With her simple streamlined technique she can make incredible changes. She’s the real deal.” – Zooey Deschanel
“Mary Helen is wonderful! We train together using her Ballet Beautiful program doing leg work, butt lifts, and stretches. I love working out with her.” – Liv Tyler
“Mary Helen Bowers radiates an effortless beauty and grace that extends to her clients…[and] creates a feminine, lean, long body that is gorgeously strong.” – Jamie King
“You need your fingertips to your toes to be a good model, and that’s what Ballet Beautiful does. It really gets you connected mentally to your whole body.” – Erin Heatherton