19 Ways Ballet Beautiful's Founder Maintains Her Gorgeous Self
She sculpts the bodies of Victoria's Secret models and trains actresses like Natalie Portman for her role in Black Swan, all while raising a 1-year-old daughter. Mary Helen Bowers began her professional career as a dancer at age 16 with the New York City Ballet. After years of dancing, she got her degree at Columbia University and founded Ballet Beautiful, where she provides personal training and live-streaming workouts. She finds balance in her life as a mom, dancer, celebrity trainer and a girl who just wants a good martini and steak every once in a while. Here, Mary Helen gives us a look at her favorite places to eat, how to recover after a big night out and her dark chocolate obsession.
What’s a typical food day?
My diet is very clean. I look at food as a healthy and enjoyable part of my lifestyle. It’s not about deprivation or counting calories. It is not something I worry about, and I actually have no idea how many calories are in most foods. I think it is about how it makes me feel, which is much more pleasurable and fun. I think when you are eating great food that is not processed and clean and whole, you end up feeling really great as well.
For breakfast I will have coffee and 1) slow-cooked oats with some raw nuts and fresh fruit. In the winter it tends to be a lot of citrus, especially grapefruit. I also eat an 2) apple every day, because they are so easy, fast and full of fiber.
For lunch, I usually try to have a 3) large salad with a ton of fresh greens, veggies and a side of grilled chicken, salmon or steak and some wheat bread.
To be able to get all of the antioxidants that I need, I try to eat as much fruit and fresh, organic greens as possible.
One of my favorite meals for dinner is 4) slow-roasted chicken with onions, celery and sweet potatoes. There are also always a ton of greens, like kale, spinach, Swiss chard—whatever is fresh at the farmers' market. I love slow-cooked kale steamed on a low temp until very tender, which brings out the sweetness.
Any go-to snacks?
Where do you love to dine out?
I love 6) Minetta Tavern for a good martini and steak. I always end my night there with a slice of their coconut cake. It is such a great, cozy spot. When I go out I like to eat the kind of foods that I find hard to cook at home. So usually not fish or chicken but things like steaks, burgers and pizza.
Do you have a favorite pizza place?
How to you recover and look fresh after a big night out?
Always lots of water and fresh OJ for extra vitamin C, which your body loses a lot of when processing alcohol. After that, it is all about the eggs and bacon.
Where do you find the best eggs and bacon?
9) Cook Shop has a great brunch if we feel like going out.
Any tricks to looking refreshed?
I'll mix in a little 10) rosehip oil with my face cream for extra hydration and a healthy glow. I also try to avoid things that inflame, like sugar. I won't eat a lot of baked goods and foods that have a lot of added sugar.
Do you have a favorite comfort food?
11) Chicken and dumplings. I'm from North Carolina, so I am really picky about my fried chicken. Whenever I buy some at the restaurant, I always seem to be disappointed. It’s really hard to beat my Aunt Libby’s fried chicken.
Any fashion Icons/Influencers?
Audrey Hepburn was always so chic, simple and beautiful. I also love the ballerinas from the '70s like Suzanne Farrell. Modern day, I like Miranda Kerr and Lily Aldridge, who have gorgeous style. They are so chic and effortless.
Did you go through any awkward fashion stages?
Oh my goodness, for sure! When I was growing up, I had such a hard time. My legs were always too long for my height, so my pants were always way too short.
How would you define your look now?
My style is a little '70s and classic old Hollywood. I incorporate a lot of vintage, bohemian blouses paired with a good wedge. I really don't worry about following trends other than where my jeans are cut. Right now, I prefer a high waist.
What is that one accessory you can't let go?
I have this pair of 12) high suede French boots. They aren't something I can wear every day, but I adore them.
Any beauty splurges?
Facials are definitely a splurge. They are the only beauty service that I use regularly. I see Carol at 13) Ling. She is great, and they have a really nice line of products, like their serums and the ginseng face mask. I sleep in this mask four times a week.
What about beauty must-haves for people on a budget?
I started using 14) organic coconut oil when I was pregnant. It is great for taking off makeup and is an amazing moisturizer when you add it to the bath. Everything then smells amazing.
I also love the soaps from 15) Fresh. They always have such great scents and beautiful wrapping.
Where do you like to shop?
I do most of my shopping online. 16) Net-A-Porter or 17)Moda Operandi. They have both been well curated, and the delivery and service are fantastic. If I am running to pick something up last minute for myself, it is usually from 18) Ralph Lauren.
Shoutout to any other creative ladies?
Lauren Santo Domingo is really inspiring. I love what she has built with Moda Operandi. My friend Sophia Rossi created 19)hellogiggles.com, which is such a fun, great site.