Should you happen to be one of Ellie Goulding’s 9.9 million Instagram followers, it’ll probably make sense why the British singer-songwriter made for the perfect fit for Pantene Pro-V’s new ‘Strong is Beautiful’ campaign . Whether frequenting Barry’s Bootcamp or getting a quick boxing session in before she hits the stage, the chart-topper is one of the key players in the entertainment industry paving the way when it comes to seeing fitness in a whole new light and re-defining what beauty means in the modern age for a whole new digitally-savvy generation.
Looking the epitome of good health when we met her in her suite at the Rosewood Hotel in Covent Garden, she appeared every inch the cover girl dressed head-to-toe in white, with flawless makeup and an enviably sleek and voluminous coif of hair; but it was her charm, confidence and down-to-earth demeanour which gave her an extra edge. Her enthusiasm for all things beauty and fitness was clear from the get-go, as was her obvious ability to make anyone feel at ease in an instant. Open and friendly, she was more than happy to talk all things wellness with us - from her love of Dancehall when she works out (more on that later) to her beauty essentials. So what keeps the homegrown superstar feeling healthy and happy? We sat down with Ellie to find out.
GTG: We love the message of the ‘Strong is Beautiful’ campaign. There seems to be a real shift in the media when it comes to the re-definition of beauty, leaning more towards being strong and not skinny. Could you tell us more about the collaboration and what makes you feel strong and why?
EG: A few things really. I try to look after myself in a fitness way, so I look after my body and train hard. I’m not strict with myself with my diet, but I put a lot of my strength down to being vegetarian and just being mindful of everything and the people around me. That’s why I partnered with Pantene as they’ve made amazing advances towards being eco-friendly. My thing has always been that women should feel strong and that strength can come in different ways - I know some remarkable women. I love the idea of women feeling like they can kick ass physically and mentally! So it’s a great fit.
GTG: What are your favourite ways to keep fit? If we were to look into your workout weekly diary, what would we find?
EG: I suppose it’s pretty intense. I run when I can and I box - I did a hardcore boxing session yesterday. It started off just as something I enjoyed for fitness, but now it’s genuinely turned into something I do on quite a serious level. I do quite a lot of pyrometric and metabolic exercises too which involve a lot of strength and agility, being connected with the floor and using my own bodyweight to do things like burpees, box jumps, squat jumps and lunges. I’ve picked up things along the way. For a few years I did Insanity, and then for a few years I started doing yoga. I’ve discovered that certain exercises work really well and that it's also really important to have a rest. Sometimes we think that we’ve just got to work, work and work until we’re feeling absolutely dead, but it’s your recovery time that’s the important thing. This is what I’ve learned from HIIT training - where you work your ass off for say, 30 seconds, then rest and then you do it again and rest again.
Fitness is so brilliant not just for the body but also for a healthy mind and helping overall positivity and wellbeing. Sometimes if I haven’t trained, I’ll do a workout right before I go on stage as a warm-up and as my hair will be wet, my hair stylist ends up having to re-do it and re-style it again just before the show. I posted a picture on Instagram the other day of him mad at me because my hair was completely drenched following one warm-up in particular...
MORE GLOSS: Boxing - why it’s the full body workout that actually works
GTG: What do you do to feel stronger on the inside and outside with regards to what you eat?
EG: I don’t eat meat or fish for a variety of reasons. I feel better off not eating meat - I feel healthier, stronger, never bloated and I don’t get stomach aches or have any issues with my digestion. I feel that it’s also a massive contributor towards global warming and climate change. I drink a lot of water and green tea too. People often ask if I drink alcohol as I’m so into fitness and the answer’s yes, I do - you’ve got to have a balance! I think fitness has boomed so much in the past few years that it’s now gone the other way and some people are having this sort of obsessive lifestyle but for me, it’s all about balance so I drink, but I also train very hard. It doesn’t work all the time, say, if I have a hangover, but I try. It sometimes helps though! At first you’re like “Argh, this is awful!” but then you do start to feel better, eventually...
GTG: What’s on your workout playlist?
GTG: I’ll show you [gets out her smartphone]. I have things like Sigala, Gorgon City, Flume, Jay-Z, AlunaGeorge, all kinds of stuff. My guilty pleasure is ‘Get Ugly’ by Jason Derulo. The best workout playlist though is if you type in ‘Dancehall Queen’ on Spotify - you can’t help but dance and run to it! It’s so uplifting and positive and has such a good groove.
GTG: How do you keep your hair looking and feeling its best when it’s suffering from the effects of work, workouts and general life?
EG: I have to wash my hair every day because of what I do; so it’s important for me to use a shampoo and conditioner that really protects my hair. Thick, voluminous hair with non-dry ends is the ideal situation for me and that’s what Pantene gives me. With stage, training, all the travelling and flying (it’s amazing after a flight how weird your hair can get!), it’s nice to finally find a shampoo I can just rely on and take everywhere with me - the conditioning mask is also really really good.
I love this collaboration because like you said, things in fashion and beauty are changing and there’s much more of an emphasis on women being strong. Women have always been really badass, but now we have a voice and no one can stop us. It’s moving forward and improving and I think it’s really powerful and really cool of Pantene to further the message.
MORE GLOSS: A Healthy Curiosity - how body image had a makeover
GTG: If we were to look inside your makeup bag right now, what would we find?
EG: It’s quite random! It’s got a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick called ‘Bitch Perfect’ - such a nice colour, I’ve got it on now; a Clinique mascara, a YSL blusher, a Sisley bronzer, a Rodial concealer, a Sisley eyebrow pencil, a Sisley lip liner and my MAC Halcyon Nights and Days palettes. My makeup artist uses MAC on me, but my personal makeup bag is full of random stuff. I’m a real makeup fiend which is why I did the MAC collection. Myself and Lucy and went back and forth with MAC and they were great and really helpful and understanding. The compacts were the first of their kind so we were really grateful for that. It’s worked out really well.
GTG: How do you switch off?
EG: With difficulty. I try to listen to myself and to my body and know when I need to get away from my phone or computer. I like to watch a lot of documentaries - I want to learn and find out as much about the world as possible before I die, but then that can also be quite overwhelming when you realise just how much there is to learn and see. So then I just watch things on TV like Geordie Shore and Ex on the Beach - I even watched the Spice World movie the other night for no reason! I just have to watch things that are not too heavy and funny sometimes like Extras, The Office - anything with Ricky Gervais - and I love 30 Rock. I read books too and I sometimes use meditation apps as this job can be pretty full on, but mainly watching silly TV shows that you don’t learn anything from, but you just find quite funny.
GTG: What do you know about beauty, fitness and wellness now that you wish you’d known say, 10 years ago?
EG: I wish I’d become a vegetarian years ago. When I was 14, I watched a video about how meat gets made and saw footage of a chicken factory. I then stopped eating meat for about 5 years and then became a bit ill at university. Everyone said it was because I didn’t eat meat and also because I never ate eggs - I hadn’t touched an egg in my entire life until I was 19. I started eating meat again thinking that it was better for my health, until I realised it was actually doing the opposite and making it worse. I used to suffer from terrible stomach aches to the point where I thought I was going to pass out from the pain, so then I stopped eating meat and haven’t had a single one since. It was then that I realised that I’m just not meant to eat meat.
I also wish I’d discovered green tea sooner and that I’d got fitter sooner too. I only really started when I was 18 and then never looked back. I was active in school but I was better at the cross country stuff then I was at anything else. I wish I’d concentrated on it more at school. I didn’t care - I thought I was rock ‘n’ roll and just wanted to play guitar and it wasn’t cool to like fitness. But now I think it’s the most rock ‘n’ roll thing ever be able to take someone out!
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