International Women's Day is designed as a global event to celebrate the achievements of women - and, working in the health and beauty industry, we thought what better achievement than to inspire us to feel and live well?
In honour of this, the GTG team have revealed their ultimate wellness-related woman crushes: the women who have taught or inspired us to be healthy, to think healthily and live a happier, healthier life. We think they'll inspire you, too...
“The coach who puts the neuroscience into self-care”
Magdalena Bak Maier inspires Victoria Woodhall, Editor
" Magdalena Bak Maier was the first person I heard use the term ‘self-care’ three years ago when I was feeling stuck in life and work and found myself on one of her day-long productivity workshops called The Grid . She shows you how to completely reinvent the to-do list into a visual goal-tracking practice (lots of fun with highlighters!) that makes best use of your energy and helps you breeze through your day. Great for anyone who feels overwhelmed or close to burnout.
"I had only a vague idea what self-care meant at the time, but it was central to her ethos of to get more done, to live your absolute best and most productive life, you needed to spend time checking in with yourself. Shortly after that workshop, I found my dream job.
"This isn’t just any wishy-washy wind chime crap – Dr Magdalena is a neuroscientist who has taught the boffins at NASA and is now one of the UK’s top executive performance coaches. She knows how to leverage our nervous system - our hearts and minds – to guide people to a place that feels ‘right’ in life and work. Clever stuff! I highly recommend her online programmes which are tailored to the time poor. I’m currently doing her Da Vinci programme which helps you shape your life to be the one you truly want (even if you don’t know what that is). If you feel like another year has gone by and your life is ‘same old same old’ this one’s for you.
"As well as having a brain the size of a planet, Magdalena has a heart as wide as the world. One day soon, the world will catch up!"
“A nutritional therapist who doesn’t shy away from controversy”
Eve Kalinik inspires Anna Hunter, Senior Features Writer
“I first met Eve Kalinik when she was completing her nutritional therapy training around six years ago - she’d taken the decision to leave her high powered fashion PR career (she was at the top of her game and very well known) and school herself on positive nutrition and functional medicine, with a particular emphasis on gut health. She was certainly ahead of the game in the gut department, and went on to publish her first book, Be Good to Your Gut, last year, but she’s not simply an expert in maintaining healthy bowels- she’s got a passion for food, and by that I mean ALL sorts of grub.
"She’s a realist, she doesn’t believe in restriction or denial and she always has the most witty, informed and in-touch answers to nutritional quandaries, from whether kale really is the holy grail to real talk about whether our poo is normal . She doesn’t shy away from controversy and the less than glamorous lines of questioning we throw her way on nutritional topics, or even general life chat tbh- I’ve met her for a glass of red more than once to dissect food fads but also put the world to rights. She’s all about getting enough fibre, veg and vitamins, but will also whip you up a margarita in her Vitamix when the mood calls for it. That’s my kind of therapist.”
“A feminist comedian who breaks down stigmas and promotes self worth”
Luisa Omielan inspires Judy Johnson, Digital Editor
“Technically Luisa Omielan is a comedian, not a woman who works in the wellness industry - but her voice is doing more for women’s wellbeing than anyone else I can think of. I first saw Luisa perform at the Edinburgh Fringe festival a few years ago; I knew little about her other than that she had a show called What Would Beyonce Do? (obvs, I was sold). It was hands down the best comedy act I’d ever seen, but not just for the hilarity; I had tears of laughter and sadness during that show and it inspired me in so many ways, not least to go and see Luisa perform again.
Comedians often cover hard-hitting subjects but no one has nailed it in the touching, relatable way Luisa does. She makes the worst parts of life sound funny; from discussing one night stands and the derogatory way we talk about women and sex (I really wish all men had to watch it as standard) to talking about her struggles with depression and why we need to ditch the stigma surrounding mental health (something which played repeatedly in my mind after the show and led me to decide to get help) and accept that antidepressants can be an amazing, life saving tool. Trust me, somehow, it’s belly-achingly funny.
Luisa mentions her mum throughout the Am I Right Ladies? show so it was heartbreaking when, last year, she lost her in a fast and brutal cancer battle. She documented it on her social channels and it was devastating, but even through that darkest period the star has used it to help others and talk more openly about death - as she says on her website of her new show: "I am currently talking about Cancer, Cannabis Oil & Euthanasia, I know, pure LOLs.” She’s even set up a charity in her mum’s name to help those going through the same thing.
You may know Luisa for her (now viral) brilliant take down of the thigh gap trend with the line "Yes, my thighs might be touching each other… But I'm sorry b*tches, if you were this close to my vagina, wouldn't you start touching yourself?” or for the way she slams body shaming by stripping down to her underwear and reminding us all that a slightly wobbly stomach is a sign of a good time. But if you don’t know her, you should. In my opinion she’s the best feminist we’ve got; Luisa is the antidote to all the fat shamers, the misogynists, the mental health stigmas and the double standards that we women have to deal with every day, and promotes self worth while making you cry with uncontrollable laughter. What’s more inspiring than that?”
“An anxiety and confidence coach who provides peace of mind and more”
Chloe Brotheridge inspires Ayesha Muttucumaru, Senior Features Writer
“Chances are most of you know someone who’s suffering with a mental health problem. It’s increasingly common and in these high stress times, the need for an understanding ear and practical advice is greater than ever. This is where Chloe Brotheridge comes in - not only does she provide tips that are easy to put into practice, but her down-to-earth manner and personable approach instantly make you feel like you’re not fighting the battle alone. It’s always a pleasure to feature her in my mental health articles - her advice not only helps our readers, but me too.
“Her own previous mental health struggles have helped shape her advice. For 10 years, Chloe suffered from panic attacks and low self-esteem and after seeking help and trying a range of different therapies, she came out the other side stronger and more resilient than before. Seven years ago, she trained as a hypnotherapist, specialising in anxiety and confidence and has since worked to help others going through similar experiences to what she went through. She’s also written a widely acclaimed book, The Anxiety Solution and her Calmer You podcasts are definitely worth listening to as well. Her soothing voice instantly instils some calm into your day to help you sleep a little sounder that night and for many more nights to come too.”
“A blogger who doesn’t sugar-coat her feelings”
Sammi Maria inspires Alexandra Harrison, Admin Assistant
“I have been a long-time follower of Sammi Maria right back to the beginning of her YouTube journey. Initially her style videos were what drew me in but as the years have gone by it’s the way she is so open and willing to share her advice on a number of different topics, most notably mental health, that has kept me as a long-term viewer. Sammi isn’t afraid to be honest about her own struggles with mental health, from anxiety to dealing with the after-effects of something as destructive as domestic violence; her brave, honest accounts of her real-life experiences are so inspiring. In a world where mental health has such a huge stigma attached to it, it’s inspirational to see someone using their platform to discuss topics that can traditionally be quite difficult to approach, even if it’s just to make people realise they are not alone.
"Recently Sammi opened up about her feelings of becoming a first time mum to her daughter Indie, which received backlash and troll comments due to the nature of the subject and the fact Sammi didn’t sugar-coat her feelings - instead she gave a raw and honest account of her thoughts, both good and bad, that I’m sure many new mothers can relate to. Content like this is so refreshing and informative to read in a world where many taboo subjects are reported through rose-tinted glasses. The more people who take note and follow suit, sharing their stories and advice and not suffering in silence, the closer we are to lifting the taboo from mental health.”
“The instructor who transformed my body confidence”
Emily King inspires Sarah McGinnis, Art Editor
“About two years ago I was the most unfit I had ever been. I lacked confidence in the body department and I hated the thought of going to a fitness class in a room full of fit and body-confident women. A friend dragged me to sign up to a month's Barrecore membership with her and since that day I’ve had a regular membership and find myself taking on a range of fitness classes at 7am before my working day. I would probably still be hating my body and too embarrassed to enter a class if it wasn't for crossing paths with Emily King , teacher trainer, PT and instructor at Barrecore. For me, it's all about the instructor. You want someone inspiring and aspirational yet someone who's actually pretty down to earth.
"Without sounding like a total girl fan, Emily ticks all of those boxes and made me learn to enjoy fitness and not see it as a chore. I would book into a killer HIIT class she was teaching whether I felt up for it or not; guaranteed I was going to come out of there in a much better headspace and feel ready to tackle anything. Encouraging, kind and throwing so much laughter and positivity around the studio, she transformed my confidence and made me realise that everyone is strong, everyone can push themselves and you are only ever competing with yourself, not the person who's done 10 more squats than you. I don’t get to many of her classes at the moment, but she’s given me a fundamental mindset that I try to take with me every day. Everyone needs to meet an Emily in their life. Get down to one of her classes and see for yourself. *Disclaimer: She’s known for an absolute killer thigh set and the heaviest set of weights - that, I will never thank her for!”