Actress and co-founder of wellness site, re-spin graces its pages. (Photo/re-spin site)
By Nadine Matthews
Superstar Halle Berry is known not just for her talent and longevity, but for her extraordinary beauty and equanimity. Obviously, Berry has been blessed with good genes, but our girl also works extremely hard to keep herself healthy and gorgeous. Look no further than her Instagram feed for proof of not only her dedication to wellness, but her commitment to helping others on their own wellness journeys. On what she calls “Fitness Fridays” the Oscar-winner regularly posts video of her workouts, many with celebrity trainer Peter Lee Thomas, in her stories. As if that wasn’t enough she also answers questions from her followers about fitness, dieting, and general lifestyle management .
Sporting a long blonde-streaked shag, black silk poets blouse, and gorgeous pear cut ring, Berry was one of the guests at the recent Advertising Week (AdWeek) Conference. The annual weeklong gathering of the best and brightest in the advertising space around the country features a slew of panel discussions, workshops, and (usually) networking gatherings. This year’s conference was held virtually.
Berry, who began living a healthy lifestyle after falling into a diabetic coma at twenty-two years old, appeared with her business partner, Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, for the official launch of re-spin, a digital health and wellness community
Other guests included Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter, NAS, LL Cool J, Desus and Mero, Jason Derulo, and many more. Berry, who makes her directorial debut later this year with the sports drama Bruised, discussed her Instagram content. “It’s been a long journey. I wanted to make fitness affordable. You can’t tell me you can’t work out if I can give you a workout you can do with water bottles and paper plates. I’ve been doing Fitness Friday for going on three years now and it’s become a passion of mine.”
L-R Kendra Bracken-Ferguson CEO and Partner, Halle Berry Appear at Ad Week 2020 for Official Launch of their wellness brand, re-spin. (Screen Shot, Ad Week Video)
Named one of Essence Magazine’s Most Influential Black Women, Bracken-Ferguson was the first Director of Digital Media for luxury brand Ralph Lauren back when the potential and power of social media was still mainly unknown. She’s now co-founder of BrainTrust, a social media marketing agency where she first worked with Berry.
A desire to “bring fitness to everyone,” said Berry, was the genesis of Fitness Fridays, and shared how fitness helps her personally. “It’s so good to be able to do some martial arts and get those endorphins out so you can stay positive and stay happy. ” She also emphasized her belief that looks should not be the priority for anyone’s fitness practice. “It’s okay to work out just to be healthy and not focus so much on the physicality of it but connect to it for all the right reasons. Let the motivation be to be healthy and strong.”
Re-spin’s app, social media and website, which celebrate women in a broad range of colors and ethnicities, boasts fitness accessories such as waist slimmers, wrist weights, foam rollers, leggings and other workout equipment. Of course, there’s also advice on mindfulness,workouts, topical issues like the climate, healthy recipes, beauty tips, and more for the well-rounded health conscious woman.
Moderator Quynh Mai inquired as to why the, quite literally, dynamic duo, decided to do the launch during the pandemic. Answered Berry, “We realized by listening to our consumers, that now is the time to help facilitate their journey. At re-spin, not only did we have information that we could share but we had products that could help people work out, stay healthy, and feel good while at home in the middle of the pandemic.”
That isn’t to say they haven’t faced some challenges. “It’s been difficult to launch a website for a wellness brand in the middle of a pandemic when you can’t shoot video,” Bracken-Ferguson admitted, adding they’ll be resuming adding content in the very near future. “We found a really creative way to be able to launch our website. We’ll be everywhere our consumers are.”
With the site now in place and firm plans for content, the two women are looking ahead to adding more components, rounding re-spin up to a full-fledged lifestyle network of platforms and services. “We have so many ideas that are going to be trickling forth,” said Berry. “There are programs we’re setting forward, products we’re launching, a podcast that we’re really excited about.” Berry also hinted that she gained some valuable tech skills while directing Bruised. “Hopefully, we’ll do some VR (virtual reality) work. Now that I’ve directed my first film I’ve really been bitten by the bug and want to use those talents. Our world will keep evolving and be very cinematic, because that’s what I bring to it.”