We all know how aerobically effective a good Saturday night sesh on the dance floor can be and I’m sure you can appreciate just how difficult it is trying to simultaneously sing along to the Katy Perry song you and your gal pals are fiercely crumping to… Forget spin class, this workout is in an absolute league of its own! Between the huffing and puffing and profuse sweating, it’s probably fair to say that Joel Madden won’t be turning his chair anytime soon… amiright? But for Gretel Scarlett, this is all in a days work.
The ballerina turned musical theatre star is just about as fit as they come and has performed a series of physically demanding roles in a number of stage shows including Mamma Mia, Wicked and most recently toured as the leading lady in Grease the Musical! After struggling through her own set of trials and tribulations, Gretel is now every bit an amazing role model for Active Living – not to mention is one of the few women who can actually pull off that infamous black cat suit Olivia Newton John had to be sewn into…
Have you always embraced Active Living or was there light bulb moment?
There was definitely a light bulb moment for me. As a dancer and singer, I have always been extremely fit and healthy. Studying full time ballet 7 days a week from 8am-8pm was every bit Active Living possible, but I was forcing the ‘diet’ mentality upon myself and was not enjoying a single second of it. It wasn’t until I actually stopped and started to listen to my mind, body and soul that things started to fall into place. Active Living is not just about losing weight and looking hot and fierce. It’s about having a healthy mind, first and foremost.
Run us through a typical day in the life of Gretel?
Here’s today’s example!
6:30am: Wake up for a 7:30am radio interview and have a quick bite.
8am: After the interview I go out for big brunch.
9am: It’s a two show day, so I head straight to the theatre for work. I start doing my make up and pin curls around 11am.
11:45am: We have physical and vocal warm up. I do my own yoga based warm up in my dressing room in time for vocal.
1pm: Afternoon Showtime.
2pm: Interval. I’m getting hungry so it’s definitely snack time.
3:30pm: Dress out of costume and head to stage door to meet some fans. Today we have a meet and greet, Rob Mills and I are getting some photos with some VIP’s.
4pm: By this time, I’m ready for what I call linner (lunch + dinner). I make myself at home in my dressing room and watch an episode of ‘Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders” whilst I have my linner and doze off for a cheeky 30-minute power nap.
6pm: Shower and re-do the make up and hair before another warm up.
8pm: Second show time.
9pm: Interval snack time.
10:30pm: Dress down and do another fan meet and greet.
11pm: I’m home and exhausted! More food and a cup of tea and I’m ready to shower. Fill out and online interview and then I write down my 3 ‘gratefuls’ for the day, watch an episode of ‘The Block’ and then hit the pillow. Do it all again tomorrow.
What does your training routine look like during a show season?
I’ve been blessed with great genes, so that really helps a lot! Doing eight shows a week I don’t have a lot of time to get to the gym, plus I don’t like going to the gym, it doesn’t suit my mind set. I prefer an environment like a dance studio or using a Pilates reformer machine. Cardio is what keeps me in shape and the show is my cardio which I do eight times a week! I walk a lot and do a yoga, ballet and Pilates based warm up before every show. During the Melbourne season, I was doing Krav Maga self defence lessons twice a week. I was exhausted having this on top of my schedule, but I found it fun, educational and also interactive.
What does a typical day on your plate look like?
My food is what keeps me happy! I love food. I’m vegetarian, so I’ve found a lot of meals to keep me going throughout my hectic schedule. My brunch will generally be poached eggs on spelt, with a side of haloumi. I love bread, but I choose spelt as it has a better digestion process. My snacks throughout the day are things like dried fruit, nuts, berries and crackers. I sometimes make my own super food balls out of nuts, coconut oil, goji berries, figs, agave syrup and a pinch of salt. They’re absolutely delicious and are dairy, gluten and sugar free. Lunches will always be a salad sandwich of some sort with a freshly squeezed juice. I burn a lot of energy in the show, so I keep my carbs up. Dinner is something like an Asian tofu salad, a veggie pasta or veggies with vegetarian sausages. I have two guilty pleasures – I love my desserts and coffee, it’s my treat time! I’m a clean eater and don’t drink alcohol, so I allow myself coffee and dessert is a must. On show days I find Pana Chocolate is amazing to keep the vocal cords dairy free!
If you HAD to choose, what would be your top 3 ‘can’t live without’ foods?
- Raw Tomatoes. I have eaten them like apples since I was a child.
- Nuts, especially cashews and pistachios. Yum!
- Chocolate! I have a sweet tooth.
What are your favourite ways to MNB?
I love to Dance which I actually find is a combination of all three things for me. It’s active, but it’s also nourishing my soul and keeps me inspired to move forward. I also have a beautiful little book that I was given where you write down 3 things you’re grateful for at the end of every day. It truly allows me to appreciate the things I am doing and also the people around me. It’s nice to look back over them and see how much energy I am surrounded by.
What are your favourite Lorna Jane pieces to move in?
Oh this is such a hard question! During rehearsals for Grease people actually thought I was sponsored by LJ because I have so much of it! I absolutely love my Lolita Longer line bra, my Portia Bra in Hyper Lime, my Lilly 7/8 Tights in Shocking Pink, my Kahlie Kickshorts in Nu Blue/Hyper Lime, my Reversible 7/8 Tights in Fluro Pink/Navy and my Blue Leisure Zip Through jacket. TOO MUCH TO CHOOSE!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I’ve been given has come directly from my mum. After playing Sandy in Grease for over 18 months, I think I am the only Australian woman to have to wear a spray-on tight black Lycra strapless corset with high wasted seamless pants and red stilettos to resemble ‘sexy Sandy’. I have one of the most physically exposing costumes to enter on stage in (aside from being naked). I’ve had some awful and hateful things said about the way I look in this outfit, both online and to my face, and it really hurt. It also really hurt my family. Other people were making me dislike my body! I was getting so affected by this and one day my mum reminded me of the famous Dita Von Teese quote; “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” I love my body and appreciate it for everything it can do. We need to stop hating our own bodies and other women’s bodies. Women need to support women, not live in a world of comparison. We are a sisterhood. Our differences make us beautiful and our bodies are wonderful machines that last us a lifetime! Treat it kindly, feed it even better, exercise it wisely and appreciate the things you can do with yours.