Through countless film and TV roles, including a disgraced MMA fighter in Bruised and fierce superheroes in X-Men and Catwoman, actress Halle Berry has displayed athletic prowess on camera for years. And behind the scenes, the star channels that same energy into rē•spin, the online community she relaunched in 2020 as a worldwide digital wellness destination.
“Being diagnosed with diabetes—that was an aha moment that just changed my whole life,” she previously told BAZAAR.com of the inspiration behind her shift to healthier habits. “When I realised that I had a disease that I could actually manage by my diet and exercise, and live longer and stay healthier? That’s when I got really committed to making fitness and exercise and diet a real part of my life.”
To further propel her overall health journey, Berry is adding to her storied résumé: She recently accepted a role as chief communications officer for biotech company Pendulum Therapeutics, of which she is also an equity owner and investor. Pendulum aims to restore metabolic health through its range of targeted probiotic supplements for gut health, sugar metabolism, and more.
“I am beyond excited to join the brilliant and thoughtful Pendulum team,” Berry said in a statement about the partnership. “We all know how tough it can be to break through the noise and find the healthy practices that truly work best for you and your body. My hope is that in this new role, I can help others discover this incredible product and begin their own personal journeys towards a more holistic and healthy life.”
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Here, BAZAAR.com catches up with the star for more on her newest leading role, along with a closer look at some of her favorite methods for self-care—one of which involves a glass of wine and a bubbling Jacuzzi.
Why did you decide to partner with Pendulum over other health/wellness brands?
Mainly because the brand has changed my life, and I wouldn’t want to promote something that I didn’t understand firsthand.
Over a year ago, I came across Pendulum, and my friend who works at the Cleveland Clinic told me that they, along with the Mayo Clinic, were backing this new product from the brand called Glucose Control that could help type 2 diabetics. I thought, Oh, well let me look into that. They told me it’s a probiotic and all natural, but will help regulate your sugar. And while my diabetes is very much under control, I know as I get older, that could change. So I got my hands on the product, started to try it, and really saw a difference.
After about three or four months of using Glucose Control, I reached out to Colleen Cutcliffe, who’s one of the founders and scientists behind the brand, and asked her more questions. I told her I was having issues with cheilitis (inflammation of the lips) and candidiasis, which is like a fungus in your mouth, similar to oral thrush that babies can get. I asked her if Pendulum’s products could help with that, and she said, “Let’s try it!” I realized that maybe two or three months after, my cheilitis had gone away. Colleen explained that it all stems from having a healthy microbiome and gut health. When your gut is healthy, so many other parts of your body become healthy too: your organs, skin, hair. You get better sleep, have better focus; your digestion and metabolism improves. Everything is better.
Now, after taking the product for a year and a half, I’m just all around better and feel healthier. So that’s when I reached out to her and asked, “How can I get involved? I need to invest—I really want to be a part of this company, I believe in it that much.” Ultimately, Pendulum let me come on board and invest, and came up with the idea that I could be the chief communications officer and get this message out to other people to help them understand how to become healthier and lead better lives.
Why do you feel that gut health is so important?
Everything stems from your gut. As I’ve said, all of your other organs become healthier when your gut is healthy and your microbiome is balanced. And when your gut’s healthy, you also metabolize food better, especially sugar.
We all need to metabolize sugar better to get it in and out of our bodies as quickly as we can, because we all know some of the unhealthy effects of sugar, even if you’re not diabetic.
Pendulum Therapeutics Glucose Control
Do you have a “guilty pleasure” when it comes to food? If so, what is it?
Probably my guilty pleasure is wine—always red. I think red wine for me is the healthiest that you can drink since its usually low in sugar and has less sulfates. And if you’re drinking wine for heart health, which I do, having a glass of red wine a day can be good. Heart disease actually runs in my family, so my cardiologist is always reminding me about that. I usually drink wines from Dry Farms, which offers healthier, more natural wines that are low in alcohol, sugar, and sulfates, which also allows me to have it more regularly.
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Your wellness community, rē•spin, is more popular than ever. What inspired you to create it, and how has it helped shape your overall approach toward health or taking care of yourself in general?
I just wanted to create a space where like-minded people could gather and think outside the box—respin the way they thought about things they thought they knew, challenge old norms and stereotypes, and find ways together to live our best lives and be healthy. And I think so many people are starting to think more deeply about health and wellness, so I wanted to help them find a path that was sustainable to follow. Not in the way of a diet or anything like that, but just a healthy lifestyle, a healthy life change, way of eating and being, mind, body, and spirit.
How do you stay active while traveling, either for work or leisure?
Wherever I am, I just try to find the foods I’ve become accustomed to eating, and I’ve been a pretty healthy eater for many, many years because of my diabetes. And now that’s become second nature to me. I fast until 2 p.m.—I usually eat between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and then I’m done for the day, which is the same when I’m traveling or working.
I also have so many things now that I can take with me as far as working out when I travel, all sorts of bands and light weights that are easy to pack and use when I don’t have access to a gym. So much of my favorite kinds of exercise can be done in the house or in a hotel room.
What’s a wellness trend that you’re excited to try but haven’t yet?
I’ve never tried hot yoga, and people keep telling me I need to try it. I’ve never been that active with yoga, but I’m starting to get more into it.
What’s one of your favorite ways to relax or decompress after a particularly stressful day?
A glass of wine. A glass of wine in my Jacuzzi in my backyard is like—nothing’s better than that.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US.