You guys… let it be known that few things make me happier than a Broadway couple. #BwayLove #YES And it doesn’t get any cuter or healthier in love than these two! I’ve been lucky enough to break bread and share stories with these sweet souls on a few occasions (most notably, an epic harvest dinner and the FFB podcast, featuring Nick and his passion for food). They are currently covering the Russian territories on Broadway in The Great Comet and Anastasia… both two of my favorites I’ve seen this year! I had originally planned to interview them but instead, we swapped seats and they’re interviewing each other today. Alrighty guys, sit back and soak up the advice, inspiration, and example of these two Russian Broadway lovebirds!
Nick: Leesh, I know you were kind of hesitant in getting your picture taken since you were nervous and out of your comfort zone doing the photo shoot. How do you feel about it?
Alicia: Looking back it seems silly since Jane is such a sweet soul and so comfortable to be around but it feels so foreign when I’m the one always behind the camera. I’ve always been very reserved around new people so it’s good for me to throw myself into new situations.
Nick: Jane thought it would be a cool idea for us to do a Q&A interviewing each other. Even though we probably know everything there is to know about each other, lets give it a go! You’re a wealth of health knowledge and it wasn’t really until I met you that I got serious about being physically and mentally fit. When you initially went to school for nutrition did you see yourself getting a job in that field or was it just about fixing your own health problems?
Alicia: I was open to whatever path the Institute for Integrative Nutrition / life had for me but my main purpose was to find the root cause of my digestive, sleep, skin, and energy problems. I was working at a talent agency at the time doing casting and would spend any free moment and my lunch breaks researching holistic health articles. I was on a raw vegan diet and was gaining a lot of weight and couldn’t understand why. I was already exhausted from being on a tour (doing wigs & makeup) and living in NYC and I had only been out of college for 3 years – I shouldn’t have been feeling that drained already. Every doctor that I went to (Eastern or Western) had the “answer” for me but nothing was working so I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure it out myself.
Nick: I love that about you and how much you research everything! Even if it’s just buying a mattress cover, you will find the best one for the best deal out there. So obviously you found your answer at Institute for Integrative Nutrition since you’re healthy now and have taught me so much too!
Alicia: Haha you know I love my deals – I would be a Coupon Queen if I could! Yes, the biggest thing I took away from IIN is that every single body is different and what works amazingly for one person could be horrible for another person, so you just need to do trials and errors to see what works best for you. It takes time but what is more important than keeping your only body in the best shape it can be in?! Another great thing about this school is that it taught so many coaching skills since they’re training their students to be a health coach – those skills have transferred into every job that I’ve had, regardless of the field. It was like a wellness meets psychology program. I love that you’re now so into a holistic lifestyle and share it with everyone you meet. It makes me feel proud. Is there something that really got you into it because your mindset has really changed since I met you.
Nick: It has and when I run into people I haven’t seen in years, they say I look totally different too! I remember you explaining to me that you thought it is more important what you don’t put into your body than what you do. For some reason that really resonated with me. At the time I was getting into Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine but still eating a lot of indulgences especially animal fats. I was definitely eating more of an animal-based diet where as now I eat a very heavily plant-based diet. That green smoothie in morning wasn’t going to counter act my pork belly dinner. It was hard when I met you because I had just gotten back into acting after taking some time away from theatre to cook, I trained at a butcher shop, and started a catering business so I fell into eating salty, fatty, glutinous foods.
Alicia: Oh yeah, I remember when I first started dating you and I googled you (b/c naturally that’s what all people do when you meet someone new haha) and I saw that picture of you with your arm around a pig on a butcher block. I thought, “oh brother, this isn’t going to go over well with my vegan dad!” But look at you now, you’re basically a vegetarian – I actually probably eat more meat than you now. Would you say you feel as healthy as you look?
Nick: Totally, I feel amazing!
Alicia: Yeah, it’s been 4 years since I’ve known you and I have yet to see you sick, not even a cold!
Nick: One great habit I’ve picked up from you is the art of slowing down. I’m naturally very hasty in both my day-to-day chores and in a conversation. Watching you do makeup, for instance, and seeing your thoroughness and attention to detail is almost mesmerizing. Also watching how you engage with other people is so opposite of my often scattered way of doing things. Cognitive health is just as important as your physical health and I couldn’t imagine a better reminder than you by my side.
Alicia: Aww, thanks Nicky. Haha who knew that would come out of me saying you never get a cold.
Nick: That actually was probably the last thing your body wouldn’t rid of, getting colds. At least twice a year you would get a really nasty sinus infection but you haven’t been sick for a while now.
Alicia: I know – knock on wood – it’s been over a year! Wellness Formula has been a game changer for me. I would happily be their spokesperson. It’s definitely my holy grail health supplement but once again, just because it works super well for me, I know it wont have the same effects on everyone. You just gotta find your thing, I love colloidal silver too! Like oil of oregano for example – people swear by it to ward off sickness but it does nothing for me.
Nick: What’s one healthy habit you would recommend for someone to add to their daily routine now?
Alicia: First of all, find a water bottle that you love drinking out of and will want to grab for often. Half of the time when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty. (A good tip to figure out how much water to drink is to divide your weight in half and put “oz” at the end of that number instead of “lbs”. Example: if you weigh 100 lbs – you should shoot to drink 50 oz of water). I think another great habit is to start each meal with a salad. Even if it’s really small at first, just start your meals with some leafy greens. It will fill your gut up with good fiber and will make you slow down and be conscious of what and how much you are eating of your main dish. How about you, Nick – what would you recommend?
Nick: Having both morning and evening routines are key to an unwasted day. Much like our belief at Sunday Theory – Sunday is a day to wind down but just as much as it’s a day to prep for the week ahead. In the AM: a glass of lemon water, 20 minutes in the gym, a green smoothie, supplements (always including a multivitamin), and a 10 minute meditation (check out Headspace). PM habits include a simple green smoothie (no snacking), taking herbal supplements and enzymes, writing a to-do list, turning the lights down, lighting a few candles, making sure the kitchen is clean (including no dirty dishes in the sink), unplugging from phones and reading something inspiring.
Alicia: Yeah our routines definitely keep us in sync in the midst of our crazy schedules. Even though we live together I can actually ask this question since I rarely step foot in the kitchen. What’s always in the fridge?
Nick: Almond milk, greens, lentils and kimchi.
Alicia: Mmm I love your lentils. Okay something else I can actually ask is what you do at the gym since I’ve never been with you!
Nick: 2 rounds of a short 20 min workout using a medicine ball and free weights. That’s all I do since I get enough cardio from the show and my bike rides from our apt to the theatre, I also run a couple times a week. It’s crazy how you stay in shape yet have never been to the gym! How do you stay fit?
Alicia: I don’t know if I would call myself “fit”, well I know I wouldn’t, but I feel physically healthy and to me that doesn’t mean a perfectly flat stomach or ripped arms. Living in NYC helps considering I walk EVERYwhere. Also our wig room at Anastasia is on the 4th floor so I’m constantly walking up and down stairs. It’s more important for me to care for my body in gentle ways like getting regular massages, physical therapy, rolling out my body and taking epson salt baths. I do enjoy some forms of yoga and pilates but hate the overcrowded and germ-y classes in the city, it seems like it defeats the whole purpose of what it stands for energy-wise. What do you think is an overrated workout or fitness fad in your opinion?
Nick: Anything extreme is hard for me to swallow. I would never discourage exercise in any form but in general I think the fitness and diet industries won’t miss an opportunity to exploit their target audience for more money and PR. If modern fad workouts like SoulCycle or CrossFit can turn exercise into something popular like a club, or have a gimmick, even better. My problem isn’t the club mentality or even the cost of the actual workout that is being sold-the social aspect and the camaraderie of working out is a great thing. My problem is that I feel like people are putting too much stress on their body, I don’t think going from 0-60 is natural. Just like you won’t sustain with an extremely strict diet forever, I don’t think these go hard until you throw up workouts are good for your body’s balance either.
Alicia: We’ve covered food and fitness, how about mental health. Do you have a tip that you use to change your mood?
Nick: It helps when you’re around because you’re probably the most level headed person I’ve ever met so you can bring me back to reality quickly with a short chat but if I’m ever off or in a bad place, more than likely it’s because my thoughts are scattered and/or I feel a loss of control. I very quickly breathe and focus on the good things in my near future (there’s always something). And I simply ask ‘what do I want from this moment? What is my objective?’ It’s all very common sense but sometimes those simple thoughts and questions get lost in tense moments. It always works.
Alicia: I feel like this must be getting long. Do you think people are still reading this…besides my Mom?
Nick: Ok let’s do a couple quick fire questions back and forth. What’s my favorite dessert?
Alicia: Haha great question for FFB…
Nick: What?! Everything in moderation…
Alicia: Okay – it’s Banana Pudding from Magnolia Bakery.
Alicia: Alright, what’s my splurge meal on a 2 show day?
Nick: Enchiladas with mole sauce from Oaxaca Taqueria.
Nick: What’s your instant mood booster?
Alicia: Bright bold lipstick. Specifically, Nars Dragon Girl.
Alicia: What’s one thing you would say to inspiring actors?
Nick: Learn to cultivate your other interest outside of theatre, it will make you a more well rounded actor.
Nick: What’s one thing you would say to an inspiring wig/makeup artist?
Alicia: Be nice to everyone. I would rather work with someone who has a wonderful personality and is open to learning over someone that is extremely talented but who I don’t want to be around.
Alicia: Ok, Mr. Belton shall we wrap it up? Any final thoughts?
Nick: Come see the cast of the Great Comet tonight at the W Hotel for a farewell acoustic jam session (or this week at the Imperial!) and follow Sunday Theory if you aren’t.
Alicia: Well that’s one way for wrapping things up.
Nick: Oh yeah and eat your greens!
Alicia: Haha okay, Nick. Thanks for having us Jane! xo
Nick: Thanks Jane!! We’ll see you Sunday at the W…and hopefully all of you out there too!
Catch the cast of The Great Comet at The W Hotel on Sunday, August 27th