Hilaria Baldwin (maiden name: Thomas) never expected to become a recognizable name, or to give birth to four children in less than five years (!). But in 2011, at age 27, the New York City-based yoga instructor met Alec Baldwin. Despite his fame, their 26-year age difference, and her reluctance about both of these factors, the pair fell in love, and everything changed. Within months, he'd moved (to the neighborhood of her choice) for the first time in two decades. By the following year, they'd wed – and the once-anonymous Hilaria had become a paparazzi target.
"Unless you took my yoga class, you didn’t know who I was. Then, all of a sudden [I] step into the spotlight...That was very traumatic for me at the beginning," she tells Refinery29's global editor-in-chief and co-founder in this week's episode of UnStyled. "It was very, very, very, very, very upsetting.'"
Nevertheless, Baldwin adjusted and parlayed her increased visibility into something new. She used her social media platforms to share her expertise, to speak directly and frankly to hundreds of thousands of other women, especially moms, about yoga, wellness, fitness, pregnancy, women's bodies, and motherhood. Predictably, given these loaded topics, not everyone applauded her candor or insight.
"Everybody has their little niche," she says now. "[Yoga] is something that I am good at, and I know a lot about, so I want to help people. That's why I became a teacher. That's purely what it is … period, end of story. If you want it, take my hand. And if it doesn’t work, that's okay, too. There's a lot of other people out there to follow."
One of Baldwin's motivations to pursue a career in wellness was her own early struggles with an eating disorder. "I started dieting when I was 5," she reveals. "Somebody came up to me on the playground and said, you're very skinny, you're very pretty." After Baldwin developed a healthier relationship with food, her own body and self-image, she's extra-sensitive about instilling those positive, nurturing values with her children especially her daughter, Carmen.
"I've even heard stuff come out of my daughter's mouth, and we never use the words skinny or fat – those are banned in my house," she says. "As everyone says, children are a sponge, and at the beginning, you want to saturate them with as much positivity and groundedness as possible. So that when all the negativity comes in, they have a foundation in being positive."
To hear the rest of Hilaria and Christene's honest, expansive and unpredictable talk, click here and subscribe to UnStyled via Apple Podcasts today.