ALISON - PARIS
Alison grew up between the United States and France. She is a lifestyle editor, creative consultant and the co-founder of Inside/Out. After over 10 years in fashion and luxury, she decided to diversify in order to reconcile her work and passion. Her agency, Scout, is a creative consultancy with a particular emphasis on travel, wellness, fashion and food.
Insatiably curious, she is a goldmine for information on emerging lifestyle trends and supplements her daily meditation practice and signature workouts with yoga, power pilates, cycling and cardio dance classes.
Inside/Out: What was you 1st sport or physical activity?
Alison: When I was a baby, my parents took me to a sort of Water Babies program that I think pretty much consists of dropping your child into the pool so they innately figure out how to swim. It sounds creepy, but I have always been really comfortable in water, so I guess it worked. On vacation, I swim several times a day, sometimes up to a couple of hours each day. The contact with nature, the universe puts me into a meditative state and I forget everything else. In water, I feel graceful, something that is rarely the case in my daily life on land! Around 7, I started ballet but I was terrible. I wasn’t flexible and I found it really painful and so strict. I begged my mom to let me stop which she did but I probably should have kept going. To this day, I struggle to be patient and accepting of my physical body. A few years later I started soccer, my 1st team sport. I played for about 10 years, girls and co-ed. Then field hockey, lacrosse, tennis, swimming, horseback riding. Full spectrum.
I/O: What was your “gateway” activity?
A: Physically: soccer, tennis. Emotionally: horseback riding and dance. Spiritually and everything else: yoga, meditation and most recently through a mind/body workout hybrid that I am developing. I simply cannot function without dynamic movement. Yoga has had really positive effects on my digestion and hormones. Higher intensity activities like cardio dance, cycling and and running help with stress and mood swings. The endorphin rush is divine. I also practice Vedic/Transcendental Meditation and this has had a profound affect on my sleep and creativity. Overall, I have never felt stronger, healthier or more powerful in my life.
I/O: What’s your excuse for skipping a workout?
A: I used to be able to say that I didn’t want to schlep my gear around, but, honestly, I can almost always find room for a legging and top - all that is needed for yoga or cycling. Plus I am an entrepreneur and never work full time from an office anymore. Even in Paris, we can finally find classes in the mornings, evenings and at lunch. This didn’t use to be the case. Still, sometimes I play the hair card - I have wavy hair and it’s true that I’m never quite as presentable for meetings after a good sweat session.
Alison's Outfit: Live the Process. Danielle's Otfit: Lululemon.
I/O: Has your relationship with your body changed with age?
A: Very much. I’m still adjusting, but I’m definitely more injury prone than before and can’t push myself as much as I used to. But this is true on a variety of levels. And my mindset feels better than ever, so no complaints.
I/O: Team sports or solo practice?
A: I am very competitive with myself and am not particularly into any team sports. However, I love a team spirit whether in a dance class, a race, or through certain yoga classes. Solo practice as a team.
I/O: Do you have a favorite sports or fitness star?
A: For style, I love old tennis stars like Bjorn Bjorg. Even Federer today has such class - he’s like the last gentleman of the sport. Then of course, Jane Fonda has been so influential and inspirational. And more recently, Simone Biles, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Reese...
I/O: Have you ever felt strong emotions during or after a workout?
A: All the time. Tears, laughter, anger, frustration. The power of now.
I/O: A mantra or motto?
A: “No pain, no pain”. I’m all for leaving the comfort zone, but it’s important to push oneself with awareness and remember that there is a fine line between effort and injury. I also like “You do you,” which I learned from San Francisco-based Stephanie Snyder who is my teacher Amanda Date’s teacher.
I/O: Define sports for a Parisienne?
A: I have lived in France for over 15 years (Editor’s note: Alison is now based between Paris, the US and Mexico) but moved here from NY where I lived for 10 years. I still return regularly and based on what I know about both cities, I will answer in terms of what it sports in Paris is not: Paris is not 35$ classes, scheduling one’s program weeks in advance, 6am workouts, 6 days of training a week. I guess I can say that it’s more spontaneous here, not as extreme, less competitive. And as a result, the business of wellness has not fully caught on either. But that will change.
Outfit: Live the Process. Bracelets: Giles & Brother. Rings: Pamela Love, Lito, René de Talmon l'Armée.
I/O: Have you witnessed a shift lately in regard to Parisians’ relationships to sports and wellness?
A: Very much! We now have more options of methods, times, classes, styles and venues. More people are exercising and this has created enthusiasm, excitement and communities that were not here even 5 years ago.
I/O: And in regard to activewear?
A: I’ve always been a proponent of a hip-hop meets 90s club kid mash-up of styles and references but for sure in Paris this is relatively new.
I/O: Define the French Touch in regard to sports?
A: I’d call it “Le look sport French Touch”: a transitional look like a trench, matte black leggings tucked into boots, a cashmere sweater or marinière top and a chignon with lipstick. The Outdoor Voices x APC collection touched on this pretty well. Which is funny, because so many Parisienne’s I know found it really boring.
I/O: Your favorite piece of activewear?
A: I love a good mid-to-high waist legging and a top with a flattering cut or subdued modern print.
I/O: Favorite athleisure brand?
A: Some of my favorite brands are ADAY, Girlfriend Collective, Outdoor Voices, Live the Process, Laain and Lululemon. Victoria’s Secret has some great booty-boosting leggings as well. For pure function, Nike but I don’t ever go for anything “fashion-y” from the brand. Stella McCartney x Adidas for sure. I love to check out all the new brands, styles and trends at Bandier as well.
I/O: A beauty tip or product?
A: Oh la la! Since I am constantly on the go, I try to have my maintenance kit on me at all times.
It includes: CC Cream, lipstick or gloss (right now I am using Super Goop and Suntegrity. I am yet to try Glossier., but I want to as I’ve been seduced by their branding... My signature lipsticks are &OtherStories, this crazy mat one from Chanel and Bobbi Brown. And I have a fantastic coconut oil lip balm). Some sort of spray for hair, Aveda Brillantine or dry shampoo for post workout. (I find it works better for sweaty wavy hair than dry shampoo). Aveda Chakra mist. Number 5 is my favorite. And I a mist for face, body, hands, feet - even my yoga mat in a pinch. I recently started making my own, with guidance from Caroline Wachsmuth a bespoke fragrance and beauty designer. Do I sound high maintenance? Maybe I am, in fact, more American than Parisian!
I/O: A hairstyle for sports?
A: Le chignon - high or low, depending on mood and activity (you can’t do a headstand on a top knot). Or a French braid, especially for running or with a hat or bonnet. Always with the Odile Gilbert hair pin from Colette.
I/O: All black or bright as a rainbow?
A: Mostly black, although I have started wearing prints and color from brands like Live the Process and Outdoor Voices.
I/O: How do you find work/life balance?
A: I’m all about harmony and am actively engineering a life structure in which my agency work, social life and personal life overlap and support each other in positive ways.
I/O: Have you ever traveled for fitness or wellness? Is there a fitness or wellness destination on your travel wish list?
A: Most recently for a retreat that I organized in Lebanon. More coming up in California, Mexico and greater Europe. For personal exploration, not yet but I will. A Panchakarma trip to Rishikesh, India is on my wish list as well as a kundalini teacher training with Guru Jagat.
I/O: Est-ce que sortir de ta zone de confort t’aide le reste de la journée ?
A: What is a comfort zone?
I/O: Do you feel like a part of a community?
A: More and more. But I have never been part of a particular clique. I’m a freak and a geek.
Tee-shirt: Otherwild. Perfume: Fleur d'oranger by Coqui Coqui Parfumeria. Dr. Bronner's spritz hand cleaner. S.O.S. Oil by Jennifer Hall Taylor (holistic nutrition coach). Hurraw lip balm. Artificial Tears: Rhoto Arctic. Lavender Oil.
I/O: Does music play a big role in your workouts?
A: Yes, as in the rest of my life. Except for certain kinds of yoga (yin for example) where I feel it can be more annoying and distracting that encouraging. Music can boost a run, distract from uncomfortable asanas, motivate us to keep up the pace in a group cycling class, etc. But then again, so can the breath. Don’t forget the power of breath.
I/O: Has fitness studios become the new dancefloors? And physical exercise a new form of social entertainment?
A: For many people, yes. Physical activity combined with music can boosts my endorphins like clubbing used to.
I/O: Thoughts on new feminism? Do you think that women who support each other can go further together?
A: Definitely! The future is female!!!
Scarf: Hermès. Trench: A.P.C. Top: Cos. Pants: A.P.C. x Outdoor Voices.
TIPS AND ADDRESSES
1 coach: Taryn Toomey for fitness. Desiree Pais (New York) and Memo Singh (in Tulum) for Kundalini.
1 power song: "Rez" by Underworld
1 Instagram account: There are so many. I love Inside Elsewhere, The Numinous, My Tiny Atlas, Condé Nast Traveler, Yung Pueblo...
1 tip: Find your activity. It’s out there somewhere and it will change your life when you find it.
1 appl: Headspace to start to learn to meditate. Or the guided meditations on the Insight Timer. Nike Training Club, Mindbody Connect and a subscription to Yogaglo.
1 site: The New Jock, Semaine
1 food recommendation: Pinterest. Wild & the Moon in Paris. The Butcher’s Daughter in New York.
1 recipe: Almost anything from Dr. Alejandro Junger’s Clean Program. Gwyneth Paltrow approved!
1 inspiration: Nature
1 person we should interview: Gabrielle Bernstein.
Thanks to : le Tigre rive gauche.