Beau Garrett is an actress, a model and one of the most down-to-earth and wise people in town. Despite the pressures of the industry she has created a space within it that allows her to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Her example of embracing the ups and downs of life and taking time and space for herself is something we all probably could learn from. We got a chance to pick her brains about keeping healthy: mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically and finding freedom, strength and joy in the everyday.
Story and Interview by Miwa Sakamoto
Where does your story begin?
It begins in Topanga Canyon. At least my version of the beginning does. I am sure my parents have a different interpretation.
Topanga is such an amazing and wild place to live – especially as a child – do you have any particular stories or adventures that you hold dear?
I have so many. I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by horses and oak trees and hiking trails. Nature was as close of a friend to me as any other kids I grew up. So I guess experiencing the extremes of nature are the stories that I will always hold close. Driving my dad’s Jimmy through 4 feet of water on Old Topanga to help put sandbags around the local Italian restaurant during the floods. Being evacuated in elementary school during the infamous fires of 93’ and watching flames dance hillside behind our home while I grabbed what I thought mattered to me at 11. Being rushed out of our house during the earthquake of 94’ by my parents who of course sleep naked and sitting in our cars under the oak trees trying to find a radio station that could tell us what happened. It was a beautiful way to grow up. I rode horses, sat on top of Saddlepeak during the Santa Ana’s with wind so strong I felt like it was going to carry me away, learned the importance of hiking and the beauty of peace and never once questioned why I couldn’t walk to a friends house. In Topanga, you just don’t really have neighbors walking distance. I love that.
As you grew up and moved away from both your childhood and the relatively isolated canyon was it difficult to find and embrace a new space and context?
When I bought this home I had very little foundation, financially, spiritually and emotionally. It takes dedication, to maintain stability and a home base through the countless instabilities over the course of 10 years. In many ways I grew up in this home. It nurtured me and challenged me to keep up and move forward. I learned to cook here. Learned to keep plants alive here. Learned to design space here. Learned to heal myself here as well as let go.
Has it been particularly difficult as a single woman to find and maintain this space alone?
Nope, if anything easier. Having another body in my space all the time makes me insane. I just end up sweeping after them. Crazy?
Only the best of us are...
How has the permanent state of flux and instability, which is the fate of the actor like so many other artists, affected your process of finding balance.
I honestly don't know what stability would be like. My world blossoms in uncertainty. I find balance in the things outside of work I can control. Hiking. Meditation. Travel. My friends. My work will never be constant and I am thankful for that.
We build walls up around ourselves all the time, and in an industry that is so focused on appearance it would seem almost necessary for maintaining sanity; however, these kinds of defenses also make us lose faith in the validity of our vulnerability and emotions… Could you share some thoughts on the process of building and breaking down walls.
As an actor you are constantly building tools to connect and be accessible so the idea of building walls is counterproductive. The only thing I try and do is protect my soul as best I can. Image is a huge part of being an actress. I get that. I just work on keeping myself healthy in all parts of myself. If that means traveling more and getting out of this industry for a bit, so be it. If that means doing a cleanse for my body, great. If that means having dinner with friends and drinking too much wine, amazing. The important thing is to listen to your body and make sure the line of communication is nurtured. What do YOU need?
There is something crucial about saying yes to the process of opening up and allowing yourself to be your own true self - why and how does such as simple word represent such a game changing life philosophy?
It is never simple work, opening up. It is asking yourself to dig deep, ask questions and somehow look at yourself through another set of eyes. This work never ends.
Though we must encourage and admire strong women we must also acknowledge that within every strong woman there are also many emotions and experiences that are less heroic and even less talked about - yet, these things are also extremely important. How have you dealt with these things that are less glamorous parts of womanhood and personhood? How do you sort out thoughts of jealousy, anger, bitterness, sadness and loneliness? Is it important to admit these things?
Oof. Tough question. I haven’t always dealt with things ideally or gracefully. I think that is the road you travel sometimes. When it doesn’t work try a different way. I have gone through a lot and reacted a lot of ways in my time and I have learned a lesson from each moment. I have grown a lot. Bitterness has never been part of my vocabulary thank god, but jealousy has. And loneliness, and sadness. I embrace it, move through it and learn from it. I realize now these feelings don't benefit me or anyone around me so I try and find another way to interpret the feeling. It is all about perspective a wise woman once told me, something I always try and remind myself.
What does freedom mean to you?
My car, the road, my dog, a bottle of wine and camping gear.
What does strength mean to you?
Standing even on two feet
What is feminism?
For me feminism is a balance of independence and vulnerability. It is having a voice but not one too loud so others can’t be heard. It is embracing your sexuality and beauty as well as applauding other women for theirs.
Society sets in gear to go, go, go that it can feel scary to have downtime - keeping busy also gives us an alibi that helps to us to avoid going deeper and examining the truths of any deeper emotions or external changes...What is the importance of claiming time for yourself?
I just need to reset sometimes. And I do this best alone. I take on other peoples stuff quite easily so it is a must for me to spend a good portion of each day in solitude.
When you have free time what do you enjoy doing?
I like to sweep my house. I like to put flowers in my space. Hike. Be with my pup. Cook dinner and have people in my home. I love to dance. I love to travel. I love yoga and music, sometimes at the same time. I love road trips and great books. Honestly, I just want to laugh these days so I surround myself with things and people that create that environment.
Being in Hollywood there is so much emphasis on looking good, whether it be your body, your clothing or your car… What’s your take on these pressures?
Again, looking good for me starts internally. Cliche as that sounds. I work out everyday so I can feel strong and sexy in whatever I am wearing, or not wearing. I do yoga so I can feel a little more loose. I train so I feel powerful. I hike so I can clear my head. I do all these things so when I do put on my clothes and go out into the world, I represent the best version of myself. I am super healthy but also love to let loose. That balance is sexy to me. My car is a Prius and I try and keep it pretty clean aside from the 20 lbs of black dog hair floating through it at any given moment.
Do you travel? What was your last destination?
I do travel. Last place I went to was Bali. I leave for Vancouver soon for 5 months so I am sure there will be some Alaska adventures coming up. I plan on going to Nepal in January to build a school with a great group of people for an organization called BuildOn. After that? Who knows.
What lessons did you bring back from it?
Lessons from travel? I guess what I learned from Bali was to dance like no one is watching. And not eating almond butter is probably a good thing for me.
What do you have planned for the future?
For some reason this question always gives me a shot of anxiety. I have no idea what the future holds. I really am trying to take it day by day. I want to fall in love. With everything. Everything else comes second.