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2012 July 5

From The Daily Dan: Soul Sister

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Hilaria Thomas Hilaria Thomas
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(NEW YORK)The Hamptons has seen its fair share of Alec Baldwin, but this summer, it’s his lovelier half, Hilaria Thomas, who’s making news—and not only with SoulYoga, the total body fitness program she’s developed exclusively for SoulCycle. Fitness fiends, meet your maker!
BY MARIA DENARDO

Do people often mispronounce your name?
Yes, all the time. When I was a dancer, I’d say screw it—just call me Hilary. Alec got it right from the start. That was a very good sign!

You were a professional ballroom dancer by the age of 13. Would you ever do Dancing with The Stars?

I don’t know. Maybe Alec would be the star, and I would be the dancer? We’ll see. I was surprised; Alec is a good dancer.

How did you two meet?

People think I was his yoga instructor, but I wasn’t. I’m pretty professional. We met at a restaurant.

Was it love at first sight?

Kind of, actually. I had just said to my girlfriends, ‘Universe, I’m ready to meet someone and fall in love.’ And my girlfriend whacked me and said, ‘Shut up, Alec Baldwin is looking at you!’ I never had a TV growing up, so I sort of knew who he was, but I didn’t really know who he was. I’d only seen Working Girl!

Did you Google him when you got home?

No, I was very clear from the beginning that I wasn’t going to read anything online or watch any of his work for about five months. I wanted to get to know him. In hindsight, that was very smart now that I’m looking at all the trash that’s written out there. It gave us a fair chance together, and I think it’s one of the reasons we’re getting married now.

Do you watch 30 Rock now?
No, we just got a TV in the house a few weeks ago. Alec hates watching himself, and I don’t know how to use the TV. And I fall asleep whenever I watch anything. I’m out when the opening credits are still on. We’ll have more time this summer. He’s gotten into the yoga world, so I need to get into his!

How was your recent trip to Cannes? We saw Alec sweeping you off your feet in some photographs...
Do you know why he did that? Because my dress was too tight. People thought it was so romantic—and there was that element—but that wasn’t the real reason. Dolce & Gabbana has been kind enough to dress me for a number of events. The dress had been pinned earlier, but I never tried moving in it. When I started walking, I realized I could only separate my legs a couple of inches. I said to Alec that I couldn’t do stairs. I looked like a penguin! Of course, when we got there, there was an epic staircase, so I said to Alec, ‘You have to carry me up the stairs.’ He said, ‘What? Really?’ He watched me go up one step and then said, ‘Yep, okay.’ He picked me up and walked up the entire staircase. People started cheering!

Must be his new workout regime!

He’s looking great! Alec and I still like our dinners, even though he’s lost a lot of weight. But yoga has really changed him. Before we met, he used to do what he calls ‘middle-aged white man yoga.’ Elements of yoga have definitely helped, but it’s mostly nutrition and an overall lifestyle change. We stock up on blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, almond milk, quinoa, almonds, and apples.

How did you get into yoga?

I was about 21 years old and looking for something that was healthier for my body. When I was dancing, I was 15 pounds lighter than I am now. I was pretty skinny—it’s just the dancer way. You’re very body aware, but more so how it looks on the outside whereas yoga is body aware on the inside out. The vocabulary I use in my classes is ‘feel this’ or ‘experience that.’

What was your first yoga class like?
I put myself in the back. I was used to doing things that I was good at, even in school I was always the top student with top marks. I wasn’t used to throwing myself into something completely foreign to me. After the class, the instructor came up to me and said he just opened the studio and was looking for teachers. He apprenticed me, and I started teaching a couple weeks after. He just threw me in and I learned from there, working through a teacher training program and studying under amazing teachers. I liked that the studio gave me space to be creative and add in elements such as Gyrotonics and somatic experience.

Were you always an avid SoulCyclist?
I learned about SoulCyle through Alec. I’m not a bike rider—I still have to learn how to ride a moving bike—but I’m a big SoulCycler. I have to go at least three times a week, or I’m not okay. Last summer, Alec would go to SoulCycle all the time and I’d say how hard it looked. Eventually, I went with Kelly Ripa. I was so sure that I would never go back. It was so hard! Afterwards, I was really beat up and Kelly wanted to do another class. She’s incredible. I didn’t go back for a long time. I went to class with Alec much later, but I’d cycle behind him even though he wanted to be next to me. But I realized that I couldn’t see the instructor because we’re so different in size so I had to move up.

Tell us about SoulYoga!

That was Alec’s idea. He said, ‘You love this place so much, why don’t we get involved?’ We love it and have moved our permanent residence out here. I couldn’t live here for a summer and not teach yoga. I met Julie [Rice] and had a fantastic brainstorming session. The soul is what makes SoulCycle so great. Everyone is so accommodating and nice! I’ve never had one person be rude to me.

How is SoulYoga different than the classes you teach in the city?
It’s more condensed—about 45 minutes. In the city, we focus on body parts during the class. Here, it’s more focused on the experience on the bike and how we can improve that with stretching and strengthening. When you’re indoor cycling, tight glutes and hamstrings are common. I’ve created a program to loosen the muscles, so you can go deeper into the experience and get more out of your ride starting July 7!

Is there a waiting list?

There will be, because there are only 28 spots.

You’ve had some yoga crashers in the past…

Oh, yeah. People pretend to come in as yoga students and take my picture during class. I was very disheartened by the Daily News. I saw this woman taking pictures and said, ‘You need to stop doing that.’ I had one woman take a video of me. I didn’t throw them out, but I think I would now. I’m learning to be tougher, but you don’t want to mess with Alec. He’s a tough cookie.

What happened after the class?

The woman came up to me and told me it was my fault because I had been dodging the paparazzi all day long. Would you go into church and do that? Not that yoga is church, but it’s my work. Actually, we were just in Monaco and found out paparazzi is illegal there. I’m moving to Monaco!

You have a wedding coming up! What’s the best shape-up plan for brides?
SoulCycle for cardio…and it does really nice things for your butt; Physique 57 for toning; yoga for that nice stretch and body awareness. Plus, it makes you stronger! The combination of the three is great. And don’t forget nutrition! That defines 70 to 80 percent.

Are you swimming in bridal magazines?
I’ve never bought a bridal magazine. I actually just found out what a bustle was the other day. I was getting fitted for my dress and they asked me if I wanted one. I said, ‘I don’t know what that is.’ My girlfriend told me I wanted it, so I said, ‘Yes please on the bustle!’ I’m the worst bride in the world.

How’s the dress coming?
It’s beautiful! At first, I didn’t think I wanted a dress. I thought I’d wear one of the white cocktail dresses I already have and people were like, ‘Wait, really? Are you going to wear something you’ve worn before?’ and I’d say, ‘Why not? I like it.’ I was convinced to go into this place where there were all these poufy dresses. I thought, ‘Oh no, this is exactly what I don’t want.’ We eventually found one that I was willing to put on. Once I tried it on, I called Alec and said, ‘We’re having a wedding now!’ Hopefully, you’ll see the dress and like it. It’s very me.

Do you have a wedding planner?
Nope, I’m doing everything and my future husband is planning as much as I am. We’re planning something very sweet. When I was three I needed to have the Barbie wedding, but not anymore. So far, I think I’m doing a good job as the wedding planner. Everything has happened seamlessly. I’ve been lucky that people have said things like, ‘You know you need a first dance, right?’

How did Alec propose?
He brought me to Montauk, out by the lighthouse. He’s not great at keeping secrets from me, which is a very good thing. He told me earlier that he was going to propose. We’re very organized. He kept asking me if I knew where we were driving. I said, ‘No, I’ve never been past Gurney’s Inn!’ When we got there he said, ‘This is the closest I could get you to Spain’…since my family is still there. He got on his knee, and I burst out crying.

So when’s the big day?
We’re not confirming a date. The rumor was that we’re getting married in Cannes and in Spain and in a castle in Ireland. Every day I read the news and learn where I’m going to get married. All my great ideas are coming from the media!

Where do you plan on honeymooning?
No honeymoon! I have to work. But later on we have plans to go to Spain to see my family. Alec and I always say a phrase to each other in Spanish. It means, ‘We’re a good team.’ Nothing matters as long as we’re on the same side.

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