Thursday, May 29, 2008

Behind the Scenes with Rachel Nichols: GI Joe’s hottest Action Hero

To be an action hero you have to be tough enough to kick the bad guys butt. To be a female action hero you not only need to be tough enough to kick the bad guys butt, but you have to do it with big hair, body hugging clothes and high heels. I recently posted a couple action hero workouts that I have been doing with my client, Rachel Nichols, who has been cast as Scarlett in the new GI Joe Movie that hits theatres in August of 2009. Since the workouts have been so popular, I thought it would be fun for you to get a glimpse as to what it’s like to play an action star. Rachel has been kind enough to give us a peek behind the curtain.

I first asked Rachel if there was anything she could tell us about the movie or her character Scarlett. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to share any specifics. (We will just have to wait until the movie comes out!) I can tell you that GI Joe isn’t just 1 person. It is actually an elite counter-terrorist team, whose main purpose is to defend human freedom from Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world. So here’s what the lovely Rachel had to say:

What is it like playing an Action Hero babe?

Playing an action hero comes with a lot of outside influence and expectancy. When fans are familiar with a character, they expect certain elements to crossover between the fantasy and the human playing the role and I certainly don't want to let anyone down. Playing Scarlett has been so much fun. I've never had two months to physically prepare for a role and I took advantage of it. It's not every day I get to have fight scenes on elevators, break necks, jump through fire, and almost get washed away by waves of water in an underwater bunker!

How did your program change for this role?

The only thing I did...was tell Valerie that I needed a kick-butt body to go with the character! She took it from there and the results were pretty amazing. We wanted to add muscle (not pointless bulk) so that I could be believable in the role of a highly trained combat soldier. I needed to be on a moving treadmill for an entire scene wearing a sports bra and I didn't want ANYTHING jiggling around while I was running! I also wanted to arms and abs to be a bit more substantial and I needed to build up my stamina for all the long, physical days of shooting I knew I would encounter. Thankfully, I have Valerie (we've been working together for 3.5 years) and she knew exactly what to do to get me where I needed to be.

Compared to when you were a model, how has your body changed?

I modeled for a long time while I was at college in New York and will always look back on that period of my life with great fondness. I learned a lot about myself during that time and have been able to use some of that knowledge in my current profession. When I modeled, however, my body was completely different. I didn't work out...ever...and my diet was not a healthy one. I battled with food for many years and I still occasionally have issues with food, but I am a much healthier person now than I have ever been. When I got hired on ALIAS, they suggested that I begin working with Valerie to get in shape for the physicality of the role. During out first session I almost passed out! I had not done and working out in a very long time and I had not eaten breakfast before seeing Valerie (big mistake)...and that was the day I started changing my body, mind, and diet. Valerie taught me what to eat and when to eat it and we started training together 3 times a week. My body started changing in the first 6 weeks and it has been getting better ever since. I began to feel better, my muscles were showing tone and definition, but I wasn't getting bulky. My stamina was greatly increased, my butt started firming and lifting and I actually began to feel strong! It was so empowering to finally have control over my body. It was invigorating and exciting and the more I worked out, the happier I felt...and the cycle continues today.

I know from my own interviews that everyone thinks it is easier for celebs to be in shape because, after all, they have trainers, chefs, etc. Obviously, you and I know that’s not necessarily true. Most people don’t realize how difficult making a movie can be. Maybe you could share what a typical week of shooting looks like?

I completely understand how public perception can be a little bit off when it comes to the entertainment industry. It seems like it would be easy for me to stay in shape because I have a trainer and sometimes the luxury of a food delivery service, and I'm not by any means saying I have it rough, but some days are definitely a challenge! I have been shooting GI JOE since February and am currently finishing the film in Prague for 6 weeks. If I sometimes find it difficult to workout enough during filming in's definitely more of a challenge here in Prague! A typical work week for me usually begins with a 5 or 6am call time on Monday (meaning I might be heading to work as early at 4:30am) and a 7 or 8pm wrap and that's pretty much the way it goes every day. I always train with Valerie on the weekends because it can be tricky to fit in sessions during the week. When I get home at night, I have to look over all of the material for the next day of shooting. I try to get on the treadmill for 45 minutes at least three times a week before going to bed, but if I have to be awake at 4am and I didn't get home until 8pm that evening, sometimes I have to opt for sleep instead! I usually try to be in bed by 10pm. Some weeks, obviously, are much easier and I do have occasional days, I love what I do so much that even the hard weeks are fun.

How do you stay on your diet when on a movie? Again, I don’t think people really understand what you are up against (ie: The Craft Service table luring you in with warm chocolate chip cookies, chocolate malt balls, chips and dip, every type of candy you could ever wish for).

I have a terribly sweet tooth...and I freely admit that it is impossible for me to stay on a strict diet for more than a couple of weeks. There have been several times where I knew a specific scene was going to be shot on a specific day and I took the weeks before to prepare my body to be ready to look my absolute best...which meant that I had to adhere to a proper diet. Sets are very dangerous when it comes to food...because there is food all over the place! All the time! And even if, yes, there are veggies and proteins available...I usually want to eat the cookies and chips. What I have come to realize is that I can curb cravings for sweets by "little cheats" - one string of chocolate licorice, 10 Gummy Bears, chocolate skim milk, chocolate rice cakes, or berries with a little bit of chocolate syrup can usually tame my need for sweets. But I also find that if I acknowledge a craving and wait for about 10 minutes, it has usually subsided. And then sometimes I just eat that piece of pie, but I eat it slowly and I savor every little taste...if you're going to splurge, then you'd better enjoy it thoroughly! When I work, I often have a food delivery service prepare all of my meals. If, however, there are no services where I am shooting, then I usually stick to greens and proteins...chicken, veggies, fish, egg whites, fruit, yogurt, salads with a simple dressing. Surprisingly enough, and contrary to popular belief, healthy food can be very tasty! I live by the motto "try anything once, have an open mind when it comes to food" because I am very often surprised by the way something tastes compared to the way it sounds. I mean, "veal cheek" doesn't necessarily sound appetizing, but I had some last night and it was amazing.

Any other tips or thoughts for aspiring action babes?

Take care of your body - it's the only one you have. If you have a span of unhealthy behavior, take a few weeks off to relax and cleanse. If you splurge, make sure you properly enjoy it. If you are frustrated and want to change your body and/or diet then DO IT...don't waste time talking about it! Love yourself no matter what because you can't be happy otherwise. Appreciate your faults and your weaknesses. Set goals for yourself and meet them. and always remember - YOU'RE ONLY ONE WORKOUT AWAY FROM A GOOD MOOD (words of wisdom from Valerie)!

If you want be able to train like Rachel check out

If you want to learn more about her secret weapon, The Valslide, visit


MightyAl said...

Love the new Valslide video! Was that Mr. Cosgrove himself at the end? Great line!

Valerie Waters said...

I am so glad you like the new video.
That is Alwyn! He rocks!

Anonymous said...

I found information in Viagra Online about this girl, my friend this women is soo hot, I can't believe that any other director doesn't had a chance before.

Anonymous said...

My friend kamagra know this girl and he said that she get that role because she's hot, she's sucks as an actress, I just saw her in the movie 3 minutes and I get the same impression.