It’s tempting to look at pictures of celebrities looking healthy and chic and assume they’re happier than us regular people. Author and celebrity watcher Rachel Bertsche decided to experiment by taking pieces of lifestyle advice from her favorite female stars and incorporating them into her own life.
For more than eight months, Bertsche tried to exercise like Jennifer Aniston, eat like Gwyneth Paltrow, dress like Sarah Jessica Parker and work like Tina Fey. She took marriage tips from Jennifer Garner and work-family balance cues from Beyonce. She chronicled her venture in the new book, “Jennifer, Gwyneth, and Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time.”
So did living a celebrity lifestyle boost her contentment? FOX411 talked to Bertsche to find out.
FOX411: Why did you decide to take on this endeavor?
Rachel Bertsche: I was feeling in a rut. I’d been laid off, and didn’t feel like a productive member of society. I felt less than fabulous. The images I was seeing online, the celebrities just looked so together and like they had it all. I felt if I could get my act together like them, I could feel happier.
FOX411: What was the hardest part about the project?
Bertsche: The amount of time, money, and access it takes to do all these things. To live like Gwyneth [Paltrow]… the ingredients for her recipes are expensive. I don’t have a personal chef, trainer, or stylist-- that was the biggest roadblock. There are ways to bypass that as a regular person. I bartered babysitting for a gym membership and tried to find less expensive ingredients for cooking. There are things you can do to make it work.
FOX411: Which celebrity was your favorite to emulate?
Bertsche: My favorite experiment was dressing like Sarah Jessica Parker. It was fun! Fashion is something you don’t have to take too seriously but can give you an unexpected lift. I was wearing workout clothes all day, but I started changing into outfits that were a little more fabulous and when I looked in the mirror, when I looked good on the outside, it helped me feel good on the inside.
FOX411: Do you still keep the star habits?
Bertsche: I still have an arsenal of tips to fall back on. I started working out more regularly and remembered how much I love it and love yoga. Putting on an outfit that makes me feel good has become a habit. I don’t cook every night, unfortunately life has not allowed that. I tried Gwyneth’s detox cleanse and it didn’t work for me… but I can whip up some of her recipes. They’re good tips to fall back on. If I’m in a rut, I remember things to do to help me feel better.
FOX411: What do you say to critics who question taking lifestyle advice from celebrities?
Bertsche: Celebrity culture isn’t going anywhere. It’s escapist and fun and lets us peek into make believe. We can try to make it work for us or hide in a cave. If you’re looking to celebrities for life advice, or as role models, you just need to keep a healthy distance because stars aren’t “just like us” and we don’t know what goes on beyond closed doors. We don’t know if any of these women are happy in their lives. I’ve never met them. Our perception is our reality. If we admire someone and think they look amazing and if we can take a few steps in that direction to make ourselves feel better, that’s a good thing.
FOX411: Do you really think you increased your happiness?
Bertsche: I do. I don’t think there’s any huge monumental change. Although I wanted to get pregnant and now have a baby! The rest were small things: working out, getting up earlier in the morning, eating healthy dinners, and watching football with my husband. Going to bed, feeling productive gives me a sense of fulfillment and happiness that I can carry into the rest of my life.
Tips to take from the stars:
Berstche shares many tips she got from parroting the posh, to help keep her feeling healthy, motivated and productive. Here’s her best advice for living like an A-lister, even when you’re not rich and famous.
Working out: If you’re trying to get that celebrity body and can’t afford a trainer, check out videos from celebrity trainers and yoga instructors. These people are molding the bodies of Gwyneth and Jennifer Aniston so they can help you. They all have videos on YouTube and online that you can access for free.
Dressing like a star: If you frequent a local boutique or department store, befriend a salesperson who knows your clothes and your style. They can help you find items that work and show you how to wear things you already have in your closet. People don’t do that because they think it’s too fancy, but it makes you feel glamorous.
Being a good partner: Embrace your partner’s interests. Become a fan of his favorite team. We always see pictures of Jennifer Garner in her Boston Red Sox hat and that’s why people love them [Garner and husband Ben Affleck] so much. They seem like a regular couple. This seems obvious, but it’s so important to a healthy relationship. Also, Beyonce says you should always try to surprise your partner. Keep it fresh and inspiring.
Eating better: Shop at the farmer’s market. You not only get natural, real whole foods, you’ll feel satisfied about what you’re putting in your body. You rarely see stars at a fast food restaurant, but they are often photographed at a farmer’s market.
Taking more “me” time: Take a staycation once in a while. Pamper yourself. Celebs can do it more often, but even if it’s just taking an hour for yourself to get a mani/pedi, or a nice meal and a glass of wine or meditating. Taking care of yourself and making yourself a priority will give you that glamour boost.
Spiking confidence: When you’re feeling disheveled, like Beyonce says, always have lip gloss and sunglasses in your purse… it’s a great rule of thumb whenever I go out now. Those are small things that make you presentable and give you extra confidence. One of the best accessories these celebrity women have— underneath all the outfits, bodies, and heels—is confidence. When a woman is confident and happy with herself, it shows.