Rachele Brooke Smith Talks Cheat Meals, Yoga, and Dancing

Actress, dancer, and workout fanatic Rachele Brooke Smith on cheat meals, hot yoga, and Ryan Gosling’s salsa moves.

Rachele Brooke Smith
Ian Spanier / M+F Magazine

So what’s your life story, in a hundred words or less?

Starting at age 4, I was a competitive gymnast. I lived in fear and anxiety, and fad diets took a toll on my system. Then at 14, I saw this dance film, Center Stage, that totally changed my life. I quit gymnastics, and ever since that moment in the movie theater, I’ve lived and breathed dancing, acting, singing, and storytelling. Six years after I saw that movie, I ended up playing the lead in the sequel.

How many dance styles can you perform? Got a favorite?

I’ve studied hip-hop, tap, jazz, ballet, modern, salsa, and swing. I can do all of them, but hip-hop has always been my superpower.

Any other skills?

I love martial arts. I got really into boxing and fighting. It goes with the kind of characters I want to play—badass female action heroes.

Which form of dance burns the most calories?

Hip-hop, dance fitness, and Zumba. I sweat more in those classes than in any others. Plus, you’re having so much fun that it doesn’t feel like you’re doing sets of things.

For someone who’s a crappy dancer, what’s your best advice?

Get out of your head and get into your heart and your body. Don’t worry about looking weird or stupid or what other people are thinking. You don’t have to be a pro dancer to get all the benefits of dance. It lights up synapses in your brain and energizes your body.

What’s your fitness schedule?

I work out every morning. I do everything—HIIT training, strength intervals mixed with sprints, hot yoga, boxing training, and cardio dance classes. For me, it’s also about movement throughout the day. I ride my bike as much as I can. If I have meetings, I do them walking or hiking. You always get better ideas that way.

Got a favorite cheat meal?

I eat dark chocolate probably every night. But I never crave bread or pizza or pasta. I don’t really drink, either. I’m so happy and silly without it.

You were in The Nice Guys. Did you and Ryan Gosling compare abs?

No, but the two of us did have a sick salsa dance session.