#BreatheMoveReact: A Tale of Two Aussies

Celia and Ali at the opening of Get Threaded Beverly Hills

This is my third month in LA and I am definitely still loving the town. It’s vibrant and exciting and constantly abuzz with hope and opportunity. I love it!!! But I am definitely a little homesick, we are so blessed to be able to call Australia our Island home. I miss the beaches, our incredible people, a real beer garden and a proper Pad Thai! I’ve been getting by on the amazing Mexican food, numerous hikes and the folks out here aren’t too bad either , except when they try doing an Aussie accent, apparently we all sound like Crocodile Dundee! Alright mate, they’re actually called prawns, and no I won’t throw another one on the baaaaaahbeeee!

Working out and getting outdoors has really helped me when an attack of the homesickness and ‘I miss my Mum’ sads get me. I live really close to Runyon Canyon and it’s the best cure for everything, when you get to the top of that hill, sun hitting your face, heart pounding, sweat dripping down your back and you look out at that view, it’s pretty hard to be sad about anything!

LA is also incredible for the options available when it comes to fitness and classes, there’s a yoga studio every block, circus classes, acrobatic workshops, stunt workouts, aerial yoga, aerial dance, laughing workouts, snake dancing, not to mention all the gyms, Barry’s Bootcamp’s, Soul Cycle, man I could go on forever, you never need to get bored here!! I’ve spoken about it so much, the endorphins and feel good, clear head buzz working out gives you and it is imperative to me in times of change and upheaval to maintain that priority to keep me sane!

So all this got me thinking about the many many Australian Actors who, just like me, leave home and make the trek over here, leaving behind everything in the pursuit of work. Do all these people utilize the healing aspects of fitness as I do? One such actor is my dear friend Celia Massingham. Known for the role of Celeste in CW’s The Selection and with two major top secret projects shooting before the end of the year, you can be sure you will be seeing a lot more of this talented human in the near future. Having been here for three years, I asked her how she dealt with the move and how her health, wellbeing and fitness has helped in creating a life here. We’ve been working out together while I’ve been here, we all know how much I love a good gym buddy and with my number one buddy, my Ma, all the way back home, Celia has been a wonderful substitute. She’s just as badass as my Ma and keeps me on my toes with her dedication, passion and just general badassery, she’s a machine! So check out the kickass Tabata workout she put together for us this month. Grab a buddy, download a tabata timer app, get a kettlebell and a yoga mat and get going! You will be sore all over in the best possible way!

Keep those hearts full and hearts pounding until next time…


1. Leaving all your friends and family, coming here by yourself must have been very isolating, How did you utilise your fitness to help you adjust to life in this crazy big, beautiful city? 

It was certainly not an easy move. At the time I was in pretty good shape. Back in Australia I had a really good work out regime and when I moved to Los Angeles I was in a very small studio apartment in the heart of Hollywood. It was difficult to find the space to continue my fitness goals and I certainly didn’t have the funds to start up at a local gym. That was frustrating but I was determined to find a way! Keeping up any kind of normalcy was key with this big life change. I found a dingy little park off of Sunset Boulevard and would go there every morning to work out among the homeless who were just waking up. Having that routine every day helped me feel more at home in a way, and that my life hadn’t been ‘totally’ thrown upside down.

Celia just before this months workout with Ali

2. We all know a fit and healthy body is part of the industry we have chosen, how important are the psychological benefits of exercise to you and your journey here?

It’s key for me. In an industry where you can feel you have little control over your destiny, working out and fitness can be something that really saves you mentally. I have absolute control over my body but not necessarily on what jobs I land. There’s comfort in that. A friend recently said to me that luck is when preparation meets opportunity – when I prepare my body and my craft every day I will always be ready for any opportunity. That keeps me feeling sane and in control. The endorphins are so important and I feel stronger, more capable and ready for anything this industry may throw at me.

3. How does keeping fit here differ from being back in Australia?

In Australia I always used the out doors. I was a big runner and I loved using local high school running tracks. When I moved here I of course utilized Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park but the crowds always bugged me. I still wasn’t making enough cash to justify an expensive gym membership so I invested in a few weights. I discovered Tabata through a fellow acting friend and I was obsessed. I could make different combos and find out different moves all while being in my apartment parking space.

4. Whats a week of working out look like for you?

I finally got my gym membership and I absolutely love it. I love the weight training – it makes me feel strong and ready for anything. I now combine everything to keep my body guessing. A few days a week I’ll be at the gym doing either a legs and butt day, or arms and abs. I always throw in some High Intensity interval training (HIIT) on those days as well. Then on another day (when I don’t want to walk to the gym) I’ll create a Tabata circuit for myself in the comfort of my apartment. Then scattered throughout that I’ll do pure cardio days at Runyon Canyon, do a boxing class or I’ll pop on an Insanity workout on my iPad and sweat it out with the torturous Sean T. If you haven’t tried Insanity you’re missing out… It will knock you on your butt! I don’t schedule my workouts each week, I go with the flow and listen to what my body wants. I find spontaneity is easier and a lot more fun!

Alison McGirr QUT (BA Acting) is a lover of life, Activewear, and orange lipstick. Awarded the prestigious Jennifer Blocksidge Honour and Grant, she staged her first theatre production, The Interview, shortly after. Alison is part of The Heath Ledger Young Artist’s Oral History project being conducted by the National Film and Sound Archive. Having appeared in Home and Away as Molly Brenner, a move to Ireland saw her work on hit TV shows Penny Dreadful and Vikings. Once back in Sydney she trained with the Ausralian Institute of Fitness uniting her passion for fitness and acting.

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