On Balance with Hannah Bronfman


Hannah Bronfman is a 10-year veteran of the wellness industry, DJ, and author of the brand-new book, Do What Feels Good.View Article: These Are Hannah Bronfman’s 4 Favorite Wellness Practices—And They're Free

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Hannah Bronfman, the 31-year-old author and entrepreneur, loves gefilte fish. Yes, seriously.

&ldquoMaybe it started out as trying to be a goody two-shoes,&rdquo Bronfman tells the Nosher, reminiscing on her family&rsquos Passover seders, &ldquobut I always remember being the one kid at the table who just ate all of the gefilte fish, and everyone was always talking about how I would [always] eat all the gefilte fish.&rdquo

Her other favorite Jewish food? Haroset, another Passover staple, that Bronfman&rsquos grandfather used to make from scratch. While his haroset recipe unfortunately is not in her new book, there&rsquos no shortage of reflections on her Jewish identity.

Do What Feels Good: Recipes, Remedies, and Routines to Treat Your Body Right is Bronfman&rsquos first book. Divided into three parts (&ldquoBody,&rdquo &ldquoFood,&rdquo and, &ldquoLife&rdquo), it&rsquos part cookbook, part wellness how-to, part memoir &mdash and all Hannah.

The biggest challenge for Bronfman in writing the book was &ldquoto go into such great detail about things that are second nature&rdquo for her. In writing Do What Feels Good, Bronfman hopes people will realize how accessible wellness can be. &ldquoI feel like the world of wellness has been marketed in such a crazy way in the last seven years &mdash and wellness doesn&rsquot mean boutique fitness classes and organic food bought at Whole Foods! It&rsquos really about the in-between moments the way you talk to yourself, the things that you do for yourself, and cooking for yourself &mdash whether that&rsquos organic or not, whatever you can afford &mdash it&rsquos just an understanding of how to take care of yourself in a more meaningful, more mindful way.&rdquo

The whole book is meant to be a way to live healthily. Which doesn&rsquot just mean eating healthy. It means treating yourself kindly and finding routines that fit your life. And in reading Do What Feels Good, you learn about Bronfman&rsquos personal journey into the wellness world and figuring out her identity.

&ldquoThe whole journey of identity is so different for everyone,&rdquo she explains, &ldquobut it&rsquos still a journey that we all go on.&rdquo This is why Bronfman wanted to share things that happened to her, that she overcame, and things that took her a while to figure out.

This includes diving into her own personal history. On the second page of the introduction, Bronfman writes, &ldquoWhen I was growing up in New York City as a young, black, Jewish woman and going to ballet school, I spent a lot of time trying to understand why I didn&rsquot look like everyone else around me or why I was expected to.&rdquo

How did she navigate those identities?

&ldquoGrowing up in NYC from a prominent Jewish family, with a very strong black mother who grew up during segregation in the south side of Chicago from a middle-class family,&rdquo Bronfman explains, &ldquofrom a young age, I was very aware of both of these sides of myself. It can be challenging being mixed, especially in the 90s and 2000s &mdash obviously now as well &mdash but as a young girl, trying to figure out your identity and it being a little more complicated than most&hellip&rdquo She trails off, soon adding, &ldquoI won&rsquot say it was hard, and I won&rsquot say it was easy.&rdquo That prominent Jewish family is the none other than the Bronfman family &mdash Hannah is the daughter of actress Sherry Brewer and former Warner Group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr.

Despite the challenges, Bronfman has always been proud of being black and Jewish.

&ldquoI was always very proud of my Jewish heritage. I knew from a young age that I wanted to have a bat mitzvah, I also knew from a young age, that this was very different from how my mother grew up. She really wanted me to own both sides. My mom was a very confident woman herself, and so she definitely instilled a lot of that in me.&rdquo


What is the Real Reason of Hannah Leaving 'Beautified'?

Bronfman, along with Peter Hananel and Annie Evan, co-founded the beauty app, Beautified in the year 2012. The app is especially focused on users booking last-minute services at beauty salons & spas in cities such as New York, Miami, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, and Dallas. Likewise, she featured in a number of magazines, including a documentary by Teen Vogue and This is My Reality, etc.


Hannah Bronfman with her 'Beautified' partners.
SOURCE: WWD

Everything was going well in the business before she found one of her partners, Peter Hananel, was mistreating their employees, depriving her of the financial information and using poor judgments. Unfortunately, Hannah filed a lawsuit against him, but ultimately, they had to close the company in 2014.


The Advice Hannah Bronfman Followed to Go from Failed Entrepreneur to Lifestyle Guru

Oprah once told a group of Harvard graduates: &ldquoThere is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.&rdquo In our series The Setback, OprahMag.com digital director Arianna Davis chats with successful women about a life obstacle they thought was the worst thing that happened to them&mdashuntil it ended up being the best thing.

31-year-old entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman's story reads like a storyline plucked straight out of Gossip Girl, the hit early aughts TV show about Manhattan's most glamorous young socialites. The New York native is the daughter of Edgar Miles Bronfman, Jr., former CEO of Warner Music Group, and Shaft actress Sherry Brewer. She grew up as an aspiring ballerina attending elite private schools, but after graduating from Bard College, Bronfman moved on to a different kind of dance floor: As one of the most in-demand DJs in New York City.

As her persona grew, Bronfman became more and more open on social media, posting about how she struggled to balance a busy nightlife style with self-care, eventually sharing everything from her smoothie recipes to the workout moves she learned from the latest trendy classes. After realizing her followers couldn't get enough of the posts she paired with her hashtag #HBFIT, in 2015, she launched HBFIT.com, a wellness destination that covers everything from FaceGym to recipes for turmeric lattes.

Now, Bronfman's nearly 530,000 followers can read even more about her wellness journey with her new book Do What Feels Good, a collection of her favorite natural remedies and recipes, plus the personal stories behind each. She calls the guide "a download of everything I&rsquove learned across 10 years of my wellness journey, one that I hope people can rely on daily when they just want to take a moment to focus on making themselves feel better. "

So, yes, based on her social media status and resume, Bronfman's life does certainly read like that of a Black, modern day Serena van de Woodsen. But the influencer didn't get to launching a lifestyle brand and keeping up with half a million fans around the world without a few pitfalls along the way. For OprahMag.com, Bronfman shared how her biggest setback became the very thing that made her one of the digital age's rising It Girls.

Okay, so first I have to ask: How does someone get to become a go-to DJ at New York nightclubs and Fashion Week events?
Basically, I started DJing when I was in college, so that's what I started doing when I got back to New York City. I started out at small places and just really worked my way up. But after four years of working all hours of the night, even though it was so fun, I felt extremely burnt out. After a while, that lifestyle just isn't sustainable anymore. Around that same time, I got my first gig for a fashion brand it was a Fashion Week event, from 6 to 8 p.m., and I would be the opening act for an artist. It turned out that artist was Justin Bieber!

I literally remember thinking to myself, 'This is a whole different avenue of DJing. I&rsquom working for two hours and I&rsquom getting paid more.' In that moment I realized I could go into this lane of DJing for brands and the corporate world, working directly with companies to work at their events. It was the perfect way to continue my love of DJing, but also take my life back.

How did that evolve into a career as a young lifestyle guru?
With more normal hours, I could finally take charge of my life. It was during that time of finally taking better care of myself that I had this idea for an app. I'd want to get a facial, or a blowout, or other beauty treatments to make myself feel good, but it being around the time Uber had just started, I wondered: How was there not an Uber for the beauty space, where you could book appointments right from your phone? I did some research and couldn't believe it hadn't been done yet, and that's when I realized I had a knack for being an entrepreneur. I very quickly found cofounders and a CTO and was raising money and signing up salons to work with our app, Beautified.

So what happened to Beautified?
Well, that's where my setback comes in. I'll only really touch on the surface here, but basically, after we raised money and things were going full steam ahead, I ended up having a falling out with my business partner. And everything fell apart, including the app. Suddenly I went from the woman behind a business that everyone was excited about to a failed entrepreneur.

Having to pick myself up again was really the best thing that could have happened to me.

That was crushing. It took me about a year, emotionally, to totally get over what happened. I was betrayed by my business partner, and I kind of felt like a crazy ex-girlfriend. I went through all the stages: the jealousy, the denial, the revenge. I constantly asked myself: How am I gonna pick myself up again&mdashhow am I gonna move on? I&rsquoll never forget, my boyfriend at the time, who's now my husband, said: 'You know, I was thinking some crazy things that I wanted to happen to that human, but to be honest, the best revenge that you could ever get on this guy is for you to be so successful that your face and name is everywhere, that he can&rsquot escape it.' I was like, you&rsquore so right!

All of the opportunities I've gotten in my life stem from me being my authentic self.

At first, that feeling of wanting to show him I was better off without him served as a motivation for me to forget about what happened and move forward. But there was a bigger lesson in the entire experience that had nothing to do with that guy. In the end, I realized that having to pick myself up again was really the best thing that could have happened to me.

So how were you finally able to get over it?
Well, at the time, I was using Instagram to showcase my healthy living and lifestyle. Hashtagging #HBFIT became my little catchphrase when I was in the gym or posting the dinner I made or the holistic nutritionist I was seeing. But people really started resonating with that, and all of a sudden I would go out at night and people would call out to me: 'Hey, HB FIT!' That's when I realized it could be a thing. So I launched a website and turned it into a community for content, but also for people to have discussions.

My career has evolved over the years, and now I wear all of these different hats. I'm a content creator and a personality and a businesswoman&mdashand, yes, still a DJ! Honestly, I never imagined this path for myself, and I still don't know how I went from one thing to another. But the one common thread is that all of the opportunities I've gotten in my life stem from me being my authentic self and just exploring the things that I have always been interested in and talking about them. I think being yourself is key to anything you want to do.

And you&rsquore also a published author now!
Yes! Do What Feels Good is all about how and why I got into the wellness world. As I mentioned, a lot of it was because I was really burnt out, but there were other aspects. My grandmother suffered from a really severe eating disorder, which was tough to see. And also, I grew up in the world of ballet, where I saw first-hand how negative body image affects young women. So it felt important as I moved out of my 20s and into my 30s to kind of just sum up what I had learned about myself through this process, and share that knowledge that I rely on daily with my peers.

As someone who went through a setback and overcame it in a big way: What&rsquos your advice for anyone going through a setback of their own?
Some days, you&rsquore gonna feel great, and there will also be days where you feel really shitty. It&rsquos really important for people to understand that transitional times are times of change, and change is really difficult for people. And that's okay! You can own the fact that you&rsquore not feeling great. When you feel like you&rsquore just in it and you don&rsquot have any hope, it&rsquos important to understand the change is necessary, but this time will pass.

And remember: You don't have to go through things alone. Rely on your friends, your family. And because I'm a New Yorker, I have to advocate for therapy. But no matter what you do, remember that no matter what you're going through, after you go through it, you'll feel grateful that you did.

For more ways to live your best life plus all things Oprah, sign up for our newsletter!


The 3 Better-for-You Cocktail Recipes Hannah Bronfman Mixes on the Reg

With an ever-expanding resume&mdashrunning her wellness site HBFit, modeling, and DJing&mdashyou might wonder when Hannah Bronfman squeezes in some fun. “On the nights that I don’t have to work, I definitely try to take advantage and see my friends,” she told me after a very sweaty Barry’s Bootcamp workout. “[My husband] Brendan and I both prefer to entertain in our home rather than going out.”

Of course, having guests over begs the question: What kind of cocktail should you serve? Bronfman has a definitive answer: “Tequila’s the best.” No matter if she’s going out or whipping up superfood-packed dishes for her best gal pals, Bronfman prefers the agave liquor to the rest. Unsurprisingly, however, she doesn’t just drink any old margarita, but instead has three delicious go-to recipes for when she wants to have a cocktail.


Why Everyone Looking for Some Life Inspiration Should be Following Hannah Bronfman

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Hannah Bronfman does just about everything you could think of. I found her Instagram page while randomly scrolling through my feed, and since then I have been so inspired to create my best self in all aspects of life. She challenges viewers in her Adidas Women Pure Boost Launch, saying: “I dare you to try and label me.”

Photo courtesy of Hannah Bronfman on Instagram

The message she sends to followers is exceptional, and this is why I look up to her so much:

To her, goal setting is key.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Bronfman on Instagram

As the founder of an online blog called HB Fit, Bronfman excels at creating a brand that is innovative and constantly changing. In 2015, HB Fit won the best fitness blog on bloglovin.com. In an HB Diary, she writes, “Goals give us purpose, which in turn motivates us to make ourselves the best version, in all aspects of your life.” Her website always releases new ways to elevate your lifestyle and maximize goals. She provides tips on fitness, health, and beauty advice basically a one stop shop to becoming the best you. Hannah embodies everything a beauty aficionado is.

A New York native, Hannah utilizes all of the amazing amenities that NYC has to offer throughout her social media outlets. She soul cycles, detoxes her weekend partying with Pilates, dances her way through the week, and takes boxing classes, proving how much of a badass she is. Her goal is to constantly switch up her workouts – it keeps your body guessing and never bored. She holds herself accountable for these goals as well, making her a role model for all of us.

She’s a jack of all trades.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Bronfman on Instagram

Like I mentioned, Hannah has her own feature in the Adidas Women campaign, which truly inspired me to take a step back and see where I could improve on my health practices. Bronfman is “#heretocreate” and she’s doing a damn good job at it – she was just recently nominated for Victoria’s Secret What Is Sexy 2016 List for Sexiest Social Media Star and won in the fitness category. That alone is enough of a reason to hit up your Insta and Snap to follow her, but if it isn’t, I have more.

She’s a DJ!! I’ve never known of such a cool person. She plays the hottest tracks for some of the hottest companies, like Refinery29, Food & Wine, TED, The Body Shop, and others.

Work hard, play hard is her mantra.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Bronfman on Instagram

Following fitness gurus can be overwhelming sometimes. Many of them drink and eat clean all day every day, with no room for cheat meals. As a college student, it is super unrealistic to follow such a strict regimen. But Bronfman defies that stereotype. She believes working hard and playing hard go hand in hand. Her snap stories are lit over the weekend, but come Monday morning, she sweats it all out.

In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she gave a walk through of what her average weekday will look like. She seriously gets shit done, and rewards herself with good food and a drink or two.

She has the right outlook on love.

Photo courtesy of Brendan Fallis on Instagram

Did I mention her hot fiance, Brendan Fallis, is a DJ and fitness fanatic too?! They travel the world together for work, aka dancing the night away when they DJ at dope locations, like their most recent trip to Hong Kong. Both of them live by a philosophy of “sundays are for lovers” and balance their hectic work life with their relationship. Hannah and Brendan were recently featured on the Instagram account the way we met, and their story is simply #goals. In an age where monogamy is difficult to find, Hannah and Brendan exemplify true commitment towards each other and their work.

It’s so important to see Hannah Bronfman as a public figure who has worked her way up with a goal to inspire people to step outside of the box we are often confined to. She balances the work hard play hard philosophy to a tee.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Bronfman on Instagram

So, it may seem like a have a bit of a girl crush. But who wouldn’t agree?! Hannah Bronfman encapsulates so many things a 20 something woman aspires to be – powerful, fierce, successful, fit, innovative, and a straight up badass.

If there’s one thing you do today, hit up her Instagram, HB Fit, and her Adidas campaign. I promise you won’t regret it.


② You don't have to swear off fat.

There are numerous healthy fats that help your skin, your brain and your digestive system, and they taste good. Bronfman points out that outdated (un)scientific research from the 70s is in large part to blame for our cultural aversion to fat, and recommends adding olive oil, avocado, whole milk yogurt and nuts to your plate&mdashor bowl, as is the case with her Supergreen soup, which starts off with a hearty pour of olive oil (get the recipe).


Nicole Miller’s Tips for Finding Balance in a Fad Diet-Obsessed Culture

Nicole Miller is best-known as the founder of an eponymous global fashion brand. While the award-winning designer is famous in the fashion industry, fewer people know that Miller also likes to let her creativity run wild in the kitchen. Her favorite hobby is cooking, and her experience shaping styles informs how she makes food.

“As a designer you have to be creative and organized,” Miller said. “With my recipes, I like to take a lot of creative license with them. I never follow any recipe exactly as it is.”

One of Miller’s favorite foods to make is pasta. Although she was raised on French cooking, Miller said she finds her husband and son both enjoy it and loves that it is such a versatile, easy food.

While a fashion designer who eats carbs might sound unbelievable, Miller said she doesn’t believe in following trendy, restrictive diets, but focuses instead on consuming whole foods.

“I don’t like to follow food fads, and everyone I know today is in a food fad,” Miller said. “My one thing is that I don’t like to eat processed food. I like to eat the real thing.”

Interested in more from our On Balance series?

Miller’s diet consists of plenty of fresh produce, and she is a huge seafood fan. Some of her favorite crowd-pleasing dishes include a decadent lobster bisque, shrimp curry with jasmine rice, and Vietnamese summer rolls. Miller has dedicated herself to perfecting the art of crafting the perfect summer roll over the years and in the video above, she shares her methods with us.

Miller thoughtfully builds each summer roll with aesthetics in mind (as a good fashion designer would do) and ensures a few pieces of juicy shrimp and vibrant cilantro sprigs are visible. She adds butterhead lettuce, rice noodles, and a little hoisin sauce to her rolls and decorates them on a platter with cilantro and mint.

Instead of serving her Vietnamese summer rolls with a traditional peanut sauce, Miller creates her own spin on a traditional Nuoc Cham sauce for dipping.

Find out more about Nicole Miller’s tips and tricks for balanced eating in the video above.


The Hannah Bronfman brand of balance: Embrace it all

Dress, $525 (U.S.) through www.kaelennyc.com. Styling by Alex Sweterlitsch. Makeup by Dana Rae Ashburn. Hair by Laura Polko. Shot on location at Dylan Prime restaurant in New York City (www.dylanprime.com).

Javier Lovera/The Globe and Mail

This article was published more than 6 years ago. Some information in it may no longer be current.

"I feel like 2015 is the year of wellness," says Hannah Bronfman. I am chatting with the 26-year-old co-founder of Beautified (a fashion app that's an industry favourite) and HBFit (an online guide to living the good life) at the Tribeca smoothie bar Juice Press during New York Fashion Week. She is balancing a salad on her lap with the same confidence she employs to navigate a jam-packed daily schedule, one that is equal parts erratic and fabulous.

The daughter of Seagram heir Edgar Bronfman Jr. and actress Sherry Brewer, Bronfman is a New York native and no stranger to the city's high-speed lifestyle. Yet the way in which she manages her many obligations – including her digital platforms, DJing parties around the world and modelling for big-name brands such as Donna Karan and Banana Republic – has made her a role model for young women juggling an equally frenetic lifestyle.

Our interview and photo shoot is scheduled between the Jason Wu runway show (where she sits in the front row alongside street-style star Michelle Harper and Saudi retailer Princess Deena Al-Juhani Abdulaziz) and a DJ gig for the Karl Lagerfeld-helmed brand Fendi at its new Madison Avenue flagship. It's not an unusual itinerary for the entrepreneurial It Girl and highlights how she has been able to attract an audience that includes 135,000 Instagram followers. The Hannah Bronfman brand of balance isn't about simplifying things but embracing it all, fashion parties, speaking engagements and intense workouts included.

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"It's unrealistic not to be able to indulge," says the seasoned jetsetter. "I live a normal lifestyle, but I try to make healthy decisions while doing it."

Many Manhattanites survive on plates of kale and SoulCycle sessions, but Bronfman's "normal" is built around a more holistic approach that includes meals focused on whole foods and a daily midday workout. Her need to be active is what motivates her through a day of meetings.

Beautified helps keep her on track, too. Touting a simplified approach to same-day bookings for spa, salon and fitness appointments, Bronfman says the Big Apple-focused app was born out of necessity. "There was nothing like it [when Beautified launched in 2013]," she says. "Now, ondemand beauty is a really hot market."

HBFit debuted after a legion of fans encouraged Bronfman to take her commitment to a healthy – and chic – lifestyle to the next level. Posting photos of her breakfasts (a plate of eggs, avocado and kimchi is her go-to) and workouts ranging from Beyoncé dance classes to boxing, Bronfman began to realize that people were associating her with a new approach to wellness. She launched the website last fall and it has grown to include fashion trend reports, makeup tips, interviews with fellow fitness buffs (healthy-eating advocate Tara Milhem was a recent subject), recipes and workout updates. "I met a woman who told me she lost 100 pounds since she started following me last year," Bronfman says, beaming. "It's so rewarding."


Good News: You Can Drink Alcohol and Still Be Healthy&mdashAccording to Hannah Bronfman

Instagram is chock-full of smoke and mirrors, but when Hannah Bronfman posts a gym selfie followed swiftly by a shot of her mixing a drink, she&aposs telling it like it is. Case in point: The DJ, fitness enthusiast, and founder of HBFIT recently teamed up with Don Julio to develop low-calorie, low-sugar cocktail recipes that take the edge off after a depleting workout, without ruining the progress made. Here, Bronfman discusses everything from her fitspiration to the post-workout face wash she never leaves home without—plus, how to make her favorite cocktail.

What&aposs your favorite workout class right now?

I&aposve been trying to get back into running. If I&aposm running on my own, no one&aposs holding me accountable, so I will stop and walk. I thrive on community, so I&aposve been hitting up Mile High Run Club.

VIDEO: Try This Healthy, Cheap Late-Night Snack

Do you drink a lot?

To be honest, I do. I&aposve always been about the balance—not sacrificing one thing for the other and not being an extremist. I will definitely have tequila when I get home at night and I will definitely still wake up tomorrow and go to hot yoga. The two things are hand in hand. They&aposre not mutually exclusive. You&aposve got to sweat off those toxins and take the edge off.

But you have great skin! What do you wash your face with after a workout?

LINNÉ&aposs Purify Cleanser ($58 ahalife.com). It&aposs a really mild exfoliant that gets all of my makeup off in one fell swoop. And it&aposs travel-sized!

You&aposre a fitness inspiration to your 390,000-plus Instagram followers. Who is your #fitspo?

I live for Serena Williams. I live for her pregnancy. All of it.

Do you ever take breaks from social media?

I do turn off sometimes, but then I find myself [Instagram] Storying. Sometimes I&aposll go days without posting anything, which is great because it&aposs not taking over my life. I&aposm sure people think, "This girl is on her phone 24/7." But really, you&aposre probably seeing two minutes out of a 24-hour day.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

You can&apost quit. If you want to achieve something, you&aposre going to run into roadblocks, but you have to learn how to pivot and explore your options. Don&apost be too close-minded, and don&apost think there&aposs only one way to get to where you want to be. There are a thousand ways to get there, and if one way doesn&apost work, try the other. You learn from your failures. They are eye-opening. Sometimes they&aposre gut-wrenching and you don&apost think you&aposre ever going to overcome them, but you will. It only goes forward.


Watch the video: Lessons in Life and Love with Sadhguru. Hannah Bronfman with HBFIT TV


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