This month's cover is one of our faves - actress, producer, activist and SAG Award winner - Alysia Reiner. She has been in a number of TV shows and films and we have thoroughly enjoyed seeing her each season of Netflix's Orange is the New Black as the dynamic force Natalie "Fig" Figueroa.
In addition to our cover shoot in Tribeca, we sat down to find out more about what drew her to acting, upcoming roles that she will be in, the importance of staying connected to your significant other and family no matter your schedule and her role as an activist.
ATHLEISURE MAG: We had such an amazing time shooting with you for our June cover as we've been fans of yours for years! Tell us about your background and how you got into acting.
ALYSIA REINER: AWWW Shucks! I am a native Manhattan girl and had a hard time deciding if I wanted to be a scientist or an artist - I still love both, studying human behavior and why we are who we are - I'm just curious, I guess. I love to discover, to wonder, to research, it's the joyful part of acting, the discovery.
AM: You've had a number of roles in TV and in movies, but one of our favorites is Orange is the New Black. We binged the latest season, and as fans, tell us what the process was like in trying out for the part and what process you go through to take on the character of Natalie "Fig" Figueroa.
AR: I auditioned for Alex, then Polly, then they offered me Fig and I was over the moon. It was 3 lines and I just said yes. To take on Fig, I visited prisons, spoke to wardens, spoke to other prison officials and spoke to previously incarcerated women. I also watched a ton of documentaries about prisons.
AM: What are similarities and differences between you and your OITNB character?
AR: SIMILARITES: NONE!
DIFFERENCES: The list is endless - I am happily married, a momma, an artist, an activist...
AM: You play bad women really well - what role or person would you like to play that you have yet to do?
AR: The possibilities are endless!!!!!! Doing our photo shoot for this cover I picked up that book about style and had the hit that I want to do a biopic about DIANE VREELAND! I so want to play her, she's my style hero. Also, I want Lena Dunham to direct.
AM: This past year you not only starred in, but produced the film "EQUITY," which went to Sundance and got sold to Sony Pictures Classics. How does this role as a producer challenge you, and what are you looking to achieve?
AR: I was just reading Jill Soloway's essay in LENNY LETTER "Downtime Makes Me Anxious," and I'm the same way: I just love creating. I love producing because it challenges me and works different muscles than acting does. Just like parenting - or trapezing ( yes I have - check my Instagram) - I love trying new things and challenging myself. That’s why I went on Celebrity CHOPPED recently. I love telling stories, I love hiring more women and I love changing the
appalling statistics every time I do.
AM: Positive female role models is something that we are extremely focused on at Athleisure Mag - who were your role models that assisted you in being who you are today?
AR: I find new ones every day. I was about to give you a list of actresses, producers, amazing women I love and know, but really it's the people you don't know. Like my friend Allison's mom who had the coolest arts and crafts cabinet growing up. The woman on the subway who defended another woman when she was being sexually accosted. The every day strangers who stand up for what they believe in and are courageous and unique and amazing and inspire us.
They deserve so much love and admiration, they are my role models.
AM: Activism seems like a major cornerstone of your work (in the midst of everything else) - what organizations/platforms are you associated with and have any of them been because of roles that you have taken as an actor?
AR: I lost my dad to cancer and got very active with the Cancer Support Community - I love them so much. They provide free emotional, social, and psychological support for people with cancer and their friends and family. And yes I said FREE. I was so honored that they gave me and my husband this year's Founders Award For Support.
The Women's Prison Association became my "Fig's karma charity." I love working with them, have been volunteering with them for 5 years now, made a piece of jewelry with 100 of proceeds to them, working on a new idea with them now about employing formerly incarcerated women, and they gave me the Sarah Huntington Powell award. What the Geena Davis Institute does for women in the media is soooo crucial and I love supporting them every way I can. And there are so many others!!! This could be an entirely new article! ;)
AM: During the shoot, we loved incorporating a meditation shot into the cover story, how important is this practice to you and how did you get into it?
AR: I LOVE MEDITATION. ADMISSION: I did a lot more before I had a kid. But now, I do it with my daughter, I do it at home, on the subway, I have a meditation room at home. I listen to a meditation as I wind down from the day, floss my teeth etc. I always feel like I don't have time, but somehow if you make the time, time bends and gives you more, magically.
AM: What's your personal style when you're going to set, when you're going to dinner with your family and then hitting the red carpet for an event?
AR: I have no idea - you are the stylist - help!
AM: Who are your style icons?
AR: Diana Vreeland, DVF, Valentino, Vivianne Westwood, Jenna Lyons, Stacey from Alice & Olivia, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Emma Watson, Livia Firth, Chloe Sevigny, Natasha Lyonne, I could go on.....
AM: What are 3 exercises or methods that you do to stay so fit?
AM: When you're having a busy day running around in the city, what are 3 places in NYC that we may see you pop into for lunch?
AR: Ha! I never have time to go out to lunch!
AM: After hanging out with you, you have such a mindful nature about you that seems to permeate the way you approach life as well as living within it - how important is this to you from a mental, wellness, culinary and related lifestyle aspects?
AR: When we can incorporate mindfulness into everything, it just makes every moment sweeter. Everything is more beautiful - you even see art in a garbage pile. Rats become cute. And then, of course, people think you're crazy. I don’t care.
AM: A number of our readers either work with their significant others and/or are in the same field with them. What advice would you give to those readers to assist them in having couple time?
AR: MAKE DATE NIGHTS AND STICK TO THEM!
Appreciate each other. Write love notes. Talk about the relationship. Seek outside help before you need it.
AM: How do you take time for yourself as a wife and mother, actress, producer, activist etc?
AR: Ummm….I need to work on that. I really do. :)
AM: What projects can you share with us that are coming up that we may not know about?
AR: We just wrapped season 2 of BETTER THINGS - so excited! And I did guest stars on BROAD CITY, YOUNGER and ODD MOM OUT! I am headed to Chicago in a few weeks to shoot The Pages - a political thriller, and then shooting EGG in which I star with Christina Hendricks
and Anna Camp, and I could not be more excited! #LIFEISGOOD
Our shoot with Alysia Reiner of Orange is the New Black, took place in Tribeca in a historic building. We chatted with Louise Phillips Forbes, Licensed Senior Associate Real Estate Broker at Halstead Real Estate to find out more about this property, 119 Chambers St #2.
ATHLEISURE MAG: The layout of this apartment, as well as having an elevator that opens into the home, was definitely a great feature and made it fun to shoot our June celebrity cover - what can you tell us about this property?
LOUISE PHILLIPS FORBES: What’s not to love?! It’s the quintessential downtown New York apartment as depicted in TV and movies. A split-level loft boasting 2,240 square feet with 3 large bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and soaring 14-foot wood beamed ceilings that take your breath away. Not to mention the awesome floor-to-ceiling windows facing south and the old-world exposed brick walls in the expansive great room that also has a wood-burning fireplace.
The open, contemporary kitchen is perfect for entertaining given the large marble-top breakfast bar, but it also features custom cabinetry and high-end, stainless steel appliances. A peaceful retreat, the master bedroom suite boasts a very large walk-in custom closet and serene spa-like bathroom with a double-sink vanity, deep soaking tub, and glass-enclosed shower. Stunning hardwood floors, recently purchased LG washer & dryer, ADT alarm system, and separate thermostats in each room
AM: What makes the building special and does it offer amenities for residents?
LPF: Built in 1858, the cast-iron building at 119 Chambers Street was fully renovated using high-end materials and finishes and converted to a condominium in 2008. It’s a boutique building with just 5 units total so privacy is assured. Each apartment has a substantial room-size
storage unit and there is a fitness room downstairs.
AM: Tell us about the neighborhood that is directly around this building.
LPF: Tribeca is a very diverse and friendly neighborhood where the big city feels more like a small town, and Chambers Street is in the heart of it all. Very walkable and also bike-friendly, this area is filled with charming cafes and fine dining options, boutique shops and luxury
retailers, galleries, fitness clubs, and several local parks. There’s even a Whole Foods just a few blocks away, and Starbucks is on the corner of the block. Plus public transportation is very convenient with many local and express subways nearby, and you have easy access to the
West Side Highway enabling you to get just about anywhere in the city efficiently. It’s an ideal location for New Yorkers.
AM: Tell us about who represents this property.
LPF: I am very honored to be the broker representing this exclusive listing. I have been working in residential real estate for more than 28 years and currently hang my hat at Halstead Real Estate’s Park Avenue office, where I’m proud to lead the firm’s #1 team. My portfolio of clients includes buyers, sellers, and luxury developers all over NYC, and my career sales are in excess of $3 Billion. I consider myself more of an educator, than a sales person, and it’s a privilege to be a part of this process with people, after all, your home is the base upon which the rest of your life is built.
AM: For those that are interested in purchasing this unit, how can they find out more information?
LPF: It would be very easy to call this lovely apartment home given that it’s move-in ready. Simply bring your toothbrush! To schedule an appointment, people can contact me directly and I will be happy to give them a private tour and discuss the purchasing details. I can be reached via email at email@example.com or at 212-381-3329.
AM: Where can readers find out about additional properties that you represent?
LPF: Visit my website and click on the tab for “My Listings”. You can view pictures, 3D floor plans, and videos along with detailed descriptions of each property I’m working with from
downtown to uptown.