Elsa Pataky Fun and Fulfilled
Spanish-born actress, model and mum of three, Elsa Pataky is living a charmed life, the quintessential beach lifestyle at Byron Bay, married to movie star and heartthrob, Chris “Thor” Hemsworth, and inspiring others with her quest for well-being through nutrition and exercise
Born and raised in Madrid, Elsa Lafuente Medianu changed her name to Elsa Pataky in honour of her maternal grandmother, Rosa Pataky.
Working as a model and in Spanish stage and TV productions, Pataky graced the covers of high-profile European and US titles as diverse as Elle, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health and Maxim – one of the few models who could so comfortably adapt to all of them.
After relocating to the US, Pataky found success with several film roles and is probably best known for her as Elena Neves in The Fast and the Furious franchise.
Before Chris Hemsworth, Pataky dated American actor and Oscar winner, Adrien Brody, who famously bought her a 19th ‘castle’ in upstate New York for her 31st birthday in 2007. Despite reams of celebrity magazine pages devoted to the couple’s domestic bliss and considerable decorating prowess, they broke up in 2009, paving the way for a change in direction and entire life path for Pataky.
She met Australian actor Chris Hemsworth in early 2010 and by the end of the year they married. Three children followed, India Rose and twins, Tristan and Sasha.
Far from the stereotype of movie stars cloistered in the Hollywood Hills, Pataky and Hemsworth lead a chilled existence in Byron, mingling with the locals, surfing and regular yoga sessions on the sublime stretches of sand.
Despite their idyllic, Instagram-able lives, Pataky insists they’re just like everyone else, with the same ups and downs.
Alamy Stock Photo
In an interview with Hello! Magazine, the 43-year-old said their marriage, like most people’s, needed as much work as you would dedicate to any worthwhile pursuit, professional or personal.
“Chris and I got married very quickly, we had children very early, so we’ve thrown every possible challenge at our marriage. A marriage is constant work because that initial infatuation dies down over the years and you both have to work the rest of your lives to keep the love alive.
“Nothing is as easy and perfect as it looks,” she continued. “We have to work at being a couple like everyone else. As much effort as you put into your work, you have to put into your marriage and into being a dad and a mum.”
A life-long devotee of yoga, Pilates and the health benefits of the beachside lifestyle, Pataky has made the leap into the role of author, candidly sharing her philosophy that building strength through cultivating the mind, body and diet is key to achieving ultimate health and vitality in her book, “Strong”.
In its beautifully photographed pages, she shares simple ways to overcome mind-traps and other challenges; tips on managing cravings and sore muscles; her favourite high-intensity exercise circuits that can be done in the comfort of your own home with minimal equipment; straightforward and sensible nutrition advice to support your fitness program and fuel your body; and delicious, healthy recipes.
“My goal is to live life fully – to thrive, not just survive. I do that by exercising daily, eating healthy foods and keeping my mind active. I could not imagine my life without exercise. For me, it is the glue that holds everything together: my health, my happiness, my relationship.”
Her own routine consists of strength training at least twice a week, yoga or Pilates three or four times a week, and, lately, practicing Muay Thai ((Thai kickboxing) which she picked up from Chris.
The couple spends plenty of time training together, and enjoying pastimes they each love, which is important for maintaining motivation.
“This is why I wanted to learn Chris’ favourite sport – surﬁng. Not only would we have more things to do together, but it was a great challenge for me.
“In turn, I have introduced Chris to two of my favourite activities: horse riding and motorbiking. Now he also loves them, which means we have even more opportunities to have fun together.”
The kids are not left behind either, joining their famous parents for exercise on the beach, a dip in the ocean and even mini weights.
“I get the kids to come train with me and I give them tiny weights – it becomes something interesting for them as well.”
Pataky is an enthusiastic proponent of yoga, saying it made a “big difference to her body” and was instrumental in returning to fitness after the birth of her children.
“It’s also for your mind. At the end you have that moment of laying down and five minutes kind of like a meditation. I think that’s really important for your brain and to come down.
“To create a strong body, you have to start with a strong mind. You have to decide that you want to make a change in your life.”
Pataky also credits yoga with “styling” her muscles and giving her a leaner appearance.
Naturally, Pataky favours the Mediterranean diet, heavy on vegetables, fruits, legumes, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and olive oil.
“I don’t believe anything about diets, like quick diets that you do before summer. Those miracles don’t exist,” she said. Instead it’s Mediterranean-inspired meals every day for herself and her family, as fresh and organic as possible.
As for her beauty regimen, the 43-year old has a range of simple staples she swears by.
Speaking to beauty website, Gritty Pretty, Elsa said there are five products she can’t live without: Swisse’s multivitamin; Creme De La Mer Moisturising Cream (which she shares with Chris); Luma On The Glow Highlighter in Bronze Voyage – a $29.95 highlighter for creating a ‘glowy’ look for photos; Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation and Dior J’Adore Perfume.
At the recent launch of L’Oreal Paris’ new Botanicals Fresh Care range, based on an ethos of sustainability, Pataky was asked the eternal question about how she balances the competing responsibilities of career, husband, motherhood and the needs of her three kids.
She answered with her refreshing honesty and back-to-basics wisdom: “I think it’s just, as we say, taking time for yourself. It’s very important. As hard as it is, I want to be 100 percent a mum. I haven’t had a pedicure in two years! I think I should get time for me.”
Cover image Contributor: MediaPunch Inc / Alamy Stock Photo