Michelle Bridges—dubbed “Australia’s Jillian Michaels,”—launched her online fitness program in the US in 2014, and Sydney-born interval training workout F45 Training just might be the world’s fastest growing fitness franchise. Crazy successful wellness brands like The Beauty Chef and the cult-favorite, all-natural coffee skin-care line Frank Body are Aussie, too.
In fashion, Lorna Jane Clarkson—who created massive global fitness fashion brand Lorna Jane in Australia in 1989—is said to have coined the term “activewear.” And let’s not forget famous Aussie food exports like avocado toast and blue algae lattes (it’s no wonder the continent has spawned Instagram food phenoms like Taline Gabriel, AKA, Hippie Lane).
All of this of course begs the question: Is there something in the (presumably incredibly alkaline) water down there? Does the overall culture and lifestyle in Australia foster wellness innovation, or is it all just a big happy, healthy coincidence?
And of course while an active lifestyle may be more of a norm than in other places, not all who rise to fitness fame experience its influence. Workout phenom Emily Skye, for instance, says that health and fitness was not a part of her life growing up on Australia’s Central Coast. “My mum always fed my sister and me healthy food, but I didn’t know much about health nor did I think it was important,” she says.
Skye studied to become a personal trainer at 18, found herself in an obsessive, unhealthy relationship with eating and working out, and then finally had an aha moment and turned it around. As she dove into wellness about seven years ago, she says, most people she knew didn’t “get it” yet.
And whether or not it relates to her whereabouts, she’s going to ride that wave. “All I’m concerned with now is educating people and spreading a positive message to as many people as I can to hopefully inspire more people to live a healthy lifestyle,” she says. Perhaps at least few of them will soon be Aussie trainers with followings as big as hers.