It's officially summertime and that means the influx of outdoor activities and hours under the sun -- nature's peak time of year, if you will.
This year, for the second year in a row, vitafusion is celebrating that dedication to the great outdoors by kicking off the ‘Fruit Tree Project’, an initiative dedicated to planting fruit tree orchards around the country in underserved communities and those that have been impacted by recent natural disasters.
Natural disasters and the financial havoc they can wreak on communities across the country and world are no stranger to actress Brittany Snow, whose childhood home was slammed by Hurricane Irma this past year.
Snow, who teamed up with vitafusion on the project by helping plant over 40 trees at Snug Harbor Heritage Farm in Staten Island, New York, spoke to the ways that Irma affected her community and loved ones:
“I’m originally from Florida and this past year we had Hurricane Irma that came and really devastated a lot of [the state] and my family and friends all had to move, a bunch of their things were destroyed. And I posted an Instagram saying that my thoughts and prayers were with my friends in Florida and I wished I could do something to help and I thought that maybe that was a little disingenuous, because I wasn’t doing anything about it.”
It was this sentiment and desire to take action that made Snow’s partnership with Vitafusion so seamless:
“I always wanted to be involved with something that was helping the environment, but also helping to build communities and get them back on their feet … I really wanted to make sure that I was teaming up with [a company] that not only was bringing awareness to this cause, but actually taking action. So what the Vitafusion 'Fruit Tree Project' is doing this year is rebuilding communities and planting fruit trees in areas that have been affected by natural disasters and I think it’s an important way to give back, and also bring people together with nutrition and by helping the environment.”
The nutrition element of the project, specifically the emphasis on plant-based and natural foods, is also something that’s extremely important to Snow:
“Nutrition is a huge part of my life and also something I really stand behind, specifically because I believe we really need to be eating more plant-based foods and organic foods and food from the earth … I really try to keep [nurtrition] a priority. It’s really hard when traveling, I really like having a glass of wine on the plane and then I really regret it and I just have to realize that my health has to come first so that I can really do my job.”
Of course practicing proper nutrition is not the sole proponent of what it means to be physically 'healthy' -- exercise and consistent physical activity also play a crucial part.
But a jam-packed schedule, especially one that consists of constant jetsetting, can make finding time to exercise a separate challenge in and of itself.
However, Snow’s fierce determination towards prioritizing her physical health has helped her implement tools and routines towards stay active and in control of her body when on the road:
“I run wherever I go, I usually take a route that I don’t even know before and try to get lost as much as I can so that I can really see a city. I try to find a pilates studio that I like and there’s SoulCycle studios now everywhere, but specifically with nutrition, I’m much more geared toward the plant-based program now and that’s kind of how I run my life now and it’s hard but it’s something that I feel much better doing.”
Yet an overall picture of what one might deem as being in ‘good health’ is impossible without addressing its most important component: mental health.
Physical and mental health need not exist independently of one another — in fact, the lack of understanding the symbiotic relationship between the two is often what gets people into dangerous territory.
Snow, who is known to be vocal on her own management of mental health, is very keen on making the connection between the two:
“I think my mental health is more important than anything — it helps me do my job, it also helps me get up and exercise and eat right. And so I think I really keep that at the forefront."
New projects can mean a lot of unfamiliar territory — something that can cause stress or anxiety at its most primal form, regardless of whether or not one has struggled with mental health in the past.
But it’s Snow’s combination of vulnerability and assuredness that have served as inspiration for others struggling to speak up and to speak out — she is not afraid to talk about where she’s been, but rather is so focused and positive about where she’s going that her struggles of the past just become a part of her narrative, not by any means the defining factor.
Snow knows that having a toolbox of mechanisms and methods on-hand in anxiety-inducing situations is key to being able to manage the unpredictability of her day-to-day when in the midst of a project:
“I bring a lot of spiritual books that I really like, I call a lot of my friends. And I do this thing where if I do get anxious or in my head or feel like I’m getting into a zone, then I go outside and take a walk and call a friend of mine and ask them how they’re doing. I usually realize that it’s just time and it’s just my brain and I have specific books and people that I call to get me out of my own head.”
The notion of calling a friend and having a strong web of support is something that Snow relies heavily on — she understands the pure power that can come from simple conversation and allows herself to lean on those she loves when she feels herself beginning to dip:
“I definitely rely on my friends. I was having kind of a weird day yesterday and I ended up calling Kelly Jakle who plays Jessica in ‘Pitch Perfect’ and we talked for an hour … we got to catch up and we just talk really well together. And it’s really important to have that support system to know even just that they’re there and that they can listen — sometimes that’s the only thing that you need — just to have somebody, know that they get you and if you find your tribe of people and if they understand you, then that might be enough. And the ‘Pitch Perfect’ girls have really done that for me and we really care about each other — they’re some of my best friends.”
The 'Pitch Perfect' trilogy, ironically, depicts exactly the sentiment that Snow is getting at — at the end of the day, the movies follow an Acapaella group of singers who become ‘sisters’ in a sense, relying on each other during the up-in-the-air and, at times, confusing moments that they face in the realm of college and beyond.
It would seem, then, that sliding into playing the movies’ star character Chloe Beale would be a true match for Snow, as Beale is perhaps the character who values her relationships with the other girls the most out of all the characters.
Both Snow and Beale have a clear understanding of the importance in creating and cultivating those strong interpersonal relationships with those that they are surrounded by -- but if you ask Snow, her and Beale couldn't be more different:
“I don’t know if I’d be friends with Chloe — Chloe’s a lot and kind of annoying! She’s a lot more clingy than maybe I am but I do find her endearing and lovable and what she really wants is the best for everyone and the best for the group and I try to instill a lot of my own party planning aspects and being really happy and joyous into her — but maybe I’d be friends with her, I don’t know!”
Much of Snow’s career has involved this concept of injecting facets from her own personal life and experiences into the personalities and storylines of her characters — and her newest project, 'Milkshake', is a short film that does just that.
Snow wrote, directed and produced the film, the first time she has ever taken on all three roles at once:
“About two years ago, I was having lunch with my friend Andrew Jenks and he was like ‘You really just need to write this story that you’ve been talking about for years’ and he inspired me to write what I know, and so I wrote it. And I finally was putting together money for it but then a lot of financiers dropped out … I funded it myself and got to direct it and produce it myself, and it was really an amazing experience and I’m now gearing up to direct my first feature film at the end of the year.”
This transition into more diverse roles behind the camera is something that Snow hopes continues as her career continues to develop:
“I hope I get to do it all! I really like to be able to direct and produce … sometimes I think it’s hardest to do it all at once but I would really love to make sure that I get to wear all of the hats. Maybe not the singing hat for a little bit — I feel like I’ve done that for seven years!”
In an industry that can be cutthroat (to put it mildly), no matter which role one chooses to pursue, Snow offers one sound piece of advice to those hoping to get to where she’s worked to get:
“Keep going— I have had so much failure in my career and so many times when I wanted to quit and I actually took a year off of acting because I thought maybe I shouldn’t do this anymore and it was hard to get back, but I knew in my gut that this was what I was meant to do. And if you really know in your gut that you’re meant to do it, then nothing can stop you. And just find a way and ask for help and don’t take no for an answer.”