By Anna Griffin, Editor in Chief
In a time of global instability and uncertainty, the opportunity to interview a woman like Gabrielle Reece is a gift. Beyond her phenomenal and ever-evolving career accomplishments such as supermodel, professional volleyball player, New York Times best-selling author of My Foot’s Too Big For the Glass Slipper, business woman, television personality and actress, she’s also in rock solid marriage with legendary, big wave surfer, Laird Hamilton, and a dedicated mother to their three daughters. But bigger than all of that is Gabby’s character. She’s a powerhouse, not only for her career and personal achievements, but also as a strong woman who is incredibly down to earth and has a built-in desire within her DNA to give back. Gabby credits growing up in Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands (while Laird was raised in Kauai), which has influenced them in their partnership to live in Ohana, which extends into all of their daily choices.
With this Ohana mindset, Gabby and her family naturally situate themselves in a position where they can help others, and live in a constant state of giving. But what is Ohana? Gabby explains, “Most indigenous cultures, native cultures - in this case it's Polynesian - Ohana is family, which doesn't have to be in the literal sense. It's our Ohana, so you know here we are, you and I, we're in Ohana at this moment. They're very generous of spirit and it's always working in that collective.” She continues, “Whether I know you or not, we're all connected and your well-being is of interest to me and your victories - even though I don't know you - are my victories, because we all are connected. It just feels it's even more important now that if you can do something for somebody, do it and again it's in no way a Pollyanna thing . . . But it's being of service to your community whenever you can, without the expectation of something in return.”
While a philanthropic drive is always a laudable human trait, what makes Gabby different is her authentic and unique approach to being of service. Whether on a offering someone a personal workout, coaching XPT - hers and Laird’s intense, underwater pool training that they offer to those who can benefit, or Laird Superfood, their sustainably grown, responsibly sourced, plant-based, all-natural, whole food company, Gabby is committed to elevating people’s wellness. She is quick to point out that they each remember their backgrounds and growing up blue-collar in the islands, which influences their focus on making good health and nutritious food accessible to everyone. Mentioning that in giving she receives and citing the author, Anthony De Mello, Gabby believes that being of service ultimately makes us feel good. “In a way we're never really doing anything for anybody else, and the only time we are is when we don't know it,” she says.