Athletic, Talented and Beautiful, Estella Warren Might Just Have it All By Michael Berg
It's a Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles, and Warren is relaxing at home, a rare respite for someone who admits she loves to work. In a few weeks, she'll be traveling up the coast to the Seattle Film Festival to help promote a movie she stars in, "Her Minor Thing." In August, she begins filming on her next role, an independent film called "In Your Dreams."
Promotion for "National Lampoon's The Trouble With Frank," in which she stars opposite rocker and actor Jon Bon Jovi, looms on the horizon. But for now, the gorgeous 26-year-old blonde can kick back, if only for a little while. Warren's journey to her current place in life has been a whirlwind, to say the least. The first stop? Synchronized swimming. "I moved away from home when I was 12 and trained on the Canadian national team," she recalls. "We swam eight hours a day, six days a week. In 1995, they dropped my events from the Olympic games, which I was supposed to go to, so I competed in the World Aquatic Championships." Coming in second at Worlds, the three-time Canadian National Champion came to a fortuitous crossroads. A chance meeting with a talent scout at her high school's fashion show, a Polaroid photo forwarded to a New York City agency, and an offer too good to refuse led to a sudden shift in career path. "I kind of felt like, "Wow, I have this opportunity to make money instead of living off an $800 stipend a month," she says of her leap into modeling. Beautiful and athletic, with a face and body so striking she can instantly stop conversations in any room she walks into, modeling was a quick and natural fit. Soon she was gracing the pages of top national magazines like "Vanity Fair" and "Vogue," while landing a dream assignment with Chanel No. 5. "I did the Chanel campaign for seven years," she says. "Modeling for me was very one note, and it was very lonely; I didn't really love it but it was lucrative so I kept doing it. But one day I decided to pick up and move to L.A. and try my luck at acting, and in my first two weeks I was cast in three movies. It was just like, boom. I didn't even go back to New York, I just had all my stuff shipped to L.A. I figured if I went back, I would have started thinking I was completely insane."
Her first major roles came in Sylvester Stallone's "Driven," and in the Tim Burton-directed remake of "Planet Of The Apes," both released in 2001. She also appeared more recently in 2003's "The Cooler" in a minor role, and in the action comedy "Kangaroo Jack" that same year. Now with "Her Minor Thing" on the festival circuit and "The Trouble With Jack" set for a major release later this year, Warren is excited about starting the promo work for both. "In "Her Minor Thing" I play a 26-year-old virgin, which is a little stretch, but that's why it's called acting," she says, laughing. "It was really fun. We shot it in Sacramento; it was kind of a low budget, but it's a cute little movie. I'm really proud of it. "In "The Trouble with Frank" I play a lawyer who is Jon Bon Jovi's character's love interest," she continues. "We're not sure on the release date yet, trying to work it out. It'll probably come out in the fall or winter." One thing you quickly notice in Warren's choice of roles is the diversity, and that's not by accident. "I really like doing everything--what's great about being an actress is you get to keep changing," she explains. "It would frustrate me to death if I had to always be the girl in romantic comedies. It's fun to do little projects like "The Cooler" where I played this drug addict, then a romantic comedy or a slapstick comedy, then a drama -- it's much more interesting that way." In choosing which auditions to attend and what offers to take, Warren has a clear decision-making process. "First, it's the script, then it's the director, then it's the cast. For me, a director can make or break the movie; the actors can only go as far as the director's vision. And then you want to be able to click with the (other actors) you're working with."
Despite her hectic schedule, Warren does find time for other pursuits, including an intense fitness regimen
right in line with her athletic background. Three times a week, she performs an hour of plyometrics or weights with a personal trainer. She also hikes and boxes as her main cardio outlets. The key to her fitness success -- Variety. "We keep changing my program," she says. "If my legs are too sore from a previous workout, we'll do cardio and (upper body) more, but if my (upper body is) sore, we'll do legs more. If I'm not sore, we may do a little of everything. It has to be like that for me, otherwise I get bored. Plus, if you do the same thing all the time, you're always working the same muscles. You want to shock and surprise your body." What's not a surprise is Warren's love of the outdoors. Taking full advantage of the beautiful Southern California climate, she often leaves the gym behind for some activity in the fresh air. "I go trail hiking in the beautiful canyons. Sometimes we do beach training
. There's also a gym my trainer and I go to where you can work out outside." Meanwhile, with the help of a nutritionist from PFC Concepts
, she has a meal plan that keeps her strong, toned and healthy. "My nutritionist does a blood test that shows what kind of food your system can metabolize best," she explains. "I have five meals a day six days per week, and I have one day I can eat whatever I want." Although she has help in planning her diet, Warren loves to cook herself. Fish and steak are among her favorite meals, while her sweet tooth calls out to her every once in a while for oatmeal raisin cookies. "Part of being able to stay on any program is letting yourself have what you want when you really crave it," she says. While whole foods
are her main source of nutrition, Warren does use a few key supplements
to augment her diet. "I take two multi-vitamins
and two flaxseed caplets
in the morning, two more multi-vitamins
at lunch, and a calcium/magnesium/zinc
supplement before I go to bed," she says. Warren is also a proponent of green tea
in both traditional and supplemental form. "I'm a big fan of green tea
," she admits. "It's one of my favorite supplements
. It boosts your immune system and it's full of antioxidants -- I love the numerous health benefits I get from it."
For Warren, fitness isn't her only interest outside of acting. A multifaceted personality with a deep-seeded competitive streak, she sometimes takes college courses between filming (certainly giving the guys in her classes extra incentive to show up every day). "Sometimes when I have down time, I'll take courses, either UCLA extension or at Santa Monica College, just to keep my brain working," she explains. "I just took a psychology course." I thought, "I've been in therapy for ages, I've got this down," and I go in and find out it's all biochemical. But it turned out to be very interesting and I did very well, I got a 95 for the course. I was very excited." As for that competitive streak? "Yeah, I'm working on that," she says. "I'm trying to knock it down a little bit, but let me tell you, if you're playing Scrabble with me, you're in trouble."