Perhaps unsurprisingly—even on a day when she claims to be overwhelmed and exhausted—Jennifer Aniston shows up to our Zoom call looking completely flawless: Her hair is shiny, her skin is glowing, and she radiates bright, effortless energy that I am typically unable to attain even after several coffees. Yet, regardless of her status as one of the most famous women in Hollywood, there is something eminently relatable about Aniston. The 53-year-old actress has such an air of trustworthiness that if she told me her number-one beauty secret was daily ice baths, I’d buy an industrial freezer—no questions asked.
Fortunately, Aniston’s methods are not so extreme. Her not-so-secrets: meditation, a no-frills beauty routine, and a commitment to giving her body what it needs—whether that’s additional nutrition or a break from exercising. Ever since discovering the supplement company Vital Proteins, Aniston has been an evangelist for the nourishing powers of collagen, even joining the company as its Chief Creative Officer in 2020. Now, with the release of her Vital Proteins & Jennifer Aniston Protein and Collagen Bars, she’s ready to spread the gospel.
Upon breaching the subject, it’s immediately apparent that Aniston takes her role at Vital Proteins far more seriously than a standard-issue celebrity spokesperson. A longtime enthusiast for healthy living, Aniston dove into the project of developing her Vital Proteins bars with aplomb, taste-testing box after box of samples, and pushing for the inclusion of powerhouse ingredients like maca powder and Cordyceps mushrooms. The result? A solid, snackable protein bar that meets the high standards Aniston brings to every aspect of her career, from her acting roles to her haircare brand LolaVie. Ahead, I chatted with Aniston about using food as fuel, her dogs’ meditation habits, and the healing power of sunshine.
How are you? Should I call you Jen?
Yes, call me Jen, please! With Jennifer, I feel like I’m in trouble—Who’s yelling at me?
Let’s talk about Vital Proteins. What drew you to working with the company, and how did you become Chief Creative Officer?
They’re a great team of people, and I love working with them. I’ve been using the Vital Proteins collagen powder since 2014, and I love it. Many people are unaware that you can ingest collagen, and as we get older, we start losing our collagen—we take it for granted when we’re in our twenties. My doctor recommended it to me as an addition to my diet, and I started putting it in my coffee once he promised me that it wouldn’t change the taste of my coffee.
Then, I started adding it to my smoothies for workouts, and I noticed a difference after a couple of weeks and months. I saw a difference in my hair, nails, joints, and workouts—everything was easier, and my recovery from workouts was better. It was a very organic partnership when they came along.
Tell me about how the bars happened.
When I was taste-testing a bunch of their products, I tried the bars they had, and they were too big, a little chewy, and didn’t taste great. I asked if we could work on perfecting this bar because I love protein bars. They’re one of my go-to snacks, and it’s hard to find a good one that doesn’t have a weird aftertaste or a high sugar content.
So I made my shake one day, putting my maca powder and cinnamon, and said: Why can’t we make the bars have these ingredients for added nutrition? The Vital Proteins team said, “Great, let’s do it.” They would send me packages of different bars, and we would taste-test them. Sometimes they were too sweet, sometimes there was a coating that had an aftertaste—it was basically about perfecting it, and I think we nailed it. I have friends who hate protein bars, and everybody unanimously loves them.
What is your favorite flavor?
Cold brew is my current favorite.
How else do you nourish yourself besides collagen?
Well, what we put in our bodies is important. I used to eat mindlessly, and I never used to read packages or gave a hoot about what I was putting in [my body]. I’m much more mindful about what I eat and conscious of my ingredients. I try to practice balance by eating a proper amount of protein, vegetables, and water and exercising.
These are staples I live by. I remembered a couple of years ago, we were on a road trip, and we stopped at a fast food restaurant, and I was thinking, “This is gonna be the greatest thing I’ve ever had in my life,” and within two bites I was bent over with cramps. You don’t realize how important our nutrition is and how it affects our bodies.
Eating to fuel yourself makes such a difference instead of restricting yourself.
It’s fuel. But I also think we need a balance, you know? We have to be able to have our indulgences and things that we love while practicing the 80/20 rule. I just finished a job where I was away for three months, and it was the first time working out was not big on my list of priorities. I was listening to my body and was still committed to my morning meditations because otherwise, I was not equipped for the days.
Talk to me about that. What else do you do to take care of yourself and stay grounded?
Meditation, for me, is really important. If I were to skip my daily practice or miss a few days, I would notice a difference in my day—it’s not something you can ever put your finger on, but I see a difference. Especially with everything going on in the world, it’s important to commit yourself to a practice that works for you. This happens to be for me.
You keep teeing up my next questions! Tell me about your morning routine.
I wake up; I meditate, I walk the dogs—usually, my dogs meditate with me, which is adorable. They fall sound asleep right next to me. After that, I work out, wash my face, and start the day.
What’s your beauty ritual?
It’s pretty basic: I wash my face with Aveeno face wash, use serums, and keep things simple. For summer, I’ve decided to lean into my natural curls and the LolaVie products I’ve been using. We have a hair oil, and then we’re working on a shampoo and conditioner, which I love. I also try to get 10 or 15 minutes a day of sunshine.
That makes a huge difference, also just for morale.
I know—again, I notice a big difference if I don’t have at least a little bit of sun exposure. It’s something that you can’t put your finger on, but getting that vitamin D is a good feeling.