You might know actress Gillian Zinser as 90210’s surf goddess Ivy, who—ever the SoCal poster child—is perpetually shown in cutoffs with her board in tow. So what does this Venice Beach transplant do when she isn’t playing a surfer girl on TV? She surfs. And that’s not the only similarity between the actress and her alter ego. “I share a lot of Ivy's free-spirited attitude, her joie de vivre,” says Zinser—and we saw plenty of evidence of that when we sat the actress down to talk about healthy living, perfect days on the water, and her trip to Haiti working with Artists for Peace and Justice.
Foam: We hear you’re really into surfing. What do you love most about being out on the water?
Gillian Zinser: The humbling effect of being alone in the ocean. I love the peaceful feeling of being away from everything and everyone.
F: What motivated you to learn how to surf, having grown up on the East Coast?
GZ: I was in search of adventure. I learned in Costa Rica when I was 17. Warm waters, empty beaches, balmy rains and Caribbean sunsets—it was pretty magical.
F: You’re obviously really thoughtful about the way you live and treat your body. Do you have any rules, when it comes to food?
GZ: I eat mostly raw, whole foods. I won't touch anything with ingredients I can't pronounce.
F: And apart from the physical stuff, what else do you do to stay healthy?
GZ: I laugh, appreciate everything I have, keep my priorities straight, and remember to slow down and enjoy the hell outta this life.
F: Why is relief in Haiti so important to you?
GZ: I believe it's part of my responsibility to do what I can to better the lives of others—so whether that's through inspiring someone to feel something by sharing the human experience through a story, or through building a school in a refugee camp in Haiti, that's always my goal. And as an artist, I feel it's part of my job to actively seek out and understand the human condition, so instead of just donating money to support Haiti's relief efforts, I wanted to go down there to understand it myself. Haiti's disaster is ongoing, and we have to help keep their story alive until real change has been made.