I will always remember the first conversation I had with Jared Leto. We originally met in NYC in 2008 when I was working with his former management company, The Firm; I took him to do a radio interview at Z100. He had just finished filming the movie Chapter 27 where he played Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon. He had to gain 60 pounds for the role. The details of how he did it have stayed with me, hauntingly: he would set his alarm in the middle of the night, wake up, and then eat cereal, ice cream, and pizza—and so much food that he would sleep propped up with pillows or in a recliner so he wouldn’t have excruciating heartburn. Jared became so sick from the rapid weight gain that he could barely walk, and would use a wheelchair to move around the set. He developed gout, said his body was continually in pain, and he felt toxic, lethargic and depressed. This quick dose of reality revealed just how miserable life can be if you don’t take care of yourself.
In contrast, Jared Leto playing the role of himself means that he must operate at the top of his game. Jared is one of the biggest rock stars in the world as the lead singer/guitarist for the band, Thirty Seconds to Mars (who recently I had the pleasure of working with again). In addition, he is such an incredible actor that in March 2014, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the acclaimed film Dallas Buyers Club. In many of his movies, he has some sort of dramatic physical issue, or extreme weight gain or weight loss. In Requiem for a Dream, he plays a heroin junkie whose arm becomes infected and is amputated. In Fight Club, his beautiful face is beaten beyond recognition. In Panic Room, he is badly burned. In American Psycho, he is brutally murdered with an axe. For Chapter 27, he gained 62 pounds and for Dallas Buyers Club and Requiem for a Dream, he lost 40 pounds for each film. According to Jared, “I enjoy the challenge of a physical role.”
Jared’s 2012 documentary, Artifact, is a mind-blowing saga about greed and art. It is the must-see true story of how his record label tried to sue his band for 30 million dollars. Having grown up in the music business, I knew the people being interviewed and found the movie particularly fascinating. The story detailed in Artifact inspired Thirty Seconds to Mars’ album, Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams, which had three big radio hit singles (including my favorite “Do or Die”).
After our initial conversation about the horrors of Jared’s weight gain, I couldn’t WAIT to learn his healthy secrets. First: Jared loves to work out in nature (especially hiking and snowboarding). We have this love in common, which explains why we frequently run into each other while hiking in the Hollywood Hills. While exercising outdoors, you can easily reconnect with your center by taking in the surrounding beauty, which is also a form of mindful meditation. In addition, Jared meditates daily, allowing him to maximize his creativity and encourage his growth as an artist. We also have this love in common; meditation is game-changing and some of the most successful people I know have a strong mediation practice. To support his practice, Jared is a fan of the Headspace meditation app. When on tour with Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jared is known for his high-energy performances running on stage, climbing up poles, and practically hanging from ceilings.
When it comes to his diet, Jared is a vegan, or as close as he can and in 2014 he was named PETA’s World Sexiest Vegetarian. I found it ironic, that Thirty Second to Mars’ recent tour with Linkin Park was called the “Carnivore Tour.” Fortunately for Jared and band, a vegan chef was backstage. Jared’s favorite foods are popcorn, vegetables, and hot chocolate made with almond milk.
Jared is one of the hardest working, most inspirational, coolest, and nicest artists I have ever met who makes the world a better place by sharing his art with us. He agrees with my philosophy “Being healthy is not a choice, it’s a lifestyle.”
Jared’s favorite vegan recipe
Organic Buckwheat Pancakes
2/3 cup Arrowhead Mills buckwheat pancake and waffle mix
1 egg substitute
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup almond milk (For thicker pancakes, use less liquid. For thinner pancakes, use more liquid.)
- Combine all ingredients and stir only until lumps disappear.
- Cook on preheated (375 – 400 degrees) lightly oiled griddle or pan, turning when bubbles appear on the surface and the edges begin to dry.