In a city filled to the brim with legendary movie stars, reality celebrity lifestyles and major ad campaigns everywhere you look (and the men and women behind those campaigns casually picking out produce alongside you at Trader Joes), even the most confident gal can oftentimes feel the pressure to keep up in Los Angeles. The fact that it’s (pretty much) always summer here, too, further ads fuel to the fire; there’s no fleece and cashmere to hide behind. But one longtime makeup artist to the stars is revolutionizing how women perceive themselves with an empowering fitness movement that combines feel-good endorphins, bikinis and a whole ‘lotta girl power.
Anna Branson is changing the game with Barely Hiking, an idea that finally came to life a year ago in Malibu and is quickly gaining momentum in LA and across the country; Branson even has girls on the east coast hashtagging and joining in on the movement. The original idea behind Barely Hiking was this: a pack of girls walking into Runyon Canyon in nothing but hiking shoes and killer bikinis. With the help of supportive girlfriends and clients who immediately thought this was, well, a kickass idea, Barely Hiking had its first hike this year. The result? Amazing.
“Five minutes after walking into the gate at Runyon, all insecurities were gone,” remembers Branson, who initially wasn’t sure the reaction Barely Hiking would garner from fellow hikers. The support she received from girls—and guys!—alike, however, was overwhelmingly positive and free of any cat calling or side-eyed-sneers. “It was so empowering.”
Runyon Canyon is a 160-acre park is situated in the heart of Hollywood and jam-packed with patrons daily (among them Justin Bieber, Vanessa Hudgens and many a Kardashian), making it a prime location for her movement to gain a spotlight from the public eye—and to inspire and empower girls to be proud of their bodies, flaws and all, no matter what shape or size.
If the concept sounds intimidating, she makes an excellent point that venturing to a pool party or to the beach is equally as scary. These insecurities are something Branson hopes to change by having girls embrace the beauty of their bodies in a natural element, free of the pressures of what we like to call ‘celebreality’. We have to admit that if there’s anyone we can trust, it’s surely Branson herself- the go-to makeup artist for a star-studded roster of clients and Beauty Editor of Darling Magazine. To find out when the next hike is, check out @barelyhiking on Instagram. We’ll see you (and your favorite bikini) there.