Ali Levine is styling the life of her dreams. As the star of the hit breakout Bravo show, Stripped, the celebrity stylist was stripped of all her possessions for 21 days–but wound up gaining so much more in the end. Expecting her first child literally any day now, Ali spoke exclusively with Celebrity Parents Magazine about being Stripped, her plans for balancing motherhood with her career, and why pregnancy can be empowering.
How did you get involved with Stripped?
I’ve been in the Bravo world for some time. I’ve styled the Vanderpump girls and also Lisa Vanderpump. The producers came to me and wanted me to participate and I thought that it would be an interesting experiment. I told my husband and he said I think you should do it. Honestly I don’t know if I would have been able to do it without him. I would have had a heart attack.
It looked like a very challenging process.
It was not easy. We shot for 21 days, but it wasn’t a typical Bravo reality show. You were stripped of all your stuff and weren’t getting it back unless you made it one of your items. It was way more intense than people saw. People saw me crying on the red carpet and what they didn’t know is that we had been filming for a long time. I’m always glam. When I style these amazing celebs, I always want to look good and represent my brand well. I wasn’t expecting to go on the red carpet, I was in this tiny dress, I had nothing together, my hair was a mess. And it was hard for me; I mean Hollywood is hard as it is. When they said something was on my dress, it shook me because I had been stripped and had nothing. In that moment, it tore me down because I already felt so raw and this was my career, so it wasn’t a good feeling.
It was never about the amount of stuff people had, it was more about an emotional issue that people had. Your episode was about Justin wanting to have a baby and you coming to terms with that.
Justin and I struggled with the fact that he wanted to have a baby for a few years. He followed me to L.A. because he wanted a family. I was focused on my career, and it was fine. As we got older, he would ask me what I thought about having a baby, but I wasn’t there yet. On a personal note, my grandmother Dodo was my everything. When she passed after my wedding, it made it difficult to think about the next chapter without her. It made me further dive into my career and push everything else aside. Justin and I had to work through that in our marriage; we would talk about having kids one day, but I didn’t know when that one day would be.
What was the biggest takeaway from being on Stripped for you?
I think that going through Stripped took everything away and made me realize what was truly important and how we get consumed with everything else. Within 48 hours, I realized how much I had been missing. Now, when I put my phone down, I don’t run back to see it. I’ll check it, but it doesn’t shake me like it used to. I don’t feel like everything is urgent and has to be answered right now. I think Justin and I bonded and became such a team. He would literally do anything for me, and it was really empowering for me to see how much he loved me.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was shocked but I think that my mind and body got synced up and said this was the right time. I literally got pregnant on the show without knowing! I feel like it was meant to be. We went through this experience and we literally came out of it with a baby. We started this whole new chapter without even knowing that we started it.
How are you planning to balance career and motherhood?
I’m leaning on others and delegating and trusting. I focus on my daughter and making her a priority. It’s just reshifting and figuring out what’s important. Now, she will be the best accessory for me. For many years, my career was my baby, but now it’s her. I’m so excited for her. I’m going to work harder but smarter. I can have it all.
Minimalism is very popular now. How has the show affected you in terms of the amount of possessions you have?
We’re still learning that! [laughs] It’s easier said than done. I purged a lot more in terms of clothing and I go through things more often. But I still have a lot. I have gotten rid of a lot of my stuff to make room for the baby. We definitely have learned how to purge better, me especially. In that sense, we’ve become a bit more minimal. As a stylist, I don’t need 50 pairs of the same nude shoe, even though I think that I’ll use it. That was hard for me to learn, because I’m always like, “Options, options, options!” [laughs]
How has pregnancy been for you?
Well, right now, I’m 39 weeks, so I’m just done. She’s so low and I’m constantly uncomfortable. Before that, though, I really enjoyed it. I embraced the bump. I loved seeing how your body can change; it’s so amazing. Justin has been so cute; he rubs my belly and talks to her. It has been a cool transformation for us. That has been the most rewarding and exciting part of it all.