How Two Broadway Stars Stay Healthy and HappyJune 18th, 2020
Welcome to What I Eat in a Day, a blog series that showcases the daily lives and meals of Thrive Market members like you. Today, we’re talking with Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna—or as they’re more commonly known, New York’s Broadway Husbands. As two Broadway performers, Shuford and Hanna have a passion for the arts, the LGBTQ community, and staying healthy. Learn how they’re eating well and living better, even despite the COVID pandemic, and what they most look forward to about getting back to work.
First things first, welcome to the Thrive Market family! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Shuford: I’m a native of Southeast Texas, and besides spending 20 years working on Broadway, I also have a passion for helping others as the Broadway Life Coach. During these times, it’s so important to be of service to our community.
Hanna: I’ve been a professional ballet dancer most of my career and I’m excited to become a father. Currently, I’m teaching online dance classes inspiring people to keep moving. During this crazy time, I’m trying to stay as healthy as I can.
What do you love most about your job?
Shuford: I love watching people see the power they possess inside that they haven’t been able to tap into. It’s so inspiring.
Hanna: I love that I get to be physical and connect with people, even if it is on Zoom.
Why is healthy living important to you?
Shuford: I need energy to stay focused while creating content and coaching people, plus balancing my acting career. Staying healthy allows me to stay focused so I accomplish more.
Hanna: My entire career depends on my body functioning and working at a high level. I also like to enjoy life and by taking care of myself I can ensure that I can continue to be my best self.
What’s your biggest challenge with healthy eating and/or healthy living?
Shuford: Motivation! I sometimes really want to just sit on the couch and drink coffee, but getting in my yoga or weight training is essential for me to feel confident.
Hanna: Making sure I’m fully stocked with healthy snack options so I have enough calories to get me through the day.
How has your work life (and life outside of work) changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Shuford: I was in the Broadway cast of “Wicked”, which has stopped operations until we are told differently. We don’t eat out at all, and I miss the fun of New York.
Hanna: It’s completely changed. Our jobs are nonexistent, and we are displaced to Pittsburgh since New York had its shutdown. We spend most of our days online teaching. However, we are still together and still happy!
What are your favorite meals to eat throughout the day?
Shuford & Hanna: Especially during quarantine we pretty much eat every meal together. We love coffee, so we might make our own cold brew, and drink some powdered greens as well in the morning. Our diet currently is mostly Whole30®, so in the morning we make scrambled eggs with salsa, avocado, spinach, and tomato, and perhaps some peppers. For lunch, we typically make some sweet potatoes with chicken and broccoli with a vegan pesto sauce, or a huge salad with olive oil and coconut aminos. For dinner, we might have a couple of steaks, and broccoli with lemon juice and cajun seasoning. At night, we have some fresh fruit to satiate our sweet tooth.
June is Pride Month. How are you celebrating this year?
Shuford: Pride is, and was, a protest—this year my goal is to amplify the voices of my black brothers and sisters through supporting organizations for the black LGBTQ community.
Hanna: I’m celebrating by being proud of who we are as a married couple, and when we walk around, no matter where we are, not being afraid to express our love and commitment to each other.
What are your favorite ways to honor and celebrate the LGBTQ community all year?
Hanna: By supporting other LGBTQ influencers and followers through our podcast and donating to various charities that make a difference in our community.
What has been a lesson you’ve learned that has moved the needle for your career?
Shuford: You don’t fail—you just learn. Time and time again I thought being successful was seeing my name in lights—but for me, success lies in the actions I take today. If I’m one step closer to my dream today, I’m a success.
Hanna: I’ve performed in a variety of aspects of show business and the one thing I’ve learned whether or not I’m the lead or in the back—as long as I’m passionate and excited about what I’m doing, I can find fulfillment. When people see that in you they want to work with you.
What professional and personal advice do you have for the younger LGBTQ community?
Shuford: Own who you are, because that’s what people are invested in—not what you do, or if you are liked, but who you are as a person. Explore everything, and stay curious, because you might find you weren’t the person you were told you were. You will find you are so much more!
Hanna: You should surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are and don’t think there’s something you need to change about yourself. The more love you surround yourself with, the stronger you will be.
For sharing their experience, we’re gifting Bret and Stephen Thrive Cash to shop healthy essentials at ThriveMarket.com. Interested in sharing your story? We’d love to hear from you! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and occupation.
Photos courtesy of Sarah Jessica Hall Photography.