FADE WOMEN SERIES - Meet Holly Gibellini Davis

For those who don't know Holly, Holly is a multifaceted movement lover, who has lived all over the world watching, studying and teaching movement. Ever since she was young, it was organic for Holly to express herself through movement. Through her discipline Holly quickly learned how the right kind of intelligent movement could help not only heal and prevent further injuries, but also have a positive effect on her body and mind.

Teaching movement for almost 20 years, Holly is now an international Pilates and Barre teacher and has trained everyone from Olympic medal winning athletes, tv stars, fashion designers, famous chefs, models and the most incredible mums. She has co-ordinated and taught at some of London’s most sought after boutique fitness locations, fronted an international campaign as a master trainer for the activewear brand ‘Sweaty Betty’, was a movement advisor for Adidas shoots, has been a trainer for companies like Spotify, as well as becoming one of the trainers for the JShealth app. Holly is known for delivering maximum spice, her corrective posture technique and a banging playlist! 

We caught up with Holly following her move from Bondi to Perth to chat all about her training with The Movement Society and launching Virtual MVMT, her personal passions, along with lots of other very exciting projects in the making.


FADE is all about fading the weight of other people's judgement and opinions and embracing your own confidence, what is the one thing you love about yourself?

My resilience. The ability to turn a negative into a positive and learn and grow from it is something I’m really proud of.

What does confidence mean to you? 

As I’ve learned over time, confidence to me really means owning who you are, showing up as your authentic self and not what you think others want you to be. I feel incredibly grateful to have been surrounded by members of the queer community over the years and watch people who have faced judgement or repression because of who they are dare to show their beautiful unique selves anyway - this has always inspired me and to me is total confidence and beauty.

If we remove the titles and work, who are you when you’re being authentically you? 

I’m a proud, openly gay woman. However, professionally it took me a long time to be open about my sexuality. I spent years hiding it for fear of judgement. The yes vote (along with a lot of self work) helped hugely with this. My appreciation of being able to live more authentically in all areas of my life now means the world to me! I have lots of layers and parts to me, and am a deeply genuine person which words can’t define! I’m open minded, playful, inquisitive and giving but also grounded and disciplined. I’m not afraid of taking big risks for things that mean a lot to me, exploring the paths less taken and enjoying all life has to offer.

How would you describe your personal style? What's your go-to look? 

My personal style has so many identities to it and it changes and grows as I do. I love to either stay classic and neutral or big and bold and playful. My daily go-to throw on look for comfort and ease while I teach/work/workout/do life has been the Princess Di workout look. It's been that way all through summer and even into winter here in beautiful warm Perth. Fade classic bike shorts with a crop or tee, fresh white crew socks and reebok actress and fade classic jumper thrown over my shoulders. 

Holly G

Favourite quote and why it resonates to you? 

This changes often, self growth and work is something I nerd out on. Right now it’s “An intelligent man learns something each day, a wise man lets go of something each day." It reminds me to not only stay open to learning new things, but the importance of letting go of thoughts, ways, things that no longer serve me in order to make space to continue to grow and make the most of my life.

What is one major event that has shifted your perception of the world? 

My first experience in the desert at Burning Man definitely shook up my perception of the world. It opened my eyes to the depth and potential of everybody, including myself. It's so easy to create imaginary limits for our lives but our capabilities and the potential that lies before us in life is actually kind of unfathomable if you really think about it. I walked away from that experience having shaken off some views that limited me, seeing new potentials in life and a deeper appreciation and respect for every person I meet.

Business or personal, share one goal you’re hoping to achieve by the end of 2020? 

These past 12 months have been an absolute whirlwind for me both personally and professionally. However, with all of its challenges, it has helped me to understand and solidify the things that are most important to me and my goals in the future. When COVID-19 first sent everyone into lockdown, it hit a lot of people really hard. The stories I would get from people saying how they had just worked out with me online and now they felt a little bit better to take on whatever they have to do that day is something that means the world to me. That's what it’s all about for me. So my goal is to double our reach to even more people out there and bring them thoughtful, considered, intelligent movement.

What’s your current fitness regime and favourite workout?

I love to mix my studio classes with virtual now, it makes getting moving so achievable. We upload a new workout daily and take requests so I’m always filming new content. I film lots of great Pilates workouts using The Movement Society’s toning toolkit which means I hit every spot I need to - which sometimes bodyweight alone can’t do. Then I love filming all of the sculpt, cardio, barre and stretch content from 10 minute quickies to 60 minutes sessions to compliment the Pilates. This keeps everything feeling fresh and fun! I live next to the ocean so I'm also a coastal walk addict and swim in the ocean every chance I get.

Is there a person or business that you’re impressed with or is inspiring you at the moment that our community should know about? 

Yes! Elise at The Movement Society. I’m so grateful to work with Elise, her generosity, inclusiveness, compassion, skill and work ethic inspires me each day. Physically, she’s one of the most skilled instructors I've met, she really walks the talk. She literally does Pilates EVERY day. Elise is also an encyclopaedia of Pilates too and no matter how much she knows, she is always wanting to learn more, which is the sign of an amazing teacher.

Also Renee Scott, my mentor who without her I wouldn't be the teacher I am today. Her knowledge, experience, passion and understanding of how the body works is nothing short of art. She created the Australian-owned Barre program, Barre Attack, that is now taught all over Australia and helped me to be the strongest, aligned, connected version of myself.

They both own their own multiple businesses which they have built from the ground up and are incredible and strong women I’m so grateful to have worked with!

Favourite place you’ve travelled to in the world and why?

This is a huge tease as we can’t travel right now and I can’t just pick one! My faves would have to be Morocco for the total culture shock, I just adored it all. Berlin because of it being such a young progressive beautiful city with a nightlife like no other in the world. Also the San Blas Islands in between Panama and Columbia because I was welcomed into some of the most untouched and protected communities and it really opened my eyes to different ways of living. But to be honest I’m always so glad to be home. My favourite beaches are still in Australia between Perth and Sydney, there’s no place like home.

What is one thing about being a woman that you’re proud of?

I’m proud of many things about myself, but all of them are regardless of gender, or any other boxes I fit into. I’m proud to be me!

You’ve had such an impressive career as a professional dancer, what did this experience teach you? 

Being a dancer feels like a past life sometimes but it definitely shaped who i am today. The traveling and dedication involved taught me the meaning of hard work and extreme discipline. It also taught me how independent I can be, and what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes around the world too, which grew my compassion and empathy which is essential for any good teacher.

Over time dancing taught me that it wasn't enough for just me to move anymore, but how much I find purpose and fulfilment in my life by bringing others into their bodies, moving them, and making them walk out of a class with me feeling damn good (my fave part of the job!). 

The most important thing it taught me though, is that life is to be lived! I'm worth so much more than my productivity. Too much dedication in one area without balance with the rest of my life doesn't hold long term fulfilment for me. Balance is essential and play should be a priority too! 

From London, LA, Paris, New Zealand and Australia, you’ve been able to maintain clients all around the world, which is super impressive, what has this year taught you in terms of resilience?

Oh this year has been such a hidden gem in so many ways in terms of resilience. The start of this year was an incredibly tough one for me both personally and professionally having just left my incredible job and beautiful friends in Sydney for a new city for love. Then I lost love and didn't have my friends and family around. Then COVID came along and I essentially lost all my jobs and clients with no way to teach anymore. But instead of dwelling on any of the above Elise from The Movement Society and I hit the ground running (she had essentially just lost her studio that had taken years of work to build). We were doing 14hr days every day to bring Virtual MVMT to life. This really initiated a change in gears within me and suddenly a whole new world of possibilities came about with a new perspective. I reminded myself just how resilient I am and how much I have to offer. It was the perfect “blessing in disguise” reminder to believe in myself. I had clients from all over the world that I hadn't been able to teach since I had moved and all of sudden this was the perfect tool to connect us again. I realised this was actually an opportunity I had to grow and hone my craft from another angle. I had always shied away from being in front of a camera because I was so hard on myself. Plus teaching to me was always about the student, but the student was gone. Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to look at things from another angle has made me realise on camera my best is better than perfection and why can't online classes still be about the student? Thoughtful, corrected movement needs to be online more now than ever now there are no watchful eyes of a teacher on the student. Virtual MVMT has given me purpose and meaning that has made all of the challenges worthwhile. The things I’ve learned over this time have allowed me to grow not only as a teacher but as a person too.

Looking back on your career journey, what has been the most interesting project you’ve worked on to date and why?

This is a no brainer for me, the amazing shows, retreats, teacher trainings, celebrities or performances that I have worked on or with in the past, Virtual MVMT has by far been the most interesting. Not only because of the journey it took to create it, but the way Virtual MVMT has been able to reach and positively impact people. Interacting with every single one of the members from all around the world that I would have not otherwise been able to connect with. The response from people has blown my mind. I've had messages from people about how it's helped their mental health and made them feel fitter and stronger than pre-iso times has warmed my heart. I couldn't be any more grateful to be a part of something that brings intelligent, feel-good movement to people inside of iso when they need it the most and will long outlast iso and COVID times too. Creating a new normal where we get people soaking up all the benefits of movement.

To connect with Holly, find her on instagram - @hollyg.d. Holly has also created a 25min 'Pilates Quickie' for our FADE WOMEN community which can be viewed here.

You can also workout with Holly: https://mvmtsociety.com.au/virtual-mvmt/ and view her toning toolkit here: https://mvmtsociety.com.au/product/toning-toolkit/,