If the name Michelle Lewin doesn’t mean anything to you, we hope that rock you’ve been living under is at least comfortable. Get ready to meet your latest Internet inspiration idol.
At the time of publication, Michelle Lewin’s Instagram account had attracted a staggering 2.3 million followers. That’s twice as many followers as @mcdonalds. That’s more than the populations of Halifax and Calgary combined. When it gets down to it, that’s just a heck of a lot of people, waiting on their cell phones with bated breath and fingers ready to double-tap, eager to see what she delivers next. Will it be an exercise tip? A beach shot? An endearing video featuring her and her husband, Jimmy? Follow Michelle and you’ll most likely see all of that and more within the span of a single day. And who knows? By the time this magazine reaches your hands, the tally could be closing in on three million Insta-fans. Not shabby for a girl who was discovered not so many years ago, lounging on a beach.
It turns out there are two types of people in this world: those who haven’t a clue who this freckled Internet Juggernaut is, and those who know everything about her. (Well, everything an online post can reveal, anyway.) Though “La Cuerpa” (her nickname, a play on the Spanish term for “the body”) is now known for striking poses, she started out as a 90-pound teenager who had never even so much as lifted a weight or kicked a ball. (When asked about her athleticism, for example, she wryly admits, “I run like a snail carrying a turtle and I swim cat-style.”) If you are lucky enough to meet her in person today, however, you’ll immediately recognize two things: she’s a true professional, and much softer spoken than one would expect from an internationally renowned personality. Always making eye contact and engaging with everyone on set, it’s easy to see why photographers love her and why she is continually flown around the world for events and occasions, including the inaugural FMF event in Toronto last April where the city first met – and was blown away – by her. Fans stopped her in the streets. People snapped pictures from car windows. Clubs were packed with patrons willing to pay cover price just to be in her presence. Walk a few blocks with Michelle, and you’ll quickly come to terms with just how big her following is.
While there’s no denying that many of Michelle’s fans are of the heterosexual male persuasion, in defiance of her sometimes-hypersexual image she is also a pillar of online fitness inspiration for women, a tightrope walk that she has managed to maintain with relative fluidity. (“The trick is not how you want the fans to see you, it’s all about what the fans want to see,” she notes of her online strategy. “And that difference is, in many cases, very big.”) She easily moves between sultry and girl-next-door in both her posts and in person, turning on the mojo for the camera with nonchalance you’d expect from a long-time supermodel. And, despite the fact that it seems she’s circled the earth more times than the moon, with a travel schedule that has her wandering the globe for almost half of the year, she religiously maintains her twice per day, six days per week workout schedule and still manages to stay beyond upbeat. “The most exciting part of travelling is, no doubt, meeting all these positive fans,” she explains. “That is so uplifting; they give me the kick to just go on full power.”
Find your own power by tapping into Michelle’s mix of exercises on the following pages. We asked her to hand-select her best butt and leg exercises, and it’s clear from this authoritative list that the classics do, in fact, work. Tackle them twice per week and start practising those over-the-shoulder mirror shots for your next up-to-the-minute post.