Pro-File: Ellen Hollman

The Spartacus star reveals how she trains for the physically demanding role of Saxa on this addictive Starz series—and why Thai takeout makes her feel all warm and fuzzy inside

May 14, 2013
Pro-File: Ellen Hollman

Q. Are you super-careful about your daily diet?

A. With every meal I do my best to keep a balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. I try to avoid anything fried because it makes me feel sluggish afterward, and like I’ve wasted hours of training on something that doesn’t even satisfy my hunger.

Q. What’s your favorite cheat/treat meal?

A. Pad Thai, hands down. I allow myself one cheat day a week, and in my case it’s “Fat Sunday.” If I don’t have to be on camera the next day there’s nothing like a belly full of sodium and noodles to make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Q. How often do you work out?

A. Five days a week. I treat exercise like it’s my job. I do something nearly every day, though it varies. I’m a huge fan of circuit training, Bikram yoga, and MMA. For cardio, I prefer to do an hour-long canyon run in the California sunshine—nothing gets those endorphins firing more than a scenic mountain run!

Q. If you had to pick one, what is your favorite strength exercise?

A. My favorite exercise is quite mobile, actually. It’s the P90X Ab Ripper, which can be done anywhere. I tend to travel a lot, and try to keep my core toned with this amazing 15-minute routine.

Q. How has your role in Spartacus pushed you physically?

A. There has never been a job that has pushed my physical limits quite like Spartacus. I do all my own stunts, and with that responsibility I have to make sure I’m able to do what is asked of me. There’s no way to fake your way through something like that. I’ve spent hundreds of hours training to have every moment on screen be my own!

Q. In what ways would you say you are most like your character?

A. Saxa is a tenacious, vivacious force to be reckoned with. I’d like to think I have mild versions of those qualities, but she takes them to a much more extreme level. She has a halo balancing on a pair of devil horns and a natural confidence that’s fun to watch despite her incessant vulgarity. I’m just the driver—she’s the one giving directions!