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Photograph by Peggy Sirota

The California Questionnaire: Gabrielle Reece

The California Questionnaire: Gabrielle Reece
The former volleyball champion and model—now an author and fitness guru—shares her California favorites

After retiring from a successful beach volleyball career, Gabrielle Reece didn’t slow down—instead, she kept adding to her résumé: mother, sports announcer, model, actress, shoe designer, and motivational speaker are just a few of the roles she’s taken on since. Reece, her professional big-wave surfer husband, Laird Hamilton, and their three daughters divide their time between Hawaii and the celebrity-filled beach town of Malibu, where access to the outdoors allows them to balance their thriving careers with an active lifestyle. Reece shares the reasons she loves California.

1. Where do you live? I live with my family part-time in Malibu, California.  

2. Why there? When I met my husband, Laird Hamilton, I was living in Los Angeles and he was living in Hawaii. Malibu was a compromise for him to get the nature he needed, but I could be close to a major city for work. At the time I was playing professional beach volleyball, and Southern California is really one of the places you need to live if you want to pursue that career.

3. Who or what is your greatest California love? My husband and one of my daughters were born in California so that takes care of the who. The what would have to be the diverse nature all around you.

4. What is the biggest misperception about Californians? That it is only a good-time state. In essence, whatever you want to do in California you can—whether it’s big business, luxury travel, nature adventures, raising a family, or yes, having big fun.

5. What is the stereotype that most holds true? That dreams can come true, and at every turn there is all kinds of natural beauty. If you like the mountains or the sea, there truly is something here for everyone.

6. What is your favorite Golden State splurge? Just living here is a splurge. I am grateful for the access to really healthy food and forward-thinking ideas about health, wellness, and fitness.

7. Time for a road trip—where are you going? My family would do something totally different for us and go to the mountains—head north to Mammoth.

8. If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? Simple, fresh, clean, and tasty. There is a restaurant near me called Malibu Farms on the pier in Malibu itself. It doesn't feel any more California than that unless you were going to go with really fresh Mexican, which is deeply rooted within the culture. 

9. Best California songs? California Dreamin’” by the Mamas and the Papas; “California Love” by Tupac; “Hotel California” by the Eagles; and “California Stars” by Wilco and Billy Bragg.

10. How would your California dream day unfold? Given it’s not a school or workday, get up and pool-train with a little cloud coverage. Then at about 10 a.m., when the sun peeks out, go have an outside lunch with my family. Take a small hike up one of the Santa Monica Mountains trails, then head to the beach for some sand bocce with the family and barbecue with friends. Get to bed early.

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Explore California Luxury
Fitness guru Gabrielle Reece explains how her California lifestyle combines the outdoors with high-end luxury.
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Discover Los Angeles County

See a movie star. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxurious boutique in Beverly Hills. Play at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, explore world-class museums, or dance the night away in a starlet-filled club. Welcome to California’s liveliest city, entertainment capital of America, with megastar wattage and nonstop activities.

“You know, you’re really a nobody in L.A. unless you have a really big door.”  –comedian Steve Martin

The main hub is the City of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.

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Courtesy of Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau

Marina del Rey

Visit this inviting waterfront community near Venice Beach and Santa Monica for laid-back fun

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Head to this new summer festival in Pasadena to hear the impressive lineup and sample local cuisine

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Burbank

The entertainment industry’s home base offers a microcosm of stars, shopping, and cool tours

If you come to Los Angeles wishing to see where movie magic gets made, look on the other side of Hollywood—literally.

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Watch celebrity chefs in action at this annual event in downtown Los Angeles

If you’re a foodie, your definition of “celebrity sighting” in Los Angeles has little to do with movie stars. Instead, this annual event at L.A. Live, located across from Staples Center, is like...

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All around L.A. County, shoppers can find today’s trends at amazing prices

Homegrown Los Angeles fashion runs the gamut from red-carpet-ready looks by Rodarte to slouchy, soft T-shirts by James Perse, which makes this county a...

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La Brea Tar Pits

Find fossils and family-friendly fun at this prehistoric excavation site

Your idea of old may be 100, but that will undoubtedly change after you spend several hours at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. You will learn...

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"The Squaw Man" was filmed in 1913, and was the first feature-length film made in Hollywood.
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Spotlight: Los Angeles

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Bright lights, A-list celebrities & diverse culture

Welcome to the bright lights and big-city allure of California’s largest metropolis. Here, A-list celebrities really do walk the sidewalks, triple...

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Spotlight: Hollywood

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Showbiz, celebrities, & endless possibilities

Tinseltown, where starlets are discovered on every street corner (or at least we like to think they are), and the tinted windows of that stretch...

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North Hollywood

Experience a different Hollywood just north of Tinseltown

From bustling Hollywood Boulevard, it’s less than 10 minutes to North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District, a happening enclave where live theater—not...

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Celebrity Spotting

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Where to see stars in Hollywood

Stargazing takes on a different meaning in Tinseltown. While there’s no guarantee you’ll spy a familiar face when you’re here, there are some...

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Courtesy of Visit West Hollywood

West Hollywood

A designer’s dream with shops, architecture, and style

West Hollywood has been dubbed “The Creative City,” and for good reason. Bordering Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, “WeHo” is where fashion and the...

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WeHo Design District

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Get trendy in a fashion-forward neighborhood

This stylish destination, roughly defined by the intersection of Melrose Avenue and Robertson and Beverly Boulevards might be one of the best...

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Sunset Strip Nightlife

Welcome to L.A.’s home of rock ‘n’ roll

Few roads have as much history as this 2-mile-/3.2-km-long section of Sunset Boulevard, bounded by Havenhurst Drive and Doheny Drive. In the 1960s...

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Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Southern California

Beach Towns & Big Thrills
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Museums

See masterpieces and innovative contemporary works

With its diverse collection of museums, Los Angeles has grown into one of the world’s great cities for art lovers. From the dramatically modern...

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Malibu

Explore a fabled beachfront town with real star power

Stretching for more than 30 miles along the Pacific and Highway One, Malibu has achieved...

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Los Angeles County Shopping

Go boutique to bargain in one of the world’s fashion (and shopping) capitals

You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.

If you’re ready to whip out the platinum card, head to Rodeo Drive...

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Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

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Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

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Pasadena

Tour an Arts and Crafts masterpiece and more in the home of the Rose Bowl

Set at the base of the towering San Gabriel Mountains, Pasadena is best known as the home of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose...

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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

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Lynn Gately/Flickr
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Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

Spotlight: Santa Catalina Island

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An island retreat off the Southern California coast

Swaying palms, white-sand beaches, warmest water in summer, and melt-your-heart sunsets—that’s what you’ll find at pretty-much-perfect island...

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Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-colored pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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Venice

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Surfers, skateboarders, and stars

Venice is the ultimate L.A. neighborhood where the surf meets the human circus. Spend a day along Venice’s palm-lined, beachfront boardwalk and...

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Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you’ve got the recipe for some of the Golden State’s most appealing destinations....

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Long Beach

Experience the many sides of a dynamic coastal city

With beaches and marinas along its waterfront and a busy dining and shopping scene on downtown’s Pine Avenue, Long Beach blends big city...

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L.A. Architecture

See eye-catching icons and stately landmarks

While Los Angeles is still a young city when compared to places like, say, Rome, it still boasts a unique architectural tradition that spans a...

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Lancaster's Civic Musical Road is the only "musical" or "singing" road in the United States.
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Hands-on fun for all at farms, ranches, and fields statewide

From almonds and olives up north to avocados, oranges, and dates in South, the Golden State has a crop (or 10) for nearly every stretch of terrain. After all,...

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February or March

You certainly won’t be the only one celebrating the Lunar New Year at this colorful event in L.A.’s Chinatown. Join thousands of revelers lining the parade route as lion dancers and giant dragons...

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Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate playgrounds

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

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