I’ve worked in a referral only studio and it’s a favorite of Hailey Baldwin Bieber and Kendall Jenner. It was an intimate experience and I loved it.

 I've worked in a referral only studio and it's a favorite of Hailey Baldwin Bieber and Kendall Jenner.  It was an intimate experience and I loved it.

  • She took a Pilates class in a referral-only studio in Los Angeles next to a famous influencer.
  • The experience was intimate and relaxing, and I really enjoyed my time there.
  • The exercise was hard, but the coach supported me with every movement.

When I heard about Forma Pilates, the buzzy, celebrity-approved, referral-only Pilates studio led by Liana Levi of the “The Skinny Confidential” podcast, I was instantly curious.

With famous clients like Hailey Baldwin Bieber and Kendall Jenner, as well as rumors of class prices going up to $500 for an hour-long private session, I knew I needed to know what the hype was all about. After taking one serving, I understand why everyone loves it.

The studio is big and beautiful

I booked a class with Levi at the studio’s original location, the pool house of a gorgeous, very large home outside Westwood Village in Los Angeles. Upon my arrival, I couldn’t find any signage or indication of the studio which got so much talk about. In fact, it took me a knock on the front door to even know I was in the right place.

Levi directed me into the backyard, and I climbed the stairs to the airy, clean studio with open windows offering soaring views of the greenery, making it look more like a little treehouse than a Pilates studio. The space has a small entryway with shelves for props and supplies, two renovators—often touted at around $10,000—and a small space in between for Levi to teach.

Forma Pilates studio

The two reformers are inside the Forma Pilates studio.

Courtesy of Jimmy Killen

The class began, and it took me less than five minutes to realize it was going to be difficult, really tough. I’m recovering from injury, so I wouldn’t consider myself in a fight, but I’ve been working with a personal trainer and doing strength training four times a week for the past three months. I’ve also done my fair share of Pilates mat classes, so I didn’t expect to suffer as much as I did.

The intimate setting allowed for the attention I needed as a beginner

Fortunately, Levi and my colleague, TikTok celebrity and Forma Pilates regular Addison Rae, were incredibly fans and assured me that the first time was tough for everyone.

We went through a flow of precision exercises that worked the whole body, starting with standing arm exercises using the reformer’s vertical stand, then moving to the cart for various crunches and leg raises that were so challenging, I was shocked I could – clumsily – complete them.

The two-person class provided the one-on-one attention I so desperately needed, with Levi adjusting my looks and sometimes my entire movements throughout the class in a way that was helpful, not discouraging.

In true Los Angeles fashion, we talked about zodiac signs and aura colors, and it became clear that Levi’s ability to form personal relationships with her clients, combined with challenging workouts, was a critical component of the studio’s success.

Conversations came between groups, and Ray asked Levy who she’d like to be in the class. I wasn’t surprised to hear her say Gisele Bundchen and Beyoncé, but I was surprised to hear that she enjoyed having athletes in the class.

When I spoke to her later, she said her studio isn’t about being a celebrity hot spot and more about creating a safe space and support system for people in the industry, adding that she’s not looking for people who only come once, take a picture in the selfie mirror, and leave — you want people Who want to be part of the community.

Despite all the stars she studied, she’s admitted that she still stars sometimes when teaching people she likes, like LeBron James.

I’m not sure if it was the amount of focus the exercise required or the easy-going nature of class, which felt a lot like hanging out with a small group of friends, but class flew by. I was shocked and slightly relieved after I finished my final set.

While there are several Forma Pilates locations in Los Angeles and one in New York, it can still be difficult to get a referral for an in-person class, so Levi created an online platform that lets anyone try out the Forma method with minimal equipment for $50 a month or $450 a year.

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