Jillian Michaels: Passionately Honest

6 years ago by

Photos Lou Mora

My favorite thing about Jillian Michaels is her authenticity. She has something raw about her, incredibly honest, and I find that fascinating. Her story is one of an overweight child finding confidence through fitness. She shot to fame by being one of the judges on “The Biggest Loser,” a hit show in America, and since then has never stopped following her instincts, growing, succeeding, failing, and being an awesome human. She lives on a farm, with her partner and their two kids – and a lot of animals… Oh, and she’s really funny, as you’ll hear in this interview.

Today we meet with her in Malibu to talk about life, kids, fitness, her podcast and her new app…

[podcast_episode episode=”265068″ ]

Jillian Michaels Atelier Dore

On what martial arts gave her…
I was gay but didn’t even realize I was gay, though everyone else knew I was gay. I was overweight, I had crooked teeth, a huge nose and bad acne. And I was going through a lot at home. I ended up in martial arts at about 13, and it was a long process, but it gave me a place to belong, a sense of confidence and strength, and accomplishment. It took years, it wasn’t overnight, but that really allowed me to appreciate fitness as a means to redefine somebody’s worth and image.

On the impact of her tough persona on The Biggest Loser…
It was a hard thing to overcome. They would say your Q score is bad, your popularity is bad. I’d think, but I’m the most successful brand in this space. I get the best results, I make promises and deliver. If 20 million people like me and utilize my stuff, they’d say yeah but 80 million don’t. It was difficult to overcome. But you know what, I made a great living, I love what I do and if I speak to 20 million people rather than 100 million, so be it. Were there opportunities I wished I’d gotten but didn’t because of that persona, of course.

On how her entry point into the market differs from today…
Nowadays, it’s all social media. The entry point is enormous and anyone can get into the game, but the field is packed with players and differentiating yourself is far more difficult. I got into through a very narrow window but it was a wide open field, so I had more opportunity.

Jillian Michaels: Passionately Honest

On her brand…
Brand has become such a dirty word, but in my world, it shouldn’t be. A brand should be based on consistency, authenticity, and passion. So I have zero shame about calling that my brand. For me, I’m passionate about what I do, I’m consistent with my message and I deliver on my promises. And I promise my audience transparency. So whether they like what I say or not, at least they think, “she’s not bullshitting me. At least I can trust her, whether I like her or not, at least I’m not worried she’s selling me a bad bill of goods.” If you selectively tell them the truth, that compromises your integrity.

On how she and her partner ended up with two kids in one week…
Two years into the adoption process, Heidi said, “I can’t stand this anymore, I think I’m ready to have a baby.” We’d been together four years and some change at this point and I thought, ok great. Then, after months of trying, we get a phone call that we’d been matched with a child in Haiti and the very next morning, she comes downstairs with a stick that said she was pregnant!

On becoming more vulnerable over the years…
I’ve definitely changed over the years. I’ve gone to a more vulnerable place. I don’t know that I love it, but it’s arguable that it’s a better way to handle conflict.



On fighting the patriarchy and other people’s expectations…
My tolerance for the fighting was far greater before the kids. Now, when it compromises my quality of life, it compromises their quality of life. If I’m stressed, it’s hard on them. If I’m outside of a restaurant fighting on the phone while dinner is happening inside, it’s hard on them.

On swearing…
I feel very strongly about swearing. I’ve tried to give it up year after year after year, but I realized I just don’t want to. There are just some words that I think relieve stress, make your point far better than others, and there is nothing you’re gonna say that feels quite as good as that!

On the ups and downs of life…
Life is hard and has it’s ups and downs, it’s unfair, horrible shit happens to good people all the fucking time. Learning how to have a meaning in those tragedies and set backs, allows you to transmute the suffering into a wisdom, a depth and empathy. That’s to me how you age with integrity, and quality of life is by having a meaning and a purpose.

Jillian Michaels: Passionately Honest

Other things discussed…
Kaisa Keranen
Zambezi River
Ketogenic Diet

Be sure to check out Jillian’s new app, My Fitness, and her podcast, The Jillian Michaels Show. For the latest updates, be sure to stayed tuned here, here and here!


Add yours
  • Contente de la retrouver dans Pardon My French ! Jillian Michael est une vraie source d’inspiration pour retrouver confiance en son corps (même si la plupart de ses séances me laissent sur les rotules…) ;-)

  • Great interview which gave a different and much softer perspective on Jillian. Love it!

    Rock Renee Blog

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira February, 20 2018, 2:44 / Reply

    Her bad-ass attitude and confidence are sooooo fu**in’ sexy !!!
    Definitely a fan of this woman ! As a matter of fact … Fan of both!!!
    Big Up from Lisbon !!!

  • Jillian Michaels is the real deal. Her workouts and food advice work — because they are based on common sense.

  • Who makes Garance’s pants and top? Thanks!

  • I really enjoyed this interview and her brutal honesty. I have over the years done her various dvds, because like Garance, I too sometimes only have 10 minutes and I find them effective. I also like using the word “Fuck”. Will have to now listen to her podcast.

  • Melanie Steinemann February, 21 2018, 7:24 / Reply

    Can’t wait to listen!! Jillian’s living room is perfection. I love her no-nonsense military-style training.

  • Thank you for being inspired to give us pardon my french, Garance! It’s such a joy listening to you and your guests and I definitely loved this one! We need more passionate, authentic and free-spirited voices that feel genuine and kind. Also, you’ve been such an inspiration when I started my own project, all the fridas, turning my lens towards the amazing people I have around me and their stories. Kisses.

  • I am so sorry to say this, but I do it so maybe you will reflect more on what you write. In fact, the interview completely deflated the high expectations your introduction gave. I won’t go into details, but “authenticity”? Really?!?!?

  • This was a good interview marred by Jillian’s comments about not caring about racism (“we’ve had worse” – what, slavery?!) and instead only caring about the environment. Typical white feminism. It makes me sick. And yeah, I’m white and I’m a feminist.

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