Jillian Michaels on Life, Love & Austin


On Sunday, April 6, Jillian Michaels will make Austin her last stop in Texas as she takes the stage at the Long Center on April 6th. As the world’s leading health and wellness expert, Jillian will be taking the stage across the country in her “Maximize Your Life” Tour for an evening of inspiration, information, and motivation. For a show that will be intimate and uniquely personal experience, we wanted to hear more about life, love and Austin in her own words.

LY: Your tour is titled “Maximize Your Life”. What was the inspiration for the name and the tour?

JM: The idea with the title is to tell people exactly what the show is about – not just building a better body, but building a happier and healthier life overall.

LY: Who would be a perfect audience member for your message and what can they expect?

JM: I simply say, if you are feeling stuck or unfulfilled in any aspect of your life then this is the show for you.  Expect to connect with and learn how to cultivate your passion in order to build lasting goals and intrinsic perpetual motivation and inspiration.  Expect to dramatically redefine your self-image and enhance your self-worth.  Expect to learn the tools and skills to achieve the goals you are passionate about.

LY: We can only assume that coming out and now becoming a parent has helped maximize your own life. Has this been true for you?

JM: Too many ways to possibly mention, but what I can say quite simply is that kids not only want to make you be a better person, but they teach you what the meaning of life really is.

LY: We watched the dialogue between Bob Harper and Bobby Saleem cheering Bob for his revelation and cheering for Bobby in his transformation. In your working with those struggling with weight, do you often see issues with family, sexuality and such?

JM: Bobby’s parents are part Indian and he comes from a culture where being gay is unacceptable. In fact, quite recently India passed a law that jails gays and lesbians.  So of course coming out to his parents was challenging. I can say that I have seen many individuals in the LGBT community struggle with shame over their sexual orientation and while it doesn’t always manifest in weight gain it absolutely takes a toll on their pursuit of health and happiness in many different facets of their lives.

JM Headshot -DFcroppedLY: My 77-year old mother just proclaimed, “Even I knew that she came out.” You went from the “whisper network” to the “Oh, I knew that” in record time. How has the journey been for you? And your family?

JM: For me personally I never thought my sexuality was relevant to the way I do my job.  While I am disheartened by those who fear the LGBT community for whatever reason, I don’t begrudge them and would still like the ability to help them lead their healthiest and happiest life.  For those reasons, it simply wasn’t relevant as public info.  Then when my kids came into my life obviously things changed because people wanted to know about them and so on.  I never want my kids to think that I am not proud of them or our family so it became public knowledge.  While I do get heartbroken over the constant ware raging over our civil rights, on a professional level I have noticed no change in the support from my fans.

LY: What hesitations did you have about coming out and have they proven to be true?

JM: I was concerned it would alienate people I was hoping to help and up till now that has not been the case.  There is no doubt that I experienced certain prejudices from business partners of ours.  I lost a few magazine covers and there was one key sponsorship that I lost – I’ll let you see if you can figure that one out, but other than that though the response has been one of acceptance and tolerance.

LY: Your advice and tenacity have transformed contestants on screen and countless viewers. What is the best advice you have ever been given? And by whom?

JM: To listen to my gut.  Trust myself. I have seen the most brilliant and talented people make the biggest mistakes when they go against their gut.

LY: Did you ever fathom that you would reach this level of impact in your career?

JM: Yes, because I believe that where there is a will there is a way. There is nothing special about me. I simply have the knowledge that I am worth it and also the knowledge to make me capable and this is what I will teach my audience during my live show.

LY: What is next for you?

JM: Personally – more time with my kids and more volunteer work. Professionally, I am working on an athletic apparel line with Kmart and a healthy food and snack line called Slim Soul that we are working to test in Ralph’s supermarkets and Walgreens.

LY: Will this be your first trip to Austin? Any particular spots you are excited about hitting?

JM: No! I love it there! I just enjoy sitting at the cafes and people watching.


Interview by Lynn Yeldell
L Style G Style – Storyteller of the Austin LBGT Community.