When I turned 22, I decided to have my birthday party at a new-at-the-time venue, Santos Party House, where some interesting acts were supposed to be playing the "WTF? Party."
I promptly bought 10 tickets with my limited funds, hoping that my birthday guests would reimburse me. On the night of the show, snow began to pile up and my heart sank. I was left with only one other person in my birthday posse.
Deflated but not defeated, I made my way down to the basement. Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that the night's master of ceremonies was the fabulous Andrew W.K., a co-owner of the venue. I cheered up immediately and got lost in a sea of good vibes.
That night, I saw a handful of epic performers whose careers were chomping at the bit, including A.W.K.'s superhero wife, Cherie Lily, the creator of Houserobics. My friend and I kick-boxed, squatted, danced, and poured sweat until we were literally slapped into positive submission by Cherie's show.
I'd entered that show a bit down about my life, sick of being stepped on at work and in my personal life, and left with a renewed sense of clarity. I genuinely found more laughter in my heart after that night.
Angel that Cherie is, she is still kicking ass and taking names. Like myself, she is a Jane of many trades: A performer/recording artist, fitness instructor, and wife to a rockstar. I recently took one of her classes at Crunch Gym in Chelsea--and as I type this article, I am still sore.
With more squats than a dancehall video and enough bicep curls to turn you into Popeye, I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of workout I got from the 30-minute class. Even more impressive was the woman herself, Cherie, who answered a few of my questions about her awesome and inspiring life.
What are your favorite healthy and unhealthy snacks?
CHERIE LILY: Healthy snack would have to be Fuji apples cut up with Trader Joe’s salted almond butter. Unhealthy [snack] would be ANY cake with frosting. Or cupcakes.
Are there any women you find inspiring or look up to?
CL: One summer I got to hang out with Sharon Osbourne when Andrew was DJ-ing for Black Sabbath, and she is someone who I already looked up to. I think she is a strong woman who has been through a lot, and I found her autobiography, Extreme, to be motivating. She still helps out with all of Ozzy’s managing and handling, despite not having to, and I think that is awesome.
Who's your dream collaborator in the fitness world?
CL: My dream collaborator would be Richard Simmons. He is such a welcoming person, and he really gets people from all walks of life to take steps in their life toward fitness. I visit his studio, called Slimmons, any time I am in LA. [His classes] are affordable and he never leaves people behind--even people who are not able to walk or stand attend class and work their upper bodies.
Who has been your most memorable fitness client or transformation?
CL: Sia is one of my training clients. She wanted to move away from NYC and get out of the limelight and take more of a songwriter role, and she has transitioned into this life in LA beautifully. I am so proud of her for achieving her goals and taking the road less travelled.
What's your advice to people who are uninspired by their current fitness routine?
CL: I think that people should change the way they talk to themselves. If you are unhappy with your looks, shift your attention to how you feel. If you feel unhealthy, try taking the stairs or getting off the train a few stops early and walking. Focus on what choices you can make to empower yourself rather than focusing on what you look like. Small changes can do a great deal for how you feel about yourself.
If you're in New York this month, Cherie Lily will be performing live at the Westgay Party at Westway on August 12th. Don’t miss it!