15 Celebrities Who Used to Be Aerobics Instructors
Now COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg donned a "silver leotard, leg warmers, and a shiny headband" in the 80s while teaching aerobics at Harvard University. Although her work clothes have changed, she credits her time as an instructor for helping her learn to fake confidence even if she wasn't feeling it at first, forcing herself to smile through the routines, which in turn helped her feel better—and she still uses that skill today.
Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria paid the bills while she waited for her big break by working as an aerobics instructor. Little did she know the job would come in handy years later when she was chosen to be the spokesmodel for the Bebe sport collection in 2007. "I know how to move!" she said when talking about the fitness photoshoots.
Long before actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was stranded on the Lost island, he did a short stint as an aerobics instructor in a gym—but he was pretty lost there, he admitted to
. "I started making up my routine, and I looked in the mirror and the people were all copying me!"
Perhaps one reason Spice Girl Geri Halliwell always looked comfortable performing on stage is because she was used to dancing for audiences, just slightly smaller ones who also followed her moves. The former aeorobics instructor says she still uses the principles of fitness she learned then. No wonder she's got such a great body.
Friday Night Lights and Nashville star Connie Britton worked several odd jobs, including one as a step aerobics teacher, for several years while she struggled through off-Broadway productions and small, uncredited parts before hitting the big time in the movie The Brothers McMullen.
As the owner of the hugely successful Dylan's Candy Store, Dylan Lauren has certainly proven she's not just the daughter of famed designer Ralph Lauren. She refuses to let her treats go to her hips, though: The self-described "athlete tomboy" still teaches aqua aerobics in New York City to stay fit and active.
Famous for her no-holds-barred humor (she named her dog "Parker" after Sarah Jessica Parker because "they both weigh 5 pounds"), comedienne Lisa Lampanelli is able to poke fun at herself for earning her paycheck as an aerobics instructor before hitting the comedy circuit. "Insert your own joke here," she deadpanned to
One possible reason why Crash actress Jennifer Esposito looked so great on the April 2008 cover of SHAPE: She taught fitness classes in Manhattan to support herself during her struggling-actress days. The hours paid off, helping her to both become a star and sculpt those lean abs.
You'll soon be able to swoon (and, go ahead, drool) over Frank Grillo's muscular physique when he takes on the role of Crossbones in the newest Captain America movie (due out in 2014). The veteran soap star of Guiding Light and a myriad of TV shows mostly boxes now to stay in shape, but he originally caught the healthy-living bug as a fitness instructor.
Jean-Claude Van Damme
The "muscles from Brussels," Jean-Claude Van Damme is almost as famous for his athletic build as he is for any of his roles. So who would guess that he got his start doubling-up as a pizza delivery man and aerobics instructor in the 80s? Now if only we could find photos to see if he wore Spandex.
Stephen Amell's famous pecs have made many cameo TV appearances in his roles on Private Practice, Hung, and now Arrow, where his character is renown for his buff physique. But before his break on Queer As Folk playing the part of Spin Instructor, he worked as a spin instructor in Hollywood. No surprise he got the gig.
As the original vampire seductress on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the spin-off Angel, Charisma Carpenter has proved she can kick butt. The fit actress first learned her moves not in a karate dojo but teaching aerobics in college. All those leg lifts clearly came in handy!
Geek goddess Julia Benson has a huge fan base from her role as Lieutenant Vanessa James on sci-fi thriller Stargate. The gorgeous actress' first fitness love is dance, though—one reason why she became a certified aerobics instructor.
President Gerald Ford
Wow everyone at your next dinner party with this tidbit of trivia: U.S. President Gerald Ford taught aerobics classes before taking the Oval Office. In April 1942 Ford joined the U.S. Naval Reserve, becoming a certified physical fitness instructor at a flight school in Chapel Hill, NC.