Written By Jordan Reisman
Photo Courtesy of Cherie Lilly.
Most people wouldn’t consider “working out” their reason for existence, just merely a part of their daily routine or a means to “get fit.”
Jerry Seinfeld once said, “The only reason that you’re getting in shape is so you can get through the workout. So we’re working out, so that we’ll be in shape, for when we have to do our exercises.”
Cherie Lily is one of those rare breeds that makes fitness her essence, and it’s no surprise given that she’s married to Andrew WK, the original King of Partying. In doing so, she wears two hats; one as a fitness guru, another as the foremost “houserobics” musician, a genre that she coined herself. She combines these two passions seamlessly, so it’s really like she’s wearing one sweat-drenched hat.
BTR was able to wrangle an interview with Cherie in the precious moments she has in between her daily fitness classes and on the stage.
“My whole goal is to get people to burn calories, whether it’s at the gym or whether it’s at home or whether it’s on the dance floor,” says Lily. “I want people to burn calories, I want people to sweat, I want people to move, I want people to dance.”
She attacked each question with a kind of positive ferocity, but also able to laugh at herself and joke about the outward silliness of fitness. She did this all while wearing a unitard and large-frame glasses.
Though she has single-handedly created houserobics, Cherie is not without her primary influence, Richard Simmons. Pretty unlikely for a musician to cite a guy who wears Dolfin shorts as an influence, but she only has the utmost admiration for the guy.
“He reaches out to a population of people that a lot of people neglect in the fitness world, going for people who are already in shape. Richard Simmons has really been going after the people that are super obese and are really struggling,” Cherie admires. “He’s just the best.”
The Simmons influence is clear to see in Cherie’s appearance as well as how she views the world. Her main squeeze, Andrew WK, also shares this sentiment of embracing life and this paradigm manifests itself in his favorite thing: partying. She even goes on tour with AWK as his hype woman. Career-wise, it doesn’t hurt to have an icon helping you out. However, Cherie has become her own entity and not just “Andrew WK’s wife.”
Says Cherie on the subject, “We have the same sort of mentality and outlook on life and the whole idea of partying as living your life to the fullest is definitely something we share in common. Maybe I’m more of the girl version.”
Her femininity is definitely not understated either, as the cover of the Dripping Wet EP is some cleavage with Cherie Lily’s logo shown just above. The fact that it’s called Dripping Wet could stand alone but equally, nothing about Cherie Lily’s aura is shy. Just as Andrew WK is unabashed with his love for hard celebration, Cherie has no qualms about showing off her body and sexuality:
“I embrace sexuality as a part of fitness. People who work out feel sexy. That comes across in my personality and in my music. If I inspire men and women to feel sexy in their skin, then I’m a success!”
You just can’t bring this girl down. Self-empowerment from physical exertion is her M.O. and she has a unique approach of instilling that in her fans as well as her students.
“I’m more like a best friend, like, ‘Come on, girl. You and me, we’re getting it done. Let’s do it!” Lily says of her coaching style. “I like to use motivational stuff and inspirational stuff. I definitely cheer them on especially when we’re doing intervals or something really intense where it’s really hard. I will get up and scream and yell but it’s not like, ‘Do it! You suck!’ It’s more like, ‘Do it because you can!’”
One of the natural by-products of this intense positive motivation is sweat, which shows up in almost everything Cherie Lily does. She even has a song called “Get Sweaty.” The thing about sweat for her is that it’s so much more than just an annoying liquid that shows up at inconvenient times, it’s this symbolic elixir that keeps her going.
“Well, in order to sweat you have to be hot. Being hot itself has multiple connotations, you know, you could be temperature hot, you could be physically hot. If you’re sweating because you’re working out or you’re moving or dancing then you’re probably burning calories. It’s just part of what I’m doing with the fitness and the music, I like to get wet.”
Once she said that, I knew that her marriage was for real.
Though married to a man, her music and persona has appealed to the gay community, and they have to come to view her as one of their allies. She has interviewed with a number of gay blogs, performed at Pride events and her song “WERK” is a nod to the New York City ball community (she suggests the film “Paris is Burning” for those who are unfamiliar). After asking about her involvement with the LGBT community, she initially responded with, “Yay!”
She elaborated more on her involvement with ball culture:
“I found out about it in New York City and I reached out to Grandfather Hector Extravaganza for the ball that was coming up. I was just blown away by the style, by the phrases that were being thrown around, by the attitude, by the openness and creativity, and just the overall fierceness of this ball. Then I wrote the song “WERK” based off of the experience that I had at the balls and I’ve just been going to balls ever since. I used all of the phrases that I heard and I put it into the song as a tribute to the ballroom scene. That really solidified my space a little bit in the gay community, especially in New York.”
It would be unwise to classify Cherie Lily’s music as vapid, as a song like “WERK” has such a compassionate and richly historical meaning behind it. Such is the case with “Dripping Wet” and “Get Sweaty.” They’re almost like how-to manuals on how to feel good about yourself. This is the kind of music that is played during fitness classes, in turn empowering men and women and everyone in between with their inherent sexiness. Cherie Lily is the key to living a fulfilled with a driving beat behind it.
So ditch those self-help books because according to Cherie’s law, all you have to do is sweat.
You can purchase the Dripping Wet EP here!
Check out more from Cherie Lilly on this week’s edition of Discovery Corner.