Redefining Sexy – A Conversation with Sheila Kelley

S FactorPerhaps you know her as the actress from GOSSIP GIRL.  Perhaps you saw her teach sultry pole dance moves on Oprah or The ViewSheila Kelley, author, actress and founder of The S Factor, is a woman on a mission:  Redefining “Sexy” and “Beauty.”  I spoke with her this morning; here is an excerpt of our conversation:

  • Lisa:  Hi Sheila, thanks so much for talking with me this morning.
  • Sheila:  I was looking forward to it.
  • Lisa:  I remember watching you on Oprah back in 2003.   You were teaching the audience how to do striptease moves and I remember thinking, ‘That’s so much fun – I want to do that!”
  • SheilaThe Oprah Show was a lot of fun. (She laughs.)
  • Lisa:  You let women know that it was o.k. to be sexy.  And now you are trying to redefine sexy again through your new video campaign?
  • Sheila:  Our culture has a very complex and dysfunctional relationship with the female body.  We tend to see ourselves through the masculine ideal of perfection without realizing that each woman has their own unique brand of beauty.  This new series of provocative videos pushes the envelope and makes us question what is real beauty.
  • Lisa:  The first video, “Cancer Warrior” (see clip here:  Cancer Warrior) was striking to watch.
  • Sheila:  Diana Schlobohm, a breast cancer survivor, filmed that just six days after surgery.  She lost both breasts to cancer, but she did not lose the knowledge that she is a sexy and beautiful woman.  Breast cancer runs in my family.  My two sisters are survivors and they felt the disease robbed their femininity and they felt betrayed by their bodies.
  • Lisa:  I’m sorry to hear that – but I’m glad they are survivors.  My best friend’s sister was just diagnosed with it a few days ago.  Cancer is such an awful illness.  When Diane stares into the screen at the end of the piece you can really see that she feels empowered; that she’s not letting a disease define her.
  • Sheila:  She is an amazing woman.  We’ve had an overwhelming positive response to the piece.
  • Lisa:  Your newest clip released is of a mother, Ali, dancing with her baby son.  (See clip here:  Is Motherhood Sexy?)
  • Sheila:  Ali had an emergency Cesarian delivery and while she was prepared for motherhood, she wasn’t prepared for how she would react to her own body; low self-esteem, losing sexuality.
  • Lisa:  I can relate to that.  After having my two kids I put on a lot of weight.
  • Sheila:  Imagine that! (we both laugh)
  • Sheila Kelley

    Sheila Kelley

    Lisa:  So at 150 lbs and size 14 I entered a bodybuilding competition and it changed my life.  The toughest part for me wasn’t the weight lifting it was the posing!  I had to go to Walmart to buy a Cardio Striptease video ’cause I got no game.  I fell into quite a few coffee tables practicing in my 5″ heels.

  • Sheila:  (She laughs) Oh no!  Well at S Factor studios we teach a lot of organic feminine movements from wall dancing to chair dancing to pole dancing, which has more of a gymnastic component to it.
  • Lisa:  I found that I did a lot of compartmentalizing for the competition.  For example, I didn’t want my kids to see me in a bikini, so I waited until they went to bed and then put on my posing suit and  heels.
  • Sheila:  Why didn’t you want your kids to see you in a bikini?
  • Lisa:  I don’t know.
  • Sheila:  Girl, we gotta get you in a class!  We’ll teach you how to upgrade to 6″ heels!
  • Lisa:  I know!  Come to Austin!
  • Sheila:  We have a studio in Houston and next year we are beginning to franchise, so there may be a studio opening up near you.  The thing that I like about S Factor is that it integrates feminine movement back into your everyday life, so you don’t have to compartmentalize it.  The goal is to progress through five stages of understanding until you are soulfully sexy.  It sounds like your bodybuilding experience is putting you in the right direction.
  • Lisa:  On a completely different note – you were on LA Law for several years…
  • Sheila:  Yes, I played Gwen Taylor.
  • Lisa:  You know the building in the opening sequence?  I used to be the Property Manager for that building.
  • Sheila:  Really?  (she laughs)
  • Lisa:  Yeah.  It was after the show ended but I used to tell everyone I managed the LA Law building.  Anyway, thanks so much for speaking with me today, and I really appreciate all that you are doing to challenge our notions of what it means to be a beautiful and sexy woman.  Do you have more videos planned?
  • Sheila:  Thanks for talking with me!  Yes, we are hoping to have a new video released each month with real women sharing their stories.

If you would like more information about Redefining Sexy or the S Factor DVDs, click here:  S Factor.

4 responses to “Redefining Sexy – A Conversation with Sheila Kelley

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