Red Carpet Ready: Jillian Barberie on Her 20+ Years in Hollywood

By Christina Newberry

Jillian Barberie is one busy woman. Whether it’s hosting her daily radio show in Los Angeles, appearing on Access Hollywood or HSN, or greeting top celebrities on the red carpets of gala events, this Canadian gal is always on the go. As the single mother of two young children, the 47-year-old has learned to juggle her many work roles with the added demands of raising a couple of great kids. Ageless Living caught up with Jillian for an in-depth chat about what she’s learned in her 20+ years of working in the spotlight.

[pull_quote_right]I just try to be true to myself, and know what my boundaries are. You have to please yourself and your kids, and that’s it. The rest will fall into place – or not![/pull_quote_right]

Your current role is your audition for what’s next

I started out working in Montreal at the Weather Network. When I first graduated from college, I applied kind of on a lark. I didn’t know they were looking for on-camera meteorologists. I certainly didn’t have any interest in doing weather – I wanted to work at MuchMusic. But that was not in the cards for me. They weren’t hiring people fresh out of college, but the Weather Network was, so I literally graduated and three months later I was on the network.

From there, I sent a resume tape to L.A. and Miami. I didn’t want any place in between – I didn’t want cold weather! The tape was all the screw-ups that happened to me during live broadcasts, and I guess it was enough to set me apart. The news director at Channel 7 in Miami liked that I could think outside the box. I went to work on the extremely progressive all-female team at Channel 7 for a year and a half.

Then, my agent got me a job in L.A. I moved there when I was 25, and I was on Good Day L.A. until I was 45. The morning show was my biggest audition, because the casting directors would be watching on their ellipticals in the morning! From there, I’ve done movies, sitcoms, dating shows, the NFL and talk shows. I’ve hosted many red carpets – the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Golden Globes – you name it, I’ve done it. I’ve really been lucky to be able to do it all.

Life as a working mother is the greatest challenge – and the greatest reward

My kids keep me motivated. I’m the sole provider for my children. Times have changed: Women are the breadwinners, and that’s what keeps me going. The fact that I’m responsible for these two little people is frightening, but it’s good. It keeps you in check. They’re four and seven, and they’re growing up very quickly. It’s a busy, full-time job!

There are times when you feel exhausted, but there’s really no alternative, and when life throws you those lemons, it’s like that old cliché to make lemonade. At the end of the day, I’m just so lucky to have these little munchkins.

A healthy diet is the best way to keep fit

I’m not a big workout person, to be honest. I swim with my kids, and I eat really healthfully. That’s just sort of what I’ve always done. If you’re a healthy eater, you don’t have to diet – you just live your life a certain way, and then you reap the benefits of that. I do green drinks a lot, which is kale, celery, cucumber and lime – I try to do one every single day. I’m also a big salad eater.

[pull_quote_right]If you’re a healthy eater, you don’t have to diet – you just live your life a certain way, and then you reap the benefits.[/pull_quote_right]Jillian Barberie

To me, this way of eating has transformed everything. I feel better now in my forties than I did in my thirties. I’ve always been healthy, but maybe not as healthy as I should have been. I’m very lucky genetically – I’ve never really had to worry about weight. But, I think when you do hit a certain age, you have to start being more conscientious.

Aging is best done naturally – even in Hollywood

My sisters joke that I’m a late bloomer, which I believe I am. I got pregnant at 40 and 42 with no drugs, no help, no stress, and I just never worry about a number. At 43, I was in a bikini for Nutrisystem in a national campaign and I felt great about my body. I still post bikini pictures on Twitter, and people can’t believe I’m 47. It’s not like I’m out there working out all the time – I’m not, and I could probably stand to lose a few pounds – but I’m really comfortable. So that’s a good feeling to empower women to say yes, I do work in Hollywood, but you don’t have to fall victim to the skinny girl syndrome. And you can have real boobs, like I do, and be natural, and I think men respond to that.

American men love Canadian women because a lot of us haven’t fallen victim to altering ourselves through surgery or implants. It’s just not something that is on my docket. I think when you start getting caught up in that game, you look like you’re caught up in that game. Maybe you do things to yourself you shouldn’t be doing, altering your appearance, and that leads down a scary road. That said, I do a lot of upkeep. I’m a huge believer in laser treatment. I’ve been doing that for 15 years, and my skin at 47 is no different than it was at 35.

Animals need our help

I started the Adopt a Pet animal rescue segment on Good Day L.A. 20 years ago and they still do it to this day. And I still rescue – I practice what I preach. I’ve rescued 17 animals over the past 15 years. I’m down to three right now, which is not a lot – I’ve had up to 11!

I have a Yorkie that I rescued. He was smuggled in from South Korea in a crate with 16 other animals, some of whom unfortunately died. And I have a white terrier, and a little kitten that I rescued, who is quite fantastic with the dogs. She loves them. I’m lucky that my animals all get along. My dogs clean my cats, and my cats sleep with my dogs. I feel lucky. I always pick the good ones.

Find the priorities that work for you

I’m a people pleaser to a fault, and I’ve learned that you really service no one in the end when you’re doing that. As a people pleaser, you will never please yourself at the end of the day – you’ll please everyone else, and you won’t even please them very well. So I just try to be true to myself, and know what my boundaries are. You have to please yourself and your kids, and that’s it. The rest will fall into place – or not.

Think outside the box

I always tell women that are starting out in the business to think outside the box. If I had sent in a perfect resume tape of me doing forecasts from the Weather Network, I would never have been hired in Miami, and I would never have come to L.A. So, think outside the box and see what could set you apart. Look at the big picture and think, what do I have to offer and why am I going to make this different than anybody else? That would be probably the best advice I could give.

Listen live to Jillian’s show Mid-Day L.A. weekdays noon to 3 p.m. at KABC.com, or find her on Twitter at @askjillian

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Photo credit: John Russo

 

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