Kelsey Lee is a woman with many gifts and has achieved much success in the fitness industry. She has become a celebrity and fitness personality on YouTube with videos reaching over 22 million views. Before her career in the fitness industry she has also had success in the entertainment industry. She was cast in an Adam Sandler film as has sung and recorded with one of Katy Perry’s producers. Although she lives a full life things haven’t come easy for her. Born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted at three months, she was raised in Washington. In her youth she was a victim of bullying and dealt with depression but has overcame those battles because of her faith in God. It is safe to say Kelsey has thus far had an incredible journey through life and we are very thankful we were able to catch up with her.
Noble: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How old are you and what you do for a living?
KL: I’m older than people say I look. I was born in 1987, so I’m officially in what is defined as the ‘adulting’ phase. Ok, I’m 30. Personal training and teaching nutrition has been my career for 12-years now, and that has emerged into sharing a lot of what I do online through YouTube, social media and my website. Outside of being someone in the entertainment or fitness space, I’m not much different than most people. I love and care deeply for my friends and family, enjoy the simple things in life like meaningful conversation, fun food- and a lot of it, sleeping in, making memories with great company and challenging myself to do more of what I love. I’m also a wife to a huge-hearted police officer who was previously active duty in the Marine Corps. If you keep up with my going-ons you’ll notice his occasional appearances. Admittedly I made us a hashtag a few years ago that’s stuck - #kelsler.
Noble: How was life growing up in the Tri-Cities?
KL: Probably the best thing for me. The lifestyle there isn’t slow, but definitely slower paced than say, living in LA proper or a big city where driving even just 8-miles might take an hour. I have a close knit immediate family and I’ve understood the value of the simple things since I was really young. I’m very fortunate to have parents and my grandmother who worked hard and stayed present in my life as a child. And, growing up where I did, being able to experience childhood almost carefree, having (at one time, 9) horses on the property and playing outdoors with friends until the sun went down was possible. Maybe that’s a different time than now, but I’m grateful to have had the space to do those things; not being glued to a television or technology. Those things definitely impact who I am today.
Noble: When did you realize you wanted to pursue being a fitness personality and actress?
KL: I grew up doing local theater and musicals, so my interest in hosting and acting grew out of those experiences. I stayed with my grandma before and after school while my parents worked, and she would also let me play with a voice recorder she had, and I’d sing and sing, kind of terribly, but I loved it. She also captured moments of my childhood on her video camera - which is possibly why I enjoy being on camera as much as I do! Through elementary school I really enjoyed being able to teach the neighborhood kids how to ride and I’d say that spurred my interest in coaching, which resurfaced in my late teenage years when I fell in love with fitness and nutrition and realized I could pay that forward as a trainer and coach.
Noble: Tell us a little bit about your acting career and the Adam Sandler film?
KL: I moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to pursue acting and music, actually thinking I might walk away from the fitness industry (who was I kidding?). Going to castings became part of my daily routine, and I learned to accept rejection quickly. In a few months of being in LA, I was Taft Hartley’d on an Adam Sandler film as just a featured extra role - or what some in the industry refer to as just glorified background. I was on set for long days over a span of two weeks, learned a lot, saw a lot, and walked away SAG-eligible. One of the projects that gave me a needed confidence boost was a sci-fi series pilot by JF Lawton (Pretty Woman) where I was cast as the lead. We didn’t finish production, but the time I did spend with that crew was a huge learning curve for me, and I still consider some of the things I learned there in the work I do today. Needless to say, in 2013, I lost my interest in driving back and forth to castings as we’d moved to Orange County, making the commute long and often frustrating - and if you’re not going to castings, you’re not getting cast. I love working with a script, and really enjoy working with a production team, getting a chance to bring things to life on camera, so the occasional opportunity to do some kind of industry work is a lot of fun for me.
Noble: We heard you’re also a talented singer; tell us a little about this.
KL: I love singing, writing and recording and could live in a studio for weeks without food if I had to. Ok, maybe not with out food, but I could definitely work in a studio for weeks at a time. I was doing live shows during my early years in LA, and was spending a lot of time pursuing music, but after a really ugly deal gone bad I decided to change my direction. Tyler and I took a trip to Nashville and did a song with a drummer friend I’d met through that fiasco, and recorded with a guy out there who was actually one of Katy Perry’s first producers, but after coming back home to California, I realized I was pretty jaded towards people in the music industry and wasn’t in the right timing to pour so much time and finances into finishing an album. I never released any of the music I’d worked on over those few years, but I think they’re worth sharing eventually.
Noble: How did you get into the world of fitness?
KL: My passion for fitness and healthy living didn’t happen overnight. What started as a little girl trying to be like her dad with a stationary exercise bike and a couple pieces of home equipment turned into getting a membership at the local court-club and joining a girlfriend for sweat sessions on an elliptical. I was a high school freshman just wanting to be in shape for the sake of feeling good, and didn’t even give weights or equipment outside of the cardio room a thought, until I realized how redundant my ‘workouts’ would be if I didn’t. The allure of venturing out of the cardio realm soon developed into playing around with free weights and barbells in the gym, finding new confidence through sweat and iron, which turned into an outlet for ‘clinically diagnosed depression’, or in other words, the hard knocks of teenage adolescence most of us have experienced alongside the silent bullying some people believe only exists in movies like Mean Girls. The gym was somewhere I could go and feel safe, because at the time, other than home or with family, or youth group, I wasn’t exactly surrounding myself with the uplifting types, but that’s another story. The rest is history, as I discovered the joy I got from paying forward what I was learning, and helping other people find confidence in working out and making better lifestyle choices. Fast forward to today, having worked in the fitness industry for over a decade and earnestly being able to say in confidence that finding your own strength through an active lifestyle will add so much value to everything else you do.
Noble: What are some of the most successful fitness videos you’ve done?
KL: If I had to choose out of the hundreds of videos I’ve done, I’d say How to Do A Burpee, No More Muffin Top, How to Workout Like A Victoria’s Secret Angel, Thigh Thinner and my Stretch Sessions. With views in the millions and engagement years later, it’s safe to say they’re reaching a lot of people.
Noble: We see you travel a lot in your videos, where have you been able to travel to? And which destination was your favorite?
KL: Yes! I just recently started sharing more travel going-ons through social media, but I grew up with a love for traveling and adventuring around to new places, so it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed. Tyler and I did quite a bite of traveling early on in our marriage and we’ve made a point to maintain that part of our life (going on 9-years, now).
Noble: How many hours do you invest into your brand each week?
KL: Depending on what projects I have going on or whether or not I’m home, it varies week to week. Some I spend as little as 10 hours, others an upward of 50. Video editing is what requires the most time, but I don’t mind the long days or nights if I’m wrapping up a workout, vlog or some kind of video to share.
Noble: What’s the most challenging aspect of being a fitness personality?
KL: Conveying the normalities of everyday life that any one of us experience, while still promoting a lifestyle that is only attainable with consistent, intentional work. Being relatable and reachable is really important to me, but I’m not going to be the one posting content that suggests drinking a tea or doing some magical new workout will change your world.
Noble: How have you been able to scale your YouTube channel and Instagram?
KL: Having had so many workout videos go viral during 2012-2014, many of the people who stay plugged in with my current going-ons are those who first found me through those videos. Staying relatable and consistent in posting throughout the week is important in maintaining (or creating) social media content, so at this point, staying relative and not disappearing for weeks or months at a time (which I have done in the past) is so helpful.
Noble: When you have down time what do you enjoy doing?
KL: Almost daily. I’ve made things like getting outdoors to explore a trail, work with horses, put time into a project I’m excited about, knocking out a workout and spending quality time with people a priority. Even if I’m just carving out an hour to do any one of those things in a day, I notice that I am more productive and positive in other areas of my life.
Noble: What does success mean to you?
KL: Doing something you love while adding value to the world around you. It’s when we’re doing more of these things that we all win. We may not all be in our ‘dream jobs’ but we can all be doing at least something, at some level, that we really enjoy.
Noble: Where do you see yourself in 2 years?
KL: Doing more of what I’m already doing - hopefully reaching an even larger audience and adding value to lives in ways I might not yet foresee. There are a few things I’m working on that I initially picked up 12 years ago, but the timing is better now, and I’m having fun bringing that to life. You’ll have to stay tuned for those updates. I’m a little nervous about it but the passion hasn’t left, so I’m confident that it’s something I should be doing. I hope to see the fruit of that labor in the next few years, for sure.
Noble: Who’s currently at the top of your playlist?
KL: For King and Country, Imagine Dragons and Twenty One Pilots, maybe some 90’s pop and country. It’s kind of all over the place, I know.
Noble: Do you have any words of motivation you can offer our fans or anyone thinking about getting into the fitness world?
KL: Absolutely. If you have a genuine heart to help people through exercise and/or nutrition, pursue education in those areas - certifications, practical application, and never compromise your want for helping others by trading it for monetary compensation or personal recognition; your desire to help and educate people should be the driver - not a paycheck.
Noble: Is there anyone you would like to thank or shout-out to?
KL: I’m definitely grateful to God for the opportunities that help shape who I am and what I do, and I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t also for the people that believe in me. Having a pack of people you can connect with that want you to be successful in what you do is so encouraging. We should all be finding ways to help lift each other up.
Thank you so much Kelsey! How you have overcome trials and excelled in life is truly inspirational and I’m sure our fans will agree. We wish you nothing but positivity and success as you continue to help others reach their fitness and lifestyle goals. Feel free to check out her Youtube channel (here) and her website (here). Here at the Noble Timepieces HQ we have just finished week one of five at the Orange County Fair. The fair ends August 13th so make sure to visit us in the carnival of products building booth #721. Stay tuned for the next issue of Motivation and for an additional blog featuring the construction of our OC fair booth. Always remember to stay positive and keep up your hard work!