This month’s Urban Mom is the one and only Brooke Burke, spokeswoman, model and television host.
Occupation: Entrepreneur, television host, designer
Hometown: Hartford, Connecticut
Current town: LA
When I walked into the suite at the Four Seasons in Toronto, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was about to meet the Brooke Burke-Charvet. The Brooke Burke-Charvet who danced across my TV screen, who smiled down at me from posters, who designed some of my favourite workout wear.
And yet, when I finally came face-to-face with Brooke, all my nerves went away. She was everything you hope celebrities will be: kind, down-to-earth and ready to share her time with me.
I had the chance to ask Brooke all about fitness, health and how to just be confident in yourself.
UrbanMoms: After winning Dancing with the Stars and hosting the show for eight years, did how you feel about fitness changed?
Brooke Burke-Charvet: I think that experience proved to me what an unbelievable workout dance is. I was also on a six or seven day a week schedule. So I think if you do anything for the majority of your day, you’re going to get into the best shape of your life. But I was so inspired by that and, I mean, if you look at any dancer it’s a different type of muscle, it’s a different type of body. [DWTS] was the hardest thing I’ve ever done though, like crazy hard and scary.UM: It must have been tough that first time, standing up in front of millions of people. How did you find that confidence in yourself?
BBC: Well I didn’t have that confidence. I was terrified of every time I stepped out there in front of the live audience as well as the world. What in the world have I done? What have I gotten myself into? Please God! (Laughs) But I like to scare myself, and I think you grow in that space. It’s something I’d never done before and I also strategically really wanted to have that opportunity to have a relationship with homes across North America.
UM: In 2012, you were diagnosed with thyroid cancer and you bravely shared that with the world. How did your cancer diagnosis affect the way you saw your body.
BBC: It definitely is [a shock], especially when you’re healthy. I feel like we’re hearing about cancer more and more and more—it’s very scary. The scariest part of it is often that we don’t know why it happens. I’m a total advocate for yearly physicals and just taking care of our health. I would not have had an early diagnosis had I not done a random physical. So, I always tell everyone: take care of your body.
But it was shocking and I sort of had to accept the fact that it’s something that was stronger than my health and fitness beliefs. And thank god I’m super healthy now. But it’s a constant reminder just to take care of yourself.
UM: You’re also opening up about another health issue—light bladder leakage. Statistics say that LBL affects 1 in every 3 women and yet no one is talking about it. Why do you feel it is important to talk about it?
BBC: I think there are times in our life as women that are challenging and maybe a little bit embarrassing and foreign things that come up in our body— there’s real comfort in that “me too” concept. What surprised me the most, is that most women are not doing anything about it and they’re not using the right products. A lot of women are using menstrual products and are skipping that workout or not living that active of a lifestyle or being a little bit nervous or worried or embarrassed about daily life activities.Poise is a great solution and [their] products let you stop worrying about it. I just think the more we understand our body and the more we can embrace and take control of it—that’s what Poise is about—the better! It’s about, “Do what you want to do and don’t let something like LBL slow you down.”
UM: Moms are so busy—what can we do to find the time to squeeze in a workout with such busy lifestyles?
BBC: Most mothers take last place on the totem pole. I did it as a young mom with baby number one and two, and then I was like, “Wait a second! I’m a much better mom, a much better wife, and I’m a more effective businesswoman if I can let myself be equal.”
I say sign up, join a gym, sign up for a series of classes, make a commitment with a girlfriend, find something you really enjoy doing and accept the fact that you’re going to feel better even if you’re tired, even if you’re home alone, even if you’re PMSing, even if you’re stressed. It’s nice to set a goal and accomplish it, and give yourself an hour of ‘me’ time.UM: For a lot of people who don’t enjoy working out, having an hour of ‘me time’ as a workout isn’t necessarily fun. They would rather go get their hair or nails done, read a book or take a relaxing bath.
BBC: We find the time [for beauty and relaxation], and I think that health and fitness should be just as high on the list. We have this ability as women to do whatever we need to do. That’s one thing Mother Nature gave us, we have an ability to do whatever we need to do as women, I think.
UM: As a busy mom what do you do to stick with your goals?
BBC: I keep it really simple. I have accepted the fact that there are a million excuses that I will have or that will come up in my life to prevent me from reaching my goals and doing what I want to do. So I got stronger than my excuses. I schedule it, and I make it a priority, and I don’t blow it off. But I also give myself a break—it’s about prioritizing your life.
UM: What are the must-have items in your gym bag?
BBC: Well besides Poise nowadays, I have great music on my iPod, I always have water, I always have a towel—because I believe if you’re not sweating you’re not working out hard enough and I like an intense workout. I have a pair of sneakers that are always in there—so that if I have time, I’m prepared. I actually have a gym bag in my car at all.
UM: If you could give moms who are struggling with their confidence one piece of advice, what would it be?
BBC: I would say focus on the things that you love about yourself, embrace the things that you don’t and every single day try to give yourself some kind of a compliment and hear it and believe it.
Would you rather cook or do the dishes? Cook!
Lipstick or lipgloss? Lip gloss.
Jeans or leggings? That’s tough. Jeans.
What is your one must-have beauty item? Hand cream.
What is the last book you read? I’m reading Arnold Schwarzenegger biography, “Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story.” It’s very interesting!
What is your big guilty pleasure that you like to indulge in? I’m like addicted to shopping on Amazon. (Laughs). My UPS man comes to my house every single day.