EDITOR’S NOTE: Doug Blasdell passed away unexpectedly in January, 5 months after this interview. Our deepest condolences go out to his friends and family.
At forty-three years of age, Doug Blasdell may be the oldest trainer working at Sky Sport and Spa, the setting of Bravo's latest entry into the reality show sweeps, but it's the younger trainers who work to keep up with him. AfterElton.com recently had the opportunity to talk with him about the kind of role model he wants to be, the sexual tension permeating the gym, and which trainer got fired from the show.
AfterElton: Where are you from, Doug?
Doug Blasdell: Here in Los Angeles. I was born at St. Joseph's in Burbank. I did my high school in West Lake Village. My senior year, I moved up to Northern California, but I came back to USC and got my business degree in 1988.
AE: So that makes you?
DB I'm forty-three. I'm the oldest guy on the show by eleven years. I'm the daddy of the show. Or the big brother. But it was fun.
AE: Three out of eight characters on WorkOut are gay. How did that happen?
DB: I think it's a great thing. It's a beautiful thing because it really focuses on being gay and the gay community in general. The people they picked represent our community very well. I mean, there's drama, of course. There is in any community. But the three of us give different examples of what it is to be gay. And none of it is negative. There's nobody voted off. It's about taking care of yourself and eating right. It really is about being a trainer. Yeah, we drink alcohol, but the show represents healthy living. Physically and emotionally.
AE: Are you going to watch the show?
DB: I don't know if I'm gonna watch it by myself. I'll probably sink low into the couch, put my hands over my face and look through my fingers.
AE: Why do you think working out and gay life go hand-in-hand?
DB: First of all, I've been training for 22 years. And if there's anything that goes hand in hand with trainers and working out, it's sex. Everything revolves around sex. The clients talk about it. The trainers are talking about it. When you get good looking people with nice body and loads of testosterone together, there's going to be a lot of sexual tension.
And with gay men, well, that even takes it to another level. Gay men are sexual human beings. And look where we are–in Hollywood! All the magazines, everything, it's about sex. Who's with who? Half of my clientele are big stars. I would love to tell you who I train, but I can't. But they're always talking about sex, getting married, breaking up, messing around with this one or that one. It's part of Hollywood.
AE: But you don't come across as that shallow.
DB: There are a lot of shallow people in LA. I would really like to say that my personality, well, I've always considered myself a small town boy who grew up in a big city. I've always seem to have kept my head on my shoulders. A lot of that has to do with my mom and dad dying early in my life.
AE: Back to the show, who did you most connect with?
DB: I'm really close to Brian. We do something every day now. Our friendship has really grown. Jesse and I are sort of close too. In the show, when Jesse originally comes in, none of us really felt threatened. We were just surprised there was another character on the show. Jesse tried really hard to fit in fast. And he stepped on some toes.
AE: Like Brian's?
DB: Honestly, Brian is from North Carolina. I've spent a lot of time with him, and he's an amazing person. But he has that Southern mentality. He's turned off by people who act really gay. Which is why he doesn't care much for Jesse on the show or in general.
Brian asked me to be in his wedding. He said to me, “You're so cool. You would never think you were gay.” And I took that as a compliment because that's how I live my life. Yes, I'm openly gay, but I don't live a gay life style. I go out sometimes like to the Abbey. But I get shy. I don't really go to clubs. I don't say “girl”.
There was a part in the show that I think got cut out. We confronted Jesse about something he said to Rebecca. I started it. After, we went to the kitchen, and he followed me in. He reamed me. He said we're supposed to be on same side. We're both gay. We call each other girl. I said, “No, I never do that. I never call a guy ‘girl' or ‘ Mary'.” It's not my style. He was taken back by that.
AE: So you and Jesse don't get along?
DB: We do. We've become closer. We did The Advocate together and got close doing that. I didn't care for him the first few weeks. He was too showy. Too over the top. Too gay. He's handsome, but not my type.
But he grew on me as time went on. And by the end of the show, we were joking around sexually. It's fun. We text each other with sexual connotations. Back and forth. He found out I was single and not dating anyone, so started texting.
AE: So you're single now?
DB: When the short started, I was in a relationship. But now I'm single. I haven't had sex in a long time.
AE: So, what's your type?
DB: I go for more darker guys. I find blue-eyed, blonde guys handsome too. When I go to the Abbey, I don't always go for a type. Like this guy asked me out this weekend. He's very handsome and goes to the gym I work out. He's got blond hair. I accepted.
AE: Do you get hit on a lot at the gym?
DB: I get hit on a lot by both men and women. I had this one woman awhile ago. I was in this relationship for 14 years with a Latin guy. Anyway, this older lady took my spinning class. She brought me presents everyday–candles and all. She stalked and followed me, even after I introduced her to my boyfriend. She said she wanted to watch us together.
I've had a lot of people, men and women, especially now that I'm single, ask me out. Single is new to me. That's why seeing a therapist. I'm a very confident person in how I look. But when I go out, I get shy. My therapist is giving me these tools to help. Actually, I was watching Queer Eye the other day, and they were giving tips to a straight guy on how to pick up girls. I was sitting there taking notes, like don't cross your arms or close people off. The next night I was using them at the Abbey!
AE: Did you have any idea what you were getting into with this show?
DB: I had an idea. But when I took the job here's what was most important to me: to portray a gay man as a healthy guy who is somewhat good looking and normal. Not over the top gay. That's important because Hollywood doesn't show that a lot. Then they bring in Jesse who is more Jack on Will and Grace. I'm glad they did in general because it makes me more “normal”, and I want to portray a real gay man for those people in Nebraska that are afraid to come out.
AE: Because they need role models, too.
DB: Not everybody's like Jack on Will and Grace. I also wanted to show that you can be in your 40's and still have a good body and have a healthy life style. I know a lot of forty year olds let their body's go. You can have great abs and be forty-three. You just have to work out two or three days a week. And I saw it as an opportunity to be a role model. I have no family members left in my life, so I'm not going to hurt anyone if something went wrong.
AE: Is the show all real?
DB: I think a lot of it, all the way up to the last episode, depicts real life gym. Especially an LA one. There are a lot of stars. And a lot of strong personalities. And most trainers want to be actors. So, they have big personalities and big egos. That comes across in the show, even with Jackie. Jackie is a strong personality.
AE: What are you doing now?
DB: I'm a fitness director at Train with Hollywood. It's a private gym in LA. Trainers never focus on one gym. We have our in-homes. And we normally cover like three gyms.
AE: Tell us about your work out philosophy regarding touch?
DB: After being in this for twenty-two years, I found that most people–men, women, straight, or gay–all they want is attention. It doesn't matter if they're some beautiful actors or somebody with teeth going in 20 directions. Everybody wants love. Some of my movie star clientele especially want attention.
If I was gonna tell you to be a trainer, my biggest advice is to touch your clients at least 30 times through the hour and I guarantee they'll come back. Stretch them or rub their shoulders. It's the same thing in my spinning class. I try to talk to at least 10 to 15 people. I'll get off my bike and touch their butt. Even the women loved to be slapped on the butt. It goes a long way.
AE: What's your advice for people wanting to get in shape?
DB: You have to make the commitment. That's the biggest point. Whenever you are trying to get stop drinking or changing a diet, you've got to really want to do it. No weak commitments. The number one thing is commitment. If you can do that, you've done 50 percent of the work.
AE: Lastly, we know Jody Watley is one of your clients? Is she cool?
DB: We're actually like brother and sister. We spend a lot of time together. I'm going to train her son this summer. He wants a build. He's not too confident. My goal is to make him feel good about his body. That's what my dad did with me.