Kirstie Alley Wants to Get Skinny—Again
The actress talks about her weighty struggle, her new show, and whether her diet program is a Scientology front.
-Kathryn H. Cusimano
Kirstie Alley’s portrayed everyone from a high-maintenance executive on Cheers to a frantic mom in the Look Who’s Talking film series with John Travolta, but now she’s just playing herself—a woman looking to start a business and lose a few pounds. OK, more than a few.
Alley’s fight against fat has been public for a long time: She played the title role in the Showtime “mockumentary” Fat Actress, and she’s been a spokesman for the Jenny Craig weight-loss program. But after she finished her Jenny Craig gig in 2007, she gained back the 75 pounds she’d lost, plus a few more. This time around, she’s relying on herself to get skinny. Her new project, a reality show called Kirstie Alley’s Big Life, chronicles the development of her weight-loss program, Organic Liaison, which combines organic diet supplements and an online support system to help members eat healthier and get skinnier. (Cost: $10 per month for a membership, plus a $139 “Rescue Me” kit made up of various supplements.) Also appearing on the show are Kirstie’s son True, 17, and daughter Lillie, 15, who are finishing high school at home while they work for their mom. The series begins airing this Sunday on A&E.
The diet program has already attracted some controversy. Critics of the secretive Church of Scientology (Kirstie, 59, has been a member for 30 years) recently accused the actress of using her new company as a front for the organization. Not true, she says, despite what former FoxNews.com columnist Roger Friedman said earlier this week on the Today Show. “The proof is in the numbers,” Kirstie says. “Ten percent of [the employees] of my company are Scientologists, 90 percent are not Scientologists. Here’s the deal: if I wanted this to be a Scientology company exclusively, I would have made it that way, and I would have touted that.” Whether or not the accusations are true, the program seems to be working for Kirstie: She’s already lost 20 pounds.
She sat down with us this week to answer a few more questions:
Why did you decide to do yet another project chronicling your struggle with weight loss?
Probably the kids had something to do with it. I thought, “Here’s a good chance to see them every day for a long time!” I don’t have to worry about what they’re doing, where they’re going – they’re at work in the house!
The other part of it was I feel like there’s humor. I like the show because it’s funny. Although I hate reality TV, this is an opportunity to create something that I thought could be good reality TV. It doesn’t have to be backbiting. It’s like the Ozzie & Harriet family meets the Addams family, because we’re sort of eccentric, but we’re also sort of pure, in some way. We’re a little old-fashioned, and we’re a little bit like we just jumped down the rabbit hole.
Were you anxious about how you would look?
At first I wasn’t concerned. I thought, “I’m not one of the Kardashians, I’m not going to have hair and makeup, let’s just see me natural.” And then I saw the first show. I thought, “Are you f***ing kidding me? Get me hair and makeup! Natural’s not good anymore!” I said to the cinematographer, “Do you have to shoot my ass all the time? This is Kirstie Alley’s Big Life, not Kirstie Alley’s Big Ass!”