You’ve likely encountered Amanda Kloots’ infectious energy in some medium by now, as she’s literally everywhere, and we are so lucky for it. Whether you’ve seen her competing on Dancing with the Stars, co-hosting The Talk, teaching fitness classes or way back when on the Radio City stage as a Rockette, you know her unique aura is something of candy confection and bubbly sunshine. If somehow you’ve yet to engage with Kloots in any of the many mediums she’s present, Fit for Christmas is a wonderful introduction, a film in which she starred, wrote and produced.
After losing her husband, the beloved broadway star Nick Cordero, to COVID in 2020, Kloots’ vantage point on fitness, life and career shifted, leading her to the exciting ventures she’s promoting today. From a Christmas movie conceptualized in her bed during a sleepless night to a children’s book dreamed up while trying to ensure her three-year-old son, Elvis Cordero, keeps a connection with his father, everything Kloots works on has her whole heart infused in it, and you can feel it.
I’d love to hear a bit about Fit for Christmas. What made you want to dive into Christmas movies?
“I had been watching Christmas movies with my family for a couple of years. I became addicted to turning them on as the best way to get into the holiday spirit as you’re at home on a snowy day and you just get completely lost in a silly, over-the-top, positive, romanticized version of the holidays.
Cut to COVID, it’s 2020, it’s July, and I had just lost my husband. I couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night. They were playing Christmas movies in July to help people be in a better spirit. I turn on the Hallmark Channel, and I’m watching a movie called Christmas Cookies, and it’s making me smile and laugh and feel better.
Then I thought of this concept. I don’t know of a Christmas movie that’s about a fitness instructor, and I’m a fitness instructor. So in my bed that night, I started putting together a plot, and that’s how it was conceptualized. In the darkest of times came this idea for a beautiful, happy movie.”
Everyone loves a good Christmas movie. What’s special about this one?
“I think what makes it different is that I’m playing the lead character, but also, it’s my conception. I executive produced it. There’s a lot of me in it. In these Christmas movies, typically, you’re hired to play the lead, and you come in, and you do the part. I think what audiences will love and connect to is that there’s so much heart because of how it was created and how much of me is in it and how special that whole journey was. It was just magical. We have a great cast. There’s great chemistry and a theme that people don’t normally see in a Christmas movie—which is fitness.”
As you said, you took on new exciting roles with this project, like writing and executive producing. What was the most surprising thing you learned throughout the process?
“I think how much a script changes, how you can keep picking and diving in and how up until the day we started filming the script wasn’t done even though we’d been working on it for like a year and a half. That all very much surprised me, all of the notes and all the changes all the time.”
You’ve built this fitness empire, Amanda Kloots Fitness, that’s bigger than yourself, and it’s based on the foundation that you’ve been a dancer your whole life. How has dance helped shape your relationship with exercise and your body throughout your life?
“It’s so many things. When you’re a dancer, you’re constantly looking at yourself in the mirror, and you’re constantly in tight costumes or next-to-nothing costumes, so your body image is very affected, right? I’m not going to lie when I started teaching fitness it was about that. It was about keeping a certain shape and a certain look. A couple of things helped change that. The first was when I started my own business, and I realized how much I just loved creating and then creating a community and realizing that fitness is more than just a denim size.
It’s about a community and staying strong for a group of people and having a place to go that makes you happy where it’s not like, ‘Ugh I have to go to the gym.’ It’s like, ‘I get to go to the gym. I get to take my favorite class.’ People used to tell me that coming to class felt like coming to church, and it just made me so happy because that meant that they felt like they were in a safe, wonderful, joyous place instead of, you know, being miserable at a dark gym.
The second major thing that changed my view on fitness was when I was losing my husband, and I was watching him in a hospital bed, not able to move any part of his body. I just thought to myself, ‘Gosh, we are lucky to be able to move, and we can never take that for granted. I know that if he could right now, he would love to even just sit up and go for a walk down the hospital hallway. That would make his day.’ I get to go on a run if I want to because I can. That whole idea of fitness being an extreme privilege really changed how I run my company and how I believe in what fitness can do for your mind, body and soul.”
You’re on screen, you’re teaching classes, you’re dancing, you’re going to red carpets—what are some makeup products that stay on through lights, costume changes and all these events?
“I love a brand called Doll 10—they make my favorite mascara. I love my Chanel foundation, it’s very lightweight, but it has great coverage for being on film or even just for day-to-day wear. The Chanel makeup remover that’s like a gel is a godsend. It literally takes everything off in a swipe. It’s the best, and I cannot live without it.”
Are there any skin-care treatments you’ve been treating yourself to lately?
“Yes, I go to GoodSkin Clinics here in Los Angeles, and there are a couple of lasers I love. The Clear and Brilliant laser is fantastic. I also love the Morpheus8 laser. It’s a really intense laser, but it really tightens and firms the skin. She is a painful, painful laser, but it works so well. Clear and Brilliant, you have no downtime, but Morpheus8, you definitely have downtime.
I also just love their whole take on aging and aging gracefully. They’ve been great. I’ve been going to them for a couple of years, and I love everything they do—their facials and their treatments.”
You have your second book, a children’s book, available for pre-order right now, out in April, called Tell Me Your Dreams. Tell us a bit about the story and how it came to be.
“This idea came to me out of my bedtime routine with Elvis. I’m constantly thinking and also not thinking of ways to incorporate dad into Elvis’s life. One night I’m putting Elvis to bed, and I just asked him if he wanted me to tell him about the dream that he was going to have that night. He said ‘Yes,’ and I just started creating a dream and creating this fantastical journey that he was going to go on in his dream, and he met up with dada, and they got to be together. Then at the end of the dream, dada brings him back, puts him in his crib, gives him a kiss, and says, ‘I love you,’ and I come and get him and wake him up in the morning.
We started doing that every night. It was like our little bedtime routine. After a while, I was like, ‘Wait a second—this is a children’s book.’ This is a great way to encourage children that you can be anything in your dreams, you can do anything in your dreams, and most importantly for us, you can see anyone in your dreams.”
Do you have any favorite holiday traditions you’re looking forward to this year?
“It’s becoming a bit of a one. My whole family heads down to this beautiful resort in South Carolina. I partner with the hotel, and I teach fitness classes every morning to holiday music, very much like my Christmas movie, and we’re all together on vacation.
It’s funny, I never thought that going on vacation would be the way I want to spend the holidays, but I feel like as my whole family has gotten older, we’re so busy, and in order to really feel like you can let go, vacation is such a nice answer because you feel like you can relax. This resort is just beautiful. It’s as if you’re in The Notebook movie—it looks like that. I get to teach a fitness class every morning, which brings me so much joy, and we just have a blast. This is going to be our second year doing it, so it’s sort of becoming a tradition. I’m very much looking forward to going.”