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For years, we’ve seen Jillian Michaels the trainer. You know, the one from The Biggest Loser who seemed to yell a lot in order to motivate her teams? Sometimes we also refer to her as that woman with some of the most ripped abs we’ve ever seen.

When you’re a superstar trainer like her with tough love methods, it can be kind of hard to break the perception people have of you. But that’s exactly what Michaels is looking to do with her brand new E! series, Just Jillian. In the reality offering, Michaels introduces viewers to her partner Heidi, her two children and her tight-knit group of friends, all the while showcasing a softer, more “approachable” side of her personality.

Not only did we have a chance to screen the episode of Michael’s new series ahead of its debut on Jan. 20, but we also sat down with the trainer to get to know that other side. Here’s what we found out.

She doesn’t really wear the pants in the family

At first glance Jillian may seem a little tougher than her partner Heidi. However, Heidi is the first to tell cameras that Jillian is a big old sensitive softie — one who isn’t afraid to let her guard down around the house. If anything, it’s Jillian who likes to pretend to be a hard ass.

“That’s the thing, she wears me down — she’s relentless,” Jillian says. “And that’s the great lie of our relationship. They ask, ‘Who wears the pants?’ and she has the balls to say me. I’m like are you kidding me?”

She lives in a farmhouse

Yup, you read that right — a farmhouse. With animals and everything. Apparently it was one of those times that Heidi just wore Jillian down. And so the city gal moved to the farm, as viewers will see in the series.

“I’m like Paris Hilton in The Simple Life right now,” she says. “I couldn’t get out of my driveway today because the chickens were in the way. I’m not shitting you. You can’t imagine.”

She’s not really into marriage… yet

One thing Heidi hasn’t managed to wear Jillian down on just yet is the issue of marriage, which becomes one of the bigger themes during the first season of their show. Naturally, Jillian isn’t willing to give away any spoilers, but she did hint that her resolve could be waning.

“It definitely comes up. A lot. It could be because everybody’s getting married — it’s unbelievable,” she explains. “What I will say is that it’s not a Disney movie. This frog doesn’t turn into a prince in the end, and transformation is incremental. This is a real show about real people and your expectations must be tempered. But people change, people evolve, people grow. Keep watching.”

She’s ridiculously superstitious

We mean ridiculously superstitious. Before every one of her shows on the road, she needs to eat the same Indian food for dinner, wear the same outfit, have her stylist touch her hair and a perform a bunch of other repetitive routines. And we thought professional athletes were superstitious.

“As they should be! Those are the pros for a reason,” she says. “Here’s the problem. If something occurs and then you have a good show, you have to recreate it every time. Every time. If you used a certain coffee cup you have to use that coffee cup. If you wore a certain ring you have to wear that ring. You had Indian food? You’ll have Indian food every f—ing night until your insides incinerate from the spices. You have to do it. If one of those things are out of place it’s a disaster.”

Skorts are the enemy

Jillian is all about the workout gear — just have a look at all of the fabulous outfits she wears in her videos, her shows and even on The Biggest Loser back when she was still a trainer for the series. One thing that will never be in her closet, however? Skorts. “Who runs in a skirt?” she asks incredulously on the show before making her male assistant wear one to prove the ridiculousness of the item.

She’s never read Fifty Shades of Grey

For some reason it comes up in the show, and it’s something that Jillian clearly feels very passionately about. Perhaps she isn’t the target audience, or perhaps she just never bought into the hype. Either way she at least tried to get into the world of Christian Grey before giving it a hard pass.

“The book was unintelligible. I tried to read it, I did. Nothing f—ing happens, for like 90 pages in… if the guy wasn’t a billionaire it would be a CSI episode. He doesn’t really know what to do.”

She loves Canadians

When Jillian found out we were Canadian, she pretty much lit up. Probably because one of her best friends, who is also featured on the show, is Canadian. And in general she just really seems to like hanging out with them.

“Canadians! One of my very close friends on the show is Canadian, and two of my other close friends are also Canadian. That’s who I roll with, that’s my posse,” she said.

She cries, too

That’s right, Ms. Toughie is actually a softie. Just tune into her podcast if you want further proof, although since it’s also featured on the show you can easily catch those moments there, too. So what makes Jillian break down? The same stuff that overwhelms us all, we suppose: trying to do it all. As it turns out, even Jillian has moments of trying to figure out how to fit it all in.

But as for calling her a softie? Maybe don’t.

“I’m showing the more well-rounded side. Well-rounded is the word you’re looking for,” she corrects. “Softer is an extreme. It’s being multi-faceted.”

 

Tune into the premiere of Just Jillian on Wednesday, Jan. 20 on E! Canada.