Gossip Girl’s Sheila Kelley on Pole Dancing for Fitness, Plus What to Expect After the GG Hiatus — Wetpaint Exclusive!
Now this is a side of Serena’s (Blake Lively) Aunt Carol that we certainly haven’t seen before!
When she’s not busy stealing millions from the Rhodes family as scheming Aunt Carol on Gossip Girl, actress Sheila Kelley has developed quite the past-time: a fitness program focused around exotic movement and pole dancing.
You first learned how to do erotic movement and pole dancing for a movie role. What made you continue with it after the film was over? When I started to move my body in this way, when I watched them at strip clubs, it felt unbelievably natural and good — really full and delicious. My husband happened to love it, too. [... It’s] an incredible core workout, and upper body workout, as well.
When I did the movement, I discovered that sleeping inside of me was a very powerful, very beautiful, erotic creature that I never knew I had before. That journey has just led me to, like, this complete happiness in life. My 22-year marriage is as hot as it’s ever been.
What does the “S” in S Factor stand for? Sexy …? Sheila …? No — it’s the way it looks when a woman moves naturally, without shame, without fear, without tension: Her body moves in a very smooth, river-like movement. [...] If you watch a woman move with no tension, she undulates like an S.
The reason that Kate Hudson, and Teri Hatcher [...] — and, I mean, I could name a gazillion celebs — [...] is because women, for centuries, have been cut off from this side of themselves.
Courtesy of S Factor
How is your S Factor program different from pole dancing? S Factor created, first of all, the entire industry. When I went on Oprah in 2003, all of a sudden, everybody who had ever had a pole or been on a pole opened up a pole-dancing studio. [...] I’m much more interested in creating a workout designed for the feminine body. [...]
The kind of movement we do is a movement that people are very shy about, because it causes men to be very excited. When we do it, there’s no mirrors. The room is dark and intimate and warm — and you’re able to learn the language of your body, without the presence of invasive eyes.
Have any of your Gossip Girl co-stars showed an interest in S Factor? Absolutely. Kaylee [DeFer (Ivy)] and Blake [Lively] both take class. I’ve taught Blake several private [lessons] and Kaylee has come into the classes, as well.
What do Blake and Kaylee seem to really like about it? It just feels — yummy. The “S” movement and the erotic creature journey is what’s most fascinating to them, I believe. [...] It just feels good. It makes you feel confident, and it makes you feel beautiful.
What sort of fitness benefits do people usually see with S Factor? Even though it’s a strenuous workout, it feels so good when you’re do it, that you don’t even know you’re doing a workout. Afterwards, you see all these results: where you’re, like, dropping jean sizes. [...] It makes you feel hot and alive and bad-ass all at the same time.
Courtesy of S Factor
Are people ever critical of S because of the pole? How do you respond to them? What you have to do in a patriarchal world, is you have to take this patriarchal symbols of sexuality, — and you have to take them back, turn them on their head, and re-define them. That is what I do with the pole.
I take the pole out of the strip club. I take the beauty of the feminine out of the strip club, and I hand it back to women in an elegant, high-class, beautiful environment. They can feel proud and validated and celebrated instead of sleazy and dirty.
Let’s talk Gossip Girl: Is Carol Rhodes coming back at any point later in the season? Are you allowed to say if we’ll be seeing her again? I’m allowed to say yes. You will see me. I’m going to shoot 4 more episodes coming up in December/January. [... Carol,] she can only ever get into trouble, so lets see what trouble she gets into now.
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Is the real Charlie Rhodes actually dead or did she run away? Have the writers told you anything? What I can say is she’s not dead.
Oh... really? It’s my guess. I’m guessing she’s not dead. I don’t know. I am guessing she’s not dead. What I can say is that I said to the writers, Well, can you tell me anything more? And they just smiled and said You’ll see.
So, I am very excited to see what happens with my real Charlie.
Let’s talk about the fake Charlie for a second, too. What is it like working with Kaylee DeFer? You’ve had a lot of scenes with her. I love her. She’s like my little sister. [...] I love her to pieces — and I love her pig! [...] She has a little pig named Pancetta.
What’s it like working with Blake Lively? She and I are becoming really good friends. We hang out a lot off the set. She takes me to the most incredible food places in New York — and I take her to the most incredible S Factor classes ever. [laughs]
We just, we have a real close bond. We’re like sisters. She has just an amazingly rich, deep, old soul. She’s an amazing human being. I love her to pieces. [...] She’s multi-layered and complex. She’s young — she’s so young in years, but in maturation? Boy, she’s got a lot going on.
Do you want Blair to go through with her wedding? Or do you hope she ends up with Chuck? Well, I’m always torn, because true love should weigh out, right? So that aches, when I see him looking at her mournfully. It’s painful. And I think there’s real chemistry there. But, you know, who doesn’t want to have a Royal Wedding? Come on! So, I think I’m into the Royal Wedding.
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear: Kaylee DeFer: Survivor; sharp. Blake Lively: Golden ebullience. Kelly Rutherford: Cool, class. Leighton Meester: Chipper, sweet. Hugo Becker: Far away. Ed Westwick: Hot. Like, really hot. Chace Crawford: Swoony idol. Penn Badgley: Deep dark secret.