Kimberley Locke is a diva only by trade — there wasn’t a trace of attitude detectable throughout our 30-minute conversation. It was a pleasure to pick Kimberley’s brain about her weight-loss, her new album, Based on a True Story, and, of course, the heckling from Dustin she’s endured all season of Celebrity Fit Club: Men Vs. Women. Maybe even more revealing are Kimberley’s comments on her gay fans and how she reconciles supporting the gay community with her deep Christian faith. They really don’t often make ‘em like Kimberley, and that is a damn shame.
Start thinking thin after the jump…
When it was announced that you were going to be on the show, there was some chatter on the Internet suggesting that you didn’t need to lose the weight.
Some of the people were very unsupportive, thinking that I was selling out, that I was fine the way I was. But I wasn’t doing it for anybody other than myself. I did it because it was a no-brainer. You get paid to be on the show, you have a trainer, you have a nutritionist, you have a therapist. Why wouldn’t you do it? After I started, I think people started coming around.
What do you think about the faction of women whom I’ll call the "big-girls’ club" that have pride in their larger sizes to the point where they aren’t really interested in diet or exercise?
I think that’s fine. If you’re happy with yourself the way you are, be happy. I think that so many young girls have an unhealthy relationship with their body. The so-called "big-girls club" are in a better position because they’re saying, "I love myself the way I am." If one day they decide they should be healthier, they’re already in a good place to make the changes they need to make because they’ve accepted themselves the way they are and they love themselves. I tell people, "I loved myself at my starting weight of 176 lbs. I can only love myself more."
You have an endorsement deal with Jenny Craig. Does that mean you used the Jenny Craig plan while on the show?
Yes. I was one of the only contestants that didn’t do Dr. Ian’s Smash Diet. I did Jenny Craig because I had before and I knew that it worked. With Dr. Ian’s diet, people were melting away, but for me, I couldn’t do the 9-day fast that starts off his book. I don’t have the personality to pull that off. Even if I was able to make it through the nine days, I would have eaten my hand on the 10th day.
I know you can’t reveal your final weight, but did you lose weight after completing the show?
I’m still losing.
How’s the pizza addiction going?
I didn’t have as much trouble as I thought I was going to, but that’s because on Jenny Craig, we can have pizza. We just can’t have the whole thing. I think that I was so motivated by Dr. Ian and Harvey and Stacey, and my team that it was something I didn’t want to do.
Overall, was the show a good experience for you?
It was another life-changing show. American Idol changed my life, Celebrity Fit Club changed my life. I’m not the same person. My attitude has always been, I like to eat and I’m not starving myself for nobody. People can’t believe the progress I’ve made since then and it’s because mentally, I’m there. I think after doing Celebrity Fit Club and Jenny Craig, I’ll never go back.
I’m glad to hear that Dustin didn’t ruin the experience for you. Do you have any idea why he came down on you so hard? It seems like he targeted you in particular.
I have no idea. I never did anything to Dustin. Until Dustin started attacking me, I never said anything to Dustin. I’m the kind of person that I don’t have to like you to work with you. We don’t have to be friends. I just honestly think that Dustin was on the show for a different reason than the rest of us. He was not there to lose weight, he was there to propel his career. We all have careers, but the difference between the rest of us is we all work constantly. I think that Dustin was looking for an opportunity to expand himself. And hey, I get it. I understand the business. But don’t do it at our expense. Had Dustin come to us and said, "Listen: this is what I’m gonna do, don’t take it personal. If I can include you in on this, great, but if you don’t want to be part of it, just let me know." Give us a disclaimer, but don’t throw us under the bus when you get us on camera. The truth is that Dustin was cool to hang out with on Saturdays. But once he hit the ceremony room, he was a different person.
A lot of the stuff he said about you and your career, in particular, was just plain untrue. You can’t really take lies like that personally, right?
Absolutely. Dustin was going for the most reactive moments he possibly could. But then when everybody reacted, it was everyone else’s fault. Like we’re supposed to sit there and let him pluck our eyelashes out and not say anything. It’s like, "Dude, it doesn’t work that way." And he knew that, but he wanted us to play along.
His comment about making a dildo out of his penis and giving it to you was your breaking point. Can you explain why that affected you as strongly as it did?
I didn’t do anything to constitute him saying any of that stuff. At that point, it was just ridiculous. That particular day, I was on an all-time high. I was really happy and having a great time. What made me the most upset when he said that was that I couldn’t react the way I really wanted to react.
Ideally, how would you have reacted?
I would have been in his face big time. And then that would have been a mess. I was trying to be a lady, but at the same time, I kept thinking, what kind of an example am I setting by sitting here and not saying anything? Being on that show was like being in an abusive relationship. One day he was nice to you, the next day, he was slapping you around.
I read an interview, in which you said that your new album, Based on a True Story, is consciously personal. "The fans are always looking for something really personal or something that they can latch on to that makes them feel like they know you a little bit better," you said. Do you think losing weight on TV is another way to give something personal to your fans that they can latch onto?
Absolutely. People see you in a different light, especially on that show. I think people saw a part of my personality that they never saw. It’s always risky, but I think that people like to know that you’re real. People want to know that you’re like them in some way.
Are you excited for your tour?
Yeah. The phases of being an artist are like seasons. There’s the writing process. Then you’re in the studio, recording. Then you start putting the album together and doing the photo shoots. Once the album’s out, you go on the road, and once you’re done with that, you’re at Christmas. You know, I’m doing a Christmas album this year. So it’s going to be a continual wave of stuff.
There are a lot of gay pride events on your current touring schedule. But you came up through the church, right?
Was there ever a notion of conflict between your religious upbringing and your embrace of your gay fans?
No. For me, rule No. 1 is you don’t judge. The bottom line is that none of us are without sin. None of us are perfect. Who am I to point a finger at anybody? People are people. The majority of my friends are gay men. I have gay relatives. I think the church is filled with people who are very hypocritical. People are very quick to judge. That’s why you have so many people saying that they denounce the church. I think that’s very sad, but it’s all because of what comes from within the church. That judgmental spirit, I believe, is not from God.
That’s a pretty unique stance.
I listen to what people say [against] it, and you know, it’s not my place to judge those people either. But I think [their attitude towards gays] is to their disadvantage, because they’re missing out on a whole group of people that could impact their life. All of my gay friends know that I’m a Christian. I don’t hide that from them. We have conversations about God and just because they’re gay doesn’t mean they don’t believe in God. I grew up in the church. After my parents got divorced, my mother never went back to church. I used to invite her to go to my church and she would say stuff like, "Those people in that church…" And I’d say, "You know what, Mom? I don’t go to church for those people. I go to church for me."
It’s funny that your attitude about church is similar to your attitude about weight loss.
I think a lot of people live their lives like they’re in bad relationships. "Oh, I can’t do that because he doesn’t want me to." "Oh, I can’t wear that because he doesn’t want me to." Well, honey, start doing something for yourself for a change. Nobody takes care of you better than you.