real life

In a harrowing interview, Lorna Jane says "the truth will come through".

It’s been a year of controversy for fitness queen Lorna Jane Clarkson.

From being slammed for posting a job advertisement asking for applicant’s body measurements to facing allegations of bullying and harassment, the mood has been anything but positive.

On 60 Minutes Clarkson struggled to hold back tears while discussing the turbulence of the last few months, saying, “I should be tougher than that but this is who I am. I’m human.”

Between questions about whether or not she and husband/business partner Bill would ever consider doing a men’s line (no), to the only occasions when it’s OK to ditch the active wear (weddings and funerals), Clarkson addressed questions about her company’s stance on body image and bullying.

Here’s what she had to say.

On the widely condemned Lorna Jane job ad that specified applicants should have a waist measurement of 70-73cm, a hip measurement of 97-103cm, and a bust of 87-90cm:

“Well, in hindsight, would I wish we’d written it differently? Absolutely. I just think it was… we’re an active-wear company. They misconstrued the word ‘fit’ for being physically fit and not actually a ‘fitting’ model. And fit doesn’t mean skinny.”

Lorna Jane Clarkson

On former Lorna Jane store manager Amy Robinson, who said she had been bullied because of her weight and was suing the company for $500,000:

“It’s not true. And the truth will come through. And, you know, if there was [harassment] I would put a stop to it. I would do the right thing. When you build a brand that is so much about you and who you are as a person, it hurts.

“I hope I’ll get a thicker skin because of it, but right now, no, it doesn’t feel like that at all. I feel vulnerable, I guess. Bill will kill me for getting upset because I’m not normally like this, you know. I’m so positive and I think that… This is not me, but right now with the things the press are saying about me and my brand, this is how I feel.”


On what she thinks about ‘fat people’ or people who didn’t fit the brand’s image.

“I don’t really think anything about ‘fat’ people, and I don’t put people in that category ‘oh, you’re a fat person’ at all.

“I just know what the stats are. Two in three Australians are overweight or obese. Over 50% of Australians don’t do any formal exercise, and I think that’s just crazy. I just think it’s not OK that we’re getting fatter and fatter as a nation. Not because of how we look or what dress size we are, but because we’re dying.”

The controversial Lorna Jane add that sparked a wave of outrage.

On her relationship with Lorna Jane CEO and husband of 21 years, Bill Clarkson. 

“Bill and I, we were a bit slow in the romance department. And I actually remember the first kiss because I think he got me in the ear or something. A little peck in the ear.”

On how she built up the blockbuster business that has become so polarizing. 

“I was teaching aerobics classes and I was just sick of the active-wear that was available, so I just started making my own. I just cut up a swimsuit on my dining-room table, and made some active-wear. And it was really just for myself. And then when I went and taught my classes, and women were saying ‘Wow. Can I have one of those, too?’

“My grandmother said to me when I was… like, seriously, don’t judge me on this. OK? I think I was about four, something like that. She said, ‘Lorna, Lorna Jane, what do you want to do when you grow up?’ And I said, ‘I want to be rich and famous’.”

Did you watch the Lorna Jane interview?