Jillian Barberie Reynolds balances out her life as a “whatever girl.”
by bonnie seigler • photograph by john russo
When the alarm sounds at 5:15 a.m., lights are turned on at Jillian Barberie Reynold’s modest San Fernando Valley Mediterranean home. There are no smells of coffee wafting through the air, just the sounds of a sleepy working mom getting ready for her day as weather forecaster and fashion guru on Good Day LA. “I usually get to work around 6:15 a.m.,” explains the Ontario native who now shares her home with actor/husband Grant Reynolds, two-year old daughter Ruby and three rescue dogs. The closet door opens as Jillian reaches for her favorite boyfriend jeans and blouse. “I’m more of a ‘whatever girl’ and live and let live. I fly by the seat of my pants and it drives my husband cuckoo.”
Prior to moving to the United States, Jillian worked for Canada’s Weather Network as a weeknight weathercaster. “So I’m used to dressing myself and choosing fashion statements — I’ve been doing it for 22 years now. I’m all about comfort and have a ton of dresses too.” But it won’t be long before the dresses and jeans start becoming a bit snugger as Jillian just announced she is expecting her second baby in January! “I’m not an A-type personality so I think it’s been a bit easier for me to get pregnant,” says the 42 year-old who used a weight-loss program to lose her previous pregnancy weight of 41 pounds. “I’m adopted and just found my birth family. I have a 90-year-old grandmother who still smokes and drinks, so I have good genes. My sister, though, is an engineer who couldn’t get pregnant and adopted from Russia.I get pregnant so easily and I think it’s because I just live.”
Once holding down five jobs simultaneously, Reynolds vowed never to do that again. She enjoys coming home so that she can devote time to Ruby — and Grant. Leisurely activities include reading biographies “about really strong, radical people,” listening to music, rescuing animals or painting. “I really want to get back into my abstract acrylic painting.” And exercise? “Are you kidding?” she laughs. “My husband bought me a mountain bike and I just giggled. It’s never been ridden and sits hanging up on our garage wall like artwork. I might buy myself some roller blades one day because I used to figure skate growing up in Canada.” In fact, Reynolds skated from age three to 13 before and after school. At 18, Jillian was watching the nightly news with her dad and said, “I could do news, never thinking I would ever get involved in it. But our morning show is more a personality-driven show. That’s what I’m best at. I’m not afraid to say what I feel and not afraid to put myself out there, much to my husband’s dismay.”
But her candor, laughter and openness is what has made Jillian a welcome guest into millions of homes everyday. She credits her Canadian childhood with keeping her humble and honest, while balancing out everything in her hectic life. “Balance is very important to me. I think we can all get caught up in stuff and you forget what’s really important,” she says. “I remember every day that I am a girl who grew up in a small Canadian town and now I’m here living my life in Hollywood. I’m so blessed. Nothing really impresses Canadians and that keeps us humble. I can call up my dad and say ‘I’m going to be on The Tonight Show’ and he’ll say, ‘okay.’”
Also adding to her overall balance is eating healthy, fresh foods that Grant cooks for his wife and baby everyday. “My husband is a very good cook and more of an organic person than I am. It’s important for him to give Ruby all the healthy essentials so there’s always yogurt, granola, lean steaks, healthy fruits and vegetables in the house. And tons of orange juice — I love it.” Jillian adds that people marvel at Ruby’s eating habits when she immediately goes for squash or potatoes or salmon. “Certainly that’s not because of me because I’m not as disciplined as Grant. What she eats is because of him.” For the past eight years, Jillian has thrived on a high-protein diet, omitting most carbs such as rice, potatoes, pasta and bread. “I didn’t miss it really,” she admits, “but when I got pregnant the first time, I began eating those carbs and fell in love with them all over again.” And with her second pregnancy, Reynolds is sure to reconnect with her love affair again.
Juggling work both inside and outside the home (she and Grant just hired help after two years of parenting alone), might leave some worn and weary. That’s a feeling Jillian knows well, but she thrives on trying to keep it together. Days and nights are brimming with responsibility — the morning show plus her new reality show Househusbands of Hollywood starring her main man — but she has learned how to take a balanced approach to it all. “Balancing being a mother, a wife and having a career is sometimes difficult and I think it’s a struggle everyday.” If she’s having a particularly stressful day, Reynolds says, “I think tomorrow will be a better one and I just try and keep up the momentum. But I admit, it’s hard sometimes and believe me, I have those days where I want to stay under the covers, eat and be comfortable. Then I think, I really do have the perfect life. I know it sounds corny, but I do.”