Jeremy Jackson—J.J. to his friends—has lived a life most people can only dream of. I mean, come on. He grew up on the set of the most popular TV show in the universe, surrounded by hot babes all day long, and got paid millions of dollars to do it!
That kind of fame, however—especially when it comes at a young age—can have a dark side. At one point J.J. lost everything in his battle with drug and alcohol abuse.
Experiencing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows has given him a unique perspective on the world and what’s important. He’s come out of it all on top, with the confidence to accomplish anything he sets his mind to.
At 34, his life is an action-packed script waiting to be made about overcoming odds and adversity. Hollywood could easily adapt it into a major motion picture soon.
I’m fortunate to know the man, and his commitment to excellence inspires me. I asked J.J. to share his story—and what he’s learned about training and dieting—so he can inspire you, too.
CB: At what age did you make your first appearance on television, and what was it?
JJ: I was six years old when I got my first acting job. It was a Mattel “Color Racers” commercial. I remember it like it was yesterday because I always loved my toy cars, especially hot wheels and the color-changing cars, when I was little. I would crash them and race them and drive them into buckets of cold and hot water to change their colors. Then one day—Boom!—I was playing with my toy cars on TV and getting paid for it. That one commercial turned into a series, with seven more commercials, and I was known as “the Mattel kid.”
CB: Talk about “Baywatch”—a television sensation, and you were a part of it. What was that like?
JJ: “Baywatch” was an indescribable adventure, a phenomenon. I’m not sure it will ever be matched, and I was so lucky to be a part of it. I was 10 years old and had been on more than 30 national commercials, a few TV shows and a couple movies. I loved acting, but my real passion was the beach, I loved bodyboarding and surfing and just hanging out at the beach all day. I had a single mother and was basically a total beach bum who idolized “Knight Rider,” and then one summer day, while I was playing in the pool, my mom called out to me: “Jer, you have an audition tomorrow for that lifeguard show with David Hasselhoff!” I remember wondering if I would actually get to meet my hero at the audition. I was excited, but I had learned my lesson about getting my hopes up too high, so I kept it cool and showed up with sun kissed skin, a smile on my face and sand in my shoes. It was one of those divine moments where I was exactly what they were looking for. Of course they still put me through my paces and only after four auditions did I get the role.
CB: Did you realize how big a deal that was?
JJ: I had no idea how big the show was going to become—nobody could have. At the time I was excited just to be working on a regular basis and be able to leave school in the fourth grade to surf all day and hang with my mom. I never did very well in real school due to my multiple learning disabilities. As I’m a hands-on learner, real-life experiences, rather than textbooks, made homeschooling the better option for me.