How a love of fitness is taking him from celebrity personal trainer to actor and action hero
By: Vanessa Pascale Rust
For more than ten years, Corey Calliet has been transforming the bodies of Hollywood movie stars, including friend and People Magazine’s 2020 Sexiest Man Alive, Michael B. Jordan, and the casts of major motion pictures including “Blank Panther,” “Creed (I, II and III)” and “Star Wars Episode VIII- The Last Jedi.” As one of the personal trainers on E!’s reality TV show “Revenge Body”with Khloé Kardashian, Calliet showed viewers not only how to attain incredible fitness results, but also what he is made of –steel and heart. Anyone can train a person while the cameras are rolling, but it was Calliet’s ability to connect with others that truly set him apart.
“One of my superpowers is the power of connectivity, I can make people connect to me,” Calliet explains during our interview in an Atlanta coffee shop. The fitness guru is dressed in black from head to toe –a hooded sweatshirt, sweatpants, beanie and sneakers. “I have struggled with everything that people have struggled with in their life. If I haven’t, I can understand them, and that builds trust. And when people trust you, they listen to you. Once they listen to you, they get results. When they [E!] saw that, and when they saw the response I received on television, they said, ‘Wow, we have something here,’” says the former competitive bodybuilder.
“Revenge Body”gaveCaillet his first taste of what it’s like to be in the spotlight. Going out became a different experience – people would come up to him and wanted photos with him. Being a celebrity personal trainer (a person who trains celebrities) took on a new meaning for him. Now, it meant Caillet was the celebrity in his own right. “I’m the trainer that trainers start training [to be like]. They like the big name. They like the following [he has more than 450,000 followers on Instagram]. I’m that, but also, outside of that, I’m a human being that understands what it takes to be this.”
This type of attention was unusual for a personal trainer to receive, which is why Calliet knew he had to take advantage of the opportunity. E! and different companies tried to build TV shows around him, but they didn’t work out. “You know when you’re overqualified for a job, and nobody knows what to do with you? We ran into that.” So, the self-proclaimed chameleon took matters into his own hands and dove into producing and acting. “I have so many different ideas and so many things that run through my head, and I can do so much. Now, I’m starting to do it for myself.”
The New Orleans native has been living in Atlanta since October 2021 training Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors for the highly-anticipated film, “Creed III,”as well as pursuing acting opportunities. “I’m not training any other celebrities -I’m kind of over that. I saw life being bigger than that. It was easy for me to become who I am,” he says about being a personal trainer. “I don’t like easy…. I need to keep reaching. Fitness will always be there – I need it, I love it, I breathe it. When I leave here, I’m going straight to the gym. It’s like my battery, it keeps me going, but I know I want to use it for other facets in my life.”
Calliet is ready to show off his physical abilities onscreen and is excited about action acting. Named one of the 50 Most Fit Men in the World by AskMen Magazine, he certainly has the physique and skills to be America’s next action hero. “There’s no other big African American guys. Mike [Jordan] is the standard. There’s room to grow, and I have all the tools for it. You need fitness to make action acting. Who else better to tell a story than a person who creates superheroes and superstars?” asks Calliet with a smile.
It wasn’t until Calliet was 18 that he became interested in fitness. He was motivated by wanting to “look good,” and as soon as he started seeing results, he fell in love with it. “You want to be able to take your clothes off in the mirror and be like, ‘I look good!’” His fitness resolution this year is to look the best he has ever looked in his life. That’s not to say that it’s all working out and no cheat days for him. While Calliet does meal prep every day, he’s not afraid to eat a donut when he wants one. “I believe in living real and having real-life goals. I know I’m going to snack on this, snack on that. Honestly, I don’t know a person that lives by that. I know a lot of people that joke and lie about it.”
Whether it’s in the gym or on a movie/TV set, Calliet is giving his all. Recently, Calliet produced the film“ATOPHRN” while in quarantine as well as the short film “A Good Time” which he also acted in. “You’ll see me in ‘Creed III’ because he’s [Jordan] directing. I’ll get in wherever I get in at. He’s directing, he’s acting, he’s doing it all, which is very hard.” Calliet previously appeared in “Creed II” as Jordan’s character’s Corner Man. “I was carrying the belt around, kind of like what it is in real life, I am on his back, behind him all the time.” He flashes a grin.
Once filming wraps up, Calliet will be splitting his time between Los Angeles and Atlanta, the Hollywood of the South. He has a few projects on the horizon: He is working on a feature film and is looking forward to getting more acting roles under his belt.
“I still don’t call myself an actor, I feel like I’ve got to earn that. I’m just in it. All my friends are superstar actors -Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, John Boyega- so it’s kind of hard to have conversations with these people who have been actors for years. They know me one way [as their trainer], but then they’re like, ‘Corey, you can do this!’”
As he’s talking, Caillet goes from past trainer to present. “Before I can start talking about it a lot, let me do some more work, let me prove myself more before I say I’m this or that. But I am an actor.”
What would people be surprised to find out about you?
I’m not always so serious. The TV show did that. They saw me on there being serious, motivating. I’m talking tough, my eyes kind of stare at you. ‘Oh, you’re so mean.’ I’m not mean. I’m actually a teddy bear. I’m actually funny. I like to have fun. This next film I’m about to do is a rom-com, it shows a different side of me. When you see fitness people, you think they’re the most serious people in the world. Most of the time we’re not, but when you’re training, we gotta be serious because you don’t joke with 100 pounds over your head.