Jessie J on working out: ‘stop judging yourself, don’t wear makeup’

British singer Jessie J, 29, (Bang Bang, Price Tag) is a spokesperson for Propel Fitness Water and their new ad campaign, called Get Ugly. It’s all about just doing your thing at the gym and not caring what you look like, which is a clever message. They picked a good spokesperson in that Jessie has a compelling back story. She suffered from a heart condition growing up, called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which caused her to have a stroke at the age of 18! It’s a disorder of the electrical system in the heart and can cause dizziness, fainting and shortness of breath. I actually got really worried for her reading this, because it sounds like she has to be careful about doing cardio, although from what I could find, sudden death from the condition is rare. Apparently she’s on beta blockers but I couldn’t find out much about her particular condition. Anyway she talked about working out and how it’s helped her manage her health condition.

For Jessie J, working out is a way to get fit and feel strong — something that’s particularly important to her as she manages a heart condition.

The singer, 29, inherited Wolff-Parkinson-White disease — a condition that means she has an extra electrical pathway in her heart that causes shortness of breath and dizziness — from her father, and his father before him.

“It doesn’t go away, sadly. It’s just something that I’ve had to deal with since I was a child, and it pushed me to get stronger. It’s just part of who I am,” Jessie J, a spokesperson for Propel Electrolyte Water, tells PEOPLE.

But after undergoing surgeries as a child, she doesn’t worry too much about burning out during concerts or her workouts — she’s learned how to monitor her body.

“I do have to make sure I stay healthy and look after myself,” Jessie J says. “I kind of love that I have something that pushes me to be healthier.”

“I just wanted to recreate the way people see the word ugly,” she says. “For me it’s like, don’t care, stop judging yourself, get on with it, get sweaty, get fit. Who cares what you look like? Don’t wear makeup; your hair’s going to be a mess. Just do it.”

“People say that you’re too skinny, or you’re too fat. You’re never enough,” she says. “I think it’s so fickle and silly. I’m comfortable in my own skin, so I try to inspire people who aren’t there yet to get there.”

[From People]

I like the “get ugly” message, but I’m not about to go to the gym, or out of my house, without makeup. I just think I look like a freak without mascara at least and I feel better with makeup on. It’s not for everyone, and some women are confident and look great without makeup but I need a little makeup on or I feel weird. I’m not reapplying makeup before I go to the gym but I’m not going out barefaced either, and that’s everyone’s own prerogative. I do agree that you shouldn’t be concerned about your hair, but I shouldn’t judge on that either, some women like to have nice hair like I like having my face done. They’re so wrong though, you can’t control your hair!

Jessie’s red carpet style is wacky at best. She probably looks so much better at the gym.

Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala - Arrivals

Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala - Arrivals

photos credit: WENN and Getty


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44 Responses to “Jessie J on working out: ‘stop judging yourself, don’t wear makeup’”

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  1. Clare says:

    thing is – why is being sweaty and without make up at the gym (or in life), considered ‘ugly’? It’s not ugly. Its human. It’s normal. While I like the concept behind the campaign, I feel like the ‘ugly’ label is misplaced and far too negative.

    I ran to work this morning and am currently in my sweatpants with no make up on (I swear I will shower eventually). this does not make me – or anyone else – ugly.

    • Darlene says:

      Thank you. I struggle with this. How I wake up in the morning HAS TO BE OK sometimes. I am the same person as when I have makeup – I might not feel as confident, but that’s on me to deal with. I have a teen daughter, and I have made conscious decisions to go to the grocery store or whatever with not a speck of makeup. I don’t want her to think she’s somehow “lacking” or not deserving to be seen in public w/o a “face” on. She doesn’t owe the world “pretty,” not 24/7, not even 1 minute. It’s been hard for me, as I am inclined to want to put makeup on even just to walk the dog. :(

      • pinetree13 says:

        I struggle with this too Darlene but my daughter is still very young.

        I’m the type that can’t be seen in public without make up although I sometimes will go out with just concealar. Anytime I”m running late and forced to do the school run without make up I feel hideous and don’t want anyone to look at me. It’s really messed up when you analyze it.

  2. slowsnow says:

    I like Jessie J. Some people are stylish (a whole range from Tilda Swinton to Melissa McCarthy) and other people just like to try things out and be something else. Jessie J, like Riri, likes to try out insane and sexy outfits and I’m here for it.
    As for the project ‘get ugly’ or wahtnot, I say much ado about a conversation that just zzzzzs me. Who cares? Gee, can’t we even go to the gym without questioning ourselves?

  3. Lindy says:

    I was just talking with friends about how exhausting it is as a woman to feel so much pressure to be on point all the time when it comes to appearance. I don’t do makeup or hair before working out. I feel gross sweating with makeup on. I really do like this message. I want a vacation from the social pressure to to perfect in every situation.

    • Erinn says:

      For me, I do my makeup for me. I don’t generally do it to present myself to the world a certain way. I don’t do a lot of it though unless it’s a special occasion. I deal with chronic illness on a daily basis – sometimes when I look in the mirror I realize that how I’m feeling is being displayed outwardly as well. Slapping on a little bit of under-eye concealer and some mascara, and filling in my brows a bit gives me a sense of normality. It allows me to feel a bit better about the situation as a whole. And some days, when I have the energy, it’s just about ‘looking pretty’ which is vain, but I’m not going to pretend it’s not.

      • Patricia says:

        Erinn I so relate to what you’ve said.
        I’m a chronic pain sufferer. Without makeup a literally get asked every day if I’m OK, if I’m exhausted, etc. No one means any harm by it but even my closest people (besides my husband) can be quite taken by surprised by the amount of veins and purplish coloring that shows all around my eyes without concealer on.
        I like taking the time for myself every morning to make my eyes look more awake and alive and beautiful. On a day when I have slept badly from pain, or am facing feelings of defeat, it feels a little bit like war paint. And as a mother taking those five to ten minutes reminds me that I’m doing something just for myself and how I feel is important.

        So keep doing what you’re doing Erinn, and feel good and I wish you well!

      • QQ says:

        Same, Erinn, I Love a Beat For Myself, Cause I Love me a Good Vain pursuit and a selfie BUT like Linddy said Me and my GFs are talking a lot about that expectation from women stuff and the whole dieting business so I always check myself cause I come from a family where there is a SH*TTON of pressure to “Look pretty and slim and long haired” so also While I’m pretty comfortable laying off of most of everything but a lip and mascara and sunblock on weekends IF I have to see my relatives I NEED to actually gussy up, to not do so is to invite a Deluge of awful commentary on your looks and end beat or whatever, if they see you to the nines they try to come for your amount of effort/weight whatever else so in that sense makeup is armor AF

        ** True Story I’m not talking to my mom since last week, she literally scanned me for 5 minutes saw nothing she could come for then started ranting that I should lay off the heels and lose more weight but not really work strenuously if i wanted to feel better about my knees ( she means diets, my mom is a diet pill miracle cure subscriber) – Mind you I asked for Ibuprofen for a period cramp?… this was an entire 20 mins after my uncle took me aside sat me down to say “NOW you look fine and your best.. before don’t get offended but you were a little too fat for all that **

        HOWEVER If I’m going to the gym you gonna get my no makeup NON ENNGAGING azz cause I’m not in the Gym to be friends with no one

      • slowsnow says:

        Jesus Christ @QQ that’s a lot to unpack. Hang in there.

      • Snazzy says:

        I hear you QQ – for my 40th birthday my mom and aunt offered me lypo. Some families are just f-up when it comes to body image, and make it really hard on those of us trying to break out of those expectations.

      • pinetree13 says:

        I don’t know Erinn…I feel like a lot of us say we do makeup for ourselves…and we want that to be true…but at the end of the day, is it? Is it REALLY for ourselves? Or is it because when we don’t wear undereye conealer all we get asked is why we’re so tired today? Or are we feeling well?

        Is it because we want to or is it because people are more likely to talk to us? To be polite to us? To hold the door for us?

        Every single person treats you differently when you’re made up and when you’re not. So how much is really for us and how much is to be treated better by society as a whole? SOme days I love getting all dolled up and I love playing with new make up products…but doing make up EVERY day for work is a chore.

        At the end of the day I truly believe that whether we see it or not, wearing make up is something we are subtly forced into doing. Because choosing to go without it has consequences. Subtle, mild, but consistent consequences.

      • detritus says:

        @pinetree, yes.
        It’s so hard to tease out what you are conditioned to believe, and what is true. And at a certain point, what we are conditioned to believe is our truth.

        being a lady is complicated.

      • Tata says:

        @QQ I feel you I hear you. When I told my family, saying sh*t about my appearance is off-limits, and I would LEAVE THE ROOM if they didn’t stop, they told me I was in the wrong, because they mean no harm (yeah, right).

        I wanted to say, Oh you mean like every f*cking abusive bf, man on the street, rapist, and horrible boss who felt he had rights to comment or do to my body, just because I am a woman? Internalized misogyny is no good either.

        I nearly starved myself to death to win approval and love and you can’t, you never will. I didn’t talk to my family for bout a year till they got it, now I see them but I go with emotional armor and use it every time (exhausts me but it works), and yes, with Make up but that is fun for me, and not for anyone else.

        I have been in therapy learning about boundaries to save my life, highly recommend, wish I had gone at 17/18/19/20 to learn how to deal with family putting you down.

    • INeedANap says:

      I had no idea wearing makeup to the gym was a thing, let alone one I was expected to do. One of the many ways I apparently fall short in being an acceptable woman. I’m perfectly fine with that. :)

      • Pandy says:

        I don’t wear foundation, blush or mascara but I do wear eyeliner and eyeshadow (helps the eyeliner stay on) plus lipstick. I don’t wash my face before the gym because my pores aren’t blocked with foundation and I’m heading home to shower. I throw my hair up in clips or a bun and because I’m a curly girl, I’m lucky it shakes out looking the same. So I don’t have to wash it afterward which is great!!! I don’t get helmet head either when I bike to work lol. I’ve been lately getting a bit lazy about make up on the weekends. When I wake up with a clean face, I kind of don’t mind wandering around like that. Will go to the local coffee shop barefaced too. But if I’m heading out for groceries, I will put on sunglasses and lipstick to fake it loll. I’m kind of tired of all the maintenance but too vain to totally give it up.

      • Ange says:

        I’ve done it but only because I go straight after work and already have makeup on. Plenty of women do put it on to go though, I don’t know how they keep their skin nice.

  4. Esmom says:

    I don’t know much about her but I like her attitude — very inspiring.

    I don’t wear much makeup to begin with but I can’t imagine wearing it to the gym. I’d end up a smeary mess, I think. I have noticed that a lot of women do wear a full face of makeup to workout, maybe half of the ladies at my gym on a given day. Like you said, I guess it’a about what makes you feel best.

    • Moonstone says:

      I don’t particularly wear a full face makeup look but I need my concealer cause thanks to my dad’s side of the family I have what they call raccoon eyes so when I’m not wearing any makeup I’m always ask are you ok? Did you sleep fine? So annoying!!! And also I don’t want to look like I’m being cast for the walking dead show.

  5. detritus says:

    I would like to hear from the gym going makeup wearers.
    I see them working out (flagfootball girl, I saw your full face plus possible eyelash extensions)
    But I never hear why?

    I will cop to wearing a bb if I don’t have sunscreen or if my skin was really bad.

    • Buckwild says:

      I’m always headed to the gym after work or after some shopping/lunch so for me, I’m just too lazy to take my makeup off (which is already on) for a workout. I actually feel more judged having my makeup on to be honest from other women thinking that I must be all made up for the gym. I don’t feel gross at all, I just shower and take off my makeup after and it’s all good to go.

    • Pumpkin Pie says:

      When I was going to the gym I used to wear CC because my face can get as red as a tomato if the workout is intense, and intense works for me. I am too vain LOL.
      PS The gym manager did manage to comment on my redness on one occasion when I didn’t wear anything. Very unnecessary and rude of him. I was caught offguard and didn’t say anything. First world problem, I know. But I hold public relations issues at the highest standard possible.

      • detritus says:

        I feel you. My nickname when in athletics was Pinky.
        Because I turn bright pink. All over. Sexy beast I am.

        But back to the gym manager, that is rude as hell. i’d be pissed too. at least the red fades, assholery is forever.

      • Pandy says:

        Yeah, that was a total dick comment. I turn tomato red as well and get really sweaty. He needs to eft off. That’s when you need to comment “yeah and your penis shrinks in cold water – what’s your point?” LOLLL. Bet he’d never make that comment again.

    • tegteg says:

      For me, it’s because the gym is rarely, if ever, my first destination. Usually I’ll go run errands and hit the gym sometime later in the day. Thus, I already have makeup on and I’m not about to take it off. If I leave the house, I have makeup on. That’s just how I roll and how I feel most comfortable.

      If in some alternate universe I happened to wake up at 5:00 a.m. and wanted to go for a jog around my neighborhood, then I wouldn’t wear makeup.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I think there could be many reasons but like a few have already said, it’s usually not your first stop in the morning? I don’t know, I don’t go to the gym. But if I go running after work, I take off the foundation etc. because GROSS. It gets itchy and runs down my face otherwise. On the weekend, I wash my face, slap on sunscreen and start running. I love it. I look terrible at times but this is a big city, nobody knows me or even pays attention. I almost revel in it, frankly. And I don’t feel ugly, actually. I generally feel great when working out.

      I’m not sure why we need to re-think the word ugly or what it means. We do need to work on young people’s sense of self-worth though. If you like yourself, you probably don’t feel ugly. I sometimes look like sh*t but I don’t necessarily feel ugly even then. And I rarely think oh this person is so ugly unless their personality is hideous.

    • MissMarierose says:

      I go to the gym after work and it’s just quicker to get out there after changing into my gym shorts instead of washing my face first.

    • Veronica says:

      For me, it’s usually a matter of when I have time to work out and how much makeup I have on. If it’s lighter makeup – i.e. concealer and eye makeup, I’ll just leave it on, especially if I’m heading there after work. I can’t bring myself to work out with full face makeup on, though. Something about sweating with foundation on just grosses me out.

  6. dholmas says:

    I roll out of bed in the morning wash my face comb my hair. Put on crappy clothes and walk to the shop and turn it on. No makeup and I do not feel ugly. If I go in public or deliver the furniture and have to meet clients outside of the shop I will spend the time to look a whole lot better. Ugly is not the word to use.

  7. Dee says:

    I wouldn’t leave the house to go to the gym with makeup on but some of us work out after work & we don’t have time to wash it off so it’s impossible to not have it on if you want to squeeze in a workout before getting home to be go tend to the kids & make dinner. So I get it, it’s a little uncomfortable but if it’s the only time to get my workout in, I’ll do it!

  8. anna222 says:

    I never leave the house without makeup – even if it’s just bb cream, concealer and mascara. My skin tone isn’t terribly even and most of the time I have a couple of hormonal pimples or the remnants of them! That’s my choice and how I feel comfortable, if I felt comfortable without makeup that would be fine too. I don’t think anyone needs to be judging other people about this.

  9. Tan says:

    Never wore makeup to gym. And I sweat and have red patches after a little work out so it makes it weird
    Rest of the time its upto mood
    Have been to work dressed to T and then have been to client meeting some other day just only brushing my hair.
    I frequently forget to wear earrings.

    Whatever you feel like the moment, go accordingly. Makes for a much better day

  10. Mystified says:

    My son also has Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome, or WPW, He had ablation surgery 7 years ago at age 10 and and has been symptom free ever since. The surgery is laparoscopic , not open heart. The surgeon actually destroys the extra pathway. I’m curious as to why Jessie has not undergone it.

    Also, sometimes WPW Syndrome is completely asymptomatic until the victim goes into cardiac arrest. WPW Syndrome can be easily diagnosed by an electrocardiogram.

  11. Jaii says:

    I never actually wear makeup at all, I stopped in my early teens when experimenting with it I found it hard to find any that match my skin tone , and what I did find made my skin dry and flaky . So now I chuck moisturiser on, make sure my eyebrows are okay and maybe a touch of lip gloss and that’s it. Strangely I feel like I’m missing being part of a club or something

  12. MissMerry says:

    I like her sentiment of ‘stop judging yourself’ because in a way, I have a very hard time exercising because I’m so self conscious. I’m always assuming or thinking everyone around me at a park is watching me try to run, or stretch, or do push-ups (all of which I’m not good at and probably do all wrong), and I’m always paranoid at others looking at the mess that is me trying to exercise and thinking ‘omg what is that poor girl doing? its all wrong…”


    plus my face gets and stay BRIGHT RED even hours after I’ve finished working out. Not cute but I know I need to do it.

    • Caela says:

      How ironic that the Get Ugly advert has women obviously wearing makeup….


      I hope it doesn’t put you off exercising. The important thing is you are doing something and therefore already better than anyone judging you!!

      For exercise inspiration I always go back to the original ‘This Girl Can’. I love that advert and it shows women of all shapes and ages doing exercise and getting properly sweaty! Whenever I feel self-conscious about how I look I re-watch it :)

  13. me says:

    There is nothing wrong with wearing make-up if you want to.