My heart is bro­ken LORNA JANE:

The pri­vate pain be­hind fit­ness mogul’s fa­mous smile

The Courier-Mail - - FRONT PAGE - AMY PRICE

FIT­NESS queen Lorna Jane Clark­son, who says she built her mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar ac­tivewear em­pire pro­mot­ing pos­i­tiv­ity and em­pow­er­ment, claims her con­fi­dence was shat­tered by the court case in which her brand was falsely ac­cused of fat-sham­ing.

Speak­ing with Jules Se­bas­tian on her Youtube series Tea With Jules, Clark­son spoke about the case in which a for­mer store em­ployee al­leged she had been fat-shamed and bul­lied on­line while work­ing for the ac­tivewear com­pany.

The law­suit was dis­missed by a District Court judge this month.

“It broke my heart; I felt like I couldn’t even speak about it, which was prob­a­bly one of my mis­takes be­cause I just hid in a lit­tle hole, and I lost my self­con­fi­dence,” she said.

“You just feel like you can’t de­fend your­self.”

The law­suit, brought about in 2015, co­in­cided with pub­lic crit­i­cism over a job ad­ver­tise­ment for a Lorna Jane store that asked for ap­pli­cants’ body mea­sure­ments to ful­fil the mod­el­ling por­tion of the role.

Clark­son, who splits her time be­tween Bris­bane and Los An­ge­les, said she was rat­tled by the crit­i­cism, hav­ing built her $200 mil­lion ac­tivewear busi­ness and writ­ten five books on the premise of lead­ing a pos­i­tive and healthy lifestyle. “I’m a pos­i­tive per­son, I talk about pos­i­tiv­ity be­ing my su­per power, it’s just the way that I am,” Clark­son said. “The only way to fight neg­a­tiv­ity is to con­tinue to be your­self ... be­cause how could what peo­ple are say­ing about me be right when I’ve spent 25 years do­ing the com­plete op­po­site?” Ear­lier this month, for­mer Lorna Jane store man­ager Amy Louise Robin­son lost her claim for more than $570,000 in da­m­ages for phys­i­cal and psy­chi­atric in­juries from the ac­tivewear chain af­ter she al­leged she was bul­lied at work. Ms Robin­son (be­low) claimed she was too ill to work be­cause she was fat-shamed when she worked at Lorna Jane’s DFO store near Bris­bane Air­port. But a District Court judge found Ms Robin­son was “an un­re­li­able wit­ness with se­ri­ous cred­i­bil­ity is­sues”. Ms Clark­son said she had not con­fronted the for­mer em­ployee, but was re­lieved the case had been dis­missed. “I’ve learnt and I want the mes­sage to be why do we as a so­ci­ety want to feel or know or hear bad things about other peo­ple?,” she said.

STAY­ING STRONG: Fit­ness queen Lorna Jane Clark­son says re­cent crit­i­cism has hurt.

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