An Emmy-winning producer trades in her movie-making skills for a Pilates Reformer.
Amy Briede learned the hard way to accept change. “I was widowed at 30,” she says. “That taught me a lot about how short life can be.”
From the Midwest, the newly single Amy made her way to California to start over, ultimately deciding to work in the movies. Spending almost a decade on mostly low-budget horror flicks, Amy did everything from facilitating shoots in haunted houses to procuring helicopters to fetching Tiger Balm for actors.
Then the recession hit, slowing down movie production and forcing Amy to take a full-time gig making TV commercials. She felt it was a step down.
“I went from winning an Emmy (for producing a documentary) to sitting in a cubicle getting fat. I had to make a change,” she says.
“I was driving my boyfriend mad, coming home from work every day miserable. He told me to get a hobby. So I tried Pilates and was hooked!” Relying on blind faith and a padded savings account, Amy decided to quit her job and open a Pilates studio.
During her certification training, she met Amy Smith, who was also ready for a change. “We had a great ying-yang together. She is earthy and calm, and I can be more impulsive and flashy.”
Once the former producer was certified, along with Amy Smith, she opened Pilate-ology in Sherman Oaks. With more than 50 classes a week taught by eight instructors, nowadays Pilate-ology is a hub of activity. Amy Briede credits that popularity in part to her strategy of offering an affordable price point and a laid-back atmosphere.
To her students, she is known as the “silly” instructor, dancing and trying to make sessions entertaining and fun. And in that role, Amy feels now—in mid-life—she has finally blossomed.
“I’m in a field now that gives me a greater sense of purpose. I’m helping people be healthy and creating a community of loving support for everyone, including myself.”