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Barbara Terry interview with Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler is a 274-pound statue of muscle who is the IFBB’s most recognized athlete. Jay was 2006, 2007 and 2009 Mr. Olympia, and the 2002,2003 and 2004 Arnold Classic Champion. He is a well-known speaker and motivator, and is one of the most popular bodybuilders that the world has known, perhaps since the days of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

What was your first car?

It was a 1981 Toyota Corolla. It was like a maroon color. I had that car when I was 14 and I actually was able to register and insure that vehicle I just didn’t have a driver’s license until I was 16.1 grew up on a farm in Massachusetts with over 100 acres of land, so I was able to learn howto drive early and I pretty much was able to drive myself around.

That’s pretty cool. Was it an automatic or a stick?

It was an automatic. It was a two-door. It had some rust on it, but it was sufficient for a first car. It was just a vehicle to drive around, at that point. I remember when the imports penetrated into the States and how much of a splash they were because they were so dif­ferent than the big Buicks or the Cadillacs that every­body had. But they were really good cars.

What did you buy after that?

I actually bought a Mazda RX7, which was a real sporty car. I bought that when I was 16. I had pretty much the best car at my high school. I made good money when I was a teenager, working at my family’s concrete business. I always had a passion for nice cars and that was my first sporty car. My dream was to actually buy a Corvette, but I had to settle for the RX7 first.

Did you ever get that Corvette?

Yes, I did, actually. I got a Corvette in 2000 – a green Corvette convertible-when I moved to California. And

I had a 740 BMW and then I had a 750 BMW, both at once. I had trucks, I had a Toyota Land Cruiser. I won these two Hummer trucks in a competition. I’ve gone through three H2 Hummers, a Mercedes Benz SL500 convertible; I still have four cars now. I had Jaguars, Porsches; I pretty much run the gamut.

Is there a dream car that you have yet to buy for your­self?

I always wanted a Porsche Carrera GT, which runs around $400,000. It’s just too much right now. I can’t fit in it. I’m limited in what I can drive. That’s the problem with being a bodybuilder that weighs 300 pounds. I drive bigger cars like the S Class Mercedes that I have now. I have two BMW trucks that I drive and a con­vertible 6 series BMW. I always have had Porsche Cayennes and I had that Porsche Turbo 911, but it was too small and the Corvette was even too small for me. I think my next vehicle I’m looking at is a Rolls Royce Phantom, which is a big four-door. It’s huge. I like the white exterior on a cream interior.

Wow. That’s a pretty car.

Yeah, I know. For me, a lot of my cars are tricked out because I put a lot of my cars in big car shows here in Las Vegas, like the SEMA show. I put my cars in the shows just as celebrity cars, and that kind of stuff, because I get all sorts of stuff for my cars. So a lot of my cars are pimped out. I’ve got the big wheels and the chrome and all of that stuff.

You mentioned, on that Phantom, that you wanted a white on cream interior. What’s your favorite color combina­tion?

Probably silver and black because I’ve had a Porsche 911 that was silver exterior with a black interior. I have a Mercedes now, which is silver with black interior, a 7 Series BMW, which was silver and black. I also like the blacked-out look. They call it the ‘murdered out’ black, where you have the taillights dark – smoke black – the wheels are black and the whole exterior’s black. The inte­rior’s black and the windows are tinted black. Here in Vegas, you obviously want the windows tinted, so all my cars are pretty heavy tinted. Actually, all my cars, except the Mercedes, are black.

When you gained the first success with your career and you had some gravy type money, what was that car you went out and bought yourself?

Once I started making money successfully, probably about

  • bought the 7 Series BMW. I lived in Massachusetts, so I couldn’t really have a sporty car because the weath­er was so horrible. My next splurge was the Corvette when I moved to California, because of the weather. You could travel with the convertible top. That eventually lead to me buying more BMW trucks. I never really splurged because of making money, but I guess I started buying the Porsche vehicles when I started doing very well. Those are a little bit more expensive. I have a hard time spending a ton of money on vehicles because they just depreciate so quickly, but some, I do have to have.

When you were a kid, did you ever have a car poster on the wall or did you have a particular dream car?

Every kid has posters of, like, Ferraris and Lamborghinis and stuff, but those cars are, for me, not really practical because I can’t fit in half of them. They’re nice to look at, but they’re not that fun to drive. I mean. I’ve driven everything between Ferraris and Lamborghinis, and they’re not real fun to drive. In my opinion, it’s like you’re whipping around and you can’t really go many places comfortably. If you want to go with a group of people – and I travel a lot with an entourage – you can’t really carry more than two peo­ple in a sports car.

Do you have any motorcycles? I don’t know if I could even picture such a muscular guy on a bike, but I had to know.

I did. Actually, I had some custom Harley Davidsons, I had a Japanese motorcycle. I have two ATVs still in my garage because I was a big fan of ATVs when I was a kid. I don’t get to ride them that often.

You said you have two ATVs in your garage? What kind are they?

I have a Yamaha 700 CC ATV and then I have a Polaris 500, which is real nice and like brand new.

How fast have you driven in a car?

One-hundred sixty.

That’s up there. Where was that?

On the freeway going by the strip here in Vegas.

That’s pretty cool. What driver’s seat were you in?

I was in a Porsche 911. I’ve actually done 150 in my Porsche Cayenne truck. That has 550 horsepower.

Are there any favorite road trips you had as a kid? You mentioned you grew up in Massachusetts; did you guys ever drive down to New York or up to Vermont? Anything that really kind of sticks out in your mind?

I drove to Old Orchard Beach a lot, which is in Maine. From where I lived, that was pretty much straight high­way and it took two hours. I had a Jeep at the time we did that, and I used to take the top down. I used to drive every week to see one of my nutritionists down there. I would enjoy it because it was right along the beach. You have the top down on the vehicle and the weather’s nice. It’s always great

Was that a Jeep Wrangler?

Yes. It was a 1991. That was, I think, my third vehicle. I bought that when I was in college.

What type of music do you like to listen to you when you’re driving?

I’m a rock and rap music guy. That’s mostly what I lis­ten to. I have both on my iPod and CD player. I make the trip to California a lot because I live between LA. and Vegas. That’s a four-hour trip down the freeway, so I do listen to a lot of music, especially satellite radio and iPods and CDs because, obviously, you lose signal halfway through the desert. That’s a nice ride. Usually, after 11 o’clock at night, there’s barely any traffic, so it’s just a straight shot.

What has been your favorite car from the get-go that you’ve had?

Probably one of the Porsches. There’s nothing that drives like a Porsche.

Nothing that sounds like a Porsche, either.

Yeah. I mean, the BMWs are nice, too. I’ve had, like, 10 BMW vehicles in the last six or seven years and I actually keep going back. I like to drive them.

What do you think of Hybrids and would you ever own one?

I would if I lived in L.A. full-time because the traffic’s just ridiculous, and the price of gas. You get certain benefits by having a Hybrid.

At what age did you really know, without a doubt that you were going to pursue bodybuilding?

I picked up my first magazine when I was 12 years old and I saw a picture of Mr. Olympia – Chris Dickerson. I remember telling my older brother – I’m the youngest of seven children -1 said this is how I want to look. I studied the magazines for years and I started weight- training when I was 18. I joined the gym around my 18th birthday. I played sports in high school. I played track and football. I started weight-training when I started college around my 18th birthday, in August of 1991. That was the beginning of my quest to become the best bodybuilder on the planet. I trained all the way through – nonstop – until I won the ultimate title at 33 years old. I became the 11th Mr. Olympia, which is the title of bodybuilding. I held that title for two years – ‘06 and ’07 -and then I lost in 2008.1 fell to second and then I came back to win victory this past September… to rewrite history and become the first Mr. Olympia that ever was defeated and came back to win the title.

That’s great!

I’m now the three-time return Mr. Olympia, so I’ll be going for my fourth title this year.

How much can you bench press?

I think, 550 pounds.

So, basically, you could bench press a dirt bike, literally. That would be a great photo! Have you ever had any car accidents that stick out in your mind?

Fortunately, I’ve never been in a serious wreck. When I was five years old, I was put through the windshield of a vehicle due to a drunk driver. Two accidents I’ve been in were due to a drunk driver. I was hit again in 2005 by another drunk driver. I’ve sustained no injuries except some back problems. That was it. I’m fully recovered from that.

Have you ever looked at one of your competitor’s cars and said, ‘You know what? I need to get me one of those.’

Not really, because I could buy anything I want to pur­chase. I look at what is feasible and practical for me. It’s kind of one of those things, like, why have all these vehi­cles and have to pay for registration and insurance and all this stuff when I never get to drive, being as I travel so

much. One car I’ve had for six years, I’ve only put 8,000                ;

miles on because I don’t drive that much. I, basically, only drive to the gym and the grocery store, and that’s it.

Do you have any favorite charities?

I’m involved heavily with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Los Angeles. I do charity training camps. What happens is,

once a month, starting at the beginning of the year, I usually have one weekend where people fly in to train with Jay Cutler. They pay a fee to workout with me and half the i proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I wait until June to start training for the Mr. Olympia competition.

What all do you have going on for this next year?

I’m working on a film career now. I want to be an action guy in films. I have a contract in hand to start some filming this year before the Mr. Olympia compe­tition. So I think my next journey will start this year. I have a challenge in becoming the best bodybuilder in the world. That’s been my passion since I was 12 years old. You’ve gotta realize that life, to me, is overcoming obstacles and completing challenges. The challenges and obstacles give us a feeling of self-esteem and I feel that that’s kind of a key to life-to have challenges and obstacles to overcome. Otherwise, there’s really no pride and no reason to live, to feel good about your­self and giving yourself a sense of security. My chal­lenge was to become the best bodybuilder and I’ve won that multiple times. Now I think I’m ready for my next challenge.

And that would be in film, right?

Yes.

Do you see any parallels between Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career and yours?

Well, we have a lot of similarities. He comes from a small area and I come from a town of 6,000 people. I’m an American citizen from the beginning. We both had passions in bodybuilding and he became a real com­petitor. I mean, that’s how I am, too. I’m heavily involved in competing and that’s why I moved here, actually. My passion is to be Mr. Olympia and he’s won it seven times.

I want to be my own man and not necessarily follow in his footsteps, but I see that he kind of opened the path for that. A lot of films, now, are becoming animated, with all of these special effects and more cartoon-like action stars that aren’t real. You look at the Hulk and they have an animation of the Hulk. It’s not like a human body type anymore. People still want to see the action guys, these buff guys, I mean, what it repre­sents is fighting skills and power and that kind of stuff. I think that’s why we’re so interested in the Schwarzenegger films, Steven Seagal films, Jean- Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone, with the Rocky films, and with all that kind of stuff. No matter what any guys say, they would love to be in shape – maybe not to be as big as I am now, but they do like the muscle look, the tough guy look.

Well, you’ve already made your own history, so everything you do from this point on is just going to add to all your greatness.

Well, that’s the whole thing. The problem is that I’m a big celebrity in a small arena because not many peo­ple follow the sport of bodybuilding. It’s not as main­stream, obviously, as wrestling or UFC or other fighting stuff. I’m very popular when I walk the streets. I’m noticed everywhere and a lot of athletes and celebri­ties know me because of magazines. Obviously, we stand out. When I come into a club, I stand out with my physique. I think people take notice with that. So I’m just trying to capitalize on it and move forward and bring something that’s unique.

I found Jay to be exactly what you might expect from some­one billed as bodybuilding’s best personality. He was affa­ble, easy to get along with and very personable. He knew quite a bit about cars and has owned and maintained quite an incredible selection. Jay showed up to our interview and photo shoot in his amazing BMW that was previously owned by Gladys Knight. I look forward to seeing him at the movies!

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