A new fitness guru -- Meet Kathy Kaehler, personal trainer to the stars, whose clients include Michelle Pfeiffer, Melanie Griffith, and Carrie Fisher

By Nisid Hajari
Updated April 09, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

In Hollywood, where appearance means nearly everything, the real behind-the-scenes powers are the people who make you look good. Now, personal trainer Kathy Kaehler — who has shaped up such movie stars as Michelle Pfeiffer, Melanie Griffith, and Carrie Fisher — is hoping to parlay her client list into stardom for herself.

Kaehler’s first exercise video, The Kathy Kaehler Fitness System, uses sheer numbers to one-up a field dominated by Cindy, Cher, and Jane: The 100- minute tape features one-on-one sessions with Beverly D’Angelo, Julianne Phillips, Penelope Ann Miller, Jami Gertz, Tawny Kitaen, and Justine Bateman. According to Kaehler, her tape uses stars appropriately — as students. ”Celebrities can be role models,” she says, ”but that doesn’t give them the right to become fitness professionals.” Cindy Crawford’s tape ”shows a lot of unsafe and outdated material,” Kaehler claims, warning that the trend of celebrities jumping on the fitness-video bandwagon ”puts the consumer at a risk.” (Crawford’s trainer has denied that the exercises on the model’s tape are dangerous.)

Pointing to her background (she has a degree in ”Exercise Science” from Hope College in Michigan) and her reputation for confidentiality, Kaehler explains her success with the rich and famous. ”When you are working with someone physically, it draws out emotions, so I do end up being a sounding board for a lot of people,” she says. Still, she insists, none of her clients has been dismayed by this very public video: ”They’ve all been incredibly supportive,” she gushes.

Kaehler trains nearly 20 celebrities, averaging seven 70-minute sessions daily. As for other stars she’d like to take on, Kaehler says, ”I don’t know if I would like to train Madonna, but I’d like to work out with her once to see if she’s really as tough as the press says she is.” She just might teach Kaehler a thing or two about being a star.