Holiday Spa (With Fit Celebrity-Spokespersons Cher and Joan Collins)

Ah, the mid-1980s. It was a time of aerobics, leotards, spandex, headbands, big hair, and health clubs where you were likely to run into all of these elements combined. Olivia Newton-John encouraged us to get “physical,” Jamie Lee Curtis did aerobics in the film Perfect, and, well, fit was it.

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One of the health clubs to be a thing during this trend of lady fitness (but not just for ladies, though I’m sure it catered mainly to them) was Holiday Spa, owned by Rudy Smith (kinda like Jack LaLanne, but without the media presence LaLanne had), later became part of Health and Tennis Corp., and then Bally Total Fitness (which only has three existing clubs). Between 1983 and 1986, several notable female celebrities promoted the praises of Holiday Spa, including Jaclyn Smith, Cher, and Joan Collins, the latter two the subject of this article.

This two-part harmony of commercials, found in a collection of Saturday Night Live reruns taped during the summer of 1986, feature our two spokes-celebrities speaking the praises of Holiday Spa before the locations of the local Holiday Spa locations, which in this case, are Philadelphia and New Jersey-area clubs are plastered across the screen.

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So many locations. I love that there was one in the Cherry Hill Mall. Further proof that that mall has everything!

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In Cher’s commercial, she expresses her concerns about becoming fat, and how working out at Holiday Spa can stop that from happening. It can happen anywhere, but this is a commercial for Holiday Spa, not the local gym YOU choose to go to, which is not as good as Holiday Spa. Don’t argue the facts, it’s unbecoming. The commercial promotes a deal of “two memberships for the price of one membership.” Something tells me Cher has never worked out among commoners in a gym, and this looks like some trendy health spa in California, not the typical gym the general public frequent. In fact, I’ve pretty much surmised that what I’m seeing in this commercial would never have been found in the local Holiday Spa locations. It’s probably Cher’s private fitness center made to look like Holiday Spa.

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Two for one, and the possibility that I can look like Cher? Shutup and take my money!

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In Joan Collins’ commercial, she is passing on information to her Butler, Jenkins, who “fetches” her fancy workout shoes and gym bag from a closet full of fancy workout shoes. Fancy, identical workout shoes. Jenkins even asks her if he should do the workout for her, to which Collins replies “No Jenkins, there are some things one must do for oneself.” Like throw Krystle Carrington into a fountain. Or wear linebacker-style shoulder pads. Collins’ commercial promotes a membership priced at $14.98 per month. Of course, one must read the fine print and pony up $25 to register. Oh yes, one must do that for oneself.

I’m also convinced Joan Collins has never stepped foot in a gym that commoners frequent.

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Holiday Spa was the big box business of its time, before big box businesses were a thing, but were non-existent by the 1990s, thus the end of the 1980s designer health spa days. But we can thank Holiday Spa for being the Curves of its time, while assuring us that popular-at-the-time celebrities did, in fact, do their exercise routine at Holiday Spa.

And one must click on the video player to watch these commercials that are everything the 1980s fitness scene were glamorized to be.

Allison can always be found over in her home on the internet, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, if you like the sort of randomness and nostalgia she strives for popping up on your Facebook newsfeed.

She hates gyms and hasn’t been an active member of one since 2007. And her dance instructor said years ago that Cher is an android. Allison is still awaiting confirmation on this.

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Allison L. Venezio

Secretary/Blogger-Writer at Allison's Written Words and Retroist
Allison is a Secretary by day, a writer/blogger by night (and during lunch breaks and in the mornings before work), a nostalgia geek (and a geek in general), worshipper of Thor (and Chris Hemsworth), and honorary Avenger (she has a pin, so it is official).She collects Funko Pops, loves anything that takes her back to childhood, and has confessed her love for Kenny Loggins.Oh, and she listens to Chicago...alot.If any of this piques your interest, she'd love for you to visit her personal blog, Allison's Written Words, where she talks about alot of the same stuff she talks about here, and more!

She can be found at can follow her blog on Facebook (, Instagram @allisonswrittenwords, and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

(Her fiancee is supportive of the whole Chris Hemsworth and Kenny Loggins love thing.)
Allison L. Venezio
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