Molly Shattuck has grabbed the attention of Baltimoreans ever since becoming – at the age of 38 with three young children – a Baltimore Ravens’ cheerleader, the oldest in NFL history.
We watched her appear on the reality television show “Secret Millionaire” in 2008, as she and her mother, Joan, lived for a week on “welfare wages” and passed out checks totaling $1 million to needy residents of a small town in rural Pennsylvania. Three years later, she released an exercise video and started a website called Vibrant Living, showcasing a healthy-lifestyle approach that she lives and advocates. Now, the recently separated wife of former Constellation Energy CEO Mayo Shattuck has written Vibrant Living, the book. (Available at mollyshattuck.com and amazon.com.)
Her health credentials are extensive. In addition to her website and book, she is Health Food Ambassador to the United Way of Central Maryland’s Access To Healthy Food Initiative, which since 2011 has distributed over 5.1 million pounds of heathy food for people in need. She is the American Diabetes Association’s National Healthy Living Ambassador, a Go Red Mission and Engagement Chair for the American Heart Association, as well as a longtime board member of the Baltimore School For The Arts. In 2012, she was one of The Daily Record’s Maryland’s Top 100 Women award-winners. This year she is being honored for her civic accomplishments with a Distinguished Women Award from the Girls Scouts.
With her latest project, as with almost everything she does, she is open and on a mission. Curled up on a sofa in her North Baltimore City home, she bubbles along in a high voice, ignoring the tweeting cell phone and hugging her little white dog. Her long, white blonde hair and cheerleader body are the unique selling features of an exercise, diet and positive-attitude program that she hopes will empower people to achieve a life of happiness and health. Relentlessly on message, she embodies the deeply ingrained American belief that “you can make it happen,” which in many ways, she has.
You grew up in small town Pennsylvania. How did you get to Baltimore?
After graduating from University of Indiana in Indiana, Pennsylvania as a marketing major, I did an internship on Capitol Hill with Doug Walgren, (former Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania). When that was over, my college roommate and I had planned to travel in Europe, but she got a job in Baltimore instead. I took the European trip and then followed her here. I applied for a job at Alex. Brown and got hired.
How often do you get home?
About once a year. Some of my closest girlfriends are there and my mom and dad still reside there part-time. They also live part-time in Celebration, Florida, the Disney town – which is actually nice, not as weird as it sounds! My dad is 74, and he has a job with Disney.
Tell us about your time as a cheerleader. Who was your favorite Raven?
Well, I was a cheerleader for two years, and spent six more years as a part-time cheerleading coach. (She retired last year.) It was a huge part of our lives — the kids don’t remember a time without being part of the team! I don’t know if I have a favorite Raven. Matt Katula is a dear friend. Todd Heap, Ed Reed, Tony Pashos and Matt Stover are among the finest human beings I know.
Being an NFL cheerleader was one of your goals since high school, right? And being married, having children, completing the Marine Corps Marathon, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro…Any new goals? Did I read something about law school?
Well, I wanted to be a Rockette, but I’m not tall enough and I’ve now exceed the age limit (haha). And law school is just unrealistic now with three kids plus I have lost interest. Every New Year’s day, I make a list of what I want to finish, begin, achieve, and I do the same exercise with my kids–academics, sports, places to travel, and more. My list hovers at around 50 items, many crossed off and numerous others ready to be ignited, like going on an African safari, climbing Machu Picchu, visiting the pyramids in Egypt and many more.
What makes you successful?
I believe strongly in setting goals, in having a list of them. It creates ambition and direction in your life, and can help you get through other setbacks. Goal setting is an important part of the Vibrant Living plan. My 21-day action plan is 21 days because that’s how long it takes to make or break a habit if you’re focused on achieving the daily goals. Repeated behavior, like drinking 90 oz. of water a day, like getting 7-8 hours of sleep, and eating right, takes discipline and that discipline is easier if you are very specific about it. With my clients — and I do this myself — I say, write the goal, and then write how you’re going to make it happen.
Is this a serious business endeavor, a non-profit?
Vibrant Living is an LLC — a real business. We donated 21 percent of the proceeds from my Baltimore book launch to the charity of the book buyer’s choice (ADA, AHA, or United Way of Central Maryland’s Access to Healthy Food Initiative). During the nationwide book tour, we donated 21 percent of sales in each of the cities to various charities.
Any advice on aging?
Every year it gets more and more important to focus on good hydration through drinking plain filtered water; eating more REAL food in reasonable portion sizes (fresh vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean protein sources) while consuming less processed foods; moving your body 30-minutes each day; and simply being connected to others through volunteer work…share what you love to do and you can truly improve someone else’s life. Those are my four pillars of Vibrant Living. And we cannot forget about SLEEP–aim for 7-8 hours each night.
What about plastic surgery?
I don’t believe in it for me at this time but I think it’s a personal choice and if it makes someone happy, I think that’s their business…good for them. Personally, I’d rather focus on being healthy and aging gracefully.
What is the best advice you ever got? Did you take it?
My fourth grade teacher Mrs. Straud had this written in on the blackboard in her classroom, and I looked at it every day: “Attitude is the paint brush to life, it can color any situation.” This works in every situation!!
What’s the best moment of your day?
Sitting down at the kitchen table with my kids for dinner. We have a tradition where we go around the table and share what we are most grateful for that day and any special prayers and thoughts for someone or something that is important to us.
What’s on your bedside table?
Hand cream. Killing Jesus, which is fantastic! Mayo gave it to me for Christmas. My Bible, of course. A water bottle, just the usual stuff.
What’s your favorite thing about Baltimore? Your least favorite?
I love that it’s a large small town. Because being from a small town, it feels comfortable to me, but there are so many opportunities — to meet anyone, to be anyone. My least favorite is the crime. We need to stop it and make our city safer.