She is best known for her film roles in “School Daze,” “House Party” and “Baby Boy,” but before AJ Johnson, C’85, graced Hollywood’s big screen, she walked the campus of Spelman College. “I had the time of my life while being prepared for anything the world wanted to throw at me.” said Johnson of her Spelman experience.
While studying Psychology and Chemistry at Spelman, Johnson was crowned Miss Freshman and Miss Maroon & White, met lifelong friends, and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.. However, what turned out to be the best years of her life came very close to being the worst.
In October of her first year, Johnson’s mother passed away from cancer. “What should have been the worst time of my life was a time I learned what sisterhood is really about, from the Spelman faculty, staff and students,” said Johnson. “Keep in mind, I only had been at school for 60 days, but the love, support and guidance I received then, throughout my stay at Spelman and since is beyond words. I am sure that Spelman and all that it stands for is one of the few reasons I was able to survive that devastating loss and grow through it into a dreamer who would not ever take no for a final answer.”
The death of Johnson’s mom was also the catalyst that inspired her to make wellness a priority. “Health and wellness happened first after losing my mom to cancer, and it escalated after the death of my dad,” Johnson shared. “I believe we all get deeply affected by a health scare or losing a loved one. I just decided to put my mourning into action.”
Passionate about health and wellness, Johnson, a celebrity life changer and the president and founder of The AJ Zone, consistently shares her passion with others, encouraging them to live holistically healthy lives. On Nov. 1, Johnson joins Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., president of Spelman College, in Sisters Chapel for a wellness conversation with students.
“I’m looking forward to bringing The AJ Zone to Spelman by living by example on campus,” said Johnson. “I’ll be making healthy food choices in the cafeteria, and helping students with workouts in the gym and leading career planning discussions.”
Johnson encourages students to make their health a priority. “Focus on prevention not just survival,” she said. “Become passionate about doing your own better health research and applying what you learn in your lifestyle. Research your family medical history and make great relationships with better health professionals. Little things can create better health, so try to make the little things habits, like drinking water and exercising regularly.” – Kia Smith, C’2004, is social media coordinator for the Office of Communications.
How are you staying healthy? Please join our conversation with AJ Johnson about wellness on Twitter on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from noon – 1:00 p.m. Follow @SpelmanCollege and be sure to use the hastag #InsideSpelman. The best tweet wins a prize!