A few years ago, the stylistic and polarizing director, Michael Bay, released a film on the big screen starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne The Rock Johnson called Pain and Gain. The movie, based on a true story, is a dramatic—albeit loose—retelling of the exploits of The Sun Gym Gang in Florida in the 1990s. That particular gang was a group of body builders, who went down a path of outrageousness, barely believable hijinks, mischief, and activities outside of the law. Their actions did little to contradict the stereotypes Florida has regarding the behaviours of its residents. After reading Take it Off, the first thing that comes to my mind is that Pain and Gain hit closer to home for more people than we might realize; Corey Hilton’s life could place itself right in with those characters like a perfectly fit bow tie.
I have known Corey for more than a decade, and I must begin by telling you that no matter what thoughts might come into your mind while reading this nearly unbelievable autobiographical tale of Corey’s colorful life, this is a true story that is not embellished. But, please don’t get me wrong, I am not just talking about the scandalous, delicious moments that Corey experienced in the years he spent—beginning well before he was legal—in the exotic entertainment field. The other true story in this volume is about a man who ultimately wants to help people, impact their lives, and desperately, almost obsessively, desires to lift others to personal clarity, causing them to take action and make decisions to improve their lives.
Corey’s past vocation came up the very first day I met him. Not being exposed—no pun intended—to such things, I instantly had MANY questions, intriguing questions I think most people would have, encountering someone with such an exotic past. By the way, every single one of those questions gets answered in this book. As we got to know each other, Corey gradually revealed some of the adventures he had been on. After he regaled a couple of these tales, my reaction was much like the ones many others have said to him for years—Corey, you should write a book! Obviously not his first rodeo—again, no pun intended—he calmly and confidently told me that he has indeed been cataloging all his exploits and would definitely be releasing a book—he even had the title, Take it Off. Yet year after year, no book was ever released. I believe I know the reason: Corey wasn’t finished collecting the material needed yet. How could that be? After all, Corey was no longer associated with that business—or the other businesses he talks about in this book—at all. So, why not just get the story out there to entertain us mere mortals?
The truth is, Corey has been on a personal development journey since the day I met him. Not only that, but he has also always wanted to impact people in a big way with every new discovery or insight he learned for himself. As he dissected the granular details of what makes him tick, he studiously noted each one, constructing a unique collection of pillars that provide massive food for thought and ingredients for action that can be used to improve one’s life. Considering all the aspects of what he saw during that part of his existence, both in Canada and in the US, that is a lot to unpack. As he writes this fantastical book you are about to read—I will never forget some of those times, but I also wish I could forget some of them—Corey shows us how his past not only affects his future, but if he has his way, will also affect the future of thousands, tens of thousands of people who take up the call to apply the wisdom he amassed during his life.
Sometimes, after seeing a movie or reading a book about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, I feel kinda slimy, like I need a shower. Going in, the intrigue of the story gets my blood pumping, but when the details impact my head and heart, it’s not so much fun anymore. I think that extreme decadence causes such feelings for many. This book does the exact opposite. It’s guilt-free salaciousness because Corey took the extra decade to write it. For every wild experience we get to vicariously live through, there is also a lesson and a grounding that Corey has received and deduced the universal truth from it, and then given to us, the reader. This is every bit of a personal development book as it is a fascinating true story. And at the end of the day, Corey Hilton’s crazy experiences, along with his ups and downs, triumphs, and successes, and yes, his pain, are our gain.
Co-Author, She Changed Me: One Ordeal; Two Perspectives
Host of He Cast, the Official Podcast of He Changed It