05/02/2014 09:57 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A.J. Johnson, Celebrity Lifestyle Coach, Shares How Tragic Loss Inspired Her Career Change (VIDEO)

A.J. Johnson has a list of clients that includes names like Gabrielle Union, Anne Hathaway and recently, Lindsay Lohan. But before Johnson became a renowned celebrity lifestyle coach, she was working in the same industry as her clients, appearing in films like "House Party" and "Baby Boy."

What inspired this former actress' career change? On the new #OWNSHOW web series, Johnson shares the tragic circumstances that fueled her transition.

Johnson says she lost her mother to thyroid cancer when she was 17 years old. She explains in the above video that her tears come from a place of both sadness and gratitude. "I can't believe the more that I have and the more that I am in surviving the loss," she says. "My loss has given me more."

Her mother's death propelled Johnson to change majors from drama to chemistry and psychology. "Primarily, because I wanted to learn what happened with her," she says. "And I wanted to see if there was any way to prevent, in my own health."

Years later, Johnson was working as an actress when her father passed away. Though she didn't understand it at the time, she says her father always believed in her approach to a healthy lifestyle. "It's just who you are," she says he told her.

"Now that I'm here, I realize what could have set me back, what could have made me jump off the bridge," Johnson says. "The grieving -- I turned into action. So as a result of that, I feel I have more."

Watch more from the #OWNSHOW, a new daily digital series.

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