Will Smith, 53, climbs tallest building in the world, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, in new YouTube series


Will Smith’s new YouTube series Best Shape of My Life is full of laughable, uplifting, and vulnerable moments. 

But perhaps the most remarkable piece of Monday’s two premiere episodes was his climb to the top of the highest building in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

The structure stands at 2,722ft and is 160 floors. In episode two, My Secret Shame, the 53-year-old made it his mission to reach the peak after a disappointing start to his weight loss and book-writing journey.

Fearless: The most remarkable piece of the first two episodes of Will Smith's new YouTube show Best Shape of My Life was his climb to the top of the highest building in the world

Fearless: The most remarkable piece of the first two episodes of Will Smith’s new YouTube show Best Shape of My Life was his climb to the top of the highest building in the world

Success! When he was fully out of the edifice he stretched out both his arms and took it the view with a big smile on his face

Success! When he was fully out of the edifice he stretched out both his arms and took it the view with a big smile on his face

The episode kicked off with the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum reading a chapter of his forthcoming autobiography in which he recalls his childhood with his militant father Willard Carroll Smith, Sr. 

‘My father was my hero,’ he began when describing his parent. ‘He demanded rigid perfection from himself and the people around him.’ 

Will revealed in the written work, ‘I grew up with the double-edged gift of discipline.’

He relayed an anecdote about the time he was 11-years-old and his father enlisted him and his brother to construct a new wall at the front of his shop.

‘He thought it would be a good project for my brother Harry and me,’ Will explained.  ‘There were so many times I remember looking at that hole totally discouraged.’

Record-breaking: Dubai's Burj Khalifa stands at 2,722ft and is 160 floors

Record-breaking: Dubai’s Burj Khalifa stands at 2,722ft and is 160 floors

But his dad, who he called Daddy-O, kept him on his brother on a path forward, telling them: ‘Stop thinking about the damn wall. Your job is to lay this brick perfectly then move on to the next brick.’

After nearly a year the brothers were proud to have completed the challenging task, and they learned perseverance.  

Now, as a middle-aged adult, as the ambitions the comedian set for himself seemed daunting, he thought back to the lesson he learned as a child.

Following two weeks of working with a trainer and very slowly dropping pounds, Will professed, ‘I’ve never looked this bad. I’ma fix it though.’

Determined: In episode two, My Secret Shame, the 53-year-old made it his mission to reach the peak

Determined: In episode two, My Secret Shame, the 53-year-old made it his mission to reach the peak

The performer’s remedy was to fly to Dubai, twelve hours away from his home in Los Angeles. 

‘Dubai fits my personality. It just speaks to how I see the world, how I see life,’ he noted. ‘If you’re gonna build a building, are you really not gonna try to build the Burj Khalifa?’ 

And he laid out his line of thinking: ‘I wanna get my body and my mind in the best shape they can be so I can feel good and look good, and be in a headspace that allows me to get this book done.’ 

Admirable: 'Dubai fits my personality. It just speaks to how I see the world, how I see life,' he noted. 'If you're gonna build a building, are you really not gonna try to build the Burj Khalifa?'

Admirable: ‘Dubai fits my personality. It just speaks to how I see the world, how I see life,’ he noted. ‘If you’re gonna build a building, are you really not gonna try to build the Burj Khalifa?’

The star, who’s married to Red Table Talk host Jada Pinkett-Smith, walked up the over one hundred floors as his cardio workout on the day he summited the erection.

In the footage Will got sweaty and tired as he tirelessly forged ahead. When he finally got to the 160th floor, he realized there was more he could accomplish.

Although he’d gotten to the highest indoor level, he learned he could go even higher, to the very tip of the building.

Strapped into a harness and a helmet, the I Am Legend actor climbed a ladder to enter the spire, the ‘individual highest point that a human being can be in a man-made structure on Earth.’ 

Drone footage showed the Hollywood hunk emerging triumphantly from the building’s cap. When he was fully out of the edifice he stretched out both his arms and took it the view with a big smile on his face. 

Amazing! Drone footage showed the Hollywood hunk emerging triumphantly from the building's cap

Amazing! Drone footage showed the Hollywood hunk emerging triumphantly from the building’s cap

Shocker: In May Smith posted a shocking photo to Instagram that went viral. It showed the longtime entertainer in ’the worst shape’ of his life

Shocker: In May Smith posted a shocking photo to Instagram that went viral. It showed the longtime entertainer in ’the worst shape’ of his life

In May Smith posted a shocking photo to Instagram that went viral. It showed the longtime entertainer in ’the worst shape’ of his life.  

Will set two goals: to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks and to finish writing his autobiography in 20 years. 

It spurred him to create the YouTube series Best Shape of My Life. 

Biggest he's been! Will Smith set two goals: to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks and to finish writing his autobiography in 20 years

Biggest he’s been! Will Smith set two goals: to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks and to finish writing his autobiography in 20 years

The Pursuit of Happyness star was in poor shape for good reason. His role as Venus and Serena Williams’ father in the movie King Richard called for him to pack on pounds. 

But the intentional weight gain was exasperated by the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. 

Now he’s ready to share the recent ups and downs of his life in as he’s worked hard to keep his eye on the prize and get back on a healthy track. 

Personal goal: His weight loss ambitions spurred him to create the YouTube series Best Shape of My Life

Personal goal: His weight loss ambitions spurred him to create the YouTube series Best Shape of My Life

The heartfelt series shows intimate real-life scenes as the writer and producer struggles through bad days and laughs through light-hearted moments. 

Will’s children – Trey, 28, whom he shares with ex-wife Sheree Zampino; Jaden, 23; and Willow, 21 – are also included in the show.

And a sneak peek of the next episode shows his longtime partner Jada entering the plot.  

Perseverance: The heartfelt series shows intimate real-life scenes as the writer and producer struggles through bad days and laughs through light-hearted moments

Perseverance: The heartfelt series shows intimate real-life scenes as the writer and producer struggles through bad days and laughs through light-hearted moments

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