Sweet Ed Carrasco, that rascally reporter from the days of NMR yore, came into the office a couple years back just so taken with this “Blogilates” fitness guru he’d seen on YouTube. He said her name was Cassey Ho and that she was “gonna be huge” (in a successful — not fat — sort of way). Of course we all just chuckled at him and his “crazy ideas” and secretly prayed that he didn’t “machine gun up the office” one day. Now here we are, realizing how brilliant and ahead of his time Ed was — Cassey Ho is a big deal — and she’s getting bigger by the day.
In addition to recently having achieved her millionth subscriber, Cassey is also the name in female Asian fitness instructors according to Target (she’s like a female Rodney Yee!). Putting her video in their stores, they’ve pretty much cemented her as an important player on the Pilates scene, and as the only Asian woman with a fitness video in retail. And to think it all started back with YouTube.
Since she’s so successful now, I tried to pick her brain for all the rest of you and tried to get some insight into how a young woman with a passion for Pilates could become a new media powerhouse — hopefully we got some answers that will help one or two of you become the next Cassey Ho? If not, don’t be ashamed — she’s carved some pretty impressive footsteps into the YouTube landscape. She’s like Paul Bunyan, if Paul Bunyan was a fit Asian girl who did P
ilates and had a friggin’ DVD at Target. Hah! Paul Bunyan probably wishes he were more like Cassey.
First off, a MILLION SUBSCRIBERS! How does it feel?
I finally feel like a “real YouTuber”!
If that wasn’t awesome enough, your POP Pilates fitness DVD is now being sold at Target. How did that happen?
After I released my first POP Pilates: Total Body Workout DVD to my fans about a year ago, the buzz and popularity of it caught the attention of some big distributors. The title made it through many rounds of cuts and now I’m in stores! I feel very fortunate to have the chance to share my passion for fitness and health at this level when it all started with one simple YouTube video I put up four years ago with only the intention of teaching. I think the success of Blogilates comes from wanting to genuinely share great, helpful content that’s useful to people … while having fun!
You’re the only Asian female in fitness with a DVD widely distributed through retail. That’s gotta be both happy and a little sad — are there just not many Asian women doing fitness stuff or does your DVD just rock so much harder than the rest?
Ha ha. Your questions are funny. Fitness is DEFINITELY not a “pre-approved” career choice for Asians. You’ve got either doctor, lawyer or engineer, or you’re pretty much disrespecting your family name. At least that’s how I felt growing up. I didn’t feel like I had the choice to chase my dreams and please my family at the same time. In fact, I was reprimanded for wanting to think otherwise. It wasn’t until I fought for my passion that the universe really started rewarding me.
I am so proud to be breaking stereotypes and serving as a strong and independent role model for girls growing up. I want people to know that it’s possible to turn dreams into reality so long as you believe in yourself, you work hard, and you stay genuine and honest with yourself and everyone around you.
As for the last part of your question, yes. YES, POP PILATES ROCKS SO MUCH HARDER THAN THE REST.
I currently do yoga — why should I switch to Pilates?
Pilates will build your core strength more than anything else. You want rock hard abs? Do Pilates with me. You want rock hard abs quick? Do POP Pilates NOW.
Have you gone to Target and just stood next to a copy of your DVD so strangers would freak out?
Umm well, I thought about it …
How do you up your game to get to 2 million subscribers now?
I’m going to keep listening to what my fans want and keep serving them. So far this has worked out! And if it doesn’t, well, I guess I will have to start rapping or something.
Do you find your biggest demographic is fitness-minded young women or creepy old men?
Thank goodness it’s all basically young women who love working out! I don’t treat my body as a sexual object but rather a vehicle of strength, so people treat me how I respect myself.
What’s the secret to becoming a YouTube superstar?
Be genuine. I say it all the time. BE YOU. That’s original content.
Here are some more NMR interviews with the fitness community: