If you’re anything like us, then you know it takes a tremendous amount of willpower to peel ourselves from the sofa and partake in the dreaded tradition of the “workout.” Lucky for us YouTube fanatics out there, we aren’t left to our own devices when it comes to deciding how exactly to work our triceps, or how exactly to figure out what a tricep is. One of our fave online fitness gurus, Cassey Ho of Blogilates fame, is here to politely and ever-so-sweetly kick our behinds into shape.
Over the last eight years, Cassey has been able to conquer the online landscape with her Blogilates website, YouTube channel, “POP Pilates” workout DVD and a health and fitness app. Whoa, way to make us feel unproductive. To add to it all, she’s about to launch her own activewear line BODYPOP. So basically, this girl is getting at it. Check out the interview NMR scored with the entrepreneurial queen herself, and find out all the insider details on BODYPOP’s fashion-forward activewear.
First of all, congratulations on your activewear line coming out. That’s awesome.
Cassey Ho: Thank you so much. We’ve been working really hard on it for the past year, over a year now.
So I know you wanted to be a fashion designer growing up, and you were always sketching. Could you tell me about the style of the line, what the clothing looks like, and why women would want to go out and purchase the clothes?
Oh, definitely. We actually developed a special fabric for the line, so that’s one of the reasons why this took so long. I had all the sketches over a year ago, but we were trying to develop this fabric that would be sweat-wicking, non-peeling, super-durable. Here’s the main thing: when you squat, you can’t see your thong. For me, I definitely had really good pants, but as soon as you go down, it was see-through. So I tested all of these fabrics and made sure finally when we got the right one, that it didn’t show through at all when you squat. So that’s a cool feature of the line called POPFLEX. As far as the style is concerned, my styles are always super feminine and there are ruffles and ruching and beautiful sweetheart necklines. All the bras have this push-up padding in them that’s removable. So if you wanted to take them out, you could, but if you need it, kind of like me, it adds a little lift. Everything is super supportive, so everything stays in place. The pants are also made in such a way that the waistband doesn’t dig into your hips to give you that muffin top line. Everything is very low-ride. Also, it lays flat on your skin. It’s not conservative at all. Let’s just say, it’s like Lululemon but with more of a risky twist to it.
That sounds really cool. I know what you’re talking about with the muffin top line — that’s the worst when it digs into your side.
I know, it’s literally the worst. And even if you don’t have one normally, the lines just dig in the wrong places. It’s not necessary, at all.
Absolutely. So I know on Monday you’re going to be showing a music video, is that correct?
Yes, the music video. When I was thinking about launching this line, at least five months out, I wanted to really hit this with something huge, like a fashion show or something crazy like that. I thought, “Well, we’re in the video area, so maybe I’ll stay there.” I wanted to do some type of video to really show off how strong, beautiful and unstoppable women really are, and how crazy our strength can be. So I decided I wanted to show off an amazing dancer, a free runner, a stuntwoman and, also, a yogi. My friend Lauren Froderman, who won “So You Think You Can Dance,” she is the lead dancer in the video. Briohny Smyth, who is actually a full-on yogi, was in a viral Equinox video from two years ago that has over 8 million views. My friend, Sydney, she’s a stuntwoman. So all those women together, I wanted to create a story of how my dreams became reality. So literally, and figuratively, you’ll see in the video how that actually happens. The video has everything from our own song that we produced, to animation, to some of the most amazing talent put all together to show off their skills. And of course they’re wearing the clothes.
Wow, that sounds cool. Like you were saying, all your dreams are coming true. And you started the blog eight years ago?
I started teaching Pilates eight years ago, yeah. But when I told my dad I wanted to be a fashion designer — I mean I always wanted to be a fashion designer — but I told him that was what I was going to do when I was 16. I don’t know if you watched the video I just uploaded, but he told me that I would fail, I wouldn’t make money and I would have no friends. He was extreme, and that really hit me in the core and shattered everything. So now, 11 years later, I am actually doing this and my parents are supportive because they see I’m happy. I’m really happy because YouTube has given me this opportunity to really grow and share with people these Pilates videos. So it’s really, truly amazing.
What do you think set your blog and YouTube channel apart from all the rest that are online right now? At the beginning, what do you think drew so much attention to it?
I am a group fitness instructor at heart. I’ve been teaching for eight years now, and when I put up my first video, my only intention was to leave a video for my real life students. I think because of those genuine intentions, it kind of built the foundation for everything that I do. Of course, I still just put up videos because people really like learning, and whether you can afford a video or not, at home you could always do these workouts. I think because I bring that element of friendliness and a genuine offer to help, I think people really like the personality, because I think there’s lots of great fitness content out there. Trainers can count you down from 10 to 1 and they can tell you how to work your triceps, but sometimes there is another element missing. I think it’s that element of relationship.
Since you are such an inspiration to a lot of young people, and young girls in general, what advice would you give to people trying to find out what they’re good at and trying to make their own niche in what they’re passionate about?
A lot of the time when we’re younger, we’re confused about what we want to do but at the same time we also have something inside of us that is telling us when something makes us happy, when something doesn’t make us happy. So I tell people to do more of what makes you happy and less of what doesn’t. If you keep following that, you’ll end up generally in the right area. So I think people should really explore lots of things when they’re younger, and whatever they find natural talent in and they find they’re successful, they should just go for it and go for it hardcore. Don’t hesitate to hold back.
That’s great advice. And simple, too.
It’s simple, but it’s also hard to do. For me there were parental barriers, cultural barriers, there are a lot of things. You’ve just got to figure out how worth it being happy is to you, and then you’ll figure out what you want and a way to do it.
Where do you want your career to go from now into the future? In the next few years, where do you see your brand going with active wear, the blog, the YouTube channel?
Well, March 2015 I’m releasing my first book called “Hot Body Year Round” with Random House. That’ll be in all bookstores nationwide and that was really cool. By that time, I had been working on the book for two years, so that’s kind of the Blogilates bible. It tells you how to eat, how to work out and how to stay motivated throughout all seasons of the year. I also have my second DVD going into Target in December, so that’s really exciting. Oh, and my certification program just launched this week, so people can actually get certified to become a POP Pilates instructor, which, honestly, may be the first program started on YouTube that is now available to be an association program. I was teaching POP Pilates before my first YouTube video went up, but because of the popularity from YouTube, it’s been able to become an official certification program. That’s really awesome. With all of that, I hope that the Blogilates brand will become more widely known, not just in the internet world, but hopefully in “the real world,” too. A lot of people, millions of people, have lost weight and changed their lives. Not even me, I just want the program and the community to grow more and more so that more people can get something out of these workouts and information.
That sounds awesome. I have one more question: I know you’re a health fanatic, but if you have to cheat, what’s your favorite cheat food?
Can I say a cheat food that I haven’t tried yet, but I want? Apparently there’s some place in LA that makes these churro ice cream sandwiches, where the top is a churro and the bottom is a churro that’s twisted around vanilla ice cream. It just sounds way heavenly, and I’m eating clean right now because I have a couple appearances next week, but after that, I’m so going to get that.