Can you begin with how you got started in fitness?
I’ve been playing tennis ever since I was 5, and my dad was my coach, which is always terrible because he was always yelling at me if I didn’t hit the ball perfect in the corner. He was a good coach in the sense that I got on varsity my freshman year, and I was tennis team captain for 3 years after that. I was good, but I didn’t enjoy it. The reason I’m telling you this is because tennis is a very competitive sport and I don’t like competition. I would rather compete against myself instead of other people.
When I was 16, as a sophomore, I found Pilates through an infomercial, Mari Winsor. I asked my parents if they could buy me the DVD, and they were like “Why” and anyway, I did it. I fell in love with that I could do this in my bedroom without any equipment and actually just feel free to just work out because it was fun, not because I had to beat somebody. That’s when I first got into fitness for myself, when I was 16, and I started teaching in college. That’s when I got certified, and that’s how it all started.
Why did you begin to put content on YouTube?
In 2009, when I graduated from college, I was teaching at 24 Hour Fitness a couple times a week and I was moving from LA to Boston for my first job. My students were like, “What are we going to do without you? Who are we going to work out with?” I told them that I would film a little workout video and put it online for them to use anytime they missed me. I put it on a website called YouTube, and back in 2009, YouTube was a much different place than what it was now. It was not sophisticated. It was just a place for sharing home videos. Then, that is really how it started because then, the next time I looked at that video, which is supposed to be meant for 40 people, thousands of people started to watching it and ask me for more, and I continued to listen to what my fans … I didn’t even know what to call them at the time, my international students … Wanted, and because of that, the channel has grown, because I continuously live to serve my students.
When you saw your following growing, how did you ensure your message stayed consistent without feeding into all the marketing benefits?
Lucky for me, Blogilates is Cassey Ho and Cassey Ho is Blogilates, so whatever feels right to me. I will stay on brand still because it’s who I am. At the end of the day, when you have all this extra attention, what you have to ask yourself is “Is what I’m doing bringing value to the community?” If it doesn’t bring value, whether that’s a brand deal or some new collection that I’m releasing, then I’m just not going to do it. I have to remember that the reason why I am where I am is because of the fans and the community, and anytime that I don’t work to serve them, then it’s not going to work for any of us.
Fitness being a huge part of society’s daily regime, can you discuss the benefits of contacts over glasses? I wear both, but I get really bad eye infections, so I have to wear glasses for weeks.
I wear both as well. I wear glasses at night, and then throughout the night, I pop in a new Alcon Dailies Total1 contact lenses. I used to wear glasses and tried to do sports in them, but you can’t because they fall off your head. My dad still wears glasses. It’s where I get my blindness from, but he wears that little strap thingy. (laughs)
(laughs) Oh nooo.
Yeah, I know. He’s a tennis player. I know, so I couldn’t do that, so contacts. I used to wear the ones that you would throw away every week or every two weeks, but I got so bad at throwing them out that I would use them until they got grimy and had cracks in the side. Then when I started wearing the Alcon Dailies Total1 contact lenses, they were so much better because I knew that at the end of the day, they would be gone and I could get a fresh pair that was just clean and my hands were clean. I could put it in, because I was also bad at washing the other ones too. For me, it’s about functionality and also hygiene, and so that’s why I like to wear these over glasses.
A booty, snatched waist, and flat stomach are the most talked about problem areas in the media. What other problem areas have you come across that aren’t really recognized as much?
Inner thighs. I don’t know if you hear about that, but a lot of young girls are really obsessed with the inner thigh gap. Everyone wants to know, how do you get that space in between your thighs? The first time I heard about that was like 4 years ago, and I was like, “What’s an inner thigh gap? Why do you want an inner thigh gap?” Then I started seeing all these pictures across Tumblr, where these girls were in bikinis, like they’re legs together but there’s this huge gap. I’m like, “So that’s appealing?”
The thing is, people get so obsessed with one vanity feature that they don’t realize that the whole point of fitness is to have fun and to be healthy, not die early. Then when people get so obsessed about this one physical thing, you become really sad, because some people can’t attain the thigh gap based on their bone structure. I tried to tell girls that you should be working out for your own happiness and your health, not for these superficial things that … They’re going to go away. It’s superficial. When you get older, they’re going to go away. If you’re basing your self-worth on how you look, you’re going to not be happy with your life. Inner thigh gap is definitely one of those weird ones that women like, but when you ask any man, he’s like “What’s that?” No one pays attention to that.
What items are a must whenever you’re working out? What do you need to have with you?
Right now, my main fitness regimen is doing PIIT28, Pilates Intense Interval Training. It’s my new program. I don’t need any equipment. Just my yoga mat, my shoes, sneakers, and music. Music is important, and I put into my jam box … Spotify is necessarily, a great playlist, and that’s all I really need. And my timer. I have the app. It’s called Blogilates app. It’s my app, and there’s a timer inside where you can write down what your moves are and how long you want to do them for, and basically if I type in all my moves and I set it, and I just put it on with music, I’m good to go. The workout’s only 28 minutes and 40 seconds long, and I’m done.
Besides your app, what other techie items would you recommend?
If I’m going to the gym, then I definitely need headphones. Right now, I’m using the Beats headphones that are wireless because I can’t deal with the cord. If I’m doing burpees, I cannot have this thing right here. The wireless ones are really important for me.