We loved Brad Goreski when we first met him on BRAVO's The Rachel Zoe Project as he stepped into the world of styling and being her assistant, he continued on with the network's It's A Brad Brad World and appearing on a number of shows including being a co-host on E! Fashion Police for a number of seasons and during Awards Season on E! Live From the Red Carpet where he gives the inside scoop on who he dressed, who is wearing what and making predictions on what designers we will see on the red carpets. His career has included being a Creative Director at Kate Spade and dressing a number of coveted celebs including Emily Ratajkowski, Demi Moore, Rashida Jones and Jessica Alba to name a few. He's known for rocking dapper style and never being afraid of color and patterns for his clients or himself.
With summer officially starting this month, we took some time to talk about how he got into the industry, how he is inspired to dress his clients, the importance of sunglasses - summer's accessory and last month's MET Gala looks that he loved this year.
ATHLEISURE MAG: When did you know that you wanted to be in fashion and ultimately know that you wanted to be a stylist?
BRAD GORESKI: I think I knew from a very young age. I always loved fashion and putting looks together for myself and for my mom. I was always so aware of what everyone was wearing that I feel like this is kind of exactly what I was supposed to be doing. But the real turning point is when I was in college and I was looking for a summer internship and I landed at one in Vogue in NYC and the rest is kind of history. I just knew that it was where I wanted to be. I feel very lucky that I have been able to work in an industry that has been so welcoming to me for many many years now and I feel very very lucky!
AM: How do you get inspiration when it comes to styling your clients?
BG: Social media is such a great place to get inspired. There is everything from the past, present and future available to us there. I follow a variety of different people and different pages. It’s so fun to be able to see something like I noticed an old image of Marilyn Monroe the other day in a great black lace blouse, pencil skirt and heels and just the whole vibe of the setup! I said to myself, “I have to do this with one of my clients this summer.” It was just a really beautiful summery look and there are so many great trends this summer as well. It’s just really fun to keep up with these trends on social media.
AM: What are 3 trends this summer that we should be thinking about in terms of creating our dynamic look?
BG: Well one of the big trends that I’m loving in terms of the summer for men and for women is really bright bold color. Whether that’s a bright red or a royal blue or even something as crazy as a bright yellow. Thinking about bold color is one of my favorite trends! You can do that even in suiting with a blazer or even in shorts.
The second one is florals – florals are everywhere right now whether it’s a bigger floral or more of a micro floral – a smaller one – I think florals for men and for women is a nice summery way to kind of add a little bit of interest to your wardrobe.
Of course, number 3 is always having a good pair of sunglasses. I’m so happy to be partnering with the Vision Council to be talking about sunglasses and protecting your eyes this summer and also the best ways that you can purchase a pair of sunglasses and the steps that you can go through to be thinking about when you are buying a pair of sunglasses. You always want to be protecting your eyes and buying those that protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays. You want to look for that little sticker that we’re all familiar with on your sunglasses that let you know that they protect you from this. You also want to be able to have the right comfort and fit. You want to get a pair of sunglasses that really suits the shape of your face. Then you need to look at your lifestyle. What do you do throughout the day? Are you super active, are you running errands, do you run around with your kids? Next, what’s your style? Are you looking more towards a Marilyn Monroe style that is more vintage and has a cat eye or are you looking to be a little more classic and looking to do an aviator?
AM: These are great points and there are some people that opt not to wear sunglasses! What do you believe are some of the misconceptions that they have that results in them not wearing them?
BG: I think that there are a lot of myths out there about sunglasses. I think that some people believe that if it is cloudy outside, that they are not getting any UVA/UVB exposure. Whether it’s cloudy out or not, you are always at risk of UVA/UVB exposure. I think that also when people look at their sunglasses and see that it has a super dark lens, they think that they are getting the ultimate in protection. The only way that you know that you’re getting protection from UVA/UVB protection is when you see that little sticker that says that. You want to look for it for sure. I think that The Vision Council says that whenever you’re out during the day that you should be protecting your eyes with a pair of sunglasses.
AM: These are great points that we should always be mindful. As someone that I know travels quite a bit, what are 3 things that you tend to carry with you in your carryon when you travel?
BG: Very good question because I am taking off on a flight this afternoon! So, snacks – I always have to have them with me. I like to have my own with me because I like to eat on the airplane and it gets me through. I always have some bars, a little treat, I like to carry some almond butter with me. I always have earplugs with me as well because I like to have just quiet. I also like to have my headphones with me as well. The last flight I took, my head phones fell out of my bag in the backseat of the car and I really had to do some centering work. I was like, what am I going to do for 6 hours?
AM: That is the worst!!!! We have been fans of yours for a long time and love seeing you on E! Live from the Red Carpet. As the Met Gala taking place last month with its focus on Camp, what were your 3 favorite looks from this year’s carpet?
PHOTOS CREDITS | 1st pic BRAVO | 2nd pic SharpShooter |
You can hear Brad Goreski's interview this month on our show, Bungalow SK which is a part of Athleisure Studio, our multi-media podcast network! Make sure to subscribe to find out when the episode drops. You can hear it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and wherever you enjoy listening to your favorite podcast.
Athleisure Mag’s May issue is covered by CNBC's Co-Anchor, Morgan Brennan of ”Squawk Alley" (M-F 11am - 12pm). In addition to her daily show, she also continues to cover a variety of sectors including manufacturing, defense and space for the network. While her shoot showcases a number of pre-summer styles at 498 West End Ave #PH on the UWS, we sat down with her to find out how she came to working as a financial broadcaster/journalist, the stories that she enjoys covering, being a Co-Anchor on her show, as well as what she does when she is off set.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about your background. What drew you to being as a financial journalist and broadcaster?
MORGAN BRENNAN: I didn’t go to college promptly after high school since I was pursuing a career in the music industry. In my early 20s, I had a change of heart and decided to go to school and set out to be...an anthropologist. It was in my last year at New York University that I realized how similar journalism is to anthropology: research, interviews and ethnographic studies, identifying your own biases and then moving past them to realize facts and bigger societal truths, and the fact that every major trend, topic or issue has people at the heart of it. Plus, it turns out that most have a money trail as well, so examining the business or financial or economic angle is fascinating. I also think - now more than ever - it’s crucial for people to have an understanding of how money works and how business drives behavior and at times, change. Finances are a key driver of our lives as human beings so I feel very passionately about the role we play at CNBC to make these sometimes jargon-laden, daunting concepts and phrases associated with financial and economic literacy accessible.
AM: Prior to coming to CNBC in 2013, tell us about where you started your career.
MB: I started my journalism career working for magazines. I interned at Newsweek International in the fall of 2008 (as I was finishing school), fact-checking articles and writing some of my own. The world was imploding, and financial news was breaking news. The following Spring I got very lucky and landed my first job two days after graduation as an assistant for the video department at Forbes Media. It was a difficult time in the world of publishing as the internet was disrupting traditional revenue streams and the industry was downsizing drastically. But that bred opportunity as well. I was able to take on extra responsibilities and work my way up the ladder, becoming a reporter and staff writer who wrote regularly for Forbes magazine and had a multimedia presence online. I also appeared on cable news programs as a guest and that experience helped catapult me full-time into the world of TV business news. Writing is actually essential to TV so in hindsight that foundation was crucial.
AM: Tell us about your different roles/positions at CNBC. How did you transition from a general assignment reporter to a reporter focused on sectors (manufacturing, defense, and space), to Co-Anchor of “Squawk Alley”?
MB: Like so many people I speak with, my path has been shaped by a trifecta of hard work, sacrifice, and luck. The transition from print to TV was tricky, since TV requires thinking in minutes and even seconds, versus days or weeks when working on a magazine feature story. Telling a story on paper is very different than telling one in 90 seconds on live television. Once I understood that, I was able to focus my efforts on more companies, more trends, more events, typically targeting sectors and industries that were little loved or perhaps little understood. It evolved from there, with instances over the years of being in the right place at the right time to cover a major breaking news event – a scenario that would then open a door to more sources and more stories. Anchoring came once I had established a strong foundation of comprehension across a number of industries. I love that I get to do both – anchoring and reporting – and I believe they bolster each other.
AM: As the Co-Anchor of “Squawk Alley,” what is your day like in terms of prepping for the day’s general news, going on air and after?
MB: The way I see it is I get paid to learn and then disseminate that knowledge to others. Every day involves hours of reading, as well as lots of writing, networking, sourcing – and TV and video watching. When I first started working full-time in this business the piece of advice offered repeatedly was to grab sleep whenever and wherever I could. Days can start very early, especially when traveling, and can go very long, especially when in the field reporting on a story. It takes an incredible amount of time, effort and resources to make just a few minutes of live television – and no one does it alone. I have an incredible team of producers and co-anchors that I am grateful to get to work with every day.
AM: How do you prepare for your sector coverage?
MB: Again, lots of reading. Also, I try to keep in constant contact with a wide network of sources operating in the sectors I cover, be it aerospace and defense or tech or anything else I may be tasked with covering. I make a lot of phone calls, read a lot of analyst notes and meet with as many folks as the schedule permits. Listening to its earnings calls is a great way to learn - and quickly - about a publicly traded company.
AM: What are some of your favorite CNBC stories or interviews that you have reported on?
MB: I have been blessed to be able to travel all over the U.S. to report on stories. So far I’ve visited 46 states. Among my favorites: being the first person to broadcast live from Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jet factory floor as the program was facing scrutiny from President Trump due to costs; live play-by-play coverage of SpaceX's first-ever Falcon Heavy rocket launch, from Kennedy Space Center; and the short documentary I did with the CNBC Investigative unit that focused on illegal home-sharing activity on the Airbnb platform, a project that involved five months of research and reporting and required quite a number of field shoots.
AM: When you wake up, what are 3 sites/apps/platforms that you go to to connect with what is going on financially to jump start your day?
MB: First stop is CNBC.com to see where different markets are trading. Second stop is Twitter to see what’s trending and what the financial and media folks I follow are talking about. After that, I start clicking through articles on the homepages of news sites like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters and Axios. I also receive hard copies of newspapers every day because I think it’s important to visually see what’s made the front page and where (and I still like to hold paper in my hands and make notes with a pen.)
AM: When you’re not at work and taking downtime for yourself, what would we find you doing?
MB: When I’m not working, I’m focused on my other job: raising my amazing (and saucy) three-year old daughter. It is very much a team effort but I try to unplug from my phones for at least an hour a night on workdays to focus all of my attention exclusively on her and the family. I’m also a big Broadway buff. And recently, I’ve been trying my hand at cooking and baking. I make a mean muffin.
AM: Living in Westchester and working in NYC, where can we find you grabbing a meal, shopping and/or working out?
MB: When my husband and I moved out of New York City a few years ago I was nervous about the change; I had been a city dweller for the better part of 16 years. I’m happy to report what millions already know: there is great food, great culture and a great sense of community in the suburbs too. In Westchester, I’m a big fan of the Cookery in Dobbs Ferry, the Inn at Pound Ridge, and for pizza, Johnny’s in Mount Vernon is a must. I currently belong to Equinox because I like the peer pressure of group classes. When shopping, I am in need of adult supervision when visiting Target, Stew Leonard’s, or HomeGoods. I’m also a big fan of diners and will travel for really good coffee, which I drink black, many times a day.
AM: As someone who is a foodie, what are 3 restaurants on your list that you have yet to try, but are looking forward to?
MB: If only it were just three! Definitely Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan; D.O.M. in Sao Paulo, Brazil – which I’m hoping will happen soon since we have a family member from that city; and Osteria Francescana in Modena, a region of Italy that’s highly underrated for its food and from where some of my husband’s family originates. One of my favorite docuseries right now is “Chef’s Table,” on Netflix, which profiles renowned chefs from across the globe, so I have quite the inspired wish list thanks to that.
AM: During our photoshoot, we listened to a 90’s Hip Hop playlist. What are 3 of your favorite songs in this genre?
MB: 90’s hip hop is the best hip hop! But as someone who came of age during that decade I may be partial. Honestly it’s too hard for me to answer because I love music, from classic rock to 80’s pop to grunge. In terms of 90’s hip hop though, I’d say anything by 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan or A Tribe Called Quest. (I may also know all of the words to “Shoop” by Salt-N-Pepa.)
AM: As someone who is always on the move and travels often for interviews, what are 3 items you take in your carry on?
MB: I never leave home without a wireless charger. I also always pack an extra set of clothes, since there have been instances in which breaking news or a last-minute assignment has meant I was on the road for longer than initially anticipated. The other item that’s especially handy is a blanket scarf because airplanes can be chilly and you can use one as a blanket or pillow in a pinch.
AM: Is there anything else you want to share?
MB: I have been very blessed to receive some great advice from accomplished individuals. But one example in particular I love is: don’t take yourself seriously; do take your job seriously. I believe that’s the secret to success - work hard and be willing, and try to have fun along the way.
Our cover shoot took place at 498 West End Ave #PH on the UWS of NYC. This 2 level home has great views of the city and is near a number of restaurants, shops and more! We chatted with Louise Philipps Forbes of Halstead to find out more information about this listing that is currently on the market.
ATHLEISURE MAG: The views and natural light at West End Ave #PH are amazing, tell us about the features of this unit.
LOUISE PHILLIPS FORBES: Set atop a quintessential Upper West Side landmark constructed in 1910 by Neville & Bagge, this 3,646 sf 5 bed, 4.5 bath newly constructed full-floor duplex is a rare combination of prewar craft and contemporary artistry. Thoughtfully designed by CetraRuddy Architecture to accommodate a 21st century lifestyle, this exceptional home has spectacular finishes and grand proportions. The premium grade details that grace the interiors impart a pervasive sense of quality, where space and light mix with elevated materials to infuse traditional forms with inventiveness.
The keyed elevator service to this topmost unit opens up into a warm and inviting foyer. Upon entering the penthouse, the new oversized windows welcome an abundance of light from all directions, keeping the home bright and airy, as you mentioned. The solid white oak floors in a custom 30-inch square rift-and-quartered parquet inspired pattern, accentuate the dining and living rooms.
Designed to deliver equal portions of elegance and functionality, every facet of the kitchen exceeds the highest standards while also delivering innovative design concepts - from the outstanding millwork in custom chocolate-stained oak with contrasting cream-colored ceruse, to a single-slab marble hearth wall that conceals the range hood. Outfitted for the most seasoned cooks, the kitchen also showcases Calacatta countertops, Miele appliances, a 48-inch Bertazzoni gas range, and a Gaggenau warming drawer and wine refrigerator.
An expansive wrap-around terrace, at its longest spanning close to 90 feet, makes for a covetable outdoor space ideal for lounging as well as hosting cocktails and dinner parties against the backdrop of an exquisite panorama f the Hudson River.
AM: What amenities are offered in this building for residents (common areas, services, etc.)?
LPF: Among the many amenities of 498 WEA is a fitness room with cardio workstations and an exercise area. For the younger set, a delightful activity center with an ingenious wood-peg wall allows kids to express themselves to their heart’s content.
AM: Tell us about the neighborhood that is directly around this building (Wholefoods, workout studios, eateries, etc.) and what neighborhood is this considered?
LPF: Flanked by two beautiful parks, the Upper West Side is one of the greenest neighborhoods in Manhattan. A favorite with families with its great elementary schools, safe streets and plethora of playgrounds, the vibe of the Upper West Side is relaxed, yet lively. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to frequent along Amsterdam Avenue, and Broadway. The wide, tree-lined streets also host many mom-and-pop stores, some of the best Jewish delis in the city, Zabar’s and Levain Bakery. Cultures abound as this coveted neighborhood is the home to the American Museum of Natural History, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the West Side Community Garden.
AM: For those interested in this unit, how can they get more information?
LPF: For more information on this home please head over to Halstead.com/19162124
AM: Do you also represent other units in this building as well?
LPF: Yes, as the exclusive broker for new development in this building my team represents new units as they become available. We just launched a fully renovated 2,093sf 3-Bed, 2-Bath residence on the 8th floor with the same designer details and notable features.
AM: Can you tell us about the artwork that is featured in this apartment?
LPF: The artwork throughout the two-story home has been thoughtfully curated by an interior designer to help highlight its architectural features and, of course, the view.
AM: Where can readers find out about properties that you represent?
Athleisure Mag's May cover story was shot by Paul Farkas, using Canon Mark IV; and selected Canon lenses: EF 50 f/1.2 L, EF 24-70 f/2.8 L II, and EF 70-200 f/2.8 L II.
MAKEUP & HAIR CREDITS
MUAH Bamike Ogunrinu utilized a number of products and tools in order to create the makeup and hairstyles that are in this cover editorial with CNBC's Co-Anchor of "Squawk Alley".
PREP | BIODERMA Micellar Water | REBELS AND OUTLAWS Love Potion | DRUNKEN ELEPHANT B-Hydra Intensive Hydrating Serum | TWINMEDIX Pro:Refine Eye Correction | TWINMEDIX Pro:Refine Moisturizer | BITE Agave Lip Mask |
FACE | MAKEUP FOREVER Ultra HD Cream Foundation KEVYN AUCOIN Contour Book Volume 3 | ILIA Essential Face Palette Warm | MAKEUP FOREVER Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer 20M | BROWS | BENEFIT Foolproof Brow Powder 3 | IT COSMETICS Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil |
OUT AND ABOUT LOOK | EYES // STILA Eyes are the Window Shadow Palette #mind | LIPS // CHAPSTICK Total Hydration Moisture + Tint #Rose Petal |
FITNESS LOOK | EYES // NARS Orgasm Illuminating Loose Powder | LIPS // PAT MCGRATH | MatteTrance Lipstick #Femme Bot |
RESORT GLAM | EYES // COZZETTE Infinite Eyeshadows #Aquamarine | LIPS // MAKEUP FOREVER Artistic Rouge Light Luminous Hydrating Lipstick L304 |
HAIR PRODUCTS | IGK Laidback + Intern |
HAIR TOOLS | Hot tools ¾" – 1¼" + 1" Nano Ceramic® Salon Flat Iron with Extra-Long Plates + Nano Ceramic® Tapered Curling Iron – Large
Athleisure Mag's Celeb Fashion Stylist, Co-Founder/Creative + Style Director Kimmie Smith focused on looks that incorporate a number of pieces that will become go-to's in your closet with the onset of warm weather.
OUT AND ABOUT // PG 25 + 26 | SOCIALITE CLOTHING Playsuit in Tobacco | QUPID Ankle Booties | AMATOSTYLE Domenica Cream Leather Cord with Python Tassel Necklace + Novella Python Earrings | LAGOS 18K Caviar Gold Large Dome Statement Ring + 18K Bar 7 Gold Bracelet |
FITNESS LOOK // PG 16- 22 + BACK COVER | BEYOND YOGA Burgundy Sports Bra | WOLVEN THREADS Moonlight Mandala Leggings | HOKA ONE ONE Women's Bondi B | LAGOS 18K Caviar Gold 35MM Hoop Earrings, 18K Caviar Gold Diamond 7 Rounds Stack Ring, Caviar Gold Ring + 18K Caviar Gold 35MM Hoop Earrings |
RESORT GLAM LOOK // FRONT COVER + 29 - 33 | OLIVIA VON HALLE Delphine Muse Full Length Dress | GOOSEBERRY So Chic Sweet Sunrise | LAGOS 18K Enso 30MM Circle with Linear Drop Pendant Multi Length, 18K Enso 30MM Circle with Linear Drop Earring, Black Caviar Ceramic Diamond Pave 14MM Ring, Black Caviar Black Ceramic Diamond7 Link Statment Ring 9MM Bracelet + Black Caviar Black Ceramic 2 Diamond Link 9MM Bracelet |
We headed to Hermoza’s launch a few days ago to see swimsuits that literally have a something for everyone from dynamic prints. one pieces, slimming appearance and more. The event took place at Gilligan’s at Soho Grand Hotel and included great bites (beet tacos) and watermelon cocktails that put you in a resort mindset!
London based contemporary fine jewellery designer Stephen Webster is known internationally for his cutting edge designs, traditional craftsmanship and responsibly sourced jewellery. We have been fans of his statement jewellery for years as his work is inspired by music, fashion, literature and art which allows his collections to be dynamic pieces that are highly covetable by icons, idols, music royalty to actual Royals!
Earlier this month, Stephen Webster was here in NYC and was a part of the Initiatives in Art and Culture Gold Conference which has a series of panels with notables in the jewelry industry who share their insights within this space as well as sharing their stories. We took some time to chat with Stephen to talk about how he got into the jewelry business, his involvement with this year's conference and his inspiration process.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What was the moment when you realized you wanted to be a jewellery designer and what was your journey, that eventually led to creating your own line?
STEPHEN WEBSTER: My passion for jewellery started when I was 16 years old, when I enrolled at art school. Originally, I had applied for the fashion course but after a tour of the department, which was full of sewing machines, I decided that perhaps it was not for me. Instead I discovered the jewellery department; workshops full of flames, chemicals, tools, noise and grime. A place where everyone seemed to be making treasure. This was for me. I spent the following ten years learning my craft, wanting to be able to make my own treasure. Starting my own company was a natural progression after an almost ten year spell in Canada and California working for a gem hunter. By this time, I had developed my own style and I could make anything if the medium was precious metals and gems.
AM: Tell us what the style and aesthetic of Stephen Webster is and what one can expect from your brand?
SW: Our brand has evolved from my personal passion for craftsmanship and the techniques both ancient and modern applied to the processes of making fine jewellery. Feeling stifled by an industry so steeped in tradition that there seemed to be little enthusiasm for creativity, I wanted to apply my skills to an aesthetic that felt more contemporary and progressive. This spirit of rebellion became the foundation of the company.
AM: What is your favorite collection that you have created and what is it about it that sticks out to you?
SW: If I had to choose, which I’d rather not, then it would have to be the Classic Crystal Haze ring. This piece truly put “Stephen Webster” the brand on the map. It's not just a design but more of a concept; people are still fascinated by the play of light and colour within Crystal Haze gems, not to mention the variety of colour we offer. The result is like an illumination, the light passes through the facets of the Quartz, bounces about inside the stone and reflects the colour back out to the eye. It's like magic but in fact; physics.
AM: What is the inspiration process like for you when you are creating your collections?
SW: It has always been my passion to cultivate jewellery collections that push creative boundaries, are innovative and are unreservedly cool. All my work reflects my personality. I am fortunate that selfishly, I have pursued topics and inspirations from my life’s experiences and translated them into our many collections. Within all of them there is vibrancy.
AM: Tell us about the Last Straw and why this was important to have within your product offerings as well as to be a part of a global social good effort?
SW: This initiative is our brand taking a stand for social responsibility. With the Last Straw one hopes to help raise awareness of the damage done to the seas by the 8.5 billion plastic straws we use a year in the UK alone. We teamed up with Plastic Oceans Foundation for this project to donate 10% of all sales to support its work. It’s well known that I personally have love of all things aquatic and over the years have taken part in several clean ocean and water initiatives. It’s important that no matter how small, we play a part in preserving our oceans.
AM: How important is sustainability as a brand and tell us about being awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury?
SW: Hugely Important. Throughout my four decade-spanning career I’ve always been an advocate of ethically sourced materials, travelling to mines in Peru and Tanzania to meet the mining communities and trace the origins of precious materials I use in my work. We work very hard to adhere to the strict codes of practice required to display the ‘Positive Luxury’ logo alongside our own. Our close involvement with meticulous craftsmanship, ensuring the sourcing of conflict-free gemstones, coupled with our community development activities allows us to use our position as a leading brand to inspire people, partners and customers to respect our planet. We aim to champion products and processes that contribute to healthier, happier communities while minimizing our environmental impact. Responsibility in a corporate sense was something we became conscious of due to the attention drawn to the diamond industry. We began to ask questions of our suppliers to ensure none of our products were unethically sourced. Following a trip to Peru to examine working conditions Stephen Webster championed the need for the jewellery industry to make a change, and with the help of Positive Luxury we have changed all our working practices.
PHOTOS COURTESY | PG 107 Zoe Law Jan | PG 108 Rankin | PG 109 Stephen Webster Jewellery |
Athleisure Mag’s April celebrity cover is Trinity Fatu who goes by the name Naomi in the ring as a WWE Superstar as well as being on E! Total Divas! We had the chance to hang out with her while she was here in NYC for WrestleMania which is the WWE’s equivalent to the Super Bowl. In addition to a fun shoot at The Loft in Flatiron and Limelight Fitness Club, we sat down with Trinity to talk about her journey from studying dance, being a NBA Orlando Magic Cheerleader, transitioning into the WWE, her love for performing and entertaining, sharing her personal life on E! Total Divas, endurance in the business and her coupleship with her husband Jonathan Fatu, who is a WWE wrestler under the name Jimmy Uso, and is half of the tag team The Usos.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Prior to coming to the WWE, tell us about your background as we know that you were an NBA cheerleader previously with the Orlando Magic.
TRINITY FATU: Yes! I started dance at the age of 8 and I studied tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, modern and hip hop up until the age of 18. I competed nationally and once I was 18, I was too old to compete and graduated high school. So it was time for that next chapter and from there, I auditioned and went to the Magic from there. I wanted to go to Alvin Ailey Dance School, but at the time I just wasn’t mentally prepared and honestly, I was just scared to leave home! I had never been away from home so I ended up doing community college and stayed local and ended up doing Magic.
I’m kind of glad now that I didn’t go, because I don’t think that I ever would have gotten into wrestling and then I would have never met my husband and so on and so forth! It all kind of worked out how it was supposed to. I also come from a very musical family. My father is a musician – he’s a guitarist, my uncle is George McCrae.
AM: Shut up!
TF: Yes he had the song, “Rock Your Baby” in the 70’s and some other songs! Yes it’s just the ability to perform and entertain is in my blood and in my family’s so it was inevitable for me that I would do something in entertainment. One year, I had 12 jobs working through temp agencies and just trying to find the right job for me. But I was never satisfied with a 9-5 job. It had to be something that involved me being with people and being active. Socializing and working with people is that I ended up realizing that I like to do.
AM: So what led you to going to the WWE and what was that process like?
TF: So at the time, I was still an Orlando Magic dancer and the wrestling show came to the Amway Center one night and I ended up just wanting to watch the show. My girlfriend and some of the dancers told me about it and we ended up watching the show. When I saw the women perform, I was in awe and blown away by the entire show. I didn’t know much about wrestling and let alone that women had a role in it as much as they did and that they could do all the things that they did. It was a 6 woman tag that I saw and I mean they were killing it and they looked so beautiful. I knew right then that it was something that I wanted to do and that I could do!
So from there, I talked to my friend who knew someone that knew someone that knew someone. I went around asking questions to figure out how to get a try out. Fortunately, at the time, the developmental was in Tampa which was only an hour and a half away. I literally drove one weekend to Tampa to do a try out and then 3 months later, I finally heard back from them and they told me that I got a development deal and that I could start training. Then I left right from home a few weeks later, moved to Tampa and started my wrestling journey!
AM: Did you have a mentor when you were coming up through the system?
TF: Well I met my husband (Jonathan Fatu who goes by the name Jimmy Uso in the WWE) and it’s crazy because he was there a few months before me. But when I first got there, my husband was one of the first people that I met and so he has always been a mentor to me and my guidance through this whole thing. Norman Smiley who still develops and trains new talent now. Dr. Tom Prichard is also a former wrestler, as well as Dusty Rhodes – developmental is diff
erent now with NXT because I came through a different name. Mine was called FCW. All the guys that came around at that time, I felt that they all had some kind of influence and help. But most definitely would be my husband.
AM: What does it mean to you to be a WWE Superstar?
TF: It has become so much of who I am and my identity at this point. When I came in, I was just looking for a transition, I had been cheerleading for a few years and I just wanted something new and to express myself creatively. I had no idea how big wrestling was and what type of platform that I would be on and that I could make a career out of it! At the time, it was something to do at the moment and to just get me to that next chapter of my life until I figured out what I wanted to go to school for and how I would make a living. I was just thinking of doing something that kept me performing and when I got into it, realized how incredible an opportunity that it was, how massive it was and how global it was and the effect that it has on people – I completely fell in love with it, the lifestyle and it came apart of my life. That's when I realized that it was something that I wanted to do.
So to me, this was my life and it is my world. At this point, it’s like everything – it’s how I take care of my family, how I found my purpose, it’s how my husband and I bond over it. It’s become so entwined into my life that it really is everything to me! I take pride and appreciate the responsibility to not only represent African American women, but to be a role model for all women on this platform
AM: Well we got the chance to do our photoshoot during WrestleMania – for those who may not know, can you tell us what this is and how important it is to your year?
TF: Wrestlemania is our Super Bowl! It’s our biggest Pay-Per-View of the year. People travel all over the world to come into town to see our WrestleMania. It’s what we work towards all year to be on that show and to be on that Pay-Per-View. The best of the best is on WrestleMania.
So, to be on that and to share the ring with the greats like John Cena, Randy Orton and all of these incredible Superstars it’s definitely one of the biggest events of the year to perform live in front of 80,000 people at Met Life Stadium, one of the biggest and known stadiums around the world. It’s epic and it’s massive and to just be in that environment to feel that adrenaline from the audience – it’s something that you can’t get anywhere else!
AM: Are there additional matches that we should keep an eye on that are also significant throughout your year?
TF: I am most stoked about the Women’s Main Event. It’s the first time in history that we’ll be main eventing at WrestleMania. Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair as well as the Fatal 4-Way Women’s Tag Team Championship Match for the first time ever as well. So the women, it really is an evolution they are just killing it and they are going to raise the bar. So aside from the Women’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania, you can also look forward to these other women’s matches that are going to be awesome.
AM: In addition to being a wrestler for WWE, you are also on E! Total Divas which we are a fan of. How did you come about getting on this show and how important do you feel that it is to amplify your brand as well as to showcase your personal life?
TF: Well the original cast was handpicked by the company – Vince and at the time, I had a tag team partner, Ariane Andrew known as Cameron. They thought that we would bring a different dynamic to the show and we were a contrast to The Bella Twins at the time for our angle. We worked against them at the time and her and I had a great chemistry. They were right about all those things at the time and that’s why initially we were selected for the show. I was apprehensive at first. I used to be very private and protective of my personal life – I mean now with social media and so many opinions, so many critics – I was protective of that. But I also saw the bigger picture, the platform that we were being given and I did want to be able to tell our story as women in the business as well as seeing the other side of us. To see how hard we work, that women can do it and to motivate others. I knew that there would be a different audience that we would be able to connect with and reach out to that we can’t always do with wrestling. That’s why along with speaking with my partner at the time, we decided to go ahead and do it together. It was a package deal, we had to do it together.
AM: That’s what makes the show so interesting to see you guys in the ring, prepping for it, coming off the ring and to see your dynamics when you’re with your colleagues as well as your personal life. Watching you and your husband talking about your business as well as your personal life. It’s something that is applicable to people regardless of what their jobs are. The dynamics of a coupleship and how you live day to day is a great component of this show that we get to see in your dynamic and it really strikes a cord as we watch it and can completely relate!
TF: I really wanted people to see that because there is only so much that you can know about me when watching, RAW or SmackDown. I just knew that with the girls that I was working with, with the show we’re on and the company that was backing us that it would be an empowering show and uplifting one for women. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to do that.
AM: So what is an average week like for you as you could be prepping for your next match, maybe you’re going into tapings, doing a charity – if there is such a thing in terms of average, what would it be?
TF: Well we’re moving and traveling 5 days a week and we have appearances weekly with radio stations, charity events, signings and our show is each night. We perform, we fly into town, perform for the show and then drive to the next city, and we do that about 4 days a week and on the 5th we’re traveling to get back home to recharge and do it all over again, year around – there is no off season.
I think that the toughest part is the travel. You would think that it would be the wrestling and the physical part, but that’s the best part and easiest part. When you calculate and think about all the hours that it takes to get there just to perform for 10 minutes and for the women, you’re fortunate if you get the 10 minutes – it’s good! The hard part and the most energy draining portion is the traveling. Being on the road so much, you’re away from home, friends and family. But that is part of the lifestyle.
AM: Since you do travel so much, what are 3 must hav3s that you have with you in your suitcase whenever you’re on the road?
TF: I always have my travel blanket, because I am always cold no matter where I am or how warm it is. I am always just cold! I’d also say my makeup bag and just lotions and moisturizers – all of that good stuff since traveling a lot really dries your skin out. Sunglasses for those days when I don’t want to put makeup on.
AM: Who would you say are your go to people in the WWE squad?
TF: Other than my husband and my brother-in-law (Joshua Fatu/WWE’s Jey Uso) his twin. As far as girls, I would say Lana, Natalya and Tamina Snuka. We all kind of broke in around the same time and have been around each other for the last few years. We have experienced the ups and downs together which has naturally made us bond and be very close with one another.
AM: Because you do travel so much, how do you maintain your coupleship with your husband – do you have date nights?
TF: Yes! We always try to make sure that we tell each other to never stop dating one another. We are always together, but I feel like we’re always in work mode. The hard part is being able to turn it off – not to talk about work, not to talk about wrestling and really just tune everything and everyone out and just focus on each other. We’re together all the time, but there are so many distractions. We’re together, but we’re not. We get to the arena and we’re there for 12 hours a day. Sometimes, I don’t see him all day because he’s preparing or he’s meeting people and getting ready to do the things that he needs to do. I'm over here getting my match together or filming for Total Divas. Then we get into the car and we have whatever amount of hours to drive and I’m asleep or he’s asleep. It’s finding that quality time.
AM: Our Co-Founders are a couple and they totally get this – it’s a balancing act!
TF: I know! A lot of people don’t understand like how can you be together that much, but then you don’t have time? You just have to live it to explain it because it sounds ridiculous!
AM: We had the chance to work out with you a few years back at TapOut gym and some of your fellow Superstars. It was great to do some of your routines that were simple and yet effective to get a great physique! What are some routines that people can get into their workouts that they should pick out that you do?
TF: For me, I just eat in moderation, I have a really bad sweet tooth so I pretty much eat what I want, but I just watch my portions which works for me. I just do a lot of cardio. I’m not a stickler for any kind of regimen. I just get in there and really do what I want. I don’t really lift heavy with a lot of weight. I do more of a full body workout and lots and lots of cardio. I do at least an hour of cardio the 5 days that I’m on the road and then when I’m home, I’m off. But if I eat bad, it just means that I have to work harder in the gym and if I eat better, then I don’t have to work as hard. So I just try to always balance things out. For the most part, it’s just eat healthy, a balanced diet. I feel like as long as you’re active and moving, it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re using your body and making it do something, you can feel when you’re working and when it burns. You can feel when you’re tired. I feel like as long as you’re pushing your body to do something, you will be ok! If you're working, your body will work. If you don’t use it, you will lose it.
AM: So have you watched the release of her film Homecoming on Netflix?
TF: Girl, you know I did! I watched it like 5 times! I have been watching it everyday since it came out on repeat! I think that she is the greatest thing that has ever walked this Earth!
AM: She doesn’t quit!
TF: No no she doesn’t and I will not tolerate anything bad that is said about her! I will pop off on anybody that does. She is truly amazing and my idol – her work ethic, her personality and you never hear any bad stuff about her. To be in the entertainment business for so long and to just have that kind of character – it’s insane to me. She is a great feminist and humanitarian – I just love her.
AM: How do you take time for yourself as you’re schedule is beyond busy.
TF: Honestly, I don’t have much down time to myself. I do have a little room in my house that I call it my Little Lounge – it’s my She Shed. It’s very yoga like and bohemian. I have my pillows on the floor, the colors are warm and it’s very cozy and relaxing. I’ll get up there and relax and turn on my meditation music and nature sounds, write songs, think and relax. That’s probably the most that I feel to get away. I don’t like to go anywhere because I’m always gone so my home is the best getaway and vacation. We’re gone over 300 some days out of the year traveling. My home is my sanctuary. I go up in my little room and have my me time.
AM: We’re all about tribes and #TRIBEGOALS those who inspire us, who are 3 people that do this for you?
TF: Oh yes – one would be my Uncle Buck. He’s my best friend. He’s always on my Instagram. He has been an uncle and like a father to me since I was born, my whole life. We just have a really tight bond and relationship. He has always been there for me. He is a huge supporter has always been at every dance competition, every track meet, every prom – always there and still there. He really is my best friend. My mom – I mean just watching her strength growing up and being a single parent and just how gracious she has been my whole life. My mom can do no wrong in my eyes and I would probably say Beyonce and Michelle Obama!
AM: How would you define your personal style when you’re going out with the girlfriends for drinks vs date night vs just hanging out?
TF: I would say that I am very funky and spontaneous. For gym flows and my days off, I’m always very comfortable in sweats and a hoodie. For a date night, I like to be extra spontaneous – sometimes it’s a freakum dress and other times it’s an elegant dress. One day I could be dressed like 80s and retro and then the next day, I could want to be classy and in some designer stuff. I love rave clothes, funky, bright colors. I’m all over the place. Whatever I see, I like and I’m not set in a certain style. I do like to be loud and different. I have never been afraid to stand out. I would just say spontaneous and to just keep it fun.
AM: We’re a big believer in that if you don’t feel comfortable with what you’re wearing – no matter what it is, it’s not going to look right!
TF: That’s so true. I remember one day waking up and I had spent 5-6 hours getting braids put in but the next day, I just took them out because I didn’t want my hair like that anymore – I wanted a bob or a fro ha! I’m just like that and have always done that!
AM: We know you’re based in Florida, where can we see you grabbing a meal/cocktail, shopping and working out?
TF: Well nowadays, I shop online. I also like the simple stuff where stores have a lot of options so I like Forever 21, love Topshop, American Apparel, Fashion Nova, House of CB. I really love Fashion Nova which is taking over my closet because it’s affordable, it always fits and you can find so many things that fits my style. With what I do, I can’t wear something once it has been on TV and I can’t be caught wearing it again. I like to mix and match them with my style for whatever I am going for at the moment.
For food, I love Ramen noodles so Jinya Ramen Bar I could eat that everyday! They are a ramen bar and only major cities have them, but I love them and you can catch me there! I also love shopping at Whole Foods.
I workout everywhere. My husband and I have talked about getting a gym membership, as when we’re home there are a number of gyms but then when we travel, those gyms may not be in the cities that we are going to! Sometimes we’ll be in the Midwest and there won’t be a LA Fitness, they have Planet Fitness so we get to the town and look up the gym and we just take a day pass. When I’m home, I just train at our home gym in my garage.
TRINITY'S SWIM LOOK | SOUL OF A HIPPIE Sundown Kimono Floral Pastel | MEI L'ANGE Ella Ruched Maillot | Sequin Jewelry Turquoise Color Karma Tassel Necklace | LOVARD Gila Necklace | REVO Sunglasses | VIA SAVIENE Cut-Out Ring | QUPID Peep Toe Booties |
TRINITY'S OUT AND ABOUT LOOK | LOVE BINETTI EY: Sweet Dreams Sleeveless Cotton Dress | NAGICIA Bamboo Framed Donut Ring | QUPID Peep Toe Booties |
TRINITY'S FITNESS LOOK | HANRO Touching Feeling Crop Top + Touching Feeling Boyleg | CARTON OUTERWEAR Clear Hooded Jacket |
TRINITY'S EVENING LOOK | F21 Plunging Maxi Dress | MIRIAM HASKELL Necklace |
A few weeks back we popped into Vilebrequin’s store that is at Hudson Yards during their historic opening night. A few days ago we stopped in to the launch of Vilebrequin X JCC+ (Jean Charles de Castelbajac) at The Webster in NYC’s Soho. This line has always been on that we have loved as they make an assortment that includes mens, womens and kids. This collaboration adds an additional playful level and can be seen across a series of curated apparel as well as accessories.
And just like that March arrived, which means we can seriously think about transitioning into Spring and eventually changing over our closets to the next season! This month's cover editorial includes two Wilhelmina models Theresa and Mietta who showcase some of the things that we truly enjoy about spring as well as trends that you can expect to see as we continue through this time of year. Our photoshoot took place in the Financial District and also includes how one can get around town with the new 2019 sporty midsize SUV crossover by Chevrolet's Blazer which keeps you connected due to their OnStar service, enjoying SiriusXM channels which makes commuting, shopping, errands and roadtrips as well as being equipped with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and built in Wifi.
Athleisure Mag's March cover story was shot by Paul Farkas, using Canon Mark IV; and selected Canon lenses: EF 50 f/1.2 L, EF 24-70f /2.8 L II, and EF 70-200 f/2.8 L II.
To create the makeup looks for the March 2019 cover shoot, MAKEUP ARTIST Jessica Bonilla used the following products:
THERESA'S FITNESS LOOK
// FOUNDATION | BECCA Skin Love in the color Driftwood | Maybelline Concealer in the shade Sand Sable | Cinema Secrets Pro 300 Series for Cream Contour | Hourglass Veil Setting Powder | BH Cosmetics Blush and Contour | Dose of Colors Highlight in the Color Mirame |
// EYES | Morphe 3b Palette in the colors Kinda Natural and Deep Hue Brown eye liner | Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara |
// LIPS | Fenty Beauty Universal Gloss Bomb |
THERESA'S SWIM LOOK
// FOUNDATION + LIPS | Same as Theresa's Fitness Look |
// EYES | Morphe x Jaclyn Hill Palette-Ring the Alarm using colors Loli in the inner corners and Bomb Ass all over the lid |
THERESA'S OUT + ABOUT LOOK
// FOUNDATION + LIPS | Same as Fitness + Swim Look |
THERESA'S EVENINGWEAR LOOK
// FOUNDATION + EYE | Same as Out + About Look |
// LIPS | Fenty Beauty in the shade Universal Red |
MIETTA'S FITNESS LOOK
// FOUNDATION | BECCA Skin Love in the shade Cashmere | Cinema Secrets Pro 500B Palette Concealer and Contour | Hourglass Veil Setting Powder | Tatcha Dewy Mist for a glow | BH Cosmetics Blush and Contour | MAC Cosmetics Skin Mineralizer for highlight |
// EYES | KKW Beauty in the shade Albanian and Armenian | Inglot Eyeliner | Ardell Lashes Wispie |
MIETTA’S SWIM LOOK
// FOUNDATION + LIPS | Same as Mietta's Fitness Look |
// EYES | Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette Ring the Alarm in the shade On Camera and Boom all over the lid | Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette Ring the Alarm in Alert on the lower lash line |
MIETTA'S OUT + ABOUT LOOK
// FOUNDATION | Same as Mietta's Swim Look |
// EYES | Switched the eyes using the same Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette Ring the Alarm in the shade Rush all over the lid and lower lash line | Added a second pair of Ardell Lashes Wispie for extra fluff |
// LIPS | Fenty Beauty Universal Gloss Bomb |
MIETTA'S EVENINGWEAR LOOK
// FOUNDATION | Same as Mietta's Out + About Look |
// EYES | Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette Bling Boss in the shade Bling Bling for the inner corner | Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette Hush Hush all over the lid | Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette Gluts and Glam over top | Inglot Eyeliner |
// LIPS | MAC Cosmetics X Aaliyah Collection Lipgloss in the shade Lili’a Motor City |
// BODY GLOW | Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist used on both models |
To create the makeup looks for the Mar 2019 cover shoot, HAIRSTYLIST Lea DeLoy used soon to be launched by Lea DeLoy and Styling Company:
Lea started each look with blow drying in Enlightenment medium hold mousse heat protectant and style memory. For the down styles sprayed in for heat protection and long lasting curls. Wrapped each section of hair in the same direction, on the inside of the curling iron, to create a wavy beachy and romantic texture.
Lea used Sunday Ritual Texture Spray to give volume and an undone, voluminous, texture. It simplified the 1/2 half up half down looks, as well as making up-styling easier. Sunday Ritual Texture Spray also added another layer of heat protectant for heat styling, and anti humidity to ensure frizz free all day.
She also added a glow and extra shine on each style with Moonlight Oil, Shine serum to add a glow to each final look. It adds super soft and weightless shine to each look.
Lea finished with Retrograde flexible hold spray for moveable texture hold.
MIETTA'S FITNESS STYLE | OUT OF ORDER Illuminate Sport Bra | BEYOND YOGA Leggings | TRETORN Lexie3 Sneakers | KATE YOUNG FOR TURA Donna Sunglasses | CRISPY GREEN Freeze Dried All Pear Slices // THERESA'S FITNESS STYLE | PHAT BUDDHA WEAR Penn St Blueprint Sports Bra | GOLDSHEEP Neon Palm Leggings | UMBRO Runner M Sneakers | VINCE CAMUTO Sunglasses | GOLD TOE Socks |
MIETTA'S SWIM STYLE | OVID COLLECTIVE Funky Pineapple Print + Jungle Print Bikini Set | LOVE BINETTI Black Surger Girl Kaftan | STELLA + RUBY Calypso Earrings in Turquoise // THERESA'S SWIM STYLE | MEI L'ANGE Eve Bow Tie One Piece Swimsuit | OLIVIA VON HALLE Mimi Venus Short Length Kimono Robe | STELLA + RUBY Wilting Rose Earrings | LAGOS 18K KSL Dia 2 Finger 6 Pyramid Open Statement Ring |
MIETTA'S OUT + ABOUT STYLE | ROBERT GRAHAM Gabriella Beach Print Silk Shirt | MAVI JEANS White Denim | KELLY WYNNE 3-in-1 Belt Bag | QUPID Shoes | VINCE CAMUTO Aviator Sunglasses | LAGOS Maya Turquoise inlay 3 Circle Pendant on 2.5 MM, 18K Caviar, Icon Turquoise 6MM with Caviar Ball Stretch Bracelet and Caviar Icon Turquoise Beaded Bangle Bracelet | SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Touch Hand Cream | INNISFREE Lip Sleeping Mask // THERESA'S OUT + ABOUT STYLE | JUICY COUTURE Queen Bee Dragonflies Jacquard Jacket + Shorts | LAGOS 18K Caviar Color Amethyst Gemstone Ring | VINCE CAMUTO Acha Heels | DAGNE DOVER Essentials Clutch Wallet in Sunbeam | STELLA + RUBY Heart Drop Earrings |
MIETTA'S EVENINGWEAR STYLE | IMMACULADA GARCIA Gown | BE THE GOOD Good Necklace | NINA JEWELRY Earrings | LAGOS 18K Torsade Wide 23MM Rope Bracelet // THERESA'S EVENINGWEAR STYLE | HERNAN ZAJAR/GROUP 868 Macrame Gown | LAGOS Maya Drop Earrings in Turquoise |
The glamour of the 40’s and the 50’s came to LEGENDS Romona Keveza’s runway show at her stunning Rockefeller Plaza salon during New York Bridal Fashion Week for Spring 2020. This collection included regal looks and of course we’re sharing our 3 favorite looks.
Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag
We know that some of our readers may be battling the remnants of snow, while others have enjoyed amazing weather. No matter where you're based, we're thinking one thing - swimwear. Pretty soon, all of us will be able to rock our favorite suits and with so many days of summer coming on the horizon - we had to talk with Monica Hansen of Monica Hansen Beachwear. This swimwear model, Miss Norway 1997, reality show star and host launched a line that has been a cult favorite and opened FUNKSHION's Miami Swim show last year. We talked with her about her passion for swimwear, how she goes about creating her collection, her upcoming show for Miami Swim and where we can find her hanging in Las Vegas where she is based!
ATHLEISURE MAG: Prior to creating your swim line, tell us about what you are up to previously as we know you modeled and were Miss Norway 1997!
MONICA HANSEN: I started modeling when I was 14, so it was a long time. I started out as a model and I used to do a lot of swimwear modeling, everything from runway to then getting into TV, hosting, some reality shows. Some people when they want to become models, they want to do it so that they can become famous or to become an actress – for me I was really into fashion photography and things behind the camera as opposed to being in front of the camera haha! Believe it or not, I am actually camera shy! I can’t take selfies unless I’m really drunk. I’m fine when it is a professional camera or it’s in my mind that I am going to be on TV to host, I’m fine and I’m on it. But when a friend or someone close to me wants to take a family or a group picture, I become shy and I just can’t do it – but I made a living doing it this way! It’s always been out of my comfort zone. When I’m modeling, I’m thinking that I creating art – professional work and so I know that it makes sense that I will be a part of this art. It’s really strange, I don’t know why I am like that, but it’s just the way that it has always been for me!
My passion is that I really do love photography and I do love art! I love creating and I have always been a business woman – even when I was modeling, in order to get work, you have to manage yourself like a business as there is a lot of marketing. Many people think that just because you have an agent, you’re set – but you really have to take charge to put yourself out there. Since I have always been an artist at heart, creating bathing suits was a natural transition for me from a design standpoint as well as other parts of this business. I really do enjoy doing this even more then modeling!
AM: What was the moment that you told yourself that you were going to create your own swim line?
MH: I guess that I always wanted to – it was just a matter of time. The timing was right because I was starting to get some recognition in my home country because I did a lot of TV and I thought, I should probably get some product out there. Previously, I had done a lot of swimwear and had worked for a line that is very well known now and one time the owner told me that she didn’t have a sales rep, but that she knew that I had worked with her for so long that I knew the line by heart. She had an emergency as she had buyers coming and didn’t have the sales rep so I ended up being the sales rep and I got to see all of the numbers and I was like, “I’m in the wrong business!”
I started with swimwear not because it’s the easiest – it’s actually complicated. You have to understand the bodies, the fit and the stretch and how it changes with different cuts of fabric with your patterns. I never went to design school, but I make all of the paper patterns myself.
MH: Yeah because I can draw and I had a mentor that would help me and a designer girlfriend of mine. She taught me how to do the paper patterns, I was able to pick it up and now I am able to do them myself. I do the whole collection myself, I run the business myself as well! We’re a small business so I’m the CEO, but I still manage everyone as well as doing the designing. It’s a lot, but with swimwear, it’s cheaper production in general although all of my fabrics are 100% Italian and I wanted to create something that I could produce and not have to worry about a larger production where I would have to worry about investors. Hopefully we will expand into more beachwear, but right now we’re focused on swimwear.
AM: Who would you say is the Monica Hansen Beachwear girl?
MH: It’s interesting because our target market is that we are trendy so we focus on a younger girl, but believe it or not, we have a 95 year old woman wearing our line and sending me pictures! It used to be that you could say that a number of swimwear designers were focused on younger generations, but now I feel like more people are wearing it and it’s more acceptable to wear it out even outside of the beach. I mean we had Christie Brinkley just wear it in Sports Illustrated and she was just in my bathing suit and she looked amazing! I would say that any confident woman that is all ages. What I did with my swimwear is that we have a lot of mix and match so I have like 7 bottoms that can go with a top. So the good thing about that is that you can buy 2 tops with 2 or 3 bottoms and every time you pair them together, it looks like a different suit. Also, everybody’s body is different. I purposely did it like that because sometimes you will go somewhere and say I love the top, but I don’t love the bottom with it – and that happens with every woman! Were all so different and we cater to everyone. I have suits for everybody in every shape. Some of our suits are a little more sexy and more revealing, but I feel that every woman in any shape wants to feel sexy and hot no matter what you are. Regardless of your shape, you’re not saying, “I want to wear this big diaper.”
AM: That is what has drawn us to your line the versatility, recognizing that that there are a number of shapes out there and the quality construction and fabrication!
MH: When I first started, I began with small, medium and large. Now, we have XS and XL and actually, the grading is a lot tighter. I made them as opposed to a whole size up – doing a half size up.! Because when you do 3 sizes, you’re missing the in-between and the grading becomes a bigger gap. So when you add the XS and XL, you’re bridging the gap where someone would say that it is a little too small or a little too big. Because of the fabrics that have stretch, you’re even luckier due to the 4 way stretch which makes it fit just right.
I used to have 100s of bathing suits and yet I would only wear 2 that were my favorite. They were the most comfortable, they didn’t have metals on them, etc. So when I design, I think of something that’s classic, great style and colors that go well with the skin tone. It’s also about having fabrics that feel good because you don’t want something that feels tight sitting on top of you and that makes marks. I’m trying to focus on fabrics that give you that hold and stretch but when you wear it, it doesn’t feel like you have anything on. My focus was keeping it fashionable and also being inspired by the 90s as I love that time period because it’s kind of my generation also! These suits are a higher cut because it gives women a longer look and it compliments every woman’s body. It’s more of a minimalist approach.
AM: We couldn’t agree more. When we looked through your Instagram, we know you have a number of the 90s supermodels on your page. But even when you don’t see them, the suits do give off the 90s “It Girl” vibe which is so classic and timeless juxtaposed against the Bardot elements of the line. It’s fun and has core pieces that you can truly wear over and over.
MH: Absolutely, I mean think about leopard that is a classic print that someone can wear as it will always come back and never fade. All of my colors are custom made and I’m very particular. When I first got into this because I didn’t go to fashion school or anything, I would look at these suits that just came with these stock colors and I would look at this bright orange and say, “Oh my God how do you wear this?” As it’s something that my grandmother would wear.” What sets us a part is that even though everyone can copy and try to do the same thing, people will copy you and that is part of what happens when something becomes part of the trend they make similar items. There is no copyright unless you make a print. It’s a compliment when I have seen some of the big brands copy us – it means that you’re in fashion and it will become trendy and there is a market for what you make.
What I have noticed is that when you have custom colors it makes it harder to do that as you’re mixing colors. It’s about the tones of the suit. We try to get colors that work on every skin tone as well.
AM: We can appreciate this because you have a gold tone on your website and it’s not brassy or more of an ancient, tone it’s just a great gold hue that we can see whether you’re fair, caramel complexion or olive in tone – it will work for you.
MH: I’m particular, I custom make every color except for black and white. Everything is made in Italy and I am proud of the fact that everything is Italian made! We have that stamp that says that we are 100% Italian made because from start to finish that is what we did. It wasn’t initially the plan to go that way, but when I started sourcing I consistently kept picking Italian fabrics. Our prices are in keeping with our competitors pricing but the difference is that when you buy their suits it’s not these quality fabrics manufactured in Italy, but our pricing is the same. I wanted to have quality.
AM: When you’re creating each season, what is this process like for you when you’re seeking inspiration and what is this process like for you when you’re deciding on your styles and cuts?
MH: Well that is the difficult thing. You have to be almost two years ahead when you’re designing. Because I have been in the fashion industry for so long and I was so tuned into it by looking at the editorials, photography, models and more – you can’t really go to school for that. It’s all about going into cycles were certain things are trendy and the predictions are difficult because it can be a bit hit or miss. All year around I pay attention to all of these factors and I see where the trend is going. The process is constant. I take tearsheets, screenshots and more and I have them in a folder where I put them together and label what that inspiration is. Then I start sourcing the fabrics. Right about now, the vendors have their 2020 selections available, so I sit down to then design. The process is that I get the idea and I do the sketches, the flat drawings and the paper patterns. Of course, the paper patterns – when they come in, there is a lot of back and forth between Italy which means a lot of late nights. There are a lot of video calls and more. It goes back and forth and then we get the final product – some works and some doesn’t. It’s a lot easier now because I have my classics that I do season to season and I can change the fabrics/colors or the trend idea. I also do runway pieces as well to have a little difference and we build them around the core collection. It’s a long process and it’s a difficult one. Being creative is not logical – when you’re creative, you can’t just always do it on demand. Some days you’re more that way and other times you’re not. So when you are pressured by time and a deadline, it’s not easy. Creating for yourself is great because you know what you like, but there are more elements involved when it’s for a range of women so it’s like being locked in a box and still being creative!
AM: Will Monica Hansen Beachwear be heading to Miami Swim this year?
MH: YES! We opened their Fashion Week last year and that was the first year to do a big show with the FUNKSHION platform. It was a big show and we had 30 models along with a full house. It was amazing we has Sports Illustrated, Elle Magazine. It was overwhelming and a lot of pressure because we knew that some people didn’t know who we were as we’re still a growing brand. People had heard enough that they were curious. More then just opening Miami Swim it was also my first show to do. I wanted it to be a big brand and I learned a lot from last year and we will do it even bigger this year!
There are a lot of brands that don’t have to do the fashion shows but where we are, we’re in that phase where we need to do that. We do 3 big events there that include the stores, the influencers, and it’s becoming such a big deal with that show and it’s like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and it cost a fortune too!
AM: How would you describe your line for 2019?
MH: Definitely 90s influenced, retro and the main piece of our line is called Bardot. The reason that we called it that is because we did that shoot in St Tropez and our model looked like her! That particular suit that she is wearing is actually from the 70s and so it’s a little like a spin off of that, but is inspired by that time. We have the animal print, there are colors that are more earthy tones and a bit of a safari/military aesthetic because we have the olive green. The summer/spring will still have the leopard which started last summer and trended into the winter so it will be there through the summer.
AM: So when you’re sitting poolside or at the beach, what are your 3 must hav3s that you love having?
MH: Obviously one of my bathing suits that I have made! There is a sunscreen that I like with a doctor friend of mine, Dr. Garth Fisher MD – Doc Block, that it’s the only medical sunscreen that you can actually wear makeup over and it’s healthy for the skin. It is clinically approved and I swear by it! I also bring a spray bottle with water and I like to bring virgin coconut oil for my hair. Coconut is also a natural sunscreen and is really good for you! I’m a huge fan of natural products and hydration.
AM: So you’re based in Vegas, we’d love to know where you enjoy going out for a meal/cocktail, where we could find you working out and of course where you like to shop!
MH: Oh boy! So I do Mega Pilates and it’s not like your grandma’s pilates. It’s called Mega Pilates and it has a reformer and it’s called Studio Remixx. It’s one of the toughest things that you can do and I have done everything because I’m a fitness fanatic. I do that 4 times a week. My favorite place to go out to for dining is Estiatorio Milos at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. I love the Apex Social Club at the Palms Casino Resort – which is more loungey. I love to shop at the Fashion Show Mall, but I also like the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace as they have the high end shops like La Perla! It’s always so packed with people but it’s one of the most beautiful malls.
PHOTOS COURTESY | Monica Hansen
Read the March Issue of Athleisure Mag and see Something You Should Know | Get Your Swimwear Ready in mag.
Yesterday, we enjoyed seeing Berta’s Milano Collection during New York Bridal Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2020 which included bridal gowns as well as evening wear. This ethereal pieces floated down the runway with shimmer, glitz and cut outs. Once again, we came away with a number of pieces for our athleisure girls that showcase the hard work that we put into our studio workouts!
Check out the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.
The final day of Vancouver Fashion Week took place yesterday and we were truly impressed by SINGH STYLES, designed by Kam Singh Bains which showcased menswear for women as well as menswear. The prints, fabrics and the depth of the presentation is one that we will continue to keep an eye on beyond this Fashion Week cycle. He is known for streetwear to flawless style which creates a sense of pop when this is worn.
Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.