At Athleisure Mag, we've always been about the integration of mind x body x soul . We headed to the Ritz Carlton here in NYC to talk with Kimberly Friedmutter about her new book Subconscious Power: Use Your Inner Mind to Create the Life You've Always Wanted as well as her work as a Celebrity Hypnotherapist, the purpose and power of the subconscious, and how we can optimize these tools through all aspects of our lives.
ATHLEISURE MAG: So those that are not familiar with hypnotism, can you tell us what it is and what it entails?
KIMBERLY FRIEDMUTTER: Hypnosis is really a state of relaxation and a deep state at times. I’ve literally had clients snoring and drooling and I have had others that have stared back at me, but they are relaxed. It’s just different levels – just to explain that. So when people say what is trance and is it putting me in positions and a place that I don’t want to do – like when people see it in terms of being used for entertainment or in the movies with a swinging watch – that’s not what it is.
It’s a natural state of being for example, when you first wake up and you have that floaty feeling, that’s trance. When you’re just getting ready to drift off to sleep and you’re not really conscious, but not really unconscious, that’s trance. It’s basically setting the conscious thought aside, so that you’re more suggestable and more open to other things. Now this is also why people abuse drugs, they like that feeling and when you can do that naturally, it’s wonderful and you don’t have to use substances to get there as it is this beautiful natural state that we possess. Think of it in terms of when you’re watching a film and you know that the actors are the actors, but you shed a tear anyway. You’re emotionally caught up in it, they have entranced you. Or it’s like when you’re at a concert and everyone is waving their hands in sync with their phones on flame and your favorite entertainer hits the high note and everyone is in this moment of a euphoric feeling. You’re so relaxed that you feel like you’re having this out of body experience.
AM: Wow, sometimes we have taken a yoga/meditation class and when you are coming back from the meditation part, you sometimes do feel a little floaty and outside of yourself.
KF: Right and you are in a trance in meditation. Now the difference between meditation and hypnosis is simply that meditation is the zoning in on thought or in on non-thought. For example, “think of the breath, don’t think thoughts.” Whereas, trance is let it all come and zone out. So the zoning out is likening it to day dreaming. When you daydream, you’re not monitoring day dreams. You’re just letting it flow and that flow is trance as opposed to meditation where you’re linearly guiding something through to happen or not happen.
AM: How did you begin working in this field and how did you educate yourself on it?
KF: I would like to say that education really formed this structure where I sit. But really it’s the clients who really gave me the breadth of knowledge – getting in there and really exploring. I had a radio talk show in LA on KLSX 97.1 FM and it was the only FM talk station at the time. It was considered the Howard Stern Station at the time as that is where he was projecting from at the time. This was simply continuing education for the radio show and previous to that, I had been hypnotized for a lot of times for stage fright.
KF: I know! I wanted to shrink in instead of shrink out! I didn’t want that to be an issue so I was a product of hypnosis and I thought, “wow is that all there really is too it?” In our society, we are taught “no pain, no gain”, “no guts, no glory” and it’s absolutely not the truth. So I thought, let’s see what happens and now you can’t shut me up – I’m all over the place! Clearly, I’m healed!
AM: So it had long term effects!
KF: Oh yeah, it can be the only thing you ever want to do if you want it to be. I happen to take direction well which is also why some people ask why I focus on high performing professionals and individuals that have really made a name for themselves in the world. The reason is exactly that – they will do it and they take direction well. They look for information from others and are not arguing their position or limitation which is very important.
AM: Is it hard for a Type A person to release their control to do that?
KF: No because Type A’s are Seekers, Searchers, Learners. Type A’s are out their for the game and out their to win it. They’re out there to succeed.
AM: Right a very – by any means necessary thought.
KF: Well when you say it that way, it comes off as it’s something that’s surgical and invasive and it’s not. It’s 100% organic, 100% natural and 100% sustainable. You are literally able to keep it private because it’s in your mind and you don’t have to telescope it out. The thing is we all have that search for inner peace and inner happiness and we all deeply know what that takes to get there. We have the answers – we really do. Hypnosis just gives you that little prod and permission that it’s ok to release those things and feel those things.
My husband was hypnotized for 20 minutes and he’s an architect – everything is very linear with him and it's all about facts.
Everything is very structured, planned and conscious this comes from your conscious. The subconscious is touchy feely and is all about your emotions. So he was hypnotized for 20 mins and he lost 60lbs. Now that’s that kind of character because he’s a Seeker, Searcher, Learner person that’s Type A and an architect.
My book is listed in the top 10 of what every lawyer should read. It’s the Top 25 books that America’s leading CEO’s are reading. So it does have this very interesting crossover with men in business. It’s a great gift for men and a great gift for boys coming up to learn – particularly the Get to Give chapter – I’m happy to point out. It’s not a gender specific book and there are very good principles in each chapter to read. I like to stress that because men really do get it and it does provide transformative changes in them too. Women like to corner intuition because we say, “women’s intuition” that we’re so smart and we use our gut, but the truth is that we all have that machinery and we all have that mechanism. It’s a beautiful thing and we do want to have our partner, your brother, our uncle to rise up to this. When we’re all going the same speed on the freeway, we can all do the same things and not be hampered by the one that doesn’t.
AM: So you were talking about how people can use this for weight loss –
KF: Yes and for sleep issues, anxiety and depression. Here’s the thing about hypnosis and trance is that it doesn’t have to be just for a problem. We’ve freed it and loosened it from it’s chains of being attached to a problem. It can also be out amplifying things that you do well to be better. So athletic performance for example. Performance such as something that I am doing with CNBC for entrepreneurs and CEOs which is also for performance-based things that you want to enhance or amplify.
AM: Hearing this now gives me an interesting perspective on what you do. Coming in, we were thinking of it from that 1800s parlor trick but learning that it’s a tool that can be used to optimize and oxygenate what you’re looking to enhance is really interesting.
KF: I love how you said that the 2 “O” words. This is what I say, if I brought in this fine piece of machinery and I sat it down in front of us and said here’s the plug, the machine and the manual – you’re going to take the book and to read how to use it. You have it and I’m not selling you the thing – you have it. You can’t get a surgery to get it, I can’t take it, you have what you have and you can’t get rid of it. So it’s about plugging in your mechanism and using your resources. The thing is, we’re all interested in ourselves and we all want an easy, happy life. How do we get there? So so simple. We have the mechanism and the ability to do it – it’s the use of it that we don’t know. All of our finest technology and software and beautiful things – nothing comes close to the mind. You take it with you, it’s packaged, it’s compact, it weighs 3lbs, it’s 4x4 and off you go. You don’t have to pack it – you won’t forget it. Science will say that you have it from the point on conception to the time you transition – some believe that it will just go on. That’s what I have the Soul/Spiritual section in here about Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. You’ll see that I have terrific blurbs from Jennifer Hudson and Martha Stewart, Michael Beckwith (he actually married me to the architect because he was a pastor because I was an agape taker) – so I had a lot of Hollywood support for this. They get it and they’re so creative. They’re interesting and they have big lives and a lot of times, big problems and no different from the rest of us as we have the same issues, we’re just watching them because the focus is on the high performing individual.
So the whole thing is just so simple to use. Like finding lost items around the house – who wants that – in the home or in the office. Even in an email. I was trying to find it before I was talking with you and I said to my husband that I couldn’t find it and he was asking me if it was there and I said, “I can’t find it in this state.” He’s thinking that I couldn’t find it in my phone or in my device. I knew that in the state I was in I couldn’t find it and even a device will fritz out when you’re in that state with all that frantic energy – it doesn’t jive when you’re like that. You need to adjust yourself or to stop looking. I calmed myself down and then I was able to find it. I needed to find it in the state of the love of it and not the problem of it. It’s about the find of it and not the loss of it. The truth is, it’s not lost – it’s in there.
AM: Ooo that’s interesting that you say that. Our Co-Founder, when he gets in that frazzled state, nothing will turn on in terms of electronics. So we have to either move our technology out of the room –
KF: Or him.
AM: Or him and we just say, calm down to get everything settled again. The joke is that he’s like a Marvel character or superhero. So there must be some kind of kinetic thing going on there.
KF: Oh it’s energy. So here’s what happens. Anything that works on energy, works on energy. Anything that works on energy, fries out when it’s too much. We had an interesting and scary incident where a camera would have caught this and the camera did not catch it. It’s a wireless system and the camera caught our dog groomer that was going inside and outside of the house and you could see the dog as well, but it didn’t catch the event. I didn’t bring my phone and I didn’t worry about it because I knew the camera was catching the whole thing. What did I come to find out? It didn’t. So that gives great pause to energy. It’s about keeping it cool and it shows you that life won’t work with that kind of energy.
Again, to make your life easy like finding great parking spaces, when you meet with someone getting to know if they are good for you in the short/long term that you meet them – think of the time savings alone and what you have access to. We have a far-reaching ability to ascertain this information and impressions to get access to that even a blind person can do it.
The conscious mind thinks that way you are instructing it to do; however, the subconscious is doing the imagery and the big picture portion of what is going on. When we’re children, we’re very tapped into our subconscious and we also tend to sit within our primal state as well – sometimes kids bite other kids and they haven’t learned that they can’t do that. In the book, I talk about that as we get older, we learn and educate ourselves outside of the subconscious, so when we go to work and someone annoys us, we don’t bite our colleagues in the elevator.
AM: So what made you create this book?
KF: I was approached by a woman at Harper Collins. She asked if I would do this as she had seen me online and head learned about my practice. I said absolutely and in getting the group together and figuring out the structure of the book, it took me about a year to take my practice and to see what was digestible and what could be chewed on. By the time I handed in my proposal to her, she had left Harper Collins. The agent thought that it was interesting and agreed to put it on the market to see what it could do. Simon & Schuster wanted it and Atria Books was the publishing/imprinting house that did The Secret. The beauty about The Secret was that there was a feeling that yes we could emit this desire to get whatever it is that we desire. Part in part is where my gift comes from but the real question is where is this being emitted from? It’s coming from your mind and no one debates that. It’s very well studied and science is all over that and the subconscious mind and has been forever as you had mentioned with the hypnosis.
The reality is that if you're stuck and have an addiction to food, shopping or even an addiction to someone, there is an exercise in the book called the Saver/Sever where if you have this over attachment to a person, place or thing you can literally call it before you and you can detach from that thing so that you’re no longer this prisoner of that attachment. Some people when I ask them to see that Energetic Core, some people see this beautiful wisps of energy and some people see chains or rope – true bondage to that thing. Cyber Stalking is one of those things where you just can’t not do it sometimes. Those are the perfect candidates for those exercises. Those are some of the little hacks and one of the things that I’m very proud of with the book is that you don’t need a pen and paper and I wanted to make it super easy because we don’t have a lot of time and I call them Shelf Help books. Because you feel a lot better because you bought it and you’re like, “ok healed and you put it on the shelf.” But the reality is, I want you to have that manual for your machinery – you already have it, but this is just the how to guide on how to manage it. The reality is, we want to do things with our lives that makes things easier for us. Knowing and getting those impulses – you think of a friend and they give you a call. Or you get an email from that person or you give a call to someone and they say, “oh you were on my mind this morning.” All that is energy and that is the place that we’re talking about with this. Your consciousness is your task maker and your calendar keeper for the day. The subconscious is your inner child the part that you haven’t unlearned yet. The unlearning process is what makes us cranky, crass, disappointed, depressed and anxious. There is a chapter in the book called Tonkas and Tutus and it’s about putting that Tutu back on because that’s where it belongs and I do that as a gift of action. You realize that we are meant to be these beautiful, shining and magnificent creatures of light – you realize that you have that inner self that is clawing to get out and wants that light to be turned on.
AM: Do you envision doing another book?
KF: Yes we’re already working on it now. The first book that you drop, as I’m a first-time author – is your cornerstone. It’s the base information and from there, we fly – we fly.
AM: So what are the 6 principles that ignite the conscious mind and can you walk us through that?
KF: Sure. The first one is Coming into Accountability and that’s the first step, I think of everything that is meaningful. We need to know where we are – even on maps, it says location. So the first principle is really about your location and so I want you to be able to look at yourself holistically and for real – warts and all we say. The reality is that we can’t do the work until we know what it is. I don’t even like calling it work because it feels so effortless. The second principle is Tapping into Your Subconscious which is obvious and a lot of people don't understand how powerful it is and how much of it that you have. I'm here to tell you that you you’re right. When you think of Aunt Sue and she calls you – you have to see consciously that you are right to understand the power of your subconscious. The third principle is Do You Move Toward or Away? Now I like this one a lot because it is about orientation. You have coming into accountability, your tapping into your subconscious – where is your orientation? So going back to maps again, you would orient towards the direction that you want to go. You do not plug into maps that you want to go away from where you just were. So when it says, where are you heading to, you don’t say I’m headed away from Point A, you say, I am going to Point B so when you’re constantly l ooking at your life in retrospect, and you see that you have been flinging yourself away from circumstances, chances are you’re flinging into something of the unknown which is ok. But if you’re not happy where you are, that very well could be the reason why as opposed to focusing on where you want to go. Orientation of self is hugely important. The next one is, and this is sticky, and they throw their hands up - It’s Judge Thy Neighbor as Thyself. The point of this that we have let our judgement go by the wayside just like we don’t bite our girlfriend when she makes us mad. In this, I say that you must use ecology of judgment for yourself. Once you talk to someone who is unhappy, once you explore a bit of someone’s chronic unhappiness they will say that they used this mistake in judgement and that mistake. Look at Judge Judy. I talk a lot about her in the book. Not only is she magnificent, but the show itself garners so much attention, and why, because the show shows us did you use the best judgment for your ecology, your survival, your success, etc – that’s all she wants to show. Did you use good judgement and those judgements that she calls simply comes down to who used good judgement and who didn’t. Sometimes the thing that happened the person didn't have something unlawful, but they didn’t use good judgement and she fines them anyway. So she’s going to teach you out of your own issue. So judgement is super important and I show you how to do that and I show you how to judge energetically. When you meet someone are they good for me in the midterm, short term and long term? Also a judgement about privacy. Let’s be a bit particular about the who, what, when, where and why please. It’s helpful about that beautiful 8 year old person that’s inside of you. If you had a physical 8 year old next to you, would you look at the things that you look at, would you listen to the things that you listen to, hang out with the people that you would hang out with, go to the places that you go to – I think not. We really think that we’re big stuff, but we’re just that beautiful 8 year old creature inside and we need to use the ecology of judgement for him/her. The next one that people love is Give to Get. This is that energetic cycle, that loop. So if I hold both of your hands, you and I form a loop and energy is running through your body back to my body – if we let go and you stretch your arm out, it doesn’t have any place to go to generate or to recirculate. So if you give to me and I’m not giving back, then you’re not getting back anything and vice versa. Even the tomato plant does this. It grows, it falls off the vine and dies and it becomes fertilizer for the next new plant. Giving and getting is a universal law. Women are the worst at getting because they don’t want to say it and they just continue to give to such a point that it takes us into the next chapter which is Drought. When a women is in drought, I ask what kind of a giver/getter are you? Are you getting and giving? Sometimes the people who don’t get or the least to give – there has to be a flow of energy that flows in and flows out. I read something the other day that there was a popular phrase that said “cash is king” and now it's "cashflow is king" because anything that flows is king. Flow keeps us going. If I get, I distribute that to you, if you get then you distribute to me. It’s this movement that we’re in and once again, it’s this universal law that we’re in. I didn’t make it up, I just recognize it as a law of happiness.
When people ask, I am married to a very generous husband, an architect and what is great about that is that he understands flow. People ask, how did I get what I got and I say, I asked, I made it known. He’s not a psychic. The last principle is Play Big. You deserve to get and you deserve to give. The idea of playing big is not posturing and puffing it’s show up for me and show up for you. The reality is that we all need each other. We’re in a time of social collective consciousness which is fine, but then we must rise from it. In that it’s go for your dreams. Playing big honors that creative thing that you want to do regardless of whether you’re coming from a field like being an attorney and realizing that you want to become a writer. Just because you started out one way doesn’t mean that you have to stay that way and not become what you are meant to do. So show up for that thing that you’re meant to do and then get on with it. When you get to that chapter and that final principle – then you’re ready because the other clutter is gone.
AM: What is your day to day like?
KF: Well, I’m basically a home type body, but I travel a lot so I make it home wherever I go. The traveling is a lot of fun so I try to do zones. When I’m on the East Coast, I reach out and contact to as many people as I want to book or to group it all in. We do it in Europe as well. I like to be accessible and I don’t like to say no. I’d rather say yes and then figure out how to make it work out. The other side especially with Brad and his business is that we clump things together. So the minute that I have go time over here, then he will book his things and that's how we do it. He has offices all over the world. It makes it easy to do that. There’s a few emergencies here and there, but now with FaceTime and Google – I can literally do that all day long. When you have your clients, seeing things is great because you have all of those micromovements. I’m an expert at determining what is going on. I use the term diagnose loosely – not as a medical diagnosis. It’s easy for me to see the issues as it rises up off the page so prominently that that’s my super power – the ability to see what’s going on and to be able to get it at the cellular level. Many times, I am able to just think it to get there and I like getting the confirmation.
AM: I know you’re based in LA and in Las Vegas. Where can we find you grabbing a meal/drink, working out and shopping?
KF: In Las Vegas, it would probably be Cipriani (Wynn) or more likely home. Because home – I’m a homebody. Any philanthropic event we’d probably be at. So when people say, do you go out on the strip – yes for charity events and probably only for that. If we’re having dinner or things like that, it’s probably at home. We eat super clean and I cook a lot. It’s super simple to cook like that and I do pride myself that I went to chef school when I was modeling in Europe – a night school for that. I did that because I wasn’t the clubby type to go out to meet people. In LA, we like the Waldorf Astoria. We’re at The Ivy on Robertson all the time – we love it there. Malibu of course is great and we love Nobu, I used to live there before I met Brad.
When it comes to shopping, I love Norma Kamali here in NY I was just there and was so excited. So Norma walked in and we had our little visit and it was so great and now she’s holding the book. She has a new skincare line that’s out, it’s cleanser, scrub, tanner and moisturizer. Can I just say that the moisturizer is made out of olive oil and lime and not the fruit – the mineral kind. Never have I felt something so emollient so I’m going to order that for sure as I was running in. The smell, fragrance and feel was extraordinary. Shopping there is my favorite thing.
I work out a few hours a day. I do True Fusion which is a pilates/yoga hybrid. The gal who teaches it and does it with me – we have a neighborhood group of ladies that do it. I also do heavy weight training which is a surprise to most. I like it because it really does keep me feeling in survival mode. It’s a gentleman that does it who is a body builder type. I like to be a strong girl a strong female. When we work out like that – it makes everything like blow drying your hair and going to the potty a challenge – where your muscles touch anything. It’s a great feeling. In the morning my husband and I we both walk around a 3 mile loop with our 20lb weights on – we walk it fast – it can be a 3 hour thing. Mind/Body is important. My husband’s trajectory of his day changes when he does it in the morning. Connecting with nature is something that your body and mind needs. We start early in the morning because if we didn’t we wouldn’t get it in.
I have a lot of weight loss clients right now and it’s not because it’s summer it’s because we’re fat to the point that we are upset with ourselves. A client will say, I’m stressed – I eat, I travel – I eat, I have a child – I eat, I have a job – I eat, I’m out of money – I eat. So every reason comes down to, I eat, I eat, I eat and it’s not that. That’s all the more reason that we have to be ready, be the warrior, having to be fit. You have to say, I’m going after this with everything that I have and that mind/body connection is that. I’m a big believer that you can’t work off an unhealthy diet. You’ll hear me say that the kitchen is the gym. You can eat to a good body or eat to a bad body.
PHOTO CREDITS | Kimberly Friedmutter
You can hear Kimberly Friedmutter later 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, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts and wherever you enjoy listening to your favorite podcast.
In the beauty industry, Bobbi Brown reigns as a woman that took her passion as a makeup artist to building a celebrity brand of cosmetics that would eventually be acquired by Estée Lauder. At the time, her appearances on TV shows illustrating her work as well as being a fixture in the backstages of NYFW paved the way for Celebrity Makeup Artists and other talents in the beauty industry. We took a moment with Bobbi to talk about her career, the moves she made in the industry and how she continues to be a trailblazer.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What was the moment when you realized that you wanted to work in the beauty industry?
BOBBI BROWN: I had just left my second college, and was feeling very confused because I didn’t really like school and I wasn’t happy where I had been. I was speaking with my mother and she said to me, “If it was your birthday and you could do anything in the world, what would you do?” and I told her “I’d go to Marshall Field’s and I’d play with makeup.” So my mom said to me “Then go to school to be a makeup artist.” I found Emerson College and they allowed me to create my own major, which was theatrical makeup, and I fell in love.
AM: You started as a makeup artist, what projects did you work on during that time prior to creating Bobbi Brown Cosmetics?
BB: After graduating college, I moved to NYC and went through the yellow pages calling every photographer, makeup artist, and hair stylist I could find, offering my assistance for free. I would travel wherever I was needed offering my services and learning as much as I could. Some of my favorite projects that I did during that time were my first Vogue cover shoot with Naomi Campbell (it was Naomi’s first Vogue cover as well,) working with designers like Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger, and doing makeup for Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones.
AM: What inspired you to create Bobbi Brown Cosmetics?
BB: After being on all of these sets, I found I could not do the makeup that was in style correctly. I didn’t want to cover and hide women’s features and there was no skin tone correct makeup available at the time. I would mix together what colors I could to try to create a formula that accentuated rather than disguised how the women looked. It was at that time that I met a chemist in an elevator and was telling her what I wanted to do, and she said, “I’ll make the colors for you.” That relationship started the creation of my original 10 lipstick shades.
AM: You were known for a natural aesthetic with an array of amazing pink shades of lipsticks, why was that look important to you and the brand?
BB: They weren’t pink shades as much as they were pink, brown, orange, red – those colors that naturally exist within a woman’s lip. All of them natural looking because I believe that makeup should make a woman look and feel her best. That was my intention when I created Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and still is today.
AM: How did you incorporate being a Beauty Expert on the Today Show as another portion of your brand as a MUA and a founder of a cosmetic line?
BB: At a public appearance I was at, I took a question from a woman in the audience. She later told me that she was the grandmother of Jeff Zucker, the Executive Producer of The Today Show at the time. It had been my dream to be on The Today Show, and when she introduced me to Jeff, he and I created monthly segments that allowed me to teach women the correct products to use and the right way to apply them, allowing each woman to essentially become her own makeup artist. It was an amazing time in my life and I truly believe it catapulted the business of the brand to where it is now.
AM: Estée Lauder acquired Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and you stayed on with the brand, what was the transition like for you and as many of our readers own their own brands, can you share the process you went through in terms of coming to the decision that this was right for your brand and yourself?
BB: In 1995, I met with Leonard Lauder and he quickly became one of the greatest mentors in my life. He promised me that the integrity of the brand and its purpose would never be lost with me at the helm. I remained in complete creative control, while being lucky enough to benefit from the resources that the Estée Lauder companies provided. I stayed on as Chief Creative Officer until 2016, where I made the tough decision to leave the company to start another.
AM: Being a multifaceted person, we have enjoyed seeing you wear a number of hats such as being the Editor in Chief of Yahoo Beauty from 2014-2016, how have you been able to maintain your hat in various spaces while continuing to expand your platform in the beauty industry?
BB: I have an insatiable curiosity and love to learn and discover new things. Ultimately, I am a creative at heart and love to develop content across a multitude of platforms in order to share what I know. I make it a priority to hire really great people who can help me translate my vision across these platforms to the best of my ability.
AM: We loved when you partnered with Safilo to release a line of eyewear, what initiated this venture and do you foresee doing something like this again?
BB: I am a glasses person. I wear prescription glasses and sunglasses on a daily basis. I find that eyewear is an extension of makeup to a degree, in that the style and color you choose says a lot about yourself and what look you are trying to convey. It was a natural fit for me. I’d love to explore doing this again in the future.
AM: You have written 9 books on makeup and beauty, what was it like writing your first book and what is the process like in general from concept to release?
BB: My first book was very cathartic for me. It was taking all of the knowledge that I had learned and perfected over the years, and articulating that as best I could for everyone to read. Even though I have written 9 books, I still don’t know how to type. My process varies but consists of lots of handwritten notes in the back of cars, and swatches of color done on paper. I work very closely with my writers and my publisher from start to finish. I have been very fortunate to work with the best of the best in that regard.
AM: Will there be another book that we can expect to see from you?
BB: Never say never. I don’t know if it will be a traditional book or one that has a digital component to it. We’ll see what’s in store.
AM: We’re fans of JustBobbi.com as well as EVOLUTION_18 as we love your approach to beauty from the inside out. Why did you launch the site as well as the beauty brand and what can we expect to see from them as we continue throughout the remainder of the year?
BB: My lifelong philosophy has always been that beauty, and confidence, starts with what you put inside your body. The launch of my lifestyle inspired wellness line, EVOLUTION_18, is a natural extension of beauty from inside out. After spending 25+ years talking to women about their health and wellness challenges, I became a certified health coach and learned what it is women need to know in order to look and feel our best. EVOLUTION_18 is a collection of highly effective simple formulas that target a wide range of beauty concerns. They are made with clean, high quality ingredients that give you everything you need for a beauty boost from within. Justbobbi.com is a modern lifestyle platform for all things wellness, beauty, and everything in between. It’s a platform that aims to educate and inspire how you live your life through never-ending exploration and storytelling.
AM: With so many successes in the beauty world, you launched another amazing venture in a new vertical – hospitality. Tell us about The George and why did you want to do this?
BB: The day I left Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, my husband called me and asked if I wanted to be a part of a new project – The George Hotel. It is a historic property that he completely restored into a 32-room boutique hotel. I became the Creative Director of the hotel, and it was my mission to create a design-minded boutique hotel in the heart of Montclair where we live, that offered guests a unique and one of a kind experience.
AM: In addition to Athleisure Mag, we have a podcast network – Athleisure Studio which has 4 shows and we know that you have a podcast show, Long Story Short with Bobbi Brown – what can we expect on this show and who have been 3 of your favorite guests on this show?
BB: Long Story Short allows me to talk to some of the most accomplished people in the world who are true masters of their craft. The podcast offers a glimpse into their journeys, discussing both their highs and lows in order to get the essential takeaways of a life well lived. Everyone has a story and I love finding out what that story is. Three of my favorites are Mickey Drexler, my mentor, Elvis Duran, one of my best friends, and Jen Atkin.
AM: What philanthropic efforts are you involved in that you would like for us to know about?
BB: I am on the board of Reaching Out Montclair, in my hometown, which provides essential needs for underserved children and their families in our community.
AM: What are 3 beauty musts that you think that we should have with us when we travel?
BB: First, a good moisturizer – preferably one that contains an SPF. Protecting your skin from the sun is of the utmost importance. And when you’re traveling, especially on a plane, your skin can dry out easily, so make sure to keep skin moisturized in order to keep it looking hydrated and plump. Second, a probiotic beauty starts in your gut. Taking a probiotic daily will help with your digestion which in turn helps keep your microbiome balanced and your skin clear. Third, a cream blush – I like to travel with multipurpose products. A cream blush is perfect to give you a nice healthy glow and can be used on your lips as well.
AM: When it comes to your legacy, what do you want people to take away in terms of your impact on the beauty industry and just embracing life’s opportunities?
BB: Be a sponge, be kind, and work hard.
We headed to Randall's Island here in NYC to attend Electric Zoo Evolved which had 40+ hours of EDM DJs, 4 stages, an array of food and beverage options and more. Our Labor Day Weekend was jam packed with a number of sets from some of our faves that included Kaskade, Oliver Heldens, Diplo, Good Times Ahead and more. We also checked out acts that we were less familiar with. In the midst of getting in on the good vibes, we sat down with 5 acclaimed EDM DJs to catch up with them on what they're working on, hearing about their sound and more.
We caught up with DJ/Producer SayMyName who is also this month's cover. Known as the Godfather of Hard Trap, when it comes to style - he definitely has it. We found out about his style of music, his latest collaboration with Riot Ten and what he does when he's outside of the stage and studio.
ATHLEISURE MAG: So you are known as the Godfather of Hard Trap. What is that and what is it about this genre of music that you love so much?
SAYMYNAME: Ok so Hard Trap is a genre that I started in 2012. It’s basically a fusion between Hard Style and Trap or like Hip Hop and it’s the best of both worlds. My favorite part about Hard Trap is basically the energy and uniqueness of the sound that it brings to every set no matter whether it’s a festival or a club – it stands up.
AM: Does it change for you whether you’re in a massive venue like here at Electric Zoo or if you’re in an intimate club? How does that work for you in terms of vibe?
SMN: The vibe or the energy is always there. Whether it’s a 100 or 10,000 – like there’s always this raw energy that matches the music. I don’t like to go to a smaller room and change the setup because I still want to see that same energy.
AM: So you just collaborated with Riot Ten with Glocks which is pretty exciting. How did that come about and how excited are you to finally release this?
SMN: Oh I’m excited it’s finally out. Riot Ten and I, we go back and this is something that we have talked about for a minute. He’s done the harder music like more of the Dubstep stuff and just basically using the Dubstep and the Hard Trap and just giving something that our fan base wanted. I’m excited that we got to do it.
AM: We love the new magenta color. How do you love the fact that you can express yourself with your hair color?
SMN: I love that it’s like varied on the season or my mood. So I have done blue, red, orange and now I’m on magenta. I feel like when I go in I just say, “ok I’m going to do yellow.” I think that the louder and the brighter the color, it’s just a bigger representation of the style and that energy. When you see that color and you’re on stage – it’s just in your face!
AM: What other collaborations do you have going on that we should keep an eye out for?
SMN: Right now, I just finished a collaboration with Afrojack. So we’re working on a release for that so keep an eye out for that. R3HAB and I, Timmy Trumpet – there has been a lot of music that I have been working on during the summer so I’m just taking some time off.
AM: You’re a busy guy and you have been at a lot of festivals this season. How do you keep yourself relaxed and focused on what’s happening?
SMN: For me, it’s all about balance. When I’m not on the road, I’m in the gym when I’m not in the studio. I feel that the gym it’s not like I’m coming down because I’m working out, but it’s about really staying healthy physically and mentally. It keeps the creative flow going and the energy. Festival season – the festivals that I have played this year, it’s been insane.
AM: We’re excited to see you perform tomorrow!
SMN: I’m so excited! It’s my first Electric Zoo and this has been a bucket list festival. I think I caught a Hardwell festival clip in 2012 or 2013 and I was like, “what is this Electric Zoo – it’s crazy!”
AM: As someone who travels so much, what are 3 items that are in your carry on to feel like you’re at home and centered?
SMN: I feel like with my carry on, that’s a good question. This is going to sound super cliché, but my laptop. I can take my music with me on it when I want to work from the road. I have books on my phone. I think that the books and the music that I have on my phone keeps the connection between everything. Then just essential hygiene products – my skincare routine is a big one.
AM: You need to be fresh!
SMN: I’m trying, I’m trying – I have to stay on top of that.
We sat down with 2019 Grammy Nominated DJ/Producer EDX moments before he hit the stage. He had just arrived after performing in Montreal to kick off Labor Day Weekend and was in NYC just long enough to play a set at Electric Zoo. We talked about being #1 on Spotify's Dance Rising Charts, musicality and more.
ATHLEISURE MAG: You’ve been known as a genius for all the amazing music production you've done. What is the symbiosis between musicality and production to you in terms of making the great sound that you do?
EDX: Well you know, I think that there first, there is always a good song, a nice chord progression and if it’s a vocal song, there is a meaningful vocal. Then you add to it your signature sound and like the high end production. I think that you can have the best production possible if the musicality is there. It’s very hard to touch people when that’s not there. I’m always focusing on touching people with my music and when I have been doing this for so many years, the quality today shouldn’t even be an issue anymore.
AM: So STAY is on the Dance Rising Charts on Spotify. How excited are you about that?
EDX: It’s awesome because it has actually been the #1 track on Dance Rising. That’s something that is so special each time. It’s like making you a Sir for music – every once in awhile when this happens! For me, I’m just a kid living in Switzerland in a neighborhood next to Zurich and just exposed to music and trying to reach the world. This achievement is like a big achievement in my point of view because you actually reach so many people all over the world with this and it’s a good opportunity to be on that Dance Rising once in awhile.
AM: What are your 3 favorite remixes that you have done?
EDX: Haha it’s a hard question! I think that I have done more than 50 or 100 remixes. I don’t know and I’m still counting. It’s hard to pick just 3. I like the remix to the Janelle Monae (‘Make Me Feel’) record because it was just a cool song and I liked the whole vibe from it in the original. All the others are like in themselves, are something special because they all have this collaboration with some other songwriter, singer, artist and being able to get influenced by the original version and to add your own vibe to it to make it your own. It’s something that’s a blessing if you get this opportunity and it’s hard to just pick my favorite ones. But the Janelle Monae remix from last year has really given me the challenge that I wanted once in awhile.
I just started a remix for the new single of Loud Luxury. Which was just sent recently to Sirius XM before the release for their playlist at BPM so it is coming out in 2 weeks. It ended up being an effective remix and I was very excited to tease it and play it out like right now.
EDX: Oh yes, that was a good one.
AM: Labor Day Weekend has been very busy for you. You were in Montreal on Fri, you are here today in NYC at Electric Zoo and tomorrow you will be in Dallas, how do you keep all that energy going and feeding all of these people your music?
EDX: Well, it’s like a very rewarding industry that we are in. Being able to play out your own music in front of so many people that give you such great feedback each time. It’s actually cool. I’m actually flying out tonight to Dallas because I’m playing tonight and tomorrow I will be out back to Europe!
Talking with the NJ based trio, Cash Cash, we defintiely got their vibe of just giving a great show that is filled with an array of genres that are just about having a good time. We sat down with them right before their show to find out about what they've been working on, how they work with one another and some of the tools of their trade.
ATHLEISURE MAG: So how do you define the Cash Cash sound?
CASH CASH: We’re a mix of a lot of different things. We’re kind of like a buffet. You get everything with us. You get chicken, beef, vegetables, carbs, salad, dessert – we do it all. We work with Hip Hop artists, we work with pop artists, rock artists, alternative artists. We love it all and we’re always mixing electronic music with different feels and styles of music. Even with just instruments or singers.
AM: How does that work to have 3 of you working together in terms of being on stage or in the studio? How do you deal with those dynamics?
CC: We run a majority rules kind of thing. So if 2 people agree on something, then that’s how it goes. If one person cries enough and pleads their case …
AM: Oh nice so the minority vote can come forward and win!
CC: Yeah if they can convince us yeah – haha the minority vote could win that’s funny!
CC: Really excited. We did a remix for her in the last month of 2017 and the remix did really well. She was happy with it, the team was happy with it and we have been trying to send her songs for a long time and finally she sent us the acapella and we were like, “this is great, we can do something with this.” So we built a song around that and it came together that way. It was great to finally make that happen because artists are so busy these days. She’s out doing world tours and we’re in the club every night. It was great to finally make it happen.
AM: With you guys having so much club time, how do you take time for yourself?
CC: It’s minimal I guess! We’re used to it though. We’ve been doing this for awhile so we’re used to the up and go lifestyle. We’ve been going and you get time off when you get to come home and we love traveling to see the world. It’s always cool to go to new places and then to be able to go back and return.
AM: When you guys are recording, what are your 3 favorite pieces of equipment that you love to use?
CC: Probably the computers – it’s like a love hate thing. Because you think it sucks sometimes, but you couldn’t make music without it. You could have a tape machine, but the computer is better. I feel that it switches – you’ll love a certain synth or something and then you’ll get sick of it, move on and then you’ll look at the wall and there’s your acoustic guitar and you’re like – this is the best!
Around Athleisure Mag's office, we've been playing DRIP by Boombox Cartel, Dillon Francis featuring Desiigner on loop since it dropped a few days ago. During Electric Zoo, we took some time to hang out with the man himself to find out how he experiments with his sound to make distinctive music while continuing to express himself with his collabs as well as his clothing brand.
ATHLEISURE MAG: How do you define the Boombox Cartel sound?
BOOMBOX CARTEL: I define it as breaking the rules and doing everything wrong. Stuff that’s not supposed to be done and trying to make it work. I try to come up with original ideas and there is a lot of research and development.
AM: What's that like?
BC: Putting a lot of time in the studio and making a lot of weird demos. It’s like evil scientist vibes, but I think that that’s what it is. Then just staying true to the underground and staying true to where we all came from.
AM: How do you get inspired and where does that come from?
BC: Well just influences from when I was a kid. Indie bands, synth rock bands to like Hip Hop to Trap, to Houston stuff to just a big mix. I lived in Monterrey, Mexico for half of my life. I was born in Laredo, Texas in South Texas and I went to music school in Minneapolis. So it’s just kind of like gathering cultures and gathering styles and sounds and just putting it all together.
AM: We’re loving DRIP with you, Dillon Francis and featuring Desiigner from an Athleisure Mag perspective, amazing song to workout to! How did that come about?
BC: Thank you so much and that’s what we wanted! Dillon is one of the most happiest human beings that I know. He’s always really enthusiastic and we tried to make something that meets in the middle. Something euphoric, something happy, something bright, something really colorful and that’s what came to be. And also, with Desiigner, he’s one of the most down to Earth rappers. I work with so many rappers and I think that Desiigner is the only rapper that I can say he is like a genuinely good person that is down to work and to do it for the people. He was there and we were in the studio until 7am like coming up with ideas – smoking weed and my whole house smelled like weed for the next week.
AM: But it was worth it!
BC: But it was worth it! We made a really positive and happy song and we’re all happy to put it out.
AM: It’s a hot song. We can’t say how many times we’ve had it on loop.
BC: Thank you so much!
AM: So your FC custom jerseys – those are really cool! Where did that come from?
BC: That came from living in Monterrey, Mexico and just going to soccer games every week. I see a lot of baseball jerseys in the EDM community and there’s isn’t enough love for the soccer community. Soccer is just as big or I think bigger! So just playing soccer, every show I go to I ask for a soccer ball and collect a university ball or something like that. I’m a huge fan. So working on those from scratch with a friend in Downtown LA – right now we’re working on a brand partnership with a big company. We did it all from scratch. One of my good friends Colby, helped us out. He has a beautiful warehouse – cut and sew, he created the patches from scratch and they will be back in stock this next week!
AM: Exciting – eventually you can have a whole line!
BC: We have some shorts coming up, socks, the whole kit for the kids.
AM: What are 3 things that you do being so busy and spreading yourself in so many places – to just get back to you?
BC: Yeah, I grew up in Texas with my dad grilling twice a week. So me and my homies barbecue twice a week – or at least once a week. I have a Harley Davidson back at home and I take it out on the 1 highway to go get some fried shrimp and then I come back home and just head to the studio.
One of our favorite remixes is 'Red Lips' by Good Times Ahead as it's been earcandy on our playlist for nearly a decade. So sitting down with this duo talking about a number of exciting changes taking place in the group was a lot of fun. In addition to hearing about their new label, their rebrand and what they've been up to this year, we also found out about where we should be eating the next time we're in Miami.
ATHLEISURE MAG: You guys have had a lot of going on lately – you have the rebrand of your name and your own label. Can you tell us about this?
GOOD TIMES AHEAD: The label is called Good Times/Bad Times and I think that one of our favorite things about having our own label is being able to put out our own music whenever we want. It’s kind of like the main reason. At the same time, it’s also a good platform for us to showcase the Latin influence we have in our music and a lot of the people that we play in our sets and just showcasing that to everyone. Kind of bringing a new thing to the game.
AM: When it came to introducing us to some of his favorite music, our Co-Founder Paul, introduced us to your music. We covered the Fold Festival and we saw you there as well. What is it about your free of genre music and just really bringing together good music?
GTA: For us, it’s mostly just about the energy that music has and the type of energy that makes you feel the way that you do. That’s why whenever we play music, any music that we play either hand selecting it or making it – it, has a certain kind of energy to it. It’s kind of what lets people just have fun as it’s such a fun sound to it. That’s pretty much what attracts us to music in general. It’s about having a good energy about it.
AM: Once again you guys have been super busy with so many festivals. How many have you done just this summer alone?
GTA: This summer probably like 4, but that’s light for us. We still played a lot of festivals and shows, but this year, we took it a little easier because we were focusing on finishing up so much music. 2 or 3 weeks ago we put out our album. We had the record label launch and the whole rebranding of everything. We have been working a lot behind the scenes and just taking this year kind of slow to just work on that. We’ve been doing this now for 8 or 9 years so it’s kind of nice to have a little easy period.
AM: You guys also have a clothing line as well – tell us about that.
GTA: Oh yeah, so it’s kind of something that we dabbled in a little bit. I’m personally a fan of fashion and that kind of thing and street brands. Shout out to Jay of Triple 7 – he hooked us up with so much knowledge on just how to make your own label and your own kind of style. We just kind of wanted to bring that to the festivals that we went to and the parties that we go to and it’s been cool. It’s kind of the same thing that we do with our music. We kind of let the clothes speak for themselves – they’re just really cool and really good quality. They’re good to wear and you can wear them at a festival or just to go out in. It’s kind of in line with our same kind of style as well.
AM: What are you working on right now in terms of collabs?
GTA: We’re definitely doing a lot of stuff as far as on our own with our own label and stuff. We have a lot of collabs. We’ve been playing this one thing we did with this group called Fight Club which they’re actually from here. We have a couple of other ones too. A lot of club music a lot of Latin music. We have been working with a lot of Latin artists. We've had some writing camps last year and this year in Mexico and playing in Brazil and stuff. We’re working with a lot of up and coming people and it’s really exciting especially now that we’re about to launch the label. All of that was for the label and now it’s about being able to put it out and being able to show everyone.
AM: What are 3 restaurants that you guys love eating at in Miami?
GTA: In Miami? Crab Man 305 that’s our number 1! Shout out to Crab Man 305. We’ll also say that there are many many Cuban restaurants, but Sergio’s is a very good restaurant - it’s classic Miami. And then I’d say that obviously Joe’s Stone Crab is a good one – it’s a fancy one but one to go to!
This past Electric Zoo not only included DJ/producer NGHTMRE performing, but he had a stage for the artists on his label Gud Vibrations which he cofounded with SLANDER. We talked with him about his sound, the responsibilities of running his labels, his current tour and of course being at this year's EZoo.
ATHLEISURE MAG: How do you define the NGHTMRE sound?
NGHTMRE: I like to just call it bass music. I try to incorporate and tempos and various styles of electronic music in my records and live shows. It’s a mixture of melodic and heavy. I focus on keeping everything high-energy!
AM: In addition to working on your music, you’re also the Co-Founder of your own label along with SLANDER. How is it juggling those responsibilities and needs?
N: It’s great actually. We have a great team helping us and it really allows us to focus on the music rather than having to worry about small details and infrastructure building. It’s only just getting started in our eyes.
AM: You’re back at EZoo and not only are you performing but you have an entire stage with Gud Vibrations artists – how did this come about and how exciting is it to have this going on this going on this year?
N: I think the Gud Vibrations label and brand in general works so well because it came about organically. Me and the Slander boys are great friends and our tastes align so well that we eventually started our own events and parties. We’re extremely grateful for Electric Zoo for inviting us to bring the Gud Vibrations energy to New York.
AM: Gud Vibrations also has its own clothing line – the Bomber Jackets are definitely something cool that we would include in a future shoot – how do you go about deciding what goes into the line and how it feeds the ethos of your label?
N: Gud Vibrations in general is an outlet for us to put out what we think is cool into the world. We don’t have any specific method to deciding what goes out, but if there’s something we particularly love or feel is cool we take our time developing it to make sure it’s exactly how we like it, then share it!
AM: Tell us about The Alchemy Tour.
N: For this tour I’m doing a b2b set with Slander for each show and this is the first time we’ve been able to bring our stage “The Atom” on the road with us! To top it off we’ve been looking up to Seven Lions and The Glitch Mob for years so to be performing alongside them is amazing!
AM: Tell us about collabs and projects that you have dropping within your music as well as things that we should know about regarding the label.
N: Earlier this year I released a record with ASAP Ferg called Redlight! He’s another person I’ve looked up to for a long time so being able to work together and create a full music video together was a special experience. I have a new track with “Zhu” called Man’s First Inhibition that just dropped and is a bit different from my other stuff. I am always collaborating on new music!
AM: You’re constantly on the road going from one gig to the next. Do you have 3 things that you do prior to a gig to get in the right mindset to perform in front of your fans?
N: Nothing usually actually. I spend time in Rekordbox on my computer before each show. Its a software that allows me to plan out and organize my music a bit better so when I’m in stage it’s easier to switch things up.
AM: In addition to traveling, I’m sure you workout, what are 3 workouts that you feel are the core of your fitness routine?
N: I actually only just started doing this recently but I got a personal trailer to help me while I was home for a bit and this is my “on the road” routine.
STRETCHES | Samson Lunge, Worlds Greatest Stretch, Downdog, Frog Stretch and Pigeon | CORE WORK @ 3 Rounds | (Rotation) Russian Twist x30, (Flexion) Leg Raise x30, (Static hold) Plank 30 sec | @ 4 Rounds | Squats x40, SIT UPS x30, Push Up x20 |
PHOTO CREDITS | PG 26, 52 + 54 aLIVE Coverage for ElectricZoo.com | This editorial contains elements of images, courtesy Dreamstime.com: PG 16 Richochet69, PG 19 Rolffimages, PG 29 Nadezda Mikusova, PG 30 Philip Openshaw, PG 34 Golfxx, PG 36 Steve Ford, PG 41 Alisbab, PG 42 Tatiana Kuklina, PG 46 Alphonse99 + Back Cover Santi Ri |
Growing up, many of us may remember our moms, aunts, babysitters etc having VHS and eventually DVD's of Denise Austin! You may have even started your day working out with her. When it comes to a fitness icon, she is one of them and we loved sitting down with her last week to talk about how she came into the fitness industry, her success with her VHS, DVD and daily TV Show on ESPN - Get Fit with Denise Austin. We talk about her impact in the fitness industry and serving 2 terms of the President's Council of Physical Fitness and Sports and working alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. We also talk about her fitness focuses as well as her work with her daughter, Katie Austin!
ATHLEISURE MAG: What was the moment that you realized that you wanted to be in the fitness industry?
DENISE AUSTIN: Well, I was a gymnast since I was a little girl and got a full athletic scholarship to college and I went to the University of Arizona and and then I got my degree in exercise physiology and aerobics was just beginning. It was the early 80’s and I moved back to California where I’m from and I met Jack LaLanne, the godfather of fitness and he gave me my first start on television. I loved it so much! I was teaching aerobic classes all over LA at the time and of course at that time, we only had little rooms to teach. There weren’t any big gyms. I taught in racquet ball courts and things like that. We really enjoyed the TV part and I got my own show on KABC LA. I got married and then I moved to Washington DC and started on the Today Show. I then had my own show on ESPN and Lifetime – everything just kept going.
When I was in college, I knew that I could teach some type of fitness with music because that’s gymnastics anyhow. So I just parlayed it into a career!
AM: Wow! Thinking back to a number of us who were growing up when you were starting, we did it with our moms – you had TV shows, VHS and DVDs, you were literally everywhere! Did you consciously think to yourself that you were going to have this brand and it’s going to be something where people are going to say, “oh Denise Austin – that’s a thing?”
DA: Well, not really! I didn’t know the name brand back in the day, 35 years ago! But I loved what I was doing because I was getting letters from people telling me that I was making a difference in what I was doing in their lives. It’s such a fulfilling job and to this day, I do it because I love hearing that it changes them and it changes the way that they feel. They have said that I have saved them, their marriage and I have had people cry and thank me. To know that you are out there helping people just made me want to keep being out there and doing more! I figured out how to keep going and it was kind of a “learn as I go” and I helped create some of this stuff!
I was learning as I was going along and I’d say, “oh yes, I can do a monthly segment on the Today Show – yes I can on fitness!” Then it was like, “yes, I can do VHS.” So it just kept going and I work very hard and persistence did pay off. I’d work on weekends and make appearances. I constantly love what I do so I’m a hard worker so that helped!
AM: Well, that’s an understatement! What was the first time like when you created your first video? You knew you were on a set and its production time. What was that like?
DA: Oh it was a dream come true! I was 27 and it was my first VHS. I was able to film it at the first MTV Studios and they were just kind of starting and I used their sets and I was right here in NYC. I had top makeup people for the very first time and I was like ok – I just did it. I had my routine, but I went for it and I was who I was. It was Rock Hard Abs and Rock Aerobics, I had two VHSs out of it and they were hits at the same time that my friend, Jane Fonda was coming out with her VHS tapes. It was a vary exciting time for the industry because aerobics was just starting in the early 80s.
AM: Did you come up with the outfits yourself? As a young girl doing the workouts, the fun part was seeing the style involved. To this day, there are photoshoots that have appeared in the magazine that have taken concepts off of looks that you wore then and then bringing them into present day shoots!
DA: What I did for Rock Aerobics is that I had a unitard and I said to myself, “this is all about the abs – I’m going to do a cutout.” So I cut out my material around the belly button and I used my pair of scissors to cut out the whole around my stomach so that they could see my abs while I was doing my workout. That’s one of the biggest pictures that I had and I saved all of those items. Now my daughter has fallen into the fitness footsteps now. Thank God I saved so many leggings, high cut up the butt leotards and hot pinks and hot lime green! It’s fun because it’s now all coming back – “let’s get physical.”
AM: How do you keep your energy?
DA: You know what? I’m like this. I wake up like this! Everyone asks my kids, “does your mom wake up like this?” I’m like, “yeah if you spend the night with me, you’ll see! Good morning!”
AM: Your a morning person clearly – what’s your flow like during the day?
DA: Yes! It changes if I’m traveling but mostly I get up, I do like my cup of coffee in the morning. I squeeze in my workout on most days for 30 mintues in the morning. I try to get in my workout. I do lots of online, post, my social media, I answer all my messages, do my email and then I make appearances, give speeches. I eat lunch, I eat dinner – I never skip a meal. I just love food and I eat well. 80% of the time, I eat well and have my treats 20% of the time. Evening time, I'm ready to have my glass of red wine - that is my treat and I enjoy that. I have lots of girlfriends, a great husband, 2 daughters and a huge family. Family means a lot to me and so do my girlfriends. So I do many things with friends!
AM: It’s so important to be balanced!
DA: Yes, I eat most everything just all in small bites as it’s all about moderation.
AM: You served 2 terms on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, can you tell us about the council, how you came to joining it and what were your roles and responsibilities by being apart of it?
DA: It was years ago when President Bush appointed me and Arnold Schwarzenegger was the chairman of it. The appointment was made by President Bush 41, God rest his soul as he was the sweetest man in the world and very fit. I was under Arnold as our chairman and we went to schools all over the nation. It was a volunteer job and we were trying to get kids into physical education at the schools which was really hard and we did appearances and Arnold paid out of his own money in every state we went to. I would lead aerobics to young kids and it was the beginnings of this grass roots for the President’s Council. It was a really fun time because we were trying to get fitness out there during the 90’s so it was a very important time you know. We were trying to change people’s eating habits. We were trying to get rid of some of the sugars in people’s cereals. So we lobbied on The Hill in front of Congress and pleaded with them to make changes for the school to get kids moving more and to get physical education back into the schools. We worked hard!
AM: That council was so huge. I graduated in 1997 from High School and starting in my Sophomore year, in addition to the traditional gym classes, you could have aerobics as an entire class. We also had potato and salad bars at our school. Our school system was seen as progressive and a lot of times, we talked about the fact that because of the council, it allowed our school system to understand that this was so important. I appreciate the efforts that you guys did to make this happen!
DA: Your school system was progressive and it was a lot of work, but I’m glad you had that opportunity available to you! We also made recommendations and guidelines with top doctors which was years of work and I learned so much to be around the brilliant minds of medical, health and wellness. I learned a lot which helped me to grow to teach other people especially women and to this day, I still get on the phone and talk to these top doctors all over the country! I use them as great resources to this day. It was a wonderful time and good networking.
AM: Amazing and you also helped launched the Food Pyramid System as well! How was that and what was it like as this is huge!
DA: I sure did! Well, they worked with nutritionists all over the country to come up with this pyramid guide making sure that the sugars were low and that the whole grains and fruits and vegetables that were at the bottom, took up a lot of our plate. They asked me to be the one to kick it off at The Department of Agriculture in Washington DC in this whole glorious building and it was a huge honor!
AM: It’s amazing to hear so many things that you have done and been apart of that you didn’t even think about, but that is the cornerstone of what we know today. How are you so humble about that?
DA: I almost forget that I did it! I’m moving ahead so much that I don’t really think about it!
AM: When you think about how you, Jack LaLanne and Jane Fonda laid the ground work for what fitness videos are, various programs etc. They were the precursor to today’s studio and boutique fitness locations.
DA: Oh I just love what I do! I keep going and I just feel that I do look ahead and my focus now is looking at women that are over 40. I have a Stop the Clock Guide – which is a nutrition and fitness guide for women because this age group has women that aren’t really seen anymore. I truly believe that those in this group - we want to be healthy, we want to be attractive, we want to look good and we want to do everything. That’s why I’m here and I want to tell them, yes we can. I have the best exercises to do away with belly fat after menopause. I know how to firm up your arms so that we look good when we wave goodbye. Muscles work wonders on your metabolism and I know through research that it does work. I believe in it so much because fitness is the best preventative medicine that there is. I preach it and I want my women over 40 to hear me, to learn and to not give up! They need to have a positive attitude about it as many women get clogged down with stress in this age in our life but there is so much to look forward to because we live longer now and we want to feel better.
AM: When you look at ages from 40-50 etc the way you work out when you are in those ages is different then when you’re in your 20’s and 30’s – what are the focuses in these age groups?
DA: Well in your 40’s, I still think that women need a lot of cardio to burn the fat. In the 50’s I focus mainly on target toning exercises because that’s when you start to have your metabolism drop during this age. One of the reasons is because you lack good muscle tone. The more muscle cells in your body, they’re active at rest. So the second you start losing muscle tone, that’s when you gain weight and that’s why the correlation between this in your 50’s is so important. I want to save women right away before it gets away from them. That’s why they need to focus on muscle condition which is what the guide is all about. Then in your 60’s, I hit this age group which is why I do more toning of course, but then I also turned it into stability exercises more core, strength training, stretching and balance.
AM: How important is recover to you in terms of working out?
DA: Very important! I take very good care of myself. I do Epson Salt baths now, I do foam rollers in my workouts, I believe in smoothing out my muscles for less stress. I try to once a month get a full body massage and those are just some of the little things that I do for wellness and recovery. I’m a big believer in eating healthy too! I’ve added in my nutrition guide, new recipes that have a lot to do with Omega-3’s as we need those as we age. Also some great healthy fats to make our skin still look supple and our hair looking fresh. So beauty plays a key role in what you are eating. I add a lot of different elements into the recipes that I make. Everything that I make is quick and easy, because if it isn’t easy in the kitchen, I won’t do it!
AM: What are 3 workouts that you think that everyone should be doing regardless of their age or wherever they are in life that are great for their abs, butts and legs?
DA: Absolutely. Always the simple rule of thumb is something for your upper body – a push up. If you don’t want to do it on the ground, you can do it against your kitchen counter or the office desk. It gets the arms and it gets your chest – so that takes care of your upper body. Mid Section, the old fashioned plank or sit-up it takes care of your belly and that whole core. I like to hold it up to a minute or change it up and do different things like bicycles or anything for your abs. For the lower body, squats and lunges for your hips, thighs and butt. If your knees hurt you, just go half way and do many squats. You can hold onto a chair or a countertop to use it for extra support. So you get something for your upper body, your mid section and your lower body.
AM: How many books have you written?
DA: Oh 12 books and I'm writing a book as we speak!
AM: What is that process like for you?
DA: Oh I’m terrible. It’s the worst job of my life because I talk so much that I would rather talk it, then write it. I feel like I am giving a speech to help women and then, that’s how I write my book – exactly like how I would talk it. Then I have to have an editor for English and then it’s a process.
AM: So what projects are you working on?
DA: Well on my DeniseAustin.com site, I bought back all of my TV shows that everyone used to watch and that they have missed. They now have Denise on Demand for their workouts just like they used to! You can time it so that even at 7am you can go to my website and bam it’s there so that you can stream it. Now I’m working on focusing all of my energies on Stop the Clock because it is so popular. We’re doing challenges on that. Recently, we had a 4 day arm challenge so that you could get sexy arms for the summer. So we’ll be doing some new challenges for the month of July so come back to DeniseAustin.com to see that. All of the challenges are free and I do have an online membership that is under $100 for the entire year. Everything that you want from me from my old workouts, new workouts, old shows, new shows, new challenges and an eating plan. If you need a focus on your meal plans I have this for you and if you need to focus on the way that I eat, vegetarian, gluten-free, heart healthy etc. – we have something for everybody!
AM: Do you and Katie workout together?
DA: Yes! That’s another focus I have! Katie Austin is my little daughter – well she is 25 but we do mother-daughter workouts together. She is doing a tour and I am joining her in some of the cities. I’m very excited about that. This is really fun being able to work with my daughter. She teaches me things about Social Media. She’s the one that got me on Instagram – I had Facebook, but now I have this. And then I try to help her on what I have learned in my industry, focusing on good form and little details. You know, I have 2 daughters. My oldest Kelly, is in the music industry, when I would film my TV Show when they were younger, Katie would stand there by the camera and do it with me. Kelly would be out there looking for shells or who knows what! Katie was always watching and I had no idea after college that that was what she wanted to do. So it was so fun that she loved it, is a natural and she learned from years of being there. Everyday – she was even in a workout video that I did years ago when she was 7 for Fit Kids. She had already filmed videos and been on shows for years.
AM: There is something about when you have parents that are in a business that you can see or be around and how it ends up being a part of your career!
DA: Yes so true! My oldest daughter is a Music Supervisor. She picks songs for movies. My husband is a sports lawyer, but he is a music nut! When she was little, they used to put playlists together so it’s like one focused on what his passion was and one focused on what mine was. It’s kind of fun!
AM: In LA, where can we find you grabbing a bite, shopping and working out?
DA: Yes we had been based in Washington DC for 32 years and now we’re in LA – back home! In LA I like Earth Café for food and coffee, it’s one of my favorite stops in Santa Monica. For dinner, I love Scopa, I just went there in Venice it was delicious and it’s Italian! I do eat pasta, but only from good places – why not? Oh gosh, you’ll see me walking on the beach a lot. You’ll see me doing the Strand Walk which is a 5 mile walk on the strand which is like a boardwalk. You’ll see my husband and I play tennis a lot and we go on bike rides a lot too! We bike ride to Happy Hour as I only have one glass!
I love walking in NY and Chicago. The second that I land, I throw my bags in the hotel and I get out and walk. I don't care what time it is, I get out and walk for 30 minutes. It's a great thing to get out and stretch.
AM: We’re all about #TRIBEGOALS. Who are 3 people that inspire you?
DA: I would say my daughters. They inspire me to work harder to be a good person. They’re watching and as a mom that means the world to me – as my family means everything! I would also say my husband – his loyalty and his integrity to people. I look up to him. In business there are so many, I can’t even just pick one in my industry. There was Jack LaLanne and now I also look up to writers that are really cool like Tim Farris and Dave Asprey.
PHOTO CREDIT | PG 143, 147 + 148 Denise Austin | PG 144 Jaguarps | PG 151 Featureflash |
You can hear Denise Austin's interview later this month on our show, #TRIBEGOALS 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.
With a busy summer ahead, we took some time to talk with country star, John King while he was prepping for CMA Fest. We talk about his newest single “Try Saying Goodbye”, performing at the Grand Ole Opry, the importance of family and where he goes in Nashville.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Your newest single “Try Saying Goodbye” is quite a hit. What inspired you to create this song?
JOHN KING: “Try Saying Goodbye” is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever released. I’ve been blown away by the reaction so far. I feel like what makes it special is everybody can relate. The inspiration for this song came from my relationship with my wife, Hannah. We started dating when we were 15 and grew up together. There were moments in our relationship, where we could have gone different ways but instead we decided to work through the hard times. When we wrote this song, I started thinking about everything I would have missed out on if we had chosen a different path – our love for each other, this wonderful life we’ve built together and our precious baby girl Scarlett.
AM: You’re juggling a lot between your career, family and Scarlett – how do you ensure that you’re present when you are with your family and that they get the time that they need?
JK: There is nothing more important to me than family. Luckily, my wife and baby girl get to join me on the road a lot! When they can’t, we’re always sharing photos, texting and video chatting. My partnership with Straight Talk Wireless makes it really easy to stay connected on the road with their new Ultimate Unlimited 2-line plan.
AM: A fanbase is essential, how do you interact with your fans and make it feel fresh to them?
JK: I’m fortunate enough to have amazing fans who have been following me for years. Recently we had the idea to give my cell phone number out so they could text me directly anytime they want. So far, I’ve literally received thousands of texts – anything from people reaching out about “Try Saying Goodbye” to folks who are in disbelief that it’s actually me texting them back! The support has been overwhelming and exciting!
AM: You’ve partnered with Straight Talk Wireless. Why is this a synergistic partnership and why is it important to find the best ways to communicate in order to stay on track professionally and personally?
JK: One of the most important things to me as an artist is communicating with my fans on a personal level. I’m a Straight Talk Wireless user myself and I can attest to the affordable and reliable service, so this partnership was a no brainer. For more info on Straight Talk, visit www.StraightTalk.com.
AM: When did you know that you wanted to be a musician and specifically wanted to be a country artist?
JK: It’s really been my passion since I was a kid. I grew up singing in church, school talent shows, county fairs, you name it. I’ve always loved getting up on that stage and entertaining a crowd. It’s one of the best feelings in the world!
AM: How do you get inspired when you are creating your songs?
JK: Writing a song is such a fun process for me because there really is no formula for how it’s done. It can happen a million different ways at unexpected times. Sometimes the inspiration can be triggered from a melody, a conversation or something I’ve lived firsthand, so I use my smartphone to easily keep track of all my ideas when I’m on-the-go. It’s different every time and always exciting.
AM: You recently played at CMA Fest, you’re on a national tour and you’re returning to the Grand Ole Opry stage – what excited you about doing this and what are you looking forward to?
JK: Touring is one of my favorite parts of what I do. I love every aspect of being an artist – writing songs, recording and releasing music but there really is something special about performing for a crowd that paid their hard earned money to come see a show. CMA Fest is always such an exciting experience because the whole week is about the fans. This year was especially great because we got to play The CMA Spotlight and Spotify Hot Country stages and the energy was unreal! To top off an amazing month, I’m so honored to be playing the Grand Ole Opry. Just doesn’t get any better than that!
AM: What are your goals this year in terms of awards, those you wish to collaborate or play with etc.?
JK: My goal this year is to continue the success we’re already having with touring, writing and releasing new music. So far it’s been my biggest year to date with the impact of “Try Saying Goodbye.” I’m just excited for as many people to hear this song as possible!
AM: As someone who is on the road quite a bit, what are 3 things that you always have on your carryon that make you feel at home?
JK: I’d say my go tos are 1. My Bible 2. My smartphone, so I can look at family photos at all times 3. My band (don’t wanna forget them haha)
AM: In Nashville, where can we find you grabbing a meal/cocktail, working out and shopping?
JK: Nashville is such a great town with limitless options, but my go to place is Blake Shelton’s bar Ole Red! I do my daily workout routine using my smartphone at the house with Baby Scarlett! She loves to work out with Dad so that’s our time together.
Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.
This month's issue focuses on love in many forms. When we talked with music producer, rapper, composer, philanthropist and businessman Drumma Boy, it was clear that he has a love for music, fashion and the ability to bring people together. We chatted with him about how his life started infusing with diversity in music, the important role that producers play in Artist Development, his upcoming projects with Too $hort, Musiq Soulchild, his musical work with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, his business in Atlanta and his must hav3s that you will find in his studio if you're ever working with him.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Clearly music heritage runs in your family. What was it like to be infused with such insights and talents growing up?
DRUMMA BOY: Coming from my mom, she used to always tell me stories about plugging the record album into the speaker and playing Isaac Hayes and all of that. I was young, but from her doing that, I would have these dreams of hearing music and when you would put your hands over your ears it sounds like this beautiful sound. Like you know it’s coming from somewhere, but you don’t know where! So in real life, even right now – there is a beat swimming in my ears. There is music in my ear and I have to transfer that to actuality which is what the recording process, beat making and all of that is. And to me, that’s the writing of music.
That’s the best way that I can understand Beethoven. By losing your hearing, you can still hear. Your brain can hear. Even if I muted my ears or covered them where I couldn’t hear anything – I could still hear the music. That process transfers into writing music.
AM: What was the moment that you realized that producing was going to be the way that you worked musically?
DB: That inspiration came from my brother, Ensayne Wayne who was older than me and was recently shot and killed on Feb 10, 2018. I remember being 12 or 14 and he took me into the studio with him and he was working with Three 6 Mafia and all of these different artists through Memphis. Just going through all of these different studios was amazing. I remember that the first studio I went into, it was like I was in a spaceship. I was like, “man all of these lights!” I knew that if I could transfer the orchestral knowledge and the ability to write, compose and to arrange and to put that with this Hip Hop – I could have my own sound! That’s how I came into the game making beats.
I was motivated by Ensayne Wayne, Jazze Pha, and a lot of the legendary cats that were doing it at that time.
AM: How would you define your style?
DB: I call it a pot of gumbo, there are so many different styles of the music in it. Mama would make the best from the scraps. She had some leftover chicken, black eyed peas and whatever and cooked it down in one pot and stretched the food out. Like gumbo, my style is a little bit of blues, a little bit of country, a little splash of rhythm and blues, and you have a bit of hip hop and a pinch of orchestra. Just all of these genres of music like jazz, bluegrass, funk, oldies but goodies. I loved Isaac Hayes, operas and orchestras as well as plays and then I could run out into the street and hear Three 6 Mafia. Then I could go downtown to hear the blues like BB King. There was so much history musically that it was just destined.
AM: What artists and groups have inspired you beyond a lot of those that you have mentioned? Do you get inspiration from EDM artists?
DB: Yeah I mean, I always respected the DJ. I DJ’d parties when I was coming up and I would do things here and there. As a DJ, it’s about spreading good energy because people just want to have a good time, dance and have fun. As a DJ, when you have that repertoire and that ear for what people really want to hear you can infuse that energy. So for me David Guetta, Tiesto, Flosstradamus.
When I met Flosstradamus in Atlanta, they told me that I needed to get in on EDM and doing my first song Hulk Smash Remix which hit a million streams on Spotify – it’s a blessing to get that genuine love with independents and pushing heavy on that party side. When I first released Hulk Smash Remix, Dan Bilzerian picked up the record and put it behind one of his videos and I was like, “damn this is my first time even playing around with EDM!” It was just mad love!
AM: What’s involved in producing? How do you work with your artists to your vision and the artists’ vision come together in a true collaboration?
DB: Well when I say produce music, I mean it starts with the vibe, the music and the energy of the room. Sometimes the artist may be pacing back and forth even when the music starts playing. Then we might come and bring in more energy like singing a vibe or coming up with concepts with adding in words here or there. Throw a bar or two in there. I mean producing – I look at it like I’m in therapy. The artist may not be in the mood to do the job in a certain way. I’m telling them that we need to go about it in this way or that because that is what the record label is saying. I’m telling them that they need to do something uptempo, but they may have come out of the hood and they’re about Trap. T hey may have negativity going on in their lives, they’re frowning, frustrated, they’re on the phone arguing and I’m like, “hey put the phone down – let’s get some drinks, we might have to go to the strip club, or whatever to get your mind off of that so that we can take the good energy and go back to the studio.
So now it’s been 7 hours, but it comes down to that one moment that you can capture. As a producer, we capture moments and when that artists gets into that rhythm – we capture that. That will be the best presentation that will be the best presentation that you record and then you will study that to see that it’s a hit or a smash and as you perform, it’s a completely different ballgame when game when you do that. As a producer, we’re really about artist development, enhancement, choreography, concept, theme, messages, stories etc and really giving that dedication to a successful artist.
AM: What artists are you working with that are coming out this year that you’re really excited to work with?
DB: Right now, we’re heavily working with my label Drum Squad Records. We just signed an artist Kdogg, 17 out of Memphis. He just comes from the mud, that bottom and you can just hear his struggle in his music. We released his single on Apple Music that you can download now called No Turning Back. We’re also working with Scott King a very cool artist out of Atlanta whose voice is his message. Also go get The Pimp a Too $hort Album that I just did 2 tracks on: Ain’t My Girlfriend and Tables. There are so many different artists it’s hard to say. I just went in with Kevin Gates. We’re working on DJ Drama’s new album – there’s no telling who he will drop on a track. He might pull an artist from Toronto, another from NY and an artist from the West Coast. I just got off the phone with Jeezy, he’s working on some exclusive things so I’m definitely excited about that as well. I’m all over the place!
There are so many great songs I’m working on with songwriters, I’m working on 2-3 albums and I’m about to drop my album, My Brother’s Keeper – another rap project that gives more details into my family and how we plan to continue the legacy of my brother. It will drop on 2-23 which is Insane Wayne Day in the city of Memphis. I’m also executive producing Musiq Soulchild. When I say that it has been some of the most amazing music I have made in my life! I’m very excited about that as well!
AM: Who have you yet to work with that you would like to work with?
DB: I’d say John Legend. I’ve always wanted to work with him and I’m a real jazz and R&B hip cat. I haven’t had the opportunity to really showcase my expertise in that world. Beyonce would be another one as well. Rhianna is also in there too!
AM: We know that you work with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. How did this come about and how do you approach the projects that you create with them season to season?
DB: Man with the Memphis Grizzlies they just wanted energy and me and DJ Paul did a rap project collaboration back and forth called Clash of the Titans and we did a song called We Don’t Bluff, which is the message behind Memphis. We don’t take no shit and it was just an amazing run for the city and the people don’t understand how big the Grizzlies are for our youth in our community because there aren’t too many things to do. They took Liberty Land which is an amusement park, we don’t have any water parks, not too many community centers or things of that nature. So there’s not a lot of things to do for the youth and one of those things is to go to a Memphis Grizzlies game. So to be able to create a record like We Don’t Bluff, to sit floorside with them and it’s been a 3-4 year process – it’s been a blessing. To be able to support them and to just believe and to share that message that someone can get it done is great.
AM: We also know that you have worked with Grey Goose – how did that come about?
DB: We have a lot of chemistry and a lot of love. They reached out and wanted to show some love so although it’s not an official deal, they respect what I do and appreciate it. It’s been a relationship that continues to expand and I am open to future opportunities with them as well? It’s a great non exclusive relationship.
AM: What is the House of Fresh, what do you carry there and how did it come about?
DB: The House of Fresh – well one of my first jobs when I was 14/15 was selling shoes and they put me in the Com bat Zone which was where the cheap and ugly shoes were. Nobody wanted to buy those $9.99 shoes and the retailer put you there first because they felt if you could do well there, then you could make it to the Shoe Pit. Everybody wants to buy the Jordans and other hot shoes that are in that area.
In a week, I probably sold the most $9.99 shoes because I was good at selling in the Combat Zone. So they saw that and let me go to the Shoe Pit. Within a month, I was the number 1 sales person. You got a $500 bonus every time you came in as the #1 sales person. That incentive made me push for it. I did it by selling accessories with them. You came in for shoes, but I said let’s dress that up and I let them know about sneaker cleaners, hats, etc. When you come into the store expecting to spend $200, you leave spending $500 or $700.
That energy, I liked it and I liked making people happy. Touching people through music has always been my things, but fashion is also the other. I started selling my own clothes because people wanted what I was wearing. When you look at my pictures on Google, you’ll see me in Drumma Squad gear. My own custom, extra large waist and oversized clothes. We would have it all over and people would buy it. I used to sell it out of my trunk and one day I thought what could I do with the relationships that I had with these clothing labels? So many of the lines would send me free packages. I knew I was bigger than a sales rack and a walking billboard. I looked at how I could expand the relationship and I saw a location and said if I can get it, then that's it. House of Fresh is an actual house that is on a busy street in the middle of Midtown Atlanta with a lot of walking traffic. I called Reebok, this one and that one and they said that they would send their shoe reps in. My music relationships with Ludacris, 2 Chainz played well for love and support as well.
I’m also excited that we’re opening Pre-Game, a Bar, Grill and Lounge. It’s on 899 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SW in Atlanta. It’s right down the street from the Mercedes Benz and we plan on being open right before the Super Bowl.
AM: What are three key things that you truly believe in in terms of the success of your career?
DB: I believe in the importance of watering relationships. You get so many contacts, but it’s important to circle back from time to time to ask them how they are doing. I love to share the message of loving practice. Loving to get up every day and to practice - whatever it is that you want to do and enjoy that process. It’s the ultimate confidence builder. I also believe in having multiple revenue streams of income. I feel that these things have been instrumental in my success.
AM: Your hands are in so many pots, how do you take time for yourself?
DB: Well it’s weird. The music saves me. I’m up every morning 8/8:30am and I start out with breakfast and getting the proper nutrients, fruits and of that nature and I just think/brainstorm on what I want to accomplish for the day. I start getting phone calls and I attack the priorities. I zoom in on the top things that I have to do and I have that schedule. Usually House of Fresh, Pre-Game Lounge and everything that I have to do business wise is orchestrated between 9am - 2:30pm. By 2:30/3pm I’m all studio. I’m not so much on the phone so people can just leave a message and I’m there until 2:30/3am. I come home, I get about 3-4 hours of sleep and then repeat. It’s a dedicated process, but I find it very effective.
AM: What are must hav3s that you always have in the studio when you’re working?
DB: I would say company is one thing
that you have to confirm – ladies in particular – to know when you have a hit. It’s when they move or not period point blank. If someone says, “ooo I like this.” You know we have a hit. When you get a lot of chatter and no one is paying attention, then that just confirms that I need to go to the next beat. Another thing is candles. We’ve been supporting a brand, 1122 Candles for the simple fact that they’re natural and soy – there are no chemicals when they burn. They also have a great scent! My third thing is the fun – I have to have fun. That’s one thing I do. I’ll do something silly or just try something out for no reason and that turns out into something incredible.
AM: In Atlanta, where can we find you grabbing a cocktail/meal, working out and shopping?
DB: I work out at Heat Gym. I work out with my trainer shout out to Mr Shut Up and Train on Instagram. As far as grabbing a meal you may catch me at the STK or at Paschal’s. It’s a really well known Southern wine and dine spot. For shopping, you will find me at Phipps Plaza as I love that it’s exclusive and you can get right to the point and get out without being stopped by too many people. Every now and then I might run into Lenox Square to stop by Zara and see what they’ve got.
PHOTOS COURTESY | Drumma Boy
This holiday season we had fun catching up with Gianluca Vacchi, business magnate, producer, global DJ and Instagram star. Like many, we have been fans of his after seeing his infamous yacht dancing and stylish travel clips dubbed #GVLifestyle. In our chat, we learn about his business background and how he is enjoying his second life to the fullest each day. He dishes about how he started his music career, working with music labels, and his practice of healthy eating and daily workouts. Quickly in, we recognized this is also a man to learn from, and we're fortunate to share his message to be diligent to earn success, feed curiosity and enjoy.
ATHLEISURE MAG: How do you define the #GVLifestyle?
GIANLUCA VACCHI: The world is my playground, enjoy life, every minute of it.
AM: You caught the world’s eye about a year and a half ago dancing on your yacht – you attribute your passion to dancing due to your abuela who was in Argentina – where do you attribute your ability to produce and DJ?
GV: Music runs in my family, that definitely helps. I followed piano lessons when I grew up in Bologna. My close cousin grew up to be a contemporary composer, so this also influenced me when I was younger.
J Balvin reached out to me via Instagram, that’s how we became friends and he, together with my other close friend Luis Fonsi, began to offer me advice to start a new career in music. And that’s what I did!
AM: Prior to being an entertainer, DJ and social media star – you enjoyed a successful career in business. How did you transition from the corporate world to one that allows you to showcase your fun style?
GV: When I was 45, I was still a financial guy, an entrepreneur. I still am. By that time, I had joined twelve different sectors with many different companies – travel, video games, machinery production, plastic watches, among others. But after a certain point, that kind of life just didn’t move my curiosity any more. I am not driven by an accumulation of money. It was important to me when I was 20, because most young men want to accomplish something. Though it may not be a sole target, it can be a reflection of and a result of things done well.
AM: Via your Instagram, we know that you are all about enjoying life which is also the title of your book - #ENJOY how important is it to have this concept within your life?
GV: I’m now enjoying my second life and it’s an amazing experience. When I was 45 I realized I had achieved everything I wanted, it was time to find other ways to spend the rest of my life. The world is my playground and I live life to the fullest, I enjoy life every day.
AM: We love that you never refuse impromptu advice to people and that definitely makes you a role model in our book. About your view that life is a loan and people need to dream more – what are some tips that you have about achieving goals, staying curious and not just surviving?
GV: To answer this, I need to start by speaking about my philosophy on life. It’s very important, because it’s the foundation upon which I base how to live. I consider myself a guest of my own life. It’s like it was borrowed, or it’s a loan. I'm going to give it back; I just don’t know when. Every time I feel myself starting to get tired or bored, I try to change something. Life is a huge privilege. I believe in respecting others, but first I need to respect my desire, my dreams, and myself.
GV: It’s very important to work with a label that supports you, especially when you’re a beginning artist like me. Universal is a major label who can help me develop myself as a producer. I’m very happy to be working with them.
AM: What is it about latin music and reggaeton that inspires your work?
GV: Latin music is amongst one of my favorite music genres. The rhythm of the songs are really catchy, music you can really dance to. And you know I really love to dance.
AM: You travel frequently, what are 3 must have items that are always in your bag regardless of the city that you are in?
GV: I travel so much, I actually only get to spend about 60 days a year now in Italy. The constant change is keeping me alive. When I travel, I never leave without my headphones, glasses and phone!
AM: With 2019 around the corner, what festivals and/or residencies are on your calendar that we should keep an eye out for?
GV: There are so many good things coming in 2019, I can’t wait to share with all of you. We will kick-off in January with gigs in NY and Miami and of course I can’t wait for the summer season to start again. For the future I really plan on further perfecting my skills as a DJ and producer. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but there are definitely some great things coming up.
AM: You have collaborated with Luis Fonsi and have had producers such as Andres Torres and Mauricio Rengifo who have worked on your music. Who else will you be working with that we should keep an eye out for?
GV: In one of my videos you see me dancing with MC Fioti, that’s all I can say for now...
AM: With the year coming to a close, what are the good things that took place this year that you enjoyed, what are items that you felt would be taken care of this year but will be tackled next year due to time and what items will be released next year that you can share with us that we should keep an eye out for?
GV: I look back at 2018 with a big smile on my face. So many good things, like my own party Vibra! At Amnesia in Ibiza and releasing Sigamos Bailando and Love with Sebastian Yatra. Every year I try to improve myself and work on further perfecting my skills as a DJ and producer to DJ and produce even better in 2019. So many good things to come in 2019, stay tuned!
AM: We know that you spend a lot of your time in Miami – where would we find you grabbing a drink/meal, shopping and working out?
GV: I love Miami and I love being here during the winter in Europe. It is very hard for me to pick a favorite place to eat, drink and shop, since there are a lot of good places in Miami! But a new hotspot I really love is restaurant Swan! Great restaurant with a modern cuisine. There are so many good gyms in Miami and sometimes I go for a run at the beach.
AM: What is a typical day like for you when you know that you will be playing a set?
GV: Every day I work out, so also on the days I have a performance. Afterwards I prepare my set and go through all my music. I still practice a lot, since my goal is to get better and better. Before the show I like to have dinner with my crew, so I have enough energy for my performance.
AM: What workouts and eating choices do you to maintain such a great body?
GV: I maintain a very healthy lifestyle, I love to work-out and try to do this daily. From time to time I share some work-out video’s on my Instagram account to share the type of work-outs I like to do with my followers. Being fit gives you a great feeling of power and strength.
AM: How many tattoos do you have and how do you decide what will be the next work of art that will appear on your body?
GV: I have more than a 100 tattoos and they are all connected to my personal life. I got my first tattoo when I was 33, now you see people getting tattoos at the age of 15, but you first need to experience life and translate that experience in a tattoo.
AM: Your pajama and swim trunk game is pretty strong, describe some of your favorites in your collection.
GV: Fashion is important in my life. I’m Italian so we do take our time when it comes to fashion. I own like 40 different tuxedos and I have 100 different hats. I guess you can say that these items belong to my favorites.
AM: We hear that you are becoming an actor, can’t wait to see that happen – do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us and who are you looking forward to working with?
GV: I am always open to new things and challenges. Keep an eye open for 2019, new and big things are coming!
This time of year, there are a number of activities that are pushing for our attention. There are notifications on our phones, making various appointments, checking that we're not missing studio time at yoga as well as getting our nails done. There are times where you forget to eat or even to breathe! Breathing is one of our most vital tasks and as much as we do it, many of us are not doing it right! We took a moment to chat with Poppy Jamie, Breathing Instructor and enthusiast, TV presenter, Co-Founder/Designer of Pop and Suki and Founder of Happy Not Perfect, a new app and lifestyle brand that recently launched to find out what a breathing workshop is, how we do it and what led her to this career!
ATHLEISURE MAG: Where did the year go? How is it almost Christmas.
POPPY JAMIE: I know right, I mean I was just telling myself, where did the year go and how can it be the end of the year already? At least we have the holidays to look forward to!
AM: You cover a number of areas so in looking at your background, how did you get into doing TV, have a successful line – Pop & Suki (accessory line created by best friends Poppy and actress and model Suki Waterhouse), your app/lifestyle brand, Happy Not Perfect as well as being a breath enthusiast?
PJ: Well really, I was inspired I suppose by my upbringing. My mum is a hypnotherapist and my dad is an entrepreneur. When we were growing up, we spoke about the mind at the age of 8 and it was so normal to talk about emotions, how you process them, how you manage your mind, meditation, breathing. These were all things that were just as normal as brushing your teeth, washing your face and going out for a walk. Mental health has been such a part of the way that I was brought up and in my DNA.
I always knew that I wanted to be a TV presenter. Ever since I knew I could talk, I wanted to be able to communicate with people because I just found it so incredible how you could share a conversation and storytelling and that really led me to my first career as a TV presenter and host. While I was a TV host, that was the thing that really gave me insight into this social setting and made me analyze what people were looking at and how they were reacting to things. When I launched my show on SnapChat, PillowTalk (the first show to air on SnapChat), I would see hundreds of thousands of messages of people just reacting about what they were thinking, feeling and going through. At that moment, it was my upbringing and where I was in my career that came together. I would start to call up my mum and I would ask her advice on how I should respond to these questions that included people that were struggling at work/school or feeling stressed about their relationship. In that moment I realized how little we know about the mind and how fortunate I was to have a mum that would teach me about the mind and these sort of things. I began to wonder how I could go about sharing my mum and putting her into an app and to give her to everyone. It wouldn’t matter where you were or what time of day it was – it’s about the thought process. It’s really what a great therapist does – they help you process your thoughts and find a new perspective by using different tools such as breathing and journaling. It’s funny that my career has gone in so many different directions, but it all happened to go into the creation of Happy Not Perfect.
At the time, I was living in LA with my best friend and that’s how the handbags started. My best friend and I are two of the most disorganized girls that you could ever meet as we’re always losing things and we thought that if we could design handbags, we’d be less disorganized. It’s been a really crazy 3 years and I couldn’t be happier working on these things that I now are really helping people. We have so many messages a day where people are like, “Oh my God this is really helping me.” People thanking us on teaching them how to breathe and those who were feeling low before Happy Not Perfect and n ow after using it they feel less anxious. I love how I am doing my part into what I should be doing.
AM: I love how connected it is and how the app also has an extension as a lifestyle brand with products that are attached to it as well – correct?
PJ: Exactly! We found that in our focus groups that people really struggled with dealing with things and that Millennials are some of the most stressed out people that ever lived. It showed through our qualitative research in America, Europe and Australia that we did. I wondered what we should do and how could we assist in managing their stress levels and people were silent about it. That’s when I learned that people weren’t so sure on what they could do to manage their mental well being. People wanted to know what they could use! This holds true for why there is product in Happy Not Perfect as well as why I was intrigued to work with Breathe Right Strips. Even a simple thing like putting the strip on your nose, you can sleep better because you are getting more air and it’s an upward spiral. Suddenly you have a clearer mind in the morning and it’s a simple thing that can help you feel better. We found that with the site and lifestyle components that everyone can benefit from these items.
AM: We were unable to attend the breath workshop which was unfortunate, but how did this partnership between yourself and Breathe Right Strips come about as we understand the natural synergy here.
PJ: I’ve been using Breathe Right for years and it has been a bit of my secret hack! When I trained as a breathing instructor and when I would do my classes in London, NY and LA afterwards I would say, if you guys are struggling with breathing at night when you’re trying to sleep, you should use these strips. Someone then said, “I know them – you should connect with them.” I was being their biggest advocate even before they knew me because I loved them. Then we were connected and I was so happy about that because I love the natural way that you can just be help yourself and be a little more relaxed and have a clearer mind. It’s about sometimes having the simplest thing like a breathing strip and learning how to breathe into your belly that will have a formative effect on your mental and your physical health.
AM: I heard that you have a 24kt gold Breathe Right Strip – is this true?
PJ: I do and I’m very excited about my it and honestly, it’s one of my favorite beautiful mantle pieces! I mean I never ever thought that I would have a 24kt gold basically nose statue! Now I do! I was traveling back from NY to London because my parents were so excited to see this and it is the coolest thing. I carried it in my hand luggage and when I went through security, nobody could believe my gold karat nose and it has now traveled halfway across the country and it is now very close to my heart.
AM: What’s it like going through a breathing workshop and how do you guide people through their proper breathe?
PJ: A breathing workshop begins with teaching people how to breathe. When I first started out as a breathing instructor under Dr. Belisa Vranich, who is one of the leading experts in the world, she is the author of Breathe and she is one of the most crucial women that I have ever met. I couldn’t believe it when she said that 9 out of 10 people breathe incorrectly! It’s unbelievable. We all breathe, but when you realize that we pick up bad breathing habits from the age of 5 because we go to school and begin to hunch over tables and we start breathing too much air and we start to do shallow mouth breathing. This is a forced habit from the central nervous system it pumps up our stress level and makes us feel like we’re in danger and we have that fight or flight feeling. But when you start engaging in belly breathing and slowly inhale through your nose and slowly exhale with lower body breath, it emulates your vega nerve and takes you out of that fight or flight state.
This is a calming breath that allows you to have a pretty instantaneous moment of clarity. You make better decisions and it reduces your nerves. So the breathing teaching and the breathing workshop teaches you the power of learning how to relax your nervous system when you need to and the best way to do that is through nose/belly breathing, and then once you kind of learn that, we can practice by putting weight on our bellies to practice bringing that weight up and bringing it back down, as that is helpful. A great trick to do this is to do so when you’re in bed and you can’t get yourself to sleep, you can put a heavy book on your belly to breathe the book up and to breathe it back down (editor’s note: this is an exercise to calm you down to be able to sleep as the book is only for the breathing practice). It’s a great trick and if you have friends who are a bit anxious or stressed out, teach them to lie down, put a book on their belly to breathe it up and down as it is really calming and relaxing. I really like to teach people tools that they can share with their friends and family. And then, we go into a kind of breath work meditation which uses the breath to sink into a meditative state and during the breath workshop that we did a few weeks back at the event, we did a Love and Kindness Meditation, which is one of the scientifically backed meditations that really help to nurture kindness and compassion not only for ourselves, but for those around us and after experiencing that, we come out of meditation which lasts at about half an hour or 45 minutes in terms of the education, the practicing and the meditation. Hopefully everyone leaves feeling a little bit happier and calmer and a lot less stressed.
AM: That sounds fantastic. With a new year coming up, there is a lot of stress and anxiety that people will have in wanting to do resolutions and things that are different, but also coming down from a busy holiday season – how can breath work help with this so that they can calm down and do what they need to during the day?
PJ: This is why I love breathing! It doesn’t mean that you have to meditate for 20 minutes if you don’t have time. The holidays are so busy and you have loads of family around. So the belly breath which I actually do this while I am talking with someone or perhaps in a stressful meeting, I lightly put my hands on my belly and I start breathing slowly into my nose and out through my nose into my belly. I consciously have this hack knowing that I have it whenever I need it is powerful.
Even if you want to just take a couple of moments in the morning to just lie down on your back and to just focus on your breathing through your nose and down for a couple of minutes as it really just sets your nervous system. During the holiday season, it’s so hectic because people are buying their presents and you need these short effective tricks for your nervous system and belly breathing is definitely one of them and anyone can do it which is fantastic!
AM: You’re based in NYC where would we find you grabbing a drink/meal and working out?
PJ: Oh my gosh my new favorite place is abcV the new vegan place that I am newly obsessed with that! I have to say that no one can't beat The Bowery Hotel! It's really magical and fun and I always have a lot of friends there. I like to think that wellness is a little bit of everything. It’s not only about looking after your mind, but it doesn’t mean depriving yourself of other things. It’s a bit of everything. My favorite yoga studio is Yoga Vida and I love this yoga instructor named Will Schneider who is my favorite. I also love dancing as it’s incredible for your mental health and great for a mood boost that makes you feel good. If I am in a really dedicated mood, I love SLT which is incredible, but dancing and yoga are really my thing as I find yoga is really great for the mind and to stretch the body, you need to relax the mind. This exercise incorporated meditation and I’m a big yoga fan.
PHOTOS COURTESY | Poppy Jamie + Happy Not Perfect
Read more from the Dec Issue of Athleisure Mag and see It Begins and Ends with the Breath with Poppy Jamie in mag.
This morning, the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) shared their nominations (via Laverne Cox and Awkwafina) for their show which airs on Jan 27th? As always, we picked out who we think we would win. We can’t wait for the show.
BOLD | Athleisure Mag’s Prediction
BOLD ITALICS | Winners predicted correctly by Athleisure Mag
ITALICS | Winners that we didn’t predict
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
John David Washington, “BlacKkKlansman”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Emily Blunt, “Mary Poppins Returns”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Timothee Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Emily Blunt, “A Quiet Place”
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Margot Robbie, “Mary Queen of Scots”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE
“A Star Is Born”
“Crazy Rich Asians”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Darren Criss, “Assassination of Gianni Versace”
Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso”
Hugh Grant, “A Very English Scandal”
Anthony Hopkins, “King Lear”
Bill Pullman, “The Sinner”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Patricia Arquette, “Escape at Dannemora”
Amy Adams, “Sharp Objects”
Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
Penelope Cruz, “Assassination of Gianni Versace”
Emma Stone, “Maniac”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMNCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Joseph Fiennes, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
John Krasinski, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
Laura Linney, “Ozark”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Julia Garner, “Ozark”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
Bill Hader, “Barry”
Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method”
Henry Winkler, “Barry”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Alison Brie, “GLOW”
Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES
“This Is Us”
“Better Call Saul”
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
“The Kominsky Method”
OUTSTANDING ACTION PERFORMANCE BY A STUNT ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES
“Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”
“The Walking Dead”
OUTSTANDING ACTION PERFORMANCE BY A STUNT ENSEMBLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
“Ant-Man and the Wasp”
“Mission: Impossible – Fallout”
Read more from the latest of Athleisure Mag.
When you think about R&B you always come to Boyz II Men who had one hit after another with their cool sound, great sense of style and music videos that you remember when thinking about their songs. Although they are a phenomenal music group, we had the chance to hear about a project one of the founding members and Grammy winning artist, Nathan Morris is doing with the DIY Network in his new show, a four part series premiering on Oct 6th – Hit Properties with Nathan Morris. We had a moment to chat with him while he talked about the legacy of his group, his interest in real estate, how this show differs from a number of flipping programs and what we can find him doing when he is not touring and flipping houses!
ATHLEISURE MAG: Before we get into your new show on DIY Network, we know you kicked off this year’s NFL season with Boyz II Men at Lincoln Financial Field. We’ve been a fan of the group since Cooleyhighharmony. How have you guys continued to be an amazing group that has produced a number of hits, videos and more?
NATHAN MORRIS: I just feel that we are truly blessed to still be able to do what we love, to see our fans and for them to still find that after 27 years, our music is still relevant to them. Our fans are from all over the world and they give us so much love. When you hear fans say that the first song they slow danced to was, “I’ll Make Love to You” or they had a Boyz II Men baby – to know that we have been a part of people’s important moments is crazy!
AM: You guys have a residency at The Mirage in Las Vegas – how is it to prepare for these shows and is there a place that you have yet to perform that you would still like to do?
NM: We love that our fans know that 22 weekends out of the year, they can come see us at The Mirage – we have done this for the past 3 years. We know a number of our fans who have really enjoyed our music over the years may have never seen us in concert - so this is the venue to do it! We just signed an additional 3 years there.
I’d love to see us performing throughout South America and we’d love to be able to have the chance to go to the Middle East and to perform in Duabi. We’d also love to go to Africa as well.
AM: Clearly, we know you’ve been a powerhouse in the music business but how did this translate to real estate?
NM: I’ve had the pleasure of investing in some serious real estate deals on the business side and on the personal side, I’ve done some construction, renovation and designing.
AM: Tell us about your new show Hit Properties with Nathan Morris?
NM: I’m really excited about this show. I know that there are a lot of shows about flipping houses, but we really go in there to show you what it’s like. I take this old mansion in Orlando and I Nate-a-cize it – I love luxurious upgrades and I really like smart home upgrades, remote controlled toilettes and WiFi enabled lighting. In addition to showing the work of taking this 8,200 sq feet mansion from a decrepit place to a glamourous one, we also have humor in this show and you see my right hand man, Bryant Gipson working right along side with me as he has done in other projects that we have partnered on together.
AM: Why did you focus on Orlando?
NM: Mainly, the weather is ideal there as you can pretty much work year around and it just made sense to do it there.
AM: What do people who want to get into the flipping industry need to know about the business?
NM: If you’re a person who can’t be flexible and only has a plan if everything goes right – then this is not for you! You also have to remember that when you're flipping a house, you're not building it for you. You want to put finishes and touches that someone buying it could see for themselves. If you make it with amenities that you personally want, you may find that they are too much to your taste and not universal.
AM: What are areas that you suggest a flipper should focus on when doing a home?
NM: I believe that the kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms are essential. I spend the most time in these areas of my home after my bedroom. These are areas where you want to be able to relax. I don’t like small spaces so you’ll see in the show that I increased one of the rooms by 15 to 20 feet in order to be more spacious and inviting.
Make sure to check out this season this season of Hit Properties with Nathan Morris on DIY Network which debuts on Oct 6th at 10:30pm EST.
Listen to our conversation with Boyz II Men's Nathan Morris, on an upcoming episode of #TribeGoals on Athleisure Studio, our multimedia podcast network.
The transition that takes place in August is always an interesting one as many are focusing on the last days of summer and getting ready for fall, some are going back to school (or are involved with little ones) and the clock begins to tick on planning for holiday. As we're all about preparation, we took some time to talk to Tia Mowry about the upcoming season as a working mom, her partnership with Office Depot and upcoming projects that we should keep an eye out for.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Back to School Season is like a moment in time where even those who may not be going to school are thinking about their home offices - how important is it to have the important tools to get your work done whether it's going back to school, setting up your home office or just doing a general refresh?
TIA MOWRY: As a working mother of two, you can imagine how chaotic life gets at times. The only way I accomplish all the tasks I need to get done during the day is by staying organized - and the best way to do that is to have fun with it. I usually have endless to-do lists laying around my house, however I just discovered my new favorite organization “tool” – Office Depot’s customizable TUL planner. It’s so cute and comes with a bunch of fun stickers and built-in accessories that make each to-do list fun to create and check off.
When Cree and I go back to school shopping, I can’t help but think about students and families who cannot afford the school supplies they need. I think that having the proper supplies helps students succeed in school and every student deserves a fair chance to succeed in the classroom. I love that Office Depot is committed to supporting education and makes it so easy to give back.
This year, Office Depot has two great ways that everyone can participate in giving back to the community. Their “Give Back to Schools” program lets you give 5% of your qualifying purchase back in credits towards supplies to a school of your choice, or the Office Depot School Supply Drive lets you purchase extra supplies at a local store that will go to a local Title 1 school at the beginning of the 2018 school year.
It’s a great feeling buying all Cree’s school supplies in one place, but it’s even more rewarding being able to give back to support local schools while shopping, and I am glad that Cree is getting that experience at such a young age.
AM: What tools should we always buy to make sure that we can replenish them without having to make another order?
TM: I’m all about pens! I think it is important to always have fresh pens on hand. Nothing is more annoying then writing a note or list or helping Cree out with a project and running out of ink. So for me, I have packs and packs of pens in every color and of course, my favorite – gel pens (especially Office Depot’s TUL retractable gel pens)! For back to school, Office Depot also has these adorable jewel top pencils and windmill pens and I am obsessed! They make writing anything much more fun.
AM: Why did you partner with Office Depot?
TM: Education and giving back to the community are two things I fully support and stand by. Office Depot has been committed to this for over 30 years, so partnering with the company was an easy decision for me.
Office Depot makes it easy for me and my family to send Cree to school with everything he needs, and I know I can rely on them to have exactly what we want –fun and stylish (what Cree wants!) and functional so I know he’ll be prepared for anything.
AM: How do you make lunches fun - do you change up the options, add special utensils?
TM: When I was in school, I used to love opening up my lunch and getting surprise notes from my mom. Every note would be different and would brighten my day. I make sure Cree has something (besides food) to look forward to at lunch, like a note or some cool stickers.
Kids get bored of things so easily, so I try my best to change up Cree’s lunches as much as possible. Whether it’s a different type of sandwich or fruit, I think it’s important to mix it up and provide a variety. It also helps to plan ahead for the week and of course I ask Cree if he has any preferences (this makes it easier on me). His favorite are these yummy turkey meatballs I make so I try to pack those often. The Bentology Bento Box Set from Office Depot makes packing lunches so easy and also fun, and since Cree is obsessed with the Slime lunch box and loves showing it off, I pack the bento box set in it and we’re both happy
AM: Tell us about Tia Mowry Quick Fix and what we can expect to find there.
TM: Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix is all about life hacks that make everyday things that we do easier! Hence the “Quick Fix”! You’ll find recipe hacks, beauty hacks, and Q&A's so my viewers can learn more about my life and family.
It’s really a community that I have created that helps people get through their day to day life easier.
AM: Tell us about projects that you are working on that we should keep an eye out for as we have been fans of your work for years?
TM: I am doing more tv/movies in the future, so keep an eye out for that! Look out for new episodes of Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix as well.
PHOTO COURTESY | Office Depot
There are shows that give us the chills because it draws you in, you're trying to figure out how it all comes together and when they're limited edition series, you hope it comes back again. That's how we feel about USA Network's The Sinner which is back for its second season to show us a crime that you couldn't believe that took place and then retraces its steps to tell you why it went down and how people and experiences are a lot more connected than you can imagine.
The cult following of the show comes through based on actors who play characters that don't have clear lines on being either good or bad. Ellen Adair who you have seen on HBO's Veep, NBC's The Slap, Showtime's Homeland and Billions, and currently plays Bess McTeer in The Sinner. She sat down with us to talk about her process as an actor, the scene that had everyone shocked within the first 10 minutes of the first episode (the second scene if you haven't seen it spoilers - you've been warned), character island and the Phillies!
ATHLEISURE MAG: So excited to talk to you. I was obsessed with The Slap. When that came out -
ELLEN ADAIR: Oh wow! You’re the only person in America!
AM: Truly loved it. That show was just riveting and then, I’m just going to say it, the scene from The Sinner, was beyond!
EA: Oh thanks!
AM: Everyone who has watched that has been left with – what? So we’ll delve into that. There are scenes that are in cinema and TV and you think of the horse’s head in The Godfather, but you’re 10 minute situation was like that kind of scene in my opinion.
EA: Oh my goodness, thanks – I mean like, move over dead horse's head.
AM: I mean, you were still going.
EA: What a great compliment – thanks!
AM: Can you tell us about your background and how you got into acting. You’ve been in a lot of things, like Homeland.
EA: So I wanted to be an actress since I was like a tiny child which belies some type of personal development I guess. But it was just like children’s theater that I did. I wasn’t a professional child actor and I think that really my love was the theater and I think that that was partly because both of my parents were college professors and are staunchly (less so now, particularly my mom) anti-TV. So I didn’t have a TV growing up. So we would go out to see movies, but I think that my parents had this real thought about it being in the house as a source of a constant distraction. I read a lot and we went to theater and I saw TV at friends’ houses. When I was 10 years old, I said I wanted to be a stage actor and it wasn’t until I got into the professional world that I started working on camera a little bit and I was like, “oh I love this, I love this SO much.”
For me, I actually did Shakespeare at an early age. I did my first Shakespeare at the age of 12. My first professional/semi-professional thing when I was 15. That was also Shakespeare. What I love so much about Shakespeare is that there is so much that is technical about it that it allows my artist brain to just free up because there is this great sense of being like on a train, I don’t have to get on a boat, I just get on the train and take it to the end of the play. I just kind of say, ooo what I ride!
I feel kind of similarly about on camera stuff. In that there is so much stuff that is technical about it that part of my brain is able to be free and spontaneous about it. That way, I can be completely real about it.
AM: What is your process when you are looking at a character that you want to play? Once again, I loved you in Billions (Showtime) – especially when these characters are so different. You have played a number of characters across shows and although I know it’s you – you bring such a different approach to each one. Some people when they portray roles, still bring a lot of themselves into each one – do you get what we’re trying to say?
EA: Yes I do know what you are trying to say and I’m really touched that you say that because I think that is – it’s not a part of my mindful process so much as I guess, I don’t know coming from my sort of life reading a lot, and I was an English and Theater major in college and so I really love text. I love textual analysis so for me I guess, it all just comes from me really looking at the script and looking at what the writer is doing and then just imagining if I was that person in that place. So I don’t think about, “oh this is – I don’t judge my character in any sort of way" and I really feel that I am just playing myself, but if it were me and my entire life was different and my development was different and I did this thing and these were the words that I say or at least that is 100% of my process for on camera stuff.
For theater, it’s a little different. Sometimes I will mostly think about how would this character sort of hold themselves physically different or how their voice would be physically different then mine. So it’s also sort of like, technical things that show up. But, then there’s – I don’t know – why I do the thing as there is some kind of magical thing that happens and if I just put myself in the situation then I am just suddenly this totally different person. So on my – I remember on The Slap, one of the producers, because it was like the first big thing that I did for TV. I had done a couple of small reoccurring things before. But a producer came up
to me and we were in the middle of filming and really quickly he said, “I love your performance on this” and I thought, “I have a performance?” I mean I was just so focused on the thought of, what if I was a lawyer, a D.A. and got some wonderful thoughts from Ken Olin (Dir/Exec Producer - This is Us) – one of my favorite directors that I have ever worked with – I adore him. I incorporated those into thinking about what would be my life goals and what I would want to be. But I didn’t think of it as a performance and similarly, when I came in on my first day, I thought that I was just going to say the words and everybody was like, “oh I really love what you’re doing,” and I thought, “I’m doing something? Great, I’ll keep doing it.”
Working on The Sinner was just incredible – it was one of the greatest blessings on my life so far and part of what was so much fun about that was just that – the circumstance that Bess is in – it’s so extreme and different than the circumstance of other people that I have played. It was just that a whole new person just came out.
AM: Tell us about the process of getting on the show, what it was like working with Bill Pullman and the idea that The Sinner tells you what happens, but why did it happen and what are the circumstances around it that made it happen. Which reminds me of elements of The Slap.
EA: There’s so many wonderful things to unpack in what you just said! For me, a real comparison between the works The Sinner and The Slap is that we’re always talking in both cases, that there are sets of characters that have some sense of redeeming qualities and some less attractive qualities to put it politically. That’s my favorite kind of story, favorite kind of TV, favorite kind of movie, book whatever. I think that some people, it’s not their favorite.
They want it to be where this is the good guy and this is the bad guy. But I really enjoy digging into that kind of stuff. In terms of my experience with The Sinner, I had watched it because actually, a lot of the crew is the same from Billions – the genius Director of Photography Radium Cheung – some of the A.D.s that I knew from Billions said they were working on this and I watched it. But then I rewatched it when I was going in to audition for it, and having just done Homeland for 5 months, what I was struck with so much was how much everyone and all the characters take their time. How much space for human life is allowed versus the kind of person that I normally play that is very talky, journalists, lawyers, political animals – just be kind to Janet because she is so wonderful.
That was a conversation that I had with Bill at the very first Table Read. When I just sort of fangirled him and talked to him about how amazing his performance was in the first season.
What I loved about the show was that it is really populated with humans that are always saying something but not speaking. There is so much clearer speech that is not articulated in this show and it’s something a little more like indie film and Antonio Campos (Director + Executive Producer) one of the really big geniuses behind the first and second season has a background in indie film and he just brought that sensibility to the show. I found that also working on it that I am so hard wired to just pick up the pace and even though I knew that from watching the show not to do it - but ke kept reminding me that, no no - you can take it as long as it wants to take - if you want to say something else, just throw it in” and I thought, “oh this is a new fun thing to work on.”
AM: How long did you film this and are there any snippets that you may be able
to share with us for our readers at Athleisure Mag.
EA: We started filming in May.
EA: Yeah and we wrapped … my last day on set was a week before production wrapped. So the first 2 episodes were filmed in tandem which is the right phrase. Which sometimes there were tandem crews, 2 things filming at the same time, because the aesthetic of the show is to film a certain amount of coverage, but they also had to do it within a TV schedule. It was cross-boarded which is the phrase I was looking for because there were so many locations that were the same. That motel room was built on the stage so all of those shots were not on location, there were just a few things that we shot as the motel which includes the scene with the motel manager and things like that. So what can I tell you – I mean I can say I guess, that you will see more of Bess and that what’s really fun is that the flashbacks go back pretty far back. That was certainly fun to remember what human being I was in 2004 and what that meant. The mystery is really the whole thing so I can’t really …
AM: I know but we had to try! So the whole death scene with Bess – how many takes did it take. How much of it came from what the script stated and what part was what you added into it. It just seemed so raw and so much – but so good.
EA: There were many takes and we worked on that scene for a whole filming day.
EA: Yes just the death scene. Not really much in terms of dialogue. Now that includes the stuff that Adam who plays Adam had to do, which includes the stunt stuff that he did which has the incredible shot of him falling out of the shower. That element will add more, but getting the shots from all the different angles and the special effects things – that still to me seemed fairly early in the process was indicative to me of the level of artistry in the production. So normally, an average filming day and you probably know this is 6-8 pages. So as a script page, the death scene is maybe a page or ¾ of a page but we spent a whole day working on it and we also actually had a day of rehearsal before we had even started filming so we could figure out basically what it was going to be and I talked with Antonio and I said, "you know, I have been watching everything that I can find of videos of film scenes where people are poisoned. Is there anything you can think of where this seems more of the thing and not this." I watched some ridiculous thing where a woman was throwing herself around to every piece of furniture in the room and I thought, “that doesn’t seem like something I should do.” He was like, “no, nothing really comes to mind,” but he said, “you might want to look at videos of people having seizures,” and I’m always dutiful about my homework and I went home and looked at a lot of people on YouTube who were having seizures at home – not film of this. It exists and it’s strange what people will put up on YouTube. In my life an as actor, my YouTube searches are so weird that whatever the computer thinks about me … “I don’t know what they should market to her” – I see a lot of weird ads.
I watched a lot of videos and I was interested in what people’s hands did and that violent convulsion thing is where we ultimately decided to take it. Then the rest of it, we sort of in rehearsal just old school rehearsed it to see what if I would fall to the bed and then the door of the bathroom and then try to save Adam – so it was basically being specific to what was happening in my body every single moment. Now I’m trying to save Adam and now I’m going to vomit and turn away and here’s the moment where I realize that Julian must have had something to do with this. It was a tough day of filming because 3 days before, for the first time in my life, I had developed Vertigo. So actually, it’s just Benign Positional Vertigo – it’s still with me when I lay down to go to sleep. Whenever I would change positions or elevations, I’d get really dizzy. So I thought on that day, I was lucky that it wasn’t a fight scene where I have to do this and look like I'm in control - I feel awful and I am dying so I guess I'll #useit which is what we said all day. And even by the end I would just lie down on the floor really quickly and then I would stand up to feel really awful.
AM: That is dedication!
EA: Well you know it’s just like, this is not a great situation and I wish I had felt well so that I could be in control of my body. As long as it was happening, I may as well take the roses along with the thorns or make lemons out of lemonade – whatever cliché term you’d like to use. It was a trying day, but at the end of the day I felt like I had died and come back to life.
AM: Is it easy for you when you’re done filming to come back to you the person? Some people are so into their characters that it takes them 2-3 months to leave that character. How is that for you and how do you keep that separation?
EA: Hmm it’s a really great question. I think it’s been more challenging for me in my life with theater where you're working on something every single day that’s probably also more of a challenge for people who are doing say a film that they are doing every single day. Whereas, I think that the most days in a week that I worked on the show was like 3 days in a week. So it wasn't every single day and then I wouldn't be working at all the following week. That said, I feel like I always miss my characters when they are not around anymore. Like a Quixotic small victimless tragedy for me as there is nothing that I can hug, there is no person that I can embrace. I really feel like there is this other person that I am in communication with when I am acting and it shows up for me the most very organically and this happened – where my characters have different gestures and little things that they do that that is a residue that will stick around. I’ll do that thing that that character did and I’m like, “oh” it feels like finding a loved one who has passed and seeing their shirt. It’s not that sad as I don’t want to compare it like that –
AM: Totally understand, as a fashion stylist, when I am working on clients or moodboards that it’s in your head so much much that when it’s done, I’ll see something and then have to remind myself that I don’t need it because it’s done and the project is done.
EA: I feel that as soon as I get a character, it’s the little piece of sand in like the oyster of my heart that I am always adding layers to that pearl that everything I see in the world is part of that person. When I don’t need it anymore, I still kind of keep adding to that pearl.
To a certain extent, one way in which characters will revisit is I will play a new one and I sort of feel – and this is a metaphor – that the angelic spirit of the other character will say, “let me lend you these things that were helpful for me” so that I can use them again. I am such a nerd. I have a book of poetry which will be published this fall and most of the poems I wrote are from awhile ago, but they’re about being an actor and a life in the theater and it is mostly about characters. Very much so about this thing that we’re talking about. The relationship between the actor and the character that are like this friend and what I have really come to love and have a relationship with them although we are sort of the same. And in one of them, I sort of create this metaphor where I am an island where all of my past characters live and that when a new character comes and sort of materializes, on the island and asks what this place is – all the other characters are like, “here you can use this” and that’s a poetic metaphor, but in a sense that’s all the people still living on that island.
AM: When is this book coming out and what is the name of it?
EA: The name of the book is Curtain Speech. I was trying to come up with a name that is actually sort of private – being backstage and that is where the conversation between the character and the actor takes place. Or it’s in your trailer or the moments before the take. When you step on stage or when filming starts, you’re one person and you can’t have that conversation again. Curtain Speech is actually the thing that someone will come out and say, “please turn off your cellphones, here are the exits and thank you for coming.” It’s the title I came up with and I don’t have an exact date when it will be coming out, but it might be available for pre-order on Amazon now – I can check with my publisher.
AM: What other projects do you have coming out that you can tell us about?
EA: Well, I will be in Season 7 of Chicago Fire! Other than that, I am working on writing a series like many an actor is. In terms of the little people of sand, it’s always around that series and that character and I developed the idea with a friend of mine, Chris Carfizzi from Billions who plays Rudy and so we wanted to work on something together. But he has a small baby and I sort of took the lead on writing it. We also want to – when our lives are sane enough – probably think about filming a scene so we can shop it around.
AM: So you’re based in NY, where do you love to eat, shop here, workout etc?
EA: So I love Vietnamese food and I can eat it everyday! Probably one of my favorite restaurants is probably OBAO in Hell’s Kitchen. Whenever anyone wants to get lunch, I’m like, “Oh do you like Vietnamese food?” I also really Asian food in general – I’m a big lover of sushi and a friend of mine have had a date for 3 months that we have kept moving to go to Nakazawa, but you have to make a reservation way in advance. Everytime we have made one, I always end up working on a show. I mean in this week, this is the one day that I am filming so that hasn't happened yet. I really love Koreatown because it's right in the middle of the city so it’s not like you have to go all the way down to Chinatown. I also live in Queens and I live in Jackson Heights and I love the Indian food there and Tibetan food, so good! There’s this place Faul. It’s impossible to find as there is no storefront and you go up a random staircase, but it is very close to the Jackson Heights stop. Lassa Fast Food is behind a cellphone store - if you didn't know it was there, you’d never see it. I love living so close to Flushing because my husband and I will just hop on a train and feel like we’re going to another country and that’s really how Flushing feels.
I tend to workout at my local gym and I can’t run outside anymore. I can run on a treadmill and that’s about it.
AM: We know that you’re a huge Phillies fan as we have seen your Instagram - so are you from Philadelphia originally?
EA: Yes nobody chooses the Phillies. But I’m from there originally and neither of my parents are from Philadelphia actually, my mom’s from Virginia and my dad’s from Oregon – they were like, we’ll adopt the Phillies. I went to games in utero and then as a babe in arms. Someone asked me if I remembered my first baseball game and I was like, “no, I’ve been going for as long as I can remember.” They’re my life partner as I like to say.
AM: Do you have season tickets or do you go when they’re always here?
EA: I make sure I see them pretty much when I am here. Season tickets are not super practical living in NY, but I do try to see a couple of games in Philly every season. Last season I didn’t because I was doing an Off Broadway show that was basically all of baseball season and that was tough for me emotionally. There are a few Mon games I went to. So in 2016, I saw 16 games and so I knew that that would be my goal. And what I like about this is that I can move the goal post in a good way every year. This year, I have already seen 18 games and there is still a bit of the baseball season left and I am going to a Phillies game next week.
AM: Are you an Eagles fan too?
EA: Um, sure, is the most accurate answer and I was not raised on the religion of football at all. So definitely supported the Eagles this season and not in any sort of a bandwagon way. Did I want them to defeat the Patriots as they are the Yankees of football, absolutely I do. Actually, I watched the Super Bowl with Dylan Baker in Virginia as we were there shooting Homeland and he’s a big football fan. I know the marquee names of football – I definitely enjoy watching it with friends, it’s not something that I would sit down myself and do. I will sit down and watch baseball because it’s unhealthy but I really loved sitting down and watching it with Dylan. Everybody except for one table in this hotel bar was clearly rooting for the Eagles and that made it more delightful. I was wearing an Aaron Nola shirt because I was like, this is how I know how to support – just wear a Phillies shirt.
AM: So how do you give back in a philanthropic/charitable way?
EA: It’s more monetary than it is time. I would love to figure out how my time would be valuable to a particular organization but there are a lot of charities that I care about. One that I have supported for years is City Harvest – I’d like to give my time to them as well. But in the world that we’re living in right now, it feels like there are so many things to keep tabs on there is more then the hours in the day! But, I feel like if I am a monthly contributor to a cause it helps. I care a lot about the environment so I support the Natural Resources Defense Council. I traveled a lot as a child so I think I have a real appreciation for other countries and other cultures. If I had to say the most right now in terms of America, one thing that sticks out there, it’s protecting immigrants and Muslims. I spent a lot of time in Turkey and so like I grew up being like, these are some of the nicest people in the world – I support the Council For American Islamic Relations and National Immigration Forum and United We Dream – I got connected to them because they send text messages where if someone in your area is going to get deported, you can come and help. It’s a service that I guess I signed up for and I was like, I like what they do. The Center for Popular Democracy is also important to me. It’s 10 – 12 that I am monthly donors to and obviously the big ones, ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP – I’m forgetting somebody I’m sure.
Journalism is important. I have a subscription to the NY Times, Washington Post and I support NPR. Also that’s a service and for a little while, there was a grassroots organization of women that I was working for a friend who had founded it and she was trying to get it to expand across the country and she decided to start something different called Candidates and Coffee. So she interviews people for local elections because the information isn’t always there as it’s not in the national stream. You’re not going to see people in your local elections talking on CNN about stuff. There should be a way that millennials can connect so I was just meeting with her last night and I might end up and hope to help her work on that a little bit as well. Voting is super important! The 2016 election certainly taught us that.
I have been thinking about and I haven’t done this before – kind of getting on a bus from NY to PA a swing state close to the election to get out the vote. It’s close and I was registered to vote in PA for a long time.
AM: Is there a director or a role that you’d like to work with or be with?
EA: Such a great question wow. It’s easier for theater because the roles exist already. That's the great thing about TV/film - you don’t know who that person will be until you go off and really create what that is definitively. So, that’s hard to say on camera. I’ve done in theater, a lot of period stuff like old time timey people. It would be really fun to be able to get to do that on camera. I played Marie Antoinette in a play about Marie Antoinette and that was really fun to get to play a historical figure like that. In terms of a play that I read and really fell in love with and knew that that was what I wanted to do, there is this play called the Curious Case of the Watson Intelligence, by Madeleine George. It’s great. A dream role is the one that I am writing for myself.
AM: That’s what I was thinking!
EA: I know I’m sorry Erin for forgetting about you for a second! In terms of a director, I don’t think I have an answer because there are so many that I really admire their work. Sometimes your favorite ones are the ones that were unexpected, because it’s the chemistry between the two of you as people is really great. That’s hard to know, but I’d love to discover that. Note that if Paul Thomas Anderson wants me to – I mean we’d have great chemistry that would be awesome. Also, Antonio was one of my favorite directors to work with and part of the reason for that is that I felt like his eye is so meticulous that when he sees something he is willing to comm unicate that to the actor. So, I felt that absolutely my performance was 100 times better because I was working with him and it’s always going to be better when you work with the director then just doing it in a vac um. He so often had a thought for me like – this time try this or this is so small but I remember it so clearly that in the first episode there is a shot where I get up from the bed and I realize that Julian is missing and he’s at the breakfast bar and I go to the window. That was of course in the studio and when I was looking out the window, I wasn't looking at anything, it was just black. The first few times that we did the take, I said to myself, imagine what you’re seeing as we had not shot in the motel yet so I didn’t know what I was looking at. I had to just make it up and imagine I was seeing cars, whether I was seeing the kid – but I wasn’t, but then we did it so many times that I was doing the movement without doing anything. A couple of times after doing it, Antonio said, “oh it doesn’t look like you’re seeing anything.” I was like thank you because most directors would not give you a note that was that detailed and it has to do with your own internal process. I have a hard time remembering exactly what he said to me that day when we were filming the death scene, because I was going through it physically but I know that he was coaching me and saying we need a little of this and that or that I had this ball in the air, but I was also dealing with this. But he’s the greatest!
AM: I think what makes that scene so impactful is like in sex scenes you know that there are various movements that they do to create the illusion of the act which can come off as very technical looking. The arm is here and then there, 1-2-3. But when watching your scene it doesn’t look like Twister and technical, it falls seamlessly and makes you think it happened in one take when it in fact wasn't. It doesn't look like you're thinking, it's just a flawless flow. Which is why it has really stunned everyone.
EA: What you’re talking about is the whole deal. That the difference is just inhabiting it than just doing the things. I think that there were physical marks I had to hit but the freedom within the technicality I could experience “oh my gosh I’m losing control – I can’t talk, I’m feeling nauseated, where does that live in my body?" I feel it is very similar when you have dialogue and in my transition of doing more on camera stuff and not just theater, is that I learn text in a completely different way. In theater, I know that this is the text and then I have a rehearsal process and I want to spare myself the personalization so I can discover it in a room with other people so that it’s not totally stale when I get to performance. But the way I memorize things for on camera is I do the thought verse and then the words. If you look at someone and it looks like they are saying words not about anticipating – but if they are thinking words and not thoughts, you can see it. You can have very good competent acting where it’s obvious that the person is thinking of words and not a person’s thoughts but my goal is to just be thinking of the person’s thoughts rather than the technical thing whether that be my hand goes here, I stumble over here or I have this political or legal gobbly gook. I’m always like, what’s the thought behind this? That’s what makes it fun.
PHOTO COURTESY | PG 86 + 90 Peter Kramer/USA Network | PG 82, 85, 88, 93, 94 Ambi Williams |
Known as "The Most Influential Hairstylist in the World," via New York Times, Jen Atkin has styled the tresses and has the most loyal clientele of some of the influential people including Kourtney Kardashian, Katy Perry, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid. In addition to being a Celebrity Hairstylist, she launched OUAI haircare line in 2016, a range of Beauty Works hair extensions, her line of Chloe + Isabel hair accessories and works closely with Dyson to bring their innovative Supersonic blowdryer to market.
With a passion to unite the hair industry and to create a community for hairstylists, she created ManeAddicts.com in 2014 and provides access to top hairstylists as well as featuring products and instructional videos. Due to its success, she expanded to Mane University, a global education resource that brings top stylists to major cities around the world to inspire hairdressers.
We took a moment to chat with Jen about her career, her favorite summer hair looks as well as a new pop, OUAISPACE that is being held at Gurney's in Montauk.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What was the ah ha moment that drew you to being a hairstylist? Tell us what your journey has been as you have built your name in the industry to being one of the most sought after hairstylists?
JEN ATKIN: I’ve always loved doing hair and was obsessed with Natalie Imbruglia’s short haircut in her ’Torn’ music video when I was a teenager in Utah. No one could give me the cut I wanted, so I went to the store, bought a pack of shaving razors, and started cutting my own hair. Soon I was cutting all my friends’ hair in my parent’s garage. After high school, I drove to California with literally only $300 and my Honda Civic hatchback. I called al the salons in Allure's beauty directory until finally someone returned my call and I started working as a receptionist at Estilo Salon in Beverly Hills. I remember running out to feed meters for Bette Midler and I was so excited and thought “I could move back home that was enough for me” lol.
I’ve just really worked hard and tried to be an honest good person. I’m so lucky I’ve had such support from my clients and friends.
AM: In 2016, you created OUAI - why did you want to add a haircare line to your ecosystem?
JA: It felt very odd to me that there were a lot of men in boardrooms making decisions about what women want for our hair. I wanted to create the first product line a community helped create, promoting a realistic lifestyle that feels inclusive. It was important for me to have a group of women talking to other women about their haircare needs. I think that more brands are trying to empower women. I want to change the conversation in business and beauty! I wanted to stop making the conversation only about women being pretty and start celebrating the spirit and power of being a woman in business.
AM: Why and how did the partnership between Gurney's Resorts come about?
JA: We’ve had pop-ups in NY & LA before so it only felt natural to partner w/ Gurney’s in Montauk.
AM: Will there be future integrations of OUAISPACE of this nature like this and if so why did you start at Gurney's first?
JA: Yes! The look and feel of Gurney’s is so relaxing and just feels easy. Which goes hand-in-hand with what OUAI’s aesthetic is.
AM: With summer hair dreams in our minds what are 3 products that are a must to give you perfect beach hair?
JA: OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil – Rosehip Oil reduces the appearances of scars and redness and is known to lock in moisture, so it’s great for both skin and hair.
OUAI Sun of a Beach Ombré Spray – In the summer people want to spend more time outdoors and less time sitting at their salon. There are new trending ingredients (like the coconut water in our Sun of a Beach) that help keep hair hydrated and give this fun throwback product a modern update.
OUAI Wave Spray – Give your hair natural wave & body without the crunchiness and it’s made with rice protein instead of salt so it won’t dry out your hair.
Christophe Robin Prickly Pear Balm - This is a non-sticky, multipurpose balm infused with all butter and oils to nourish the hair and skin so you can use it all over. Rub some together in your hands and rub it on your ends for a more textured look. To tame frizz, rub a little on your hair and smooth down those flyaway. And for curls, it can be used to redefine and add shine/hold.
AM: What are your favorite products from your line?
JA: My favorites would definitely be the OUAI Treatment Masque because I love the individual packettes that are perfect for throwing in my purse or gym bag and doing a treatment while I work out. I’m also obsessed with the OUAI Dry Shampoo Foam because it’s unlike any other hair products on the market. You can extend between washes 3-4 days. It’s dry shampoo on steroids. You need it in your purse, your gym bag and your hair right now.
AM: What classic updo hairstyle do you suggest should become our go to look this summer? Let us know how we can achieve it and what products we need to have on hand to make it happen.
JA: I suggest the Textured High Pony
1. Pull hair in back into half pony
2. Add the rest of hair and secure with an elastic at the crown of the head
3. Use OUAI Dry Texture Foam to pony for added volume and fullness
4. Finish with a toothbrush and OUAI Medium Hair Spray to smooth flyaways
AM: When you're not working, where do you go for a cocktails and a great meal, where do you work out and where can we find you shopping?
We have been a fan of Dr. Paul Nassif since we first started seeing him on BRAVO's Real Housewives of Beverly Hills where he introduced us to his world of Plastic Surgery as well as being a skin care expert. Whether we've seen him on a number of talk shows or on his addictive series on E! Botched with Dr. Terry Dubrow, that focuses on clients who are looking to have their visions become a reality after attempting surgeries that were not done appropriately.
Dr. Nassif created a skin care line that we wanted to know more about and are ecited to find out more about how this can go within your beauty routine to ensure that you keep that dewy glow that we're all looking to maintain.
ATHLEISURE MAG: For our readers that may not be familiar with you, can you tell us a little bit about who you are, and how you became a Celebrity Plastic Surgeon and Skin-care Expert?
DR. PAUL NASSIF: I’ve been practicing as a world-renowned facial plastic surgeon for over 20 years, and I’ve been working on my skincare line, Bio-Clock Dermaceuticals, for over 5 years. I juggle surgery 5 days a week, filming the E! TV show, Botched, and traveling to appearances on HSN and TVSN (Australia) frequently throughout the year.
AM: When did you realize that you wanted to create a skincare line?
DR. PN: After years of performing facial plastic surgery, I knew that I wanted to create a line of products that could help not only reverse the signs of aging, but most importantly, prevent them.
AM: What is in the current collection of your line and what does it do for the skin?
DR. PN: Bio-Clock Dermaceuticals was born out of a desire to change the skin from the inside out. These products are full of actives that address common issues, such as dehydrated skin, and reverse signs of aging.
AM: It seems that these products take care of the issues that many are concerned about from lines, under eyes as well as the neck - are there other skin concerns that you will tackle with future products?
DR. PN: We are working on adding a product with SPF to our line. I often see patients with major sun damage, which is hard to reverse. It’s very important to take the steps necessary to prevent sun damage.
AM: As people go from their 20's, to 30's, 40's and 50s what are preventative measures that users of your products can do to ensure that they are maintaining a beauty routine that makes their skin look supple and radiate a glow?
DR. PN: I always tell people to ensure that their routine contains an exfoliant, a super-hydrating serum, and an under eye cream that reduces dark circles and fine lines.
AM: How important is hydration to the body and does the skin take in moisture differently as it ages?
DR. PN: As you age, your skin requires more hydration to counteract the natural occurrence of fine lines and wrinkles. Using products that contain Hyaluronic Acid, such as my Hydro-Screen Serum, is the key to hydrating your skin and reducing those pesky wrinkles, ensuring that your skin is smooth for years to come.
Readers of this magazine know that we love Reality shows and BRAVO is a personal favorite of our Co-Founder and Style Director. Any show that involves the Real Housewives franchise and their spin-offs is always a winner in our studio. Lala Kent is a fan favorite on Vanderpump Rules which showcases the lives of hostesses, servers, bartenders and DJs that work at SUR with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Lisa Vanderpump. In addition to watching this self assured hostess, Lala has a passion for music and this past season we see her perform, and she has also launched a beauty line which we included in a number of looks within her editorial.
From the time Lala came to our set for this shoot, we realized that she is just as stunning, witty and as personable as she is on the show. This girl’s girl talks about how she became a part of this show, where we can find her in LA and more about her beauty line, Give Them Lala. Of course we had a great time incorporating some must have summer looks that are chic with a twist!
ATHLEISURE MAG: We've been fans of yours since you first appeared on Vanderpump Rules. What were you doing prior to this show and how did you end up connecting with the show and what was the audition process like?
LALA KENT: Before the show, I was going on casting, auditions, and fit modeling was paying my bills. Vanderpump Rules came to me when I was eating at Sur. Lisa saw how I interacted with some of the people that worked there and offered me a job as a hostess. With that came a position on the show!
AM: Throughout the seasons that you have been on, we have seen you join the cast, feel out the cast, make bonds, adjust and in this past season it seems like you really came into your own - how has being on the show allowed you to grow and what are you proud of after all these seasons?
LK: Being on the show has been amazing. I think being able to look back and reflect on my actions has helped tremendously. I’ve been able to see when I stand up for myself and when I’m acting like a fool! Everyone that is part of the show has brought a lot to my life and continues to help me evolve.
AM: Can we assume that you will be back for another season?
LK: Yes! I will be Giving Them Lala for another season.
AM: You and Lisa have such a great relationship and seems like the ultimate mentor and life coach rolled into one - what is it about Lisa that makes you comfortable to hear her feedback and to take her advice?
LK: Lisa has such a kind heart and offers such motherly love and advice. That, on top of seeing that she is a successful woman, you can’t help but go “I need to listen to her because she’s got it figured out”.
AM: We know that Stassi is a fan of the goat cheese balls at SUR. What are you fave dishes and/or cocktails that you enjoy there?
LK: Oooh I love the goat cheese balls too! They are insane. I also love Joe’s pasta and the Penne Sicilienne...and the dumpling. The sauce is epic.
AM: This season we actually see you perform! How long have you been interested in music, what were the elements that came together to make you embrace performing and what can we expect next within this portion of your career?
LK: I grew up in the arts. From choir to plays to musicals, I was just obsessed with it all. Once you leave high school and it’s no longer something you have the luxury of just doing everyday, you slowly lose the confidence you worked so hard for. James really reminded me of my roots and what I love to do. From here, I just hope to keep making music. It is extremely therapeutic for me.
AM: Tell us about BOY - what inspired you to make this song, how is it doing and what's the next single? When does your album drop?
LK: My song BOY just hit number 1 on iTunes in the Electronic genre. That is amazing to me. I was inspired by how it was so EDM but also trap. It gave me creative freedom to think of myself in a different setting, which was very “club”. That’s out of the box for me. I have another single out called “4 U” on iTunes and Spotify. It is a completely different feel than “BOY”. We also just finished recording a song called “What’s it For”. That will be out within the month. As far as an album goes... my schedule is crazy. I think an EP is going to be my next venture. I can’t wait.
AM: We're living in a time of women taking things to the next level and creating a strong community of support - this season you were embracing this belief and really rallying the cast as a whole and especially the woman on the show to do the same. How important is women's empowerment?
LK: I’ve always been a girl’s girl. I know that women get the job done and that there is nothing more powerful than a gang of females. We all have our differences- for me it’s about embracing one another and realizing we are stronger together than we are apart. This is an outlook that’s evolved as I get older. The things that used to make me insecure or second guess myself, are suddenly things I’m thankful for.
AM: We knew you were stunning, you came to set this way and then of course, we created amazing looks for you - so it was not a surprise to us that you have a cosmetic line coming out. Tell us me about the line from the thought behind it, what is currently available, what will be available down the line and where we can get it!
LK: #Give Them Lala Beauty has grown so much in such a short period of time. I started with only 6 lip colors and now have over 50 products. For lips we now have mattes, glosses, and liquid lipsticks. We also expanded into highlighters, eye shadow, eyeliner, and are still growing! My brand is my baby and she is growing up so beautifully. I’m extremely proud.