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Person of the Day

PERSON OF THE WEEK: POP Pilates Star Cassey Ho On Expanding Her Fitness Empire

Cassie Ho and Stacey Gualandi

By Stacey Gualandi (@StaceyGualandi)/July 17, 2016
Twitter Cassey Ho: @blogilates

On a recent Saturday morning, I joined hundreds of other workout enthusiasts inside the 24 Hour Fitness Summerlin studio in Las Vegas to take a newly launched POP Pilates class with Cassey Ho.

I must say, it was shocking to see so many queue up and wait so patiently, just to be taught by Cassey herself. Well, I soon realized that I’ve been living under a yoga mat, because until that day, I was not familiar with Cassey Ho and her “POP army” of devoted POPsters!

“When you want something, it may not always be easy, but it will be worth it when you get there.” –Cassey Ho

When she finally arrived, there was an enormous cheer. That is, of course, because Cassey is the YouTube fitness star behind Blogilates, “the #1 female fitness channel with over 300 million video views and 3 million subscribers.” This class was special though because we were getting her LIVE, so she jokingly reminded us: “You won’t be able to put me on PAUSE!”

Cassey also created POP Pilates – an intense mat-based Pilates workout set to Top 40 hit songs – while a former instructor for 24 Hour Fitness. Now, she has partnered with the fitness chain to make her POP Pilates the official Pilates format for all their gyms throughout the U.S.

POP Pilates Total Body Sculpt Workout/Blogilates video

Cassey was all set to practice medicine, having earned a degree in Biology, but her passion was always fitness and fashion design. She endured dead-end jobs, and parents who thought she might be wasting her time on “fitness,” but she kept going.

It wasn’t until 2009 when she posted a workout video on YouTube – meant for only 40 of her students to see – that she realized her destiny. That one video gave way to thousands, and since then, she has written a best-seller, Cassie Ho’s Hot Body Year Round, and become a full-fledged entrepreneur by designing her own line of activewear and products.

At the end of class, I realized why she has millions of followers. She is infectious, motivating and is truly passionate about helping everyone follow their dreams. I now know what I’ve been missing!! I also was a little sore…but it was a good sore!

Cassie Ho class/Las Vegas/Photo provided by Stacey Gualandi

Now that I’m officially a member of the POP army, I got the chance to – first, catch my breath – and then ask Cassey what motivates her, how she found fitness fame and what one exercise she hates to do.

EYE: Before and during college, did you have a plan for your future?  Did you envision the “Blogilates” and “POP Pilates” success that you have today?

CASSEY: I always knew I didn’t want to pursue my parents’ dreams of my becoming a lawyer or a doctor. My dream was to become a fashion designer. But that wasn’t acceptable, so I went to college to study biology.

My heart was missing. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do or what my plan was, but I just knew I had to follow my passion for Pilates and design. I never envisioned Blogilates turning out the way it is today.

The World of Blogilates video

I just took a lot of scary risks, worked extremely hard and followed my heart. Today I’m able to share my passion with millions of people all over the world.

EYE: What sets you apart from other fitness instructors?  Did social media play a role?

CASSEY: I’m not your average fitness instructor. I’m not here just to tell you how to get in shape. I’m here to inspire you to live the life of your dreams while loving your body throughout the process. Social media plays a huge role.

Cassey Ho, founder of Blogilates/Photo provided by Stacey GualandiWithout YouTube, this never would have started. It’s how I communicate and stay close with my POPsters. It’s how I’m able to give free workouts to the world!

EYE: You have become a successful entrepreneur with your original Yoga bag line and Blogilates Designs. Did it come easily to you or did you learn as you go?  What one piece of advice do you give to other young women who want to become their own boss?

CASSEY: Being an entrepreneur is a lifelong journey. But the most important thing I’ve learned is that you don’t need a lot of money, a degree, or a whole team of people working for you.

As long as you have an idea that you’re passionate about, then you can make it happen.

EYE: What impact have you made on your fans and followers?  Is that what motivates you?

CASSEY: I’ve helped people not only transform their bodies, but also transform their lives and inspired millions to follow their dreams. It’s 100% what motivates me to continue doing what I do and provide the best for my followers.

EYE: You’ve written openly on social media about your own body image, being bullied and “chubby” as a child, striving for perfection, and developing an eating disorder.  Why do you think you fell victim to that mindset?  What feedback have you received from talking about something so personal?

CASSEY: I think my eating disorder and unhealthy obsession with exercise was partly caused by my ambition to work hard and achieve big. When I do something, I want to do it 100% and give it my all. I was far too obsessed with eating clean and my weight, that it became really unhealthy.

“I decided to talk publicly about it because I know many young girls go through the same experience. I wanted to let them know that it’s something that they can overcome.”

The feedback I received was amazing. At first, I really didn’t know how people would react, but everyone was so supportive and they even shared their own personal struggles with eating disorders.

EYE: What one thing has surprised you most about yourself?

CASSEY: Hmm, I don’t know if I really surprise myself very much, because everything I strive for comes from hard work, dedication, and a good heart. But I can tell you that the people I meet along the way surprise me.

Let’s just say that as the business grows, it becomes harder and harder to trust people’s intentions and sometimes I have to learn the hard way.

EYE: What is your personal message?  How has it evolved?

CASSEY: To find what you’re passionate about and use that to help people.

EYE: What is your proudest moment?  Do you feel like you are making a difference?

CASSEY: The moment I found out that POP Pilates was becoming a group fitness format at 24 Hour Fitness, my life changed. I never imagined that my twist on Pilates would turn into a class that people can go and take!

And the fact that people can now become POP certified instructors – ah, it’s just amazing and blows my mind every single day!

Cassey Ho/Pilates instructor, owner of Blogiates/Photo provided by Stacey Gualandi

EYE: Is there one quote – either your own or someone else’s – that represents who are you and what you’re about?

CASSEY: I love the quote “difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.” This goes for everything in life. When you want something, it may not always be easy, but it will be worth it when you get there.

And it’s so much more satisfying when you know it was a difficult path, but you got through it anyways.

EYE: Is there one exercise that Cassey Ho DOESN’T like to do?

CASSEY: I really don’t like running on treadmills. I’d much rather do cardio using my own body weight and without using machines.

EYE: What is your plan for world fitness domination?   (You’re so close!)

CASSEY: Connecting more and more POPsters together offline!

EYE: Thanks, Cassey! As a lifetime member of 24 Hour Fitness, I WILL become a POPster. Congratulations, again!

Photos provided by Stacey Gualandi

###

 

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PERSON OF THE DAY: Author Kristi Ling’s 3-Step Plan To Being Happy

 

Kristy Ling, author Operation Happiness/Photo: Wally Hawkins

Kristi Ling

By Stacey Gualandi/April 21, 2016
Photos: Wally Hawkins

TWITTER: @kristiling

When I sat down to read Operation Happiness: The 3-Step Plan to Creating a Life of Lasting Joy, Abundant Energy, and Radical Bliss, it made me happy. And it was not because it promotes the “11 Habits of Happy People,” or that it comes with a “happiness tool kit.”

This part memoir/part self-help book made me happy because my friend Kristi Ling wrote it. I’ve known Kristi for many years. She was always a bubbly, positive, glass half-full kind of gal, but I never realized during that time, she was also on a mission: to help others find true happiness that had eluded her for years.

“I never gave up. When you’re on a path to giving and sharing whatever it is you have to share with the world, the doors will open.”  Kristi Ling

Over the past decade, Kristi endured a devastating divorce, a soul-sucking corporate position and, most frightening of all, a rare illness that left her unable to use her left shoulder, arm or hand for over a year. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, she got to work.

Kristi poured over happiness research, scientific brain studies and other books on “how to be happy” full-time. Four years ago, she was “heartbroken and thought her life was over.” She says now of those difficult and painful years, “It was a means to get to where I am today along with everything else I’ve been through in my life.”


Kristi’s Book Trailer

This is her first book and after its release last month, she was overwhelmed by the positive response from “old and new friends and many, many, many people she never met before.” She says she invested countless hours into getting her message out.  [Read more…]

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PERSON OF THE DAY: Lizzie Velasquez Stars in New Anti-Bullying Documentary

Lizzie Velasquez, subject of documentary "A Brave heart"

Lizzie Velasquez on Capitol Hill/Photo: Women Rising

By Stacey Gualandi/March 12, 2015

TWITTER: @littlelizziev

The first time I ever heard Lizzie Velasquez speak was in October, 2014, at the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, an annual three-day event she inspired. She immediately captured my heart with the story of her emotional journey from bullying victim to anti-bullying activist.

While this was my first introduction, the 26-year-old was already a web sensation, with over seven million views and counting on her 2013 TEDxAustinWomen speech. She may weigh only 62 pounds at her heaviest, but she is no lightweight when it comes to speaking out against bullies.


How Do YOU Define Yourself: Lizzie Velasquez at TEDXAustinWomen

Velasquez was born with neonatal progeroid syndrome, an extremely rare genetic condition that prevents her from gaining weight. Throughout her life, she has faced one bully after another for looking “different.” But in high school, she saw an online video post that named her “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” That video would change the course of her life…   [Read more…]

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Author Laurie McAndish King Gets ‘Lost Kidnapped Eaten Alive!’

 

Author Laurie McAndish King reading at Book Passage for "Lost Kidnapped Eaten Alive"| Photo: Jim Shubin

Author Laurie McAndish King reading from Lost Kidnapped Eaten Alive! at Book Passage | Photo: Jim Shubin

By Laurie Weed/September 17, 2014

“Whatever you keep telling your friends about when you come home, that’s probably where your creative juice is…although sometimes, stories just present themselves.” Laurie McAndish King, travel writer and contributor to The Women’s Eye

A truly curious traveler is the best kind to follow, I’ve found, whether on foot or vicariously through stories and books. Never bored with the world—and thus, never boring—a curious traveler will always teach me something new.

Laurie McAndish King (@LaurieKing) is the curious type, with a scientist’s mind and a philosopher’s soul. Her first book, Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive! True Stories from a Curious Traveler, takes the reader on an unusual tour.   [Read more…]

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Innovation Dean Mitzi Montoya on Rock Stars in STEM

Mitzi Montoya, ASU Dean of Innovation at 85 Broads Luncheon 3/3/14

Mitzi Montoya, ASU’s Innovation Dean, speaking at 85 Broads Arizona luncheon 3/3/14
Photo: Bob McCarroll

By Pamela Burke/March 30, 2014

Recently I attended an 85 Broads Arizona “Amazing Women” event that featured a TED-like talk by Mitzi Montoya, Vice President and University Dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Arizona State University. She made me understand the meaning and importance of STEM, especially for young girls who are growing up in a world where these sciences are essential to their future choice of profession.

“STEM is about innovation. And it’s not just about getting a degree in Science and Technology, Engineering and Math. It’s about being STEM literate. That’s the foundation of future innovation and innovators. These are people who make a difference and they make things that matter.”   Mitzi Montoya @innovationdean

Dean Montoya’s call to action is to get involved and after you read her speech, you’ll know why. We don’t usually post talks but this is one we wanted to share. Here’s Mitzi Montoya…. [Read more…]

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Patricia Sexton’s Journey from Wall Street Banker to Anchorwoman in Mongolia

Patricia Sexton LIVE from Mongolia

Patricia Sexton on Mongolian TV

UPDATE 11/28/13: LIVE from New Zealand, Patricia launches her book in Wellington

By Bridget Stangland/November 24, 2013

TWITTER: @PatriciaSexton

“I was hungry. Suddenly, I had to make it, and I wasn’t going to arrive wherever I was going by coasting. This dream I believed I had—and I still wasn’t sure what it was—would have to be real.” Patricia Sexton

Everyone has a dream. Whether large or small, these dreams are what can motivate people in their daily lives. However, some never take the leap of faith to follow them. Patricia Sexton is an individual who took her leap. She’s the author of the popular blog and book, LIVE from Mongolia. I was excited to have the opportunity to speak with Patricia recently while she was in America touring for her book before returning to her home in New Zealand.   [Read more…]

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PERSON OF THE DAY: Author Anne Lamott Stitches Life Back Together

Anne Lamott by Sam Lamott

Anne Lamott/Photo: Sam Lamott

By Laurie McAndish King/November 10, 2013

Twitter: @ANNELAMOTT

“People ask why I called the new book “Stitches.” It’s because when we are stuck, or lost, or too sad, we can take one stitch.” Anne Lamott

“I wrote this book accidentally,” Anne Lamott explains. Two days after Newtown (the site of the December, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy), Lamott found herself in her regular Sunday School class, wondering What am I going to tell these children? Where do we even start?

But Anne did know what to say. A popular novelist, essayist, memoirist and political advocate, she has been inspiring people with her words for more than twenty years. Tell them the truth, Anne reminded herself. Start where you are. Breathe. Stitch things together. And so Lamott’s latest book, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair (Riverhead Books), was born.   [Read more…]

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Linda Ronstadt Shares Her Simple Dreams

Llinda Ronstadt at Changing Hands/Oct. 2013/book event

UPDATE 4/5/14: Linda will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 4/10/14 in New York. Linda Ronstadt Duets is being released April 8.

UDPATE 12/17/13: Linda Ronstadt will enter Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

By Janet Traylor/November 3, 2013

“I covered a big wide range of music in my career, and I wanted to write a book about why I made those choices and why they weren’t arbitrary.”  Linda Ronstadt

I often wonder how an artist becomes an artist. Many times, a life of creative expression emerges from seeds planted in childhood. I have long held an affinity for novelist Willa Cather, whose childhood, like mine, was colored intensely by early experiences of growing up on the Western Prairie.   [Read more…]

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