Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
If you want to get in shape, there’s no need to sign up for an expensive class. Cassey Ho‘s Blogilates channels offers entire Pilates courses, special workouts, and healthy living tips in the shameless environment of your own home. Ho’s approach has proven quite popular; since she now has over one million subscribers, we decided to talk to her about her life, her work, and her workouts.
Tubefilter: What do you have to say to your one million subscribers?
Blogilates: THANK YOU for letting me kick your booties every week with a new Blogilates workout! Your dedication and drive amazes me. You’re the most strong, beautiful, and inspirational fans ever!
TF: Why did you create Blogilates? Which fitness personalities inspired you the most?
BL: I never expected anything crazy to happen after I posted my first POP Pilates video on YouTube shortly after I graduated from college. It was only supposed to be for my real life Pilates students in LA who were going to miss our weekly workouts together since I got an offer for my first job on the East Coast. But after I posted it, I started to get more and more comments asking for other types of workouts focusing on flat abs, toned arms, and how to get a bubble butt…This is when I realized there was a whole community of people on YouTube. I began to listen to my fans and I gave them exactly what they wanted and that’s how my channel grew!
Mari Winsor is the name of the woman in the infomercials that had me mesmerized with the grace and effectiveness of Pilates when I was 16. I used Pilates to actually train my body for the Miss Teen Chinatown pageant. I think her instruction had a hand in helping me take home the crown! 4 years later I became a certified instructor in college. And just about a year ago, I got the chance to work with her on the set of Lionsgate’s Befit “Fit at Any Age”. I was so fangirling it wasn’t even funny. I think she thought I was insane. But the truth is, she is the one who inspired me to take on Pilates. Now I have my own format called POP Pilates that is a fusion: total body toning moves and fun upbeat music that makes working out like a party!
TF: Why did you choose YouTube as your platform of choice?
BL: I initially put my workout videos on YouTube just for my real life students to see. But like I said earlier, other people from all over the world started to watch. I love YouTube because it allows me to connect with so many people and share my love of teaching. It’s like I have workout buddies everywhere!
TF: How much of your success to you owe to the workout routines you create, and how much do you owe to your on-screen personality?
BL: As a fitness expert, it is important that the routines I create are effective. As a person, I make sure the workouts are fun and motivating. I think the reason why Blogilates is so popular and addictive is because my exercises are so intense but there’s just something about it that keeps you pushing past your limit…while smiling
TF: You claim to be the only Asian American female presence in the mainstream fitness industry. Why is this distinction important to you?
BL: Growing up in an Asian American family means you only have 3 career choices that are deemed acceptable: doctor, lawyer, or engineer. When I told my dad I wanted to do something else, he told me that I’d have no money, no friends, and would be unsuccessful. I was 16 at the time. I cried my face off and my heart was broken. It was hard to have confidence in myself when my parents didn’t believe in me at all.
So I took my full ride to Whittier College. 4 years later, I graduated with honors and a degree in Biology and didn’t apply to med school. My heart just wasn’t in it. In fact, I dropped out of Organic Chemistry to make sure I could sabotage any chances of me being eligible to apply. My parents were sooooo upset. We fought intensely. Then didn’t talk. Our relationship was on the rocks.
It wasn’t until Blogilates became popular that they realized there were other ways for their daughter to make it in this world. Eventually they turned around and became fully supportive of my dreams and passions. I want other Asian American girls to know that your dreams should not be bound by your culture’s ideals and expectations. Just believe in yourself and do whatever feels right. Don’t let anyone control your passion. Asians are few in the entertainment industry and even far more sparse in the fitness space, so I really am proud to be representing my culture!
TF: What would you say is the most important tip you can give someone who is just beginning to work out on a regular basis?
BL: Just start! One video at a time. If you’re really unsure about how to get started, I created a full 4 week calendar that will increase your strength and endurance every day. I’m basically your personal trainer. You will immediately feel the effectiveness and see the progress in your body within the week.
TF: How did your recent DVD release come about and what sort of response have you seen?
BL: From the tweets I’ve been getting, the DVD seems to already be sold out in a lot of Targets! I am so thankful for how supportive my fans are. It’s so cool to see my DVD there next to legends like Jillian Michaels, Denise Austin, and Billy Blanks. I feel like a little fitness baby with her dreams coming true!
TF: How do you decide what sort of non-workout content to feature on the Blogilates channel?
BL: Food is a HUGE part of my life. I love eating well and eating tasty. So the addition of my cooking show “Cheap Clean Eats” was an obvious choice. It also spun off of the many recipes I talk about on my blog. I wanted people to know that eating clean doesn’t have to be boring and expensive. A few favorites are the Lean & Clean Quesadilla and the Healthy Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich.
TF: What’s up next for Blogilates? Any excited plans for the near future?
BL: I’m actually writing a book with Random House that should be released this fall 2014! I also want to start a new series on my channel called “Body Talk with Blogilates” that will address taboo issues in the health, fitness, and beauty industry in regards to body image, fat shaming etc. It’s such a problem for many young girls growing up that they don’t have a sense of self worth anymore. Everyone is telling them how they should look and that beautiful looks only 1 way. It’s time to challenge that and create a positive mind shift.