by Tracey Paleo ~ Gia On The Move
With the London 2012 Summer Games coming to a close on August 9th, Gia On The Move got a surprise treat when (Former Winter Olympian and US Skating Gold Medalist) Kristi Yamaguchi took some time out to talk to us about what its been like to be a champion, a mom, an entrepreneur and most of all an inspiration!
Since her days as an Olympic figure skater, Kristi has also been a New York Times best-selling children’s book writer, an NBC Olympics skating broadcast analyst, a Dancing with the Stars champion, head honcho and engine behind her Always Dream Foundation and in September, she will now be adding fashion designer to her list of talents.
Her activewear line, Tsu.ya (her middle name), set to launch in select Lord & Taylor stores, is inspired by her figure skating days, and will present a limited 18 piece edition of fun, trendy, modern chic, for fall with yoga pants, leggings, jackets, Ts and tops. Designed especially for busy moms who want to look and feel great, the line will feature ultra-comfortable fabrics tucking you in where you need it to and accentuating your figure where you want it to.
Additionally, a portion of Tsu.ya sales will go to Kristi’s Always Dream Foundation which funds programs that empower children to reach their dreams through education & inspiration. From giving back to the community to inspiring daily confidence, Tsu.ya is committed to helping women feel good both inside and out.
I’m ready to shop!
So I just had to ask…
Gia: Kristi, you’ve done so much since your Olympic & World Skating days. I have to admit, I had been such a fan and loved watching you compete. Your gorgeous artistry, grace on the ice and all of the work you put into what you loved was so inspiring to me personally and I dare say so many others who breathed a sigh of relief after every Triple Lutz. What continues to inspire YOU these days to keep up your hectic pace as a mom, a writer, clothing designer/entrepreneur, on top of running a foundation?
Kristi: Always having a challenge at hand keeps me young and inspires me. The work for the foundation inspires the board and myself and constantly motivates and pushes us to do more. My family, especially my two children, provide me with even more inspiration when there is energy and time to fit in other things as well.
Gia: What was it really like being called #1 in the world? It seems pretty mind-blowing to think about holding that sort of title.
Kristi: At that point, it was a mix of emotions. It validates years and years of hard work, dedication and support from family, coaches and everyone who has helped along the way. It really feels like a team accomplishment and it feels great to know it was worth it.
Kristi: The sizes range from extra-small to large (so XS, S, M, L). The clothing fit is very conscious to flatter the female figure. The clothing has a nice fit and details that accentuate the female body. Some of the details that accentuate the female physique include ruffles, cinching and rouching.
Gia: What separates Tsu.ya from other sports lines? You mention that having such a demanding lifestyle, until now you weren’t finding an active wear line to meet your needs. Are there any particular details that excited you in the process?
Kristi: The fashion aspect differentiates Tsu.ya from other sports lines. The line is highly functional workout clothing with an added fashion sense. The comfort of the line allows the clothing to be worn outside the gym while on errands. The whole process is exciting. Developing the name and logo nods to my Japanese heritage. Incorporating the logo into designs with the Kersheh Group and adding a twist to women’s active wear were exciting as well.
Kristi: I founded the Always Dream Foundation so I am the founder and head dream maker. I am highly involved with the foundation. My sister Lori is the executive director of Always Dream. I visit the office as least three times a week and nothing happens I do not know about or have a hand in.
Gia: I grew up in the RIF Campaign (Reading is Fundamental) days, when inner city kids got to choose books off of a “book-mobile” that travelled around Boston, so I was really excited when I saw that the foundation supports the Raising a Reader program. It’s definitely one of my favorites. What are some of the cool ways Raising a Reader gets kids excited to read?
Kristi: We are extremely happy to partner with the Raising a Reader literacy drive. The program gives kids a book bag to bring home. The drive encourages parent involvement in reading, which is a very important at-home component. We are bringing the technology side by providing e-readers for kids to experience two versions of books – electronic and hard copy.
Kristi: I went straight into skating and tours and pushed College to the side. I missed out on a college experience and getting a degree would be the one thing that I would change in my life.
My time as competitive ice skater taught me how to set goals and expectations, as well as put work in and come to fruition. My experience competing taught me to focus on my goals at hand and work through the obstacles that I faced.
Available at select Lord and Taylor stores and via the retailers website in September of this year with a limited A portion of Tsu.ya sales will go to Kristis Always Dream Foundation (http://www.alwaysdream.org/) which funds programs that empower children to reach their dreams through education & inspiration.