Fitness star Cassey Ho: Social media causes more harm than good when it comes to body image issues
POP Pilates creator Cassey Ho does not want fans to focus on just the 'physical' when it comes to fitness
Fitness star Cassey Ho may have got her big break as Blogilates on YouTube, boasting more than 3.5 million subscribers, but she feels that the rise of social media and its influencers is causing more harm than good when it comes to body image issues.
The 30-year-old Vietnamese-American told The New Paper on Saturday: "In school, we always compared ourselves with our classmates on how we look. Now, we have to deal with social media.
"Many people do not know what is real and what is not. Everything is Photoshopped.
"When we look at some social media influencers, we think they look perfect just like that, but maybe they have had something done, such as eyelash extensions or lip fillers.
"We start getting delusional on how beautiful we actually are. If only we realise what is going on, then we will not need to compare ourselves to others."
Ho was in town over the weekend to conduct her famed POP Pilates workout class during FitnessFest 2017 at Bayfront Event Space. The festival drew 4,500 people.
She also introduced her Pilates Intense Interval Training (PIIT28) routine to local fans.
For the past year, she has been working on a fitness mobile app and a podcast on female empowerment.
Both will be out by year end.
"In my podcast, I will be showing girls how to be leaders - that they should not just fit into a box," Ho said.
In the same vein, she posted on Instagram yesterday a photo of her in a bikini and emerging from a pool, writing one of the many inspirational pro tips she dispenses on a regular basis.
"Honestly, every girl can look good in a bikini. You just need to have the confidence to not care about what other people think.
"I used to be the one at the pool party fully clothed, because I didn't want anyone to see my body. If someone asked, 'Why aren't you going into the pool?' I'd say I was on my period and didn't feel good," she wrote.
"Accepting my body for the way it looks is something I'm working on daily. I love my body for what it can do! It's strong. It's magnificent. It's unstoppable. But when I focus on just the physical, that's when things get skewed out of perspective."
Last June, Ho visited Singapore for the first time to teach POP Pilates to a 3,500-strong crowd at the Zespri SunGold KiwiFest.
She said the event was the biggest mass workout session she has helmed in her career.
"I am so excited to be back here. Stepping out in Singapore is like doing hot yoga, because it is so hot here," Ho said, with a laugh.
"When FitnessFest asked me if I wanted to come and teach POP Pilates, it was a no-brainer. I had such a good time when I was here previously, and my fans were so supportive."
Whenever Ho teaches mass workout sessions, she feels like a "rock star" on stage as she is "empowering fans everywhere" to exercise.
"Since I started in 2009, people have been watching my videos online and doing their workouts at home. But when we finally meet in person to do it together, it feels special."
Some of her fans, including local ones, are also certified POP Pilates instructors.
Ho said: "I remember meeting some Singapore fans whom I have been following online, knowing their names and such. When I finally met them in person, it felt awesome.
"It is great knowing that they have made it a career, and I can see them being so invested in it.
"My fans are my true role models in terms of inspiring my work, and my Singapore fans are one of the best."