It’s easy to adopt the cynical “dreams don’t come true” mantra, but it seems like more and more millennials are pursuing and achieving their dreams. Want proof? Look no further than YouTube star and entrepreneur Cassey Ho, AKA Blogilates. Her YouTube channel has nearly three million subscribers and features her own POP Pilates workouts, healthy recipes and vlogs. On top of all that, she sells her own clothing designs, the latest being her POPFLEX active line.
But before becoming a YouTube sensation, Ho was just a regular college student majoring in biology. Despite her academic abilities, her true passion lied outside the world of Mendel and microorganisms. Ho, like many students today, began college unsure in herself and her choice of major. Rather than let her degree stifle her, she pursued what she was passionate about and her nontraditional career path shows there is no “right” way to do life.
College Magazine: Before YouTube, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Cassey Ho: I always dreamed of becoming an evening gown designer. I had a natural talent for drawing fashion figures and clothing at a really young age.
CM: What did you study in college?
CH: As a first-generation Asian American, my parents demanded that I be a doctor. So, I took a full-ride scholarship to Whittier College and majored in biology.
CM: What were your post-grad plans while you were still in school?
CH: I honestly felt empty during college because my heart wasn’t in medicine at all and I didn’t see a long lasting future for me in that career path. At the same time, my passion for Pilates and fashion design grew even stronger. So as a senior, I designed a high-end line of yoga bags as a side business thinking that that was going to be my way into the fashion world.
CM: When did your career on YouTube begin?
CH: When I was getting [ready] to move away from LA for my first job, my Pilates students at the gym were getting devastated that they wouldn’t see me anymore. So I made a short 10 min YouTube workout video for them and told them to do it anytime they missed me. That was 2009. It was literally for 40 people. Now, I have nearly 3 million subscribers. It’s crazy.
CM: When did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career on YouTube full-time?
CH: It happened very gradually. First I quit my desk job after half a year, then I started teaching Pilates in studios “full time”, or as full time as I could before collapsing from how physically exhausted I was. Then in between classes, I’d film YouTube videos and blog for fun. It wasn’t until I moved back to CA that I realized I could make a living from making YouTube videos, so slowly, I’d teach less and less classes.
CM: Many YouTubers don’t have a college degree. Do you think that your degree has given you an advantage in this new media industry?
CH: I don’t know if the education itself gives me an advantage, but the college experience does give me a solid foundation in understanding why certain people think a particular way. This, in turn, gives me an advantage in negotiations and psychology. As far as practical application and tools – I would say real life work experience and internships prepared me more. Oh, and Google. Google is great.
CM: How has YouTube created other opportunities for you?
CH: YouTube has allowed me to connect with millions of people all over the world beyond my local classes. I love that I can literally be teaching Pilates 24 Hours a day. Because of YouTube, I’ve been able to partner with awesome brands who help align with my message of positivity and fitness for life. And best of all…it helped me launch my career as a designer.
CM: What are your goals for the future?
CH: No matter what, my ultimate goal is to continue to inspire people to reach their potential not only in health and fitness, but also in life. In terms of business, I would love to see POPFLEX in retail clothing stores. I also want to train a large POP Army who can spread the vibrant message of POP Pilates into gyms across the world.
CM: Do you have any nuggets of wisdom to share with the college students of today?
CH: Follow your heart and your passion no matter what. Trust yourself, work hard and you will be successful. There will be ups and downs, but push through them to achieve your wildest dreams. This life is yours, so do what makes YOU happy.