“You have three career choices,” declared Cassie Ho’s parents: “A doctor, a lawyer or a failure.”
Cassie may not be a doctor or lawyer, but she’s certainly no failure.
During high school, Cassie had proclaimed that her dream career would be fashion designing. But her parents convinced her to attend college and work toward a medical profession.
Cassie’s future had other things in store.
Whenever she needed a break from homework, Cassie started a Pilates workout (a set of exercises focused on flexibility, strength and mindfulness). Often her friends joined. Cassie soon landed a job as a certified Pilates instructor and launched her YouTube channel, Blogilates.
Since then, Cassie Ho’s audience has grown to more than 8 million subscribers who look forward to her exercise tutorials, nutrition tips and lifestyle videos. She focuses on establishing healthy habits and inspiring people to be the best versions of themselves. Her workouts range from 30-minute challenges to 20-second clips on YouTube Shorts.
Cassie’s bright personality encourages her viewers to tackle even the most demanding exercises. And using the platform of Blogilates, Cassie launched an athletic clothing line called Popflex, allowing her childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer to actualize, too.
In my experience, fitness content tends to focus on weight loss and being skinny (especially when aimed at women). But Cassie’s approach is different. Although she does have some videos about waist training and losing weight, she strongly emphasizes that health and exercise is an individual experience. Her mission in posting workout tutorials is to help her viewers become the best versions of themselves. She notes that different bodies respond to exercise differently, and that’s OK.
In fact, in her video, “The ‘Perfect’ Body,” Cassie wanted to “battle body shaming and cyberbullying.” She responded to unkind YouTube comments about her body by making a satirical video. In it, she Photoshopped herself into having the “perfect” figure. In doing so, Cassie reminded her viewers that someone’s body doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to that person’s fitness level.
Cassie’s expertise in the fitness world (as a certified Pilates instructor) adds to the usefulness of her channel. Not only does she provide valuable tips for nutrition and exercise, but she also shares physiological information about the workouts she leads. Cassie also speaks to women’s health. In her video, “Losing My Period,” Cassie talks about the harm of extreme exercise and diet by sharing her experience with amenorrhea.
Plus, on a less serious note, Cassie’s encouraging words and lively personality make her videos enjoyable (even if the workouts are challenging).
Some might consider Cassie’s fitness wear (including sports bras and leggings) to be a bit revealing, but no more so than what anyone would typically see at any gym.
Likewise, a majority of Cassie’s YouTube Shorts advertise and display her Popflex athletic line. She discusses how the clothing items fit on certain parts of her body, and Cassie will occasionally mention specific parts of female anatomy. To demonstrate the fit of her products, Cassie might squat or bend over, and some of the items Cassie models from her swimsuit line can also be revealing.
Cassie’s videos contain advertisements for her clothing line, and some of her earlier content includes sponsorship from other companies.
In addition to being a physical workout, Pilates is also a “mindset” exercise. Usually, Cassie’s references to this aspect of Pilates are positive. She talks about how working out can improve mental health, and she promotes positive self-image. However, sometimes Cassie includes messages about living your personal “truth.”
On her main YouTube channel, there’s not too much in the way of language concerns. Occasionally, Cassie will misuse God’s name while doing a difficult workout. In a collaboration video with other YouTubers, we hear someone voice the unfinished phrase, “Where the eff—?” Another person nearly uses an s-word.
Cassie’s YouTube Shorts can be more problematic, language-wise. Sometimes the music that underscores these videos includes uncensored profanity and other objectionable content.
It’s refreshing to see a female fitness influencer who advocates for a positive outlook on body image. Young girls can easily become obsessed with the lie that diets and weight loss are the only path to beauty. Cassie Ho dispels that deception, emphasizing the message that fitness should ultimately make you feel healthy (not conform to impossible beauty standards that undermine your self-esteem).
Some of Cassie’s videos (especially her YouTube Shorts) include profanity, and parents of younger viewers should note that a few videos exist to sell Cassie’s clothing products. Still, Blogilates offers generally clean content. And Cassie Ho’s upbeat workout tutorials might provide necessary inspiration to start your own fitness journey.
Sarah Rasmussen is the Plugged In intern for Summer 2023.