Sports, Image & Power
Our founder opens up about her experience working with the world’s greatest athletes, how it helped her understand image and power—and even influenced the creation of one of Olio’s most popular products.
It's Olympics time again.
My history with sports is complicated. I've always been super active, but in individual as opposed to team sports. As a child it was BMX bikes ridden as fast as we could go on crazy country trails that we had cleared ourselves with machetes. There was also trail running and extreme pogoing. (Yes, extreme pogoing!) As I grew older, it became mountain biking, snowboarding, surfing and rock climbing. I still never thought of these as sports. Just activities. Mind clearing, fun activities - either alone or with friends.
It’s funny how we slip into judgment before we understand something. I thought anything played with a ball was genteel, not natural enough. I thought team sports were rigid and too full of rules.
In my 20s I started working as a MUA on commercials and movie sets. Pretty early on, I got tapped to work with athletes, starting with a few NBA players and the US women's soccer team. Fun fact: Those incredible athletes are the reason I started putting color into the balm I was making for my son Romeo—way before Olio E Osso was even named or branded.
But I still didn’t understand sports. At the time, I talked to everyone I was working with about food, family and politics. Never about goals, baskets or touchdowns. But I was fascinated by these driven people, who trusted me to help mold their image. They were ferociously powerful individuals. I learned so much from them.
One of the lessons that professional athletes taught me was the importance of finding your own power base—that thing or set of things that make you stand upright and feel 10 ft tall. For some people it’s community or performance. For some it is creative. And for others it’s crafting and polishing an outward image. I remember watching in awe as an athlete put on their game face, dressed up in that thing, with that look that made them feel powerful. I was inspired by Flo Jo’s and Serena’s maverick spirits and Mia Hamm’s calm. And how they used different wardrobe and makeup tools to telegraph their strengths. Loudly or quietly. Their choice. It’s in that physical and aesthetic artistry that I really learned to thrive, helping my athletes feel their best through makeup and wardrobe. Developing full looks that showed on the outside how they felt inside. It is my favorite part of what I do. Interestingly, helping other people find their power base has become my power base, and in a roundabout way I have sports to thank for it.
Finding your own personal power base shouldn’t be complicated. It doesn’t have to be obvious. Discover those things that make YOU feel upright and 10 ft tall. It doesn’t matter if they are related to one other or not. You can be the thing that connects them. Nurture your strengths: sports, community and creativity. And embrace your weaknesses not as failures but as opportunities for growth. This is what being around sports and all of the amazing athletes I have had the pleasure of working with has taught me.
I still have a solid base of clients who are professional athletes. And I’m still not a “sports fan,” per se. (Except for our daughter Cecilia’s all-star roller derby team!) But my appreciation for my clients and of the sports they play continues to grow. I now not only talk to athletes about food, family and politics, but I also give them recipes to back up my big talk. And sometimes, if needed, I develop a special balm or moisturizing oil to help them look and feel their best.
Play on, Beauties!