KAMEKO - NEW YORK
Kameko Grant grew up in rural Virginia and had a lot of liberty to free range. She was constantly climbing trees, building lean-tos and dipping in swimming holes, embodying a unique sweet spot where exhuberant meets fierce.
Today, she does rock climbing several times a week but also studies tarot, meditates and practices yoga. Kameko's motto is "Eat Well, Live Well" and as an in-demand personal chef she knows how to treat herself, her friends and her family well through creative, health-ful and delicious food... Served with a smile!
Inside/Out: What’s the first sport you ever practiced?
Kameko: When I was about 15, I found a VHS tape my mother had called "Buns of Steel". So i guess leg lifts and chair squats were my first sport.
I/O: And the first one that made you feel confident?
K: Yoga played a large part in my first "athletic" activity that made me feel powerful. But it was not until I started rock climbing (even though it was only indoor gyms at first) and faced my fear of not only heights but only looking up and never down or back that I felt truly empowered.
I/O: Was physical education a central element of your identity at school when you were a kid?
K: I was home schooled so "school" wasn’t something I experienced after the age of 10. But since I grew up in rural Virginia and had a pretty much free reign to run wild, I was constantly climbing trees, building lean-to’s and swimming holes.
I/O: Are you a sports fan? If so, which team/athlete?
K: I cannot deny the allure of the Golden State Warriors. I’m Team Thompson.
I/O: What sports heroes do you remember from childhood?
K: I wasn't ever really into anything traditionally called sports or athletics as a kid. One of my first crushes on someone who used their bodies as their medium was Rudolph Nureyev, which quickly moved to someone more "current" Mikhail Baryshnikov. I was always jealous my body could never form the same muscle structure as theirs.
I/O: Do you ever feel intense emotions during your mind/body workouts?
K: Rock climbing is such a solo sport and at the same time very much dependent on trusting in another person. For me the flow and ebb of trusting in someone else and trusting in your own ability and letting go of needing the person below is very powerful.
I/O: Favorite sports moments of the last 20 years?
K: Climbing my first face in the great outdoors. I froze 20 feet from the top and freaked out. But100 ft in the air I was able to focus and dig up crazy reserves of strength and managed to not die. Like I thought I was going to for beat.
I/O: Do you have a mantra?
K: "Eat Well, Live Well."
I/O: How would you define the relationship that New Yorkers have with the active lifestyle? Do you feel it always been this way?
K: I vacillate between being irritated at all the sidewalk joggers on my commute and wanting to high five them like they’re running the NYC Marathon.
I/O: Do you think that New York sportswear has had an impact on global style and fashion?
K: Absolutely. The first one that springs to mind is the pickup game "Steez" that you find at neighborhood courts as well as pro basketball fashion and how much that has permeated so many aspects of the fashion and music world.
I/O: What is your ideal performance garment or product?
K: What I love about my sport of choice right now is that anything you feel comfortable is considered the best performance wear. Jeans, chinos, shirtless...drawstring belts, mostly second hand.
I/O: What lifestyle rituals or routines do you do before or after working out?
K: Before working out I usually study tarot or meditate. After yoga, I usually move directly to cooking, its feels like a natural extension. After climbing, straight to eating. BBQ in particular. There is an amazing place a block away.
I/O: What about beauty: the perfect hairstyle for training? Accessories? Products?
K: I am a huge fan of bandannas, verging on some sort of ridiculous fanaticism. Coconut oil and one of those crazy archaic blackhead removal tools.
I/O: What activities say New York the most?
I/O: From street to studio, define your style.
K: I live in the same pair of APC jeans I have been carefully breaking in for years, almost daily. White button down or white tee. Bandanna, somewhere. Studio is literally whatever I feel is comfortable enough to move in. I actually have a pair of Citizen jeans I wear all the time to climb.
I/O: What active/wellness/lifestyle trends do see happening? Which do you like? Which ones are over (or should be)?
K: I don’t think any of the should be "over" per se. I feel like health and sports trends come an go (hello, "Buns of Steel"!) but as long as its working for you I guess thats alright. But do I think these finding that "thing" is a moment to dig deep.
I/O: What activities have you recently discovered or want to try?
K: Wind Surfing.
I/O: In the city that never sleeps where does mind/body training fit into your life?
K: I mean. I’ve bouldered in NO.6 clogs in Riverside Park. Just got to look for your openings.
I/O: Do you feel that you are part of a sports or wellness community, online and/or off?
K: Not really. I climb alone a lot or with various partners but the solo aspect of it is part of what drew me to it in the first place.
I/O: What destinations are on your lifestyle wish list?
K: I want to see the Northern Lights, and Red Rock and El Cap.
I/O: What role does music play in your practice(s)?
K: It’s everything! It influences me so much. Different songs for before and after. I never listen during.
I/O: How did sports of physical activities impact your eating habits?
K: I crave rawer things, I’ve noticed that and meat. That and more, more!
I/O: Does challenging yourself physically take you out of your comfort zone in other areas of your life?
K: I can be kind of shy I guess, so meeting literal strangers and putting my life in their hands within moments of meeting them is something that takes a certain adjustment.
I/O: How do you strive to find balance between different areas of your life?
K: It’s more difficult and yet easier every day. The time seems to slip away faster but my resolve to scratch that space out in my daily routine out is stronger.
I/O: What does female empowerment mean to you? Do you feel that women go further together?
K:100% they do. To me it means being able to see through the BS and also able to see multiple points of views. But most importantly, to not be afraid. Afraid of saying the wrong thing, seeming cold or harsh because it’s not feminine, or being soft and and a ball of mush because its too feminine. I guess, its all about rewriting the definition of femininity.
I/O: Do your wellness practices give you a sense of community? Is this a motivating factor or a secondary effect?
K: It does tend to be a common language I encounter on a daily basis. It definitely creates a sense of community of me and comforting as well. And at the same time, it is absolutely secondary.
TIPS AND ADDRESSES
1 tip to improve performance: find your weak spot and focus there
1 trainer: fear
1 power song: "The man who stole my sunglasses" by Khrungabin
1 app: instagram.
1 podcast: You CAN Homestead
1 blog/site: astro.com
1 food recommendation: Feed Feed
1 beverage: coffee
1 inspiration: my wicked, whip smart kids
1 woman we should interview: the next woman you pass on the street
Thank you to The Cliffs.