Caroline Gaimari has been the fashion director of Purple Fashion magazine and a creative consultant for over 10 years.
She lives between Paris and New York, covers around 16 international fashion weeks per year and travels non-stop, simultaneously managing to maintain a steady martial arts practice. Her preferred discipline: ju-jitsu. This summer, this bad-ass gal is going to dedicate more time to sports, self-care through continued travels around the globe.
Inside/Out: What’s the first sport you ever practiced?
Caroline Gaimari: As a kid I did lots of different sports – ballet, soccer, cheerleading, track (shot put!), figure skating, roller skating…I did it all.
I/O: And the first one that made you feel confident?
C: My first true love for sports came when I started Thai boxing a few years ago. That was love at first fight!
I/O: Was physical education a central element of your identity at school when you were a kid?
I/O: Are you a sports fan?
C: I love watching MMA, jiu jitsu, boxing. I can rewatch legendary jiu jitsu matches anytime! I am a huge fan of Eddie Bravo, Marcelo Garcia, Saulo Ribeiro, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Letty Ribeiro, Mackenzie Dern, Cyborg, Kenny Florian, Saenchai, John Wayne Parr...The list goes on and on.
I/O: What sports heroes do you remember from childhood?
C: I was a Scottie Pippen fan!
I/O: Do you ever feel intense emotions during your mind/body workouts?
C: I don’t think so much during my training. The most effective way to train is to just react in that moment, to have an intrinsic connection with your gut instinct. So the less thinking you can train yourself to need, the better. The one practice I have that I’ve found to be intensely emotional is Yin Yoga – locking into one position can cause a kind of release.
I/O: Favorite sports moments of the last 20 years?
C: That’s way too difficult to answer! Eddie Bravo VS Royler Gracie!
I/O: Do you have a mantra?
C: I really like the mantra of my gym in New York, Workshop Jiu Jitsu @ Five Points Academy: "Stand Strong".
I/O: How would you define the relationship that New Yorkers have with the active lifestyle?
C: Downtown New Yorkers seem to me to be more and more concerned with health and wellness. This is not the party city it used to be! New Yorkers are early adopters of new superfoods, workouts, athletic gear… I barely know anyone in downtown New York who still drinks alcohol.
I/O: Do you think that New York sportswear has had an impact on global style and fashion?
C: Well, I live most of the time in Paris, where it’s still a faux-pas to be seen in your activewear in more well-to-do neighborhoods. Activewear in NY is the go-to uniform now for any day not at the office.
I/O: What is your ideal performance garment or product?
C: For jiu-jitsu: you have to go with the traditional style in the kimono (or the “gi”) and the grappling style called "no gi" which is without the gi, and you wear spats (leggings) and a rash guard. The Rolls Royce of gis is the Shoyoroll gi! I had an awesome gi from Tokyo that I got at the Isami store, which was made by Reversal – but sadly after a year it shrunk like crazy in an industrial drier in NY – so I have to give it away! So now I am looking for the perfect new gi. For Muay Thai, I love my black Fairtex 12-oz gloves and my RCN lotion for before training.
I/O: Your favorite activewear brands?
C: 2xU, X-Bionic for compression gear. Compression gear is great! Nike for sweatpants and sneakers – I live in Nike Free sneakers. Shoyoroll! Fairtex for Muay Thai gear.
I/O: What lifestyle rituals or routines do you do before or after working out?
C: The dream would be to always have access to a sauna or steam room. I love a really good stretch after my training. I have also started drinking cold brew mate. My Brazilian friend Jeanne makes this tea called Cha Iracema, and the Brazilians drink it instead of coffee. She told me that the Japanese and the Indians have tried to grow mate, but it's special to Brazil. I cut it with water and drink it during training.
I/O: What about beauty?
C: My hairstylist (Mia at Pierre Michel) taught me how to do a roll braid, which is a game-changer. It’s basically the same result as a French braid, but your arms don’t get tired and it’s way easier. My friend Pamela Love gave me a bottle of Monk Oil – I always put on a face oil once I’ve cleansed after training. I feel like after all that sweating, your skin is perfectly primed for a rich oil – and Monk oil has been a revelation for me! I also use a shower oil that I found in Morocco – no need to apply cream after the shower!
I/O: What activities say New York the most?
C: Running. Which I don’t do!
I/O: From street to studio, define your style.
C: Outside of my sports and wellness activities, I love to wear pant suits! I got into them in the past year, after I got a custom one made by Pallas, and it has been a complete game-changer for me. For the gym, I now have only black gear, it’s easier to wash everything that’s all the same color – plus I just love to wear black! Black compression leggings + black compression long-sleeved tops.
I/O: What lifestyle trends do see happening?
C: I see that more and more men are getting into yoga and personal awareness, which is awesome. Also, foam rollers are the best!
I/O: What activities have you recently discovered or want to try?
C: I would love to try any kind of martial arts or yoga. I am trying to learn the full Ashtanga series 1. I just tried sound meditation and Kundalini Yoga and both of those were amazing, now I am really wanting to try cupping and crystal therapy!
I/O: In the city that never sleeps where does training fit into your life?
C: I have made a real space for training in my life – it is a priority for me. I have to get organized with work and my social life, but with a little planning, I am able to fit in training most days.
I/O: Have you ever traveled for wellness?
C: Yes! All of my trips have a physical component now. I have been to Thailand twice for training, for a month each time. That was incredible and I can’t wait to do that again. It’s a pretty rigorous schedule – training from 7-9 AM and then from 4.30 to 7.30 PM. You basically just eat, swim, train, sleep and get a lot of Thai massages. Which is my idea of heaven. I also did some beautiful yoga at Blooming Lotus on Koh Tao as well. I have gone to a surf camp, jiu jitsu in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, surfing and Muay Thai in Bali, surfing in Sri Lanka…
I/O: Solo or with friends?
C: I am lucky to have a handful of friends that also love to be physically active, that like the same kinds of trips that I do.
I/O: When do you feel that you are part of a sports or wellness community?
C: I am lucky to have trained with cool people all over the world. In jiu jitsu, for example, there is so much physical contact and trust involved, that you feel connected in a way to anyone you roll with! But, I didn’t start my sports trying to make friends, that has been a very positive by-product.
I/O: What destinations are on your wish list?
C: I would love to go to Nicaragua, hiking in Peru, do a real yoga retreat one of these days.
I/O: What role does music play in your practice(s)?
C: I wish I got to listen to music more during training! But I am so zoned out that I don’t even really realise if there is music or not.
I/O: Is working out and selfcare the new social/nightlife?
C: I hope so!
I/O: How did sports of physical activities impact your eating habits?
C: I try to cook or prepare everything that I eat. I really like to cook now, and it’s been fun to explore different techniques. I eat a vegetarian, mainly vegan diet. The hits so far have been my butternut squash chili and my veggie burgers. The fail was my gluten-free flatbread… When I am not cooking for others, I make like 80% of my food in the Nutribullet.
I/O: Does challenging yourself physically take you out of your comfort zone in other areas of your life?
C: The discipline my training has instilled in me has had positive repercussions on every other aspect of my life.
I/O: How do you strive to find balance between different areas of your life?
C: I take a zen approach whenever possible, I put the best energy I can into what matters and hope that the universe is listening. I know that I can't control everything and that sometimes you have to be patient or wait.
I/O: What does female empowerment mean to you?
C: I think that when you learn that a strong, healthy body and mind are your most vital tools, you want to see other women around you be strong and healthy.
TIPS AND ADDRESSES
1 tip to improve performance: Foam rolling!
1 trainer: Richard Simmons!
1 playlist: the "Selects" playlist by Major Lazer
1 app: Zero, an intermittent fasting tracker
1 podcast: The Joe Rogan Experience
1 blog/site: Thrive Market
1 food address: In New York, The Butcher’s Daughter. In Paris, Greenhouse.
1 beverage: Water with lemon and aloe vera juice or mate
1 woman we should interview: Pamela Love – I just got her do Muay Thai after years of boxing! And Maria Schoenauer in Paris.