February 13 2020 – Bold Support
We know well the power of fitness and how it can shape one's life. How the love of the outdoors can calm our mind and open our soul. We also know how fashion can be a unique form of expression for one's creativity. From the streets of Milan to the metropolis of New York City, Eleonora talks about how fashion, yoga, cycling, and her true love all intersected into a wonderful life journey.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Italy. I am a native of Milan. I spent my childhood in between Milan, Ponte di Legno and The Emerald Coast in Sardinia. I was lucky enough to be able to spend every weekend and winter break during the school year in Ponte di Legno, a little village in the Alps where my father was born.
Ponte di Legno is also well known as one of the most infamous stages of modern Giro history, the one that involves the Gavia and Stelvio.
During the summer we were leaving Milan and stay at our summer home in Punta Marana, a little village on the emerald coast.
What do you do for work?
I am a body movement specialist, yoga teacher, author, model, and influencer. When I was in Italy, in order to support myself while I was studying Fashion Design at university, I decided to get a certification as a personal trainer and Aerobic instructor. Little did I know back then that fitness will become such an important part of my life.
In 2003 I graduated at the IED in Milan and I started to teach Fashion Design At the Art Academy of Milan but I kept teaching Fitness on the side adding to my resume Pilates and Spinning instructor certifications. In 2007 I decided to leave everything behind and move to New York City.
I enrolled in a dance academy to obtain a student visa and there I discovered yoga, fell in love with it, got a certification and started to teach it full time (obtaining a regular O1 visa which allows me to work in USA based upon the achievement in my yoga career). While teaching I started to collaborate with different yoga magazines, writing articles and modeling for athletic clothing lines.
In 2014 I became the founder of ode to the moon a foundation that used yoga music and art to bring awareness on the topic of domestic violence and with that, I started to regularly post on IG. People started to follow me and slowly I built up a relationship with different brands till in 2018 I became one of the Alo Yogi and started not only to work with their athletic brand but also to teach at their stores and on the online platform Alo.moves.
How did you get started with yoga?
I did not have one moment when I found yoga. It was more that I kept stumbling into it and in the end I could not ignore it anymore. I used to be into fitness but in order to be able to live in USA I had to obtain a student visa. In order to do that I enrolled in a dance academy. I had to take 20 classes a week. Mostly ballet and modern dance but they offered also yoga so I started to take classes to fill my requirement. Those classes were designed for dancers but I remember enjoying them very much. Despite how ecritic and complicated my life was back then, everytime I was taking a yoga class I was feeling a little better.
But I was not really attracted to it.
I wanted to move and back then those classes felt too slow for me. The real change happened when one day, after a terrible fight with my ex I decided to just walk in a yoga studio on my way to the gym. He had screamed at me: you are crazy - you need yoga.
And so I did.
I went for a yoga class and that day changed me. I stumbled in a Bikram yoga class. Hot as hell, no music, 26 postures to hold one minute each (and then 30 seconds). 90 minutes of constant struggle. I thought I was dying every second of it but once it was over what that class did to my mind was incredible.
I was humbling -‘d life changing.
For 90 mins I forgot about all my problems. The exhaustion of my body completely freed my mind.
When did you fall in love with fitness?
I was lucky. My dad was an avid skier and my mom a swimmer, so I started to take swim and ski classes since I could walk, maybe even before that. I grew up skiing and swimming so somehow movements were routine for me.
I loved to try different sports as a kid but when I started high school and my schedule became busier I joined a local gym and fell in love with aerobic. So as soon as I turned 16 I got a certification and start teaching!
So I think my passion for fitness was born with me. It was always there.
How do you see yoga and fitness influence and impact the body/mind/soul?
As I mentioned before, movement saved me.
Growing up helped me to overcome a lot of the emotional challenges I had. Yoga helped me to ground and discover my true strength. Movement, in general, made me the person I am. Resilient, very disciplined, curious, ambitious, hard worker and adventurous. Body and mind are so connected, the more I get older the more I realize that.
The impact that movement had on my soul is incredible and quite inspiring.
How did you and Brendan meet?
We met at Belmar Bike Shop, in Belmar, NJ. I walked in the shop and saw this pink frame in the workshop area and I asked who‘s bike was that and he popped out from behind the counter and said: mine.
It was love at first sight. With both him and his bike!
I had met him a year prior to that, always at the bike shop. We had briefly chatted and I liked him right away but did not really have the chance to see him again after that. He ended up building me a pink bike as well, mostly I think because I kept stealing his. I ended up tattooing his bike on my arm because, at the end of the day, she stole my heart as well!
Has cycling always been part of your relationship? Do you ride together often?
Yes, it has always been. We met at the bike shop, he made me fall in love with the mountain bike and he built my all-road bike. We ride together a lot. When the weather is warmer we spend the weekend riding road bikes together and in the winter we mountain bikes together as well.
His athletic abilities are way higher than mine on the bike, but we love to spend that time together anyway. He rides with his friends and then he meets with me and he loves to challenge me and push me to get better and better. I appreciate that a lot...when the bike ride is over :)
What does it mean to you to share the love of fitness and cycling with your Fiance?
It means a lot. We both love riding so much. And being able to do that together is a great gift. We are getting married in June and we choose to do our wedding reception at the Belmar Bike Shop. Our second home. The place where we fell in love. The place where we spend a lot of our free time with our friends. One of the places that feels like home here in NJ.
How do you see your platform and message growing in the future?
It’s funny, I never think about the future. I know my message will grow and evolve because I will change, grow older and transform as an individual. I hope that I will always be able to inspire people to be the best version of themself, to keep challenge themself, stay healthy in both body and mind and more than anything to embrace all they are, imperfections included.
What do you love most about your new custom Giordana suits?
Every damn thing. I was so excited when I discovered I could customize my own kit! I am a fashionista after all and I love beautiful things ( I am Italian :)). I had a few Giordana kits and I loved riding in them so being able to make a kit with my own design was a dream coming true.
It all started because I met Paola Panzeri on IG. I fell in love with her and her kits (the one with the roses especially) and I kept asking her if I could buy it from her. She suggested I talk to Giordana but I did not listen until at the Philadelphia bike expo I met Kem at the Giordana stand. While chatting with him and praising Paula and her kits he told me that I could do my own design if I wanted to. I went home, called the office and in one week we had everything ready.
I can’t wait for the weather to get warmer and rock my new kit! I feel like Cat Woman in it. A superhero!
What was the inspiration for the suits design details?
I am obsessed with animal prints and with felines in particular. I wanted to create a kit that made me feel like Cat Woman (ha ha ha). I had a bunch of leopard kits already but I wanted something more sleek and elegant. Something that could be a statement but that could also go with my bright pink bike. Something that I could wear with Brendan ( I made him one too).
So I decided to do a leopard print black on black. I also decided to give importance to the Italian flag because I am Italian and I am proud to be one.