It was 5:00 PM in Monaco when fitness and wellness guru Ingrid De La Mare Kenny picked up the phone, filled with a contagious burst of energy that one would only expect from someone after a fresh cup of coffee in the morning. In the background you can hear the voice of her right hand, aka Operations Manager, Susan by her side making sure that everything stays right on schedule. It’s only the beginning of the evening but Ingrid has already had a packed day — from workout sessions with her impressive rolodex of clients, to orchestrating the inner workings of THE METHOD® and nurturing her online brand. Although she has a lot on her plate, Ingrid, who has conquered a bucket list of every girl’s dream careers from ballerina to celebrity stylist, has seemed to find her stride within a multitude of daily titles; from mother and socialite, to guru and CEO. With the utmost eagerness and humility, she sounds ready to tackle a deep dive discussion about her intriguing journey and how she found her way back to her wellness roots by turning it into the heart of her current career.
At this point, there’s no denying that Ingrid has been to some amazing places, and has accomplished some amazing things — one of them being working for Anna Wintour at Vogue. While a position at Vogue might be the ultimate career goal of millions of women around the world, for Ingrid, it was the end result of a series of unexpected twists and turns that took her down a path that she hadn’t quite expected. Her early plans of becoming a professional ballet dancer were abruptly halted when she was diagnosed with scoliosis as a teenager. From there, her eyes were set on law school and somewhere along the way, she changed gears to fashion — and her career took off. From dressing celebrities for major red carpets to working on the set of “Sex and the City,” Ingrid truly got to do it all through her 16-year career. And to get there, she credits nothing else but her willingness to succeed at all costs;
“…I would say to not be afraid to start at the bottom. My mother used to say in French, “There’s no such thing as a stupid job.” I definitely applied that rule in the fashion industry because there is no other way. There’s no diploma in the fashion industry or in cutthroat industries like that one to make it then start at the bottom and not have an ego. You cannot have an ego.”
Once the influence of reality shows and bloggers became more prevalent in the fashion industry (cue Keeping up with the Kardashians), Ingrid began to feel the urge to make an essential shift in her career. Throughout all of her early career shifts and even through her 16-year long fashion career, one thing had always remained an integral part of her daily life; and that was fitness.
“I’ve always been an athlete and I’ve always had a passion for the architecture of the body and the power of the mind over the body. So, I [went] back to my roots as an athlete and [realized] that there was a lack in …the fitness industry.”
If Ingrid could credit anything else for her withstanding career, it’d likely be a constant willingness to learn. Every journey that she’s embarked on began with a spark of inquisitiveness and an eagerness to know more. This is the very way that pilates, one of her favorite workout methods, was introduced into her life;
“I was looking for a discipline that would still give me the body and the belt of my ballet. I was a ballet dancer, so you get long lean muscle and a very strong and toned body at the same time. Pilates came on the market at that time; 19 years ago it was not very well known…I got lucky enough to work with a very famous Latina actress who was all curvy and beautiful. I went to LA to dress her for the Golden Globes. She had leaned out completely (with Pilates). So, I went to see and it spoke to my body.”.
This innate inquisitiveness is also what helped her discover what would become a life-changing practice, both for THE METHOD® and for her autistic son. Seeking to be of better assistance to him, who was having a hard time with the cognitive communication between the mind and the body, Ingrid began studying special education in night school and discovered Contrology — the early beginnings of pilates, and the budding solution to many people’s struggles with achieving fitness;
“I went to school to learn how to communicate better with [my autistic son]. I realized the power of speaking to the mind to get the body to follow. Then when I created THE METHOD®, I realized that it was very much the same with regular people who did not trust their body as much as they should and [were not] speaking to their mind in a certain way. The name Contrology…came from Joseph Pilates; He created something called “Contrology” which we call today “Pilates”. [This method of] Contrology [is about how the] mind controls the body. So, when you add [these ideas] up, you get THE METHOD®.”
More About Ingrid De La Mare KennyTag along for our intimate conversation with the one and only Ingrid De La Mare Kenny, as she dishes about her life, career, and how she balances it all.NL: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while trying to get THE METHOD® off of the ground?
People associate big heavy weights, big machines, and treadmills with transformation, and so for me getting THE METHOD® off the ground was difficult because people would think “this looks too easy, I’m never going to transform my body like that”. I had a lot of resistance at first until I had clients with transformation that came from different walks of life and different backgrounds like boot camp and cross training and heavy weight lifting with some cardio. It was hard for me to get it off the ground and get my message across about body transformation.
NL: Yeah, it makes sense! By now I’m clearly convinced, however, I was recently talking to a friend who works out a lot and eats healthy but is struggling to flatten her belly and she insinuated you were very likely born that way and have a fast metabolism…
The best thing I could do to convince people is tell them the truth about me; tell them my real age, that I went through a divorce, that my hormones went out of whack, that I had a few miscarriages. I think [that showing] this authenticity and [everything] I had to go through [during] all of these stages in my life with my body made it credible for women. I have punished my body before to try to get results. I’ve watched my daughter who is seventeen years old attempt to punish her body to lose weight. Instagram gave me a tool to be very authentic, and until I was able to show that authenticity, it was hard to get it off the ground and make people believe in it.
NL: How does training your professional athlete clientele challenge you to the push the boundaries of your own personal fitness routine? Or does it at all?
Working with professional athletes for me is challenging and it’s humbling at the same time because their needs are so different. [They possess] a need to be better at a discipline that I don’t necessarily practice. So, it’s more about body discovery. I let them discover muscles that they are not used to using so that they can overcompensate for parts of the body that they usually hurt while practicing their own competitive discipline. I have to make people good at a discipline I don’t necessarily know anything about. It’s just by getting to know exactly how to balance certain parts of the body.
NL: You are a wife, a mother, and a successful business-owner, What is the biggest challenge of finding your balance, wellness, and personal care?
It’s the power of saying no that I have a hard time with. That’s why Suzanne is in my life now. You want to be a perfect mother, wife and also run a successful business, but at some point everybody wants something from you. The more you want to give, the less you become good and productive. So, for me it’s learning to say no to certain things so I can be better at what I do.
NL: What would you say is the one thing in your day-to-day life that makes your life easier?
One thing that definitely makes my life easier is love. I know that sounds cliché but I’m going to explain. Any time I feel extremely overwhelmed (the fight is real out there) knowing I have a strong backbone at home is what makes my life easier. Each time I’m overwhelmed, pissed off and feeling a little bit like I’m losing my mind, I look back and [remember that] I have a strong backbone at home. For me, that’s a very powerful tool to be able to be grateful, to turn around and know I have that.
NL: You are so inspirational and relatable, and you always keep it real on your Instagram! How do you balance the slippery slope of being candid while maintaining a strong brand on social media?
I found each time I tried not showing the other side of me and trying to keep strong it made me less relatable. I’ve learned that my weaknesses tend to be what attract people the most. It makes me like you said, relatable. If I can give a piece of advice, the less you try to be perfect the more your brand has credibility. For me it’s just a question of balancing it out. I kind of choose and balance what I’m going to show and if something seems too perfect I think of the person on the other side. I’m like let me show that person it’s not all that perfect, so she can really be empowered. I think that’s giving credibility to your brand. I hate using the word authenticity because it’s become like a trendy word. But showing your weakness, as much as your strength is on brand now. Kindness is great for your brand and showing it’s not all roses. People don’t want the trendy and glossy stuff from the magazines anymore.
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