Comfort Champion: MC Barao on Fitness and Sportswear
Ex-fitness model and sportswear enthusiast MC Barao stopped by the Heroine offices to talk about her obsession with sneakers, streetwear, and her Frenchie, Tyson. Below, MC opens up her closet and adds some of her favorite pieces to the Heroine feed.
Kate Marin: You got your start as a fitness model for campaigns and editorials. How did that opportunity come about and how did it help shape your style?
MC Barao: An agency was doing a campaign looking to add fresh faces to their roster. I entered and was able to land a contract in their fitness division. I was exposed to tons of brands, how they fit, and learned how decision makers chose looks for campaigns.
KM: What are the most important things you look for in a garment's construction?
MCB: Fabric. I love it when the pieces feel soft and smooth as you move.
KM: It appears you spend a large amount of time traveling. Where do you visit most often and where is your favorite destination?
MCB: For the past 3 years, I was commuting from NY to the Philippines helping a fitness business grow their instructor team and produce a new workout experience. As for my favorite destination—Japan! Stunning scenery, people are so sweet and considerate, and the food and shopping experience is incredible.
KM: What are your favorite shops in Japan?
MCB: The HRM shops, Polo Vintage Shops, Kapital, and Fit Home Goods.
KM: Did you grow up in an athletic setting? How did you first discover your interest in sportswear?
MCB: Yes, my family was big on tennis. I remember watching the US Open and Wimbeldon as a family and playing on the courts with my cousins. I was also in track and field when I was in junior high and tennis was the household sport growing up. My interest in sportswear started when I moved to NY in 2011. Since the cost of living is so high in NY, I had no choice but to be very discerning with sports pieces that I purchased. The look of sportswear appeals to me because I have some fond and happy memories of going to the courts with my family to play and having fun at meets in cozy sports gear.
KM: What role does comfort play in your day-to-day style?
MCB: Prioritize comfort always. I never wear things that are uncomfortable—everything in my closet feels amazing to me.
KM: Who influences your style?
MCB: Men in general, but specifically my 2 older brothers. They gifted me with their hand-me-downs growing up.
KM: What does your beauty routine look like?
MCB: My beauty routine in 2 words: Paula's Choice. I had the worst skin that seemed impossible to clear until I tried their clear skin line. There are 3 products in the Paula's Choice clear line: cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. I enjoy it, but to me, skincare is not a ritual.
KM: How do you unwind after a hard workout or stressful day?
MCB: Big bear snuggle hugs with Tyson, my little sporty dog. He's a Frenchie and loves tennis balls.
KM: What are your top three sneakers?
MCB: NMD Pitch Blacks, Alphabounce, and NSW Gaitor Boots.
KM: What are your top three fitness tips?
MCB: Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can. (Arthur Ashe)
KM: What's the one thing you do every workout? Big or small.
MCB: Create a playlist!
KM: What's next for you?
MCB: I just submitted a draft for a manual on how to train fitness instructors. Once complete, I'll be pursuing more roles in content production and building Sporty Girl.
KM: What is your favorite piece you're selling?
MCB: The Rag and Bone Varsity Jacket. Only worn on special events, it deserves to be worn more often.