Eileen Gu: Sport and fashion aren’t so different for the Chinese-American skier and model

Robert Hundley
Composed by Oscar Holland, CNN

Interview by Coy Wire, CNN

If Eileen Gu’s account of last Saturday’s Freestyle Ski Globe Cup function in Calgary is anything to go by, a day in the Olympian’s existence is as different as it is active: She took very first put in morning qualifiers, wrote two essays, examine some René Descartes and George Berkeley for a philosophy course and then “did some physics” ahead of returning to the slopes for the final.

“I won that, came again,” she ongoing, casually brushing more than her initial competitors physical appearance since past year’s Winter Olympics, “proof-go through my essay… turned it in, named it a evening at 10 p.m. and strike the hay. So that was 1 of those people times.”

This time very last calendar year, American-born Gu was less than two weeks absent from making her Olympic debut in Beijing, symbolizing China, her mother’s region of start. As one particular of the Games’ most seriously sponsored athletes, she was by now a recognizable confront. But several outdoors the skiing planet had witnessed her in motion. Any suggestion that her skills had been overstated shortly dissolved as she took residence 3 medals, such as golds in the halfpipe and huge air competitions.

In the 12 months considering that, Gu has enrolled as an undergraduate at Stanford University and been named amid Time magazine’s 100 most influential men and women. She has also bolstered her popularity as a really sought-just after model. In May, she created her runway debut for Louis Vuitton — in a torso-bearing outfit from the label’s Cruise 2023 selection — and has starred on the handles of Vogue Hong Kong and Singapore’s edition of Harper’s Bazaar in new months.
Gu makes her runway debut at Louis Vuitton's 2023 Cruise show in San Diego, California in May 2022.

Gu makes her runway debut at Louis Vuitton’s 2023 Cruise demonstrate in San Diego, California in May perhaps 2022. Credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images

“Men and women generally feel that fashion and snowboarding are these two fully disparate entities … when in fact, the core features are basically incredibly equivalent,” she mentioned, speaking to CNN sporting activities anchor and correspondent Coy Wire ahead of this weekend’s Wintertime X Game titles in Aspen, Colorado.

“Both equally are rooted in a feeling of self-expression and creativity. Each have to have a large amount of assurance, staying able to perform beneath force, and becoming equipped to be oneself unapologetically. And I imagine that people characteristics truly do have about.”

Not only do sport, school and trend overlap, they lead to one a further, claimed Gu, depicting the juggling act as a matter of symbiosis, not compromise. What she learns in psychology applies to snowboarding, which in switch sparks creativeness that she carries into trend modeling in the meantime gives lessons in resilience and assurance that are then used to her university function — “so it all goes in a circle,” she stated.

Check out: Coy Wire interviews Eileen Gu forward of the Wintertime X Online games

(Picture by Patrick Smith/Getty Images of Gu competing at the Beijing 2022 Wintertime Olympics.)

Hurtling down a halfpipe may possibly have tiny in prevalent with walking a runway but “all of it is connected,” the 19-year-old said. Drawn to motion sports activities for the feeling that she is “continuously pushing” her very own boundaries, Gu mentioned skiing leaves her experience “like I am able of just about anything.”

“Mainly because if I can push my entire body to do a double cork, who claims I won’t be able to incorporate yet another 180 (degrees rotation)? Or if you want to flip it into a different spot of my existence, who says I cannot get a better rating on the up coming take a look at, or shoot my desire journal?”

“Splendor is electricity,” she afterwards extra. “And splendor is being capable to be sturdy, not just in what your overall body seems like, but also what your human body can do.”

Eileen Gu reacts after her final jump before winning gold during the Women's Freestyle Skiing Freeski Big Air Final at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on February 8, 2022.

Eileen Gu reacts soon after her last leap prior to successful gold in the course of the Women’s Freestyle Skiing Freeski Major Air Last at the Beijing 2022 Winter season Olympic Games on February 8, 2022. Credit: Mao Jianjun/China News Services/Getty Photos

Design and style ‘characterized by balance’

The California-raised athlete — whose conclusion to stand for China provoked criticism from some quarters in the US — has lengthy been interested in fashion. Owning “stolen minimal parts” from her mom’s closet as a youngster, Gu attended her to start with manner week, in Paris, aged 15. The encounter was, she stated, “certainly life-changing.”

“Just viewing the way art can genuinely be place on the overall body, and how expressive it can be in a display. (It’s) not just about the people putting on the dresses and how they glance … but also about the environment, the songs, the established — there’s so significantly that goes into it.”

She describes her personal type, like considerably else in her lifestyle, as “characterized by equilibrium” — “among masculine and feminine, concerning elegant and sporty, concerning playful and mature.

“All of people really are various aspects of my daily life, and based on the day, I uncover trend is a excellent way for me to specific how I come to feel … I seem different each and every day, even in a handful of hours. But that is what is enjoyable about it.”

Gu is signed with IMG Designs, the agency behind Kate Moss, Bella Hadid and extra of fashion’s biggest names. She has worked with Victoria’s Magic formula, Tiffany & Co., Swiss watchmaker IWC and cosmetics big Estée Lauder (as effectively as a wide variety of makes in China, together with café chain Luckin Coffee, telecoms firm China Cellular and Inner Mongolia’s Mengniu Dairy).

Gu attends the 2022 Met Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Gu attends the 2022 Met Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Town. Credit rating: Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Illustrations or photos

These promotions served create Gu as the 3rd-greatest-compensated woman athlete in the entire world final 12 months, in accordance to Forbes, which approximated her 2022 earnings at in excess of $20 million. She also hopes the visibility can make her a function product for youthful ladies and aspiring athletes — the kind she reported she lacked when she was young.

“For me, expanding up, there were not that quite a few women in the ski market,” she stated, incorporating: “I’m younger and I am striving to do my ideal, and I just want to be the particular person that a girl at household can see on Television or on their cellphone and say, ‘Hey, you know, if she can do that, then I want to check out it, also. She seems to be like she’s having fun. When can I check out?'”

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