Behind the Scenes in Belize: Summer 2017
Meet some of the talent behind the Athleta Summer 2017 Photoshoot in Belize: KK Clark is an Olympic Water Polo Gold Medalist, Lauren Young is a Sports Broadcaster for the Big Ten Network, and Chelsea Yamase is an Adventure Blogger-Athlete.
Belize may be a tiny country in Central America, but it’s home to the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. Located between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is a world-class scuba diving destination, making it the perfect setting for our Summer 2017 photoshoot. Our team touchdown to white sandy beaches and got straight to work! We shot at some beautiful locations, including Ak’bol Yoga Studio, where you’re surrounded by crystal clear waters and can practice yoga right on the beach. A few of our incredible models shared what their experience was like in paradise.
What was your highlight in Belize?
KK: My highlight from Belize was definitely when we went snorkeling with sharks! We had wrapped shooting for the day, and a group of us boated out to a part of the reef where our local guides knew there would be exotic fish, turtles. and sharks (yikes)! Fortunately the type of shark we swam with was very docile by nature, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified! It was also a great example of how Athleta is so much more than a clothing brand. The sense of adventure, camaraderie and courage among the entire team confirmed to me that the Power of She goes so far beyond the clothing.
Lauren: Snorkeling with sharks was no question my favorite part of Belize! One of my favorite things about shoots with Athleta is the sense of adventure and the Athleta team. The team is always down for an adventure, we snorkeled in an underwater nature preserve. Prior to this experience, I was terrified of fish and everyone was so supportive and encouraging. It definitely helped that KK was there and made me feel a lot more comfortable that at least I wouldn’t drown! Turns out once I was in the water I LOVED it and was totally fine! We saw stingrays, green eels, beautiful coral fish, a sea turtle and the best of all Nurse Sharks!
Chelsea: The diving at Hol Chan reef was just spectacular. All of us girls were magnetized to the water, you couldn’t get us out. We swam with curious stingrays and huge schools of fish in crystal clear water. I had actually dove there previously, but it was just as magical as I remember. Some of the crew even got in the water. It was fun to see how the underwater world entrances us all – from first time snorkeler to seasoned freediver.
How do you stay focused under pressure?
KK: When I trained with the women’s Olympic water polo team, our sport’s psychologist introduced us to mindfulness and also led us through guided meditation sessions. While practicing mindfulness may not be a technique that works for everyone, I really found value in learning how to cultivate an awareness of my own thoughts. Our minds dictate our actions and behaviors, so if we can master our minds we can master our lives! One specific technique I used to ground my thoughts throughout the Olympic Games was to identify three things I could hear, three things I could see, and three things I could feel. I would do this during player introductions before our games actually began. Focusing on the senses is a great way to anchor yourself in the present moment.
Lauren: When I feel pressure no matter the scenario I am in, I try to turn any negative internal thoughts into encouragement and praise. Tackling whatever I need to tackle is much easier when I am in a positive and confident mindset.
Chelsea: I think I’m lucky in that my brain works well under pressure. The single most important thing for me when trying to stay focused – whether it’s walking a long slackline, diving, speaking at an event, or taking a test – is to be mindful of my breathing. Focus on the breath and the task at hand then take an extra moment if I need it, there is no sense rushing and not doing it well.
What are your travel essentials?
KK: It depends on the trip (and length of flight) but my favorite travel essentials are a good book, my GoPro, my journal, my wireless Beats headphones and PLENTY of water.
Lauren: I use an all natural skincare regime, so I don’t leave the house without Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Sunscreen, Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturizer, Cocokind Organic Original Lip Balm, my iPad Mini, a pair of running shoes and my ID.
Chelsea: Traveler’s skin care kit from Ursa Major, re-useable water bottle (I have an insulated super cute one that says “Aloha” from Mizu), a portable USB charger, Li Hing Mui seeds, cozy clothes + socks, and tea – I drink a natural powdered blend from Four Sigmatic that promotes creativity and energy.
What do you love about Athleta?
KK: What I love about Athleta is that it’s a brand built around empowering yourself and empowering your fellow woman. I love that. Athleta has built a tribe of like-minded women whose mission is to support one another while we challenge our individual selves. I feel blessed to have played for a water polo team that emphasized so many of the same values. There’s no better feeling than knowing you can take a risk and somebody’s got your back.
Lauren: In my own personal experience, I have loved working with the team at Athleta. They really embody the brand and are genuinely nice and caring people. When it comes to the clothing, I love that Athleta keeps the female body in mind with everything they design. Athleta truly is the perfect brand for all women.
Chelsea: I love the ethos behind Athleta, the idea that it’s designed and celebrates the power of womanhood. Strength, beauty, bravery, and intelligence are all interwoven in my book. Athleta’s leggings and sweaters are my favorite.
Who’s been most influential in shaping who you are today?
KK: My mom is my compass! I know I can bounce ideas off of her, vent to her, and ask for guidance. She always asks the right questions- ones that beg additional thought and reflection. I also grew up very close to my grandmother, we lived in a multi-generational household. I really believe there is so much to learn from her generation. The lessons they both have taught me are invaluable, and my aim is to always be a source of pride for them.
Lauren: This is a really tough question because I have been lucky enough to have so many influential people in my life, but the most influential of them all has to be my Mom. My Mom taught me how to be the type of woman I can be proud of, she taught me to be strong, fight for what I believe in and respect myself. Hi Mom!
Chelsea: Kimi Werner has been a huge mentor for me. She’s a professional spear fisherwoman, environmental advocate, and artist with the biggest heart and strongest moral compass. She defines for me what it means to live within one’s own truth, work hard, and live passionately yet unconventionally.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know these fabulous ladies! Connect with KK, Lauren and Chelsea on social, and for more behind the scenes from our Summer 2017 Photoshoot, click to read Behind the Scenes in Hawaii!