LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi, 41, has launched a fashion line called Tsu.ya, featuring t-shirts, leggings, jackets and other active wear.
Yamaguchi spoke to Reuters about her post-skating career and life with her two daughters and her husband, retired professional hockey player Bret Hedican.
Q: What’s behind the name Tsu.ya?
A: “It’s actually my middle name, and it was my grand-mother’s name. I liked it because it’s a nod to my Japanese heritage. We put the period in there because we thought it would break it up and make it easier to pronounce. And it looks good too.”
Q: Have you always been interested in fashion?
A: “I’d always been interested in developing some type of line. Now as an active mom, I was looking for clothes that fit into my current lifestyle and could accommodate other busy women out there.”
Q: What makes your line of active wear different from others?
A: “I wanted to infuse fashion into the active wear ... I wanted to do something feminine, something that could go from the gym to other areas of your life, whether you’re running errands or carpooling the kids.
“I also wanted to create a brand that gave back to the community. A portion of the proceeds of Tsu.ya go back to my foundation, Always Dream Foundation, which supports childhood literacy.”
Q: Do you have a favorite item in the line?
A: “There’s this one jacket - part of the line is called Flirt and it has ruffles for the accents. I find myself wearing that jacket quite a bit. It’s comfortable, lightweight and has a nice silhouette. The ruffles make it fun.”
Q: Do any of your girls exhibit your talent on the ice?
A: “The younger one has been skating since last November and loves it. But I don’t see a lot of me in her - she’s just not very focused! (laughs) Also, she has a different body type and a different cadence on the ice than I did. But I could care less whether she ends up competing or not. I just like to see her smiling out there.”
Q: Do you find yourself resisting the urge to correct her?
A: “Oh yeah, all the time! (laughs) And I do correct, but I’m not sure she listens!”
Q: When was the last time you were on the ice?
A: “I haven’t performed in almost three years. I never officially retired from the ice and don’t want to because who knows what can happen? I would really have to change my lifestyle to spend more time in the rink and train if I wanted to perform again. As of now, I’m happy with the path I’m on.”
Q: You’ve teamed up with Smucker’s Uncrustables sandwiches for a photo contest. What is that about?
A: “People can submit photos to www.uncrustables.com of their family doing something fun with their sandwiches. Then they are eligible to win a $15,000 check towards a family vacation. ... It’s all about being an ‘unstoppable’ family, which my husband and I consider ourselves to be, having kids and running from place to place.”
Reporting By Zorianna Kit