Former “Real Housewives of New York” star and founder of shapewear line Yummie Heather Thomson has another act up her sleeve. She more recently signed on with Tasc Performance, an activewear line born in New Orleans that offers up luxury, high-quality bamboo-based basics. We caught up with the energetic entrepreneur about working with the brand, her “Dirty Freedom” Mt. Kili climb (and how Tasc held up), and more. Take it away, Heather!
So Heather, how did you hear about Tasc?
It was through my girlfriend Memmy Staber, who’s a fitness instructor. She turned me on to the brand. Then Tasc started doing tee-shirts for my charity, No Barriers. That’s when I really started to wear the product and get to know it. It’s been four years since then, and I’ve been wearing it ever since!
Tell us a bit about the brand’s story…
One of the beauties of Tasc is that it’s a family business. [Tasc CEO] Al Andrews was in the fashion business for years and years. [His son] Todd followed in his footsteps. They saw a void in the market and wanted to fill it with something responsible, natural, sustainable, and different from what was out there. They set to task—no pun intended!—and were able to identify the right partners in India. Together, Todd and his partner found a corner of the market using a special spinning technique. I can tell you as a fashion designer, bamboo is a very difficult fiber to work with. It has to be treated differently. Tasc has been able to master it, and there aren’t a lot of companies out there that have. Tasc kept at it and persevered and they’ve created a bamboo product out there that’s second to none.
What’s your involvement with Tasc today?
I am a Freedom Guide, which means an ambassador to the brand. I wear and use the product, and enforce it with my name and my image, which is not somethings that I do lightly! There are very few brands, since I’ve launched my own company [Yummie by Heather Thomson], that I’ve attached myself to. Tasc is one of them. I’ve gotten involved wholeheartedly, consulting as their creative director and I have an advisory seat on their board of directors.
Which styles are your favorites?
I love, love, love the Challenge 3-inch Short. It’s hard to find a good-fitting lightweight running short, so that’s a real go-to this time of year, and it gets some sun on the legs! The other thing is the NOLA Tank, which is sleeveless. The whole NOLA grouping, including the Reversible Sports Bra, is a favorite of mine. What really got me hooked are the Elevation Merino wool pieces. That’s what I wore when I climbed Kilimanjaro. It’s one of the best products out there, and I’ve worn a lot of wool. The combo of wool and bamboo viscose has a beautiful hand feel so that it isn’t scratchy and it’s luxurious to wear…day after day after day [Laughs].
What makes Tasc a “Dirty Freedom” friendly brand?
Bamboo is an antimicrobial, so the odor-causing microbes that make your fabric stink aren’t capable of surviving on bamboo-based fibers.
What are your tips for getting in shape for summer?
One of the things that motivates me is commitment. Sometimes it’s easy to blow yourself off, but when you have a commitment to somebody else, like a trainer, it’s a commitment to that person. I’m going to show up and give it my all. That really has worked for me. I also love to be outside. Whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall, I find my way outdoors. I really believe that nature is nurture, and there’s nothing like getting outside and breathing the air, sweating a little bit, and getting your heart rate up. It’s my favorite thing to do. I also think muscle health is really important for bone health. People don’t understand that it’s your muscles that keep your bones strong and healthy. I just turned 47, and lifting weight is important for my overall health. I like to get in the gym a couple times a week and lift weights, and then I use my body weight outside. So after a run, I’ll get down in the grass. It’s a “dirty freedom” workout! [Laughs]
What songs are on your workout playlist?
I’m a huge John Mayer fan—I work out to his music often. Actually, I do everything to John Mayer. I even like that he’s a bit of a dog in a rockstar way. I’m an old-school rock ‘n’ roller—Lenny Kravitz, Led Zeppelin—really good guitar riffs is what I like to work out to.
What fitness goals are on your bucket list?
We’re going to keep climbing mountains! “Dirty Freedom” number two is in the works. I’m heading out to California soon with No Barriers to climb, and I’ll also do a climb in Asheville, North Carolina.
What are your plans with Tasc going forward?
What we’re starting to do is build off the foundation of the company, and adding new specific categories. Tasc literally takes you from the summit to the street, building out the lifestyle side of the collection versus just the technical side. The beauty of the bamboo fiber is it’s so soft and comfortable to wear. It works with you whether you’re working the side of the mountain trail or you’re just working your life, running errands, and running around. It’s nice to have fabric and clothing that offer you fashion and function. That’s always been something that turns me on as an innovator.