Camille Kostek, who graced the cover of 2019’s most coveted swimsuit magazine, is your newest member of Team MuscleTech. The model, actress, TV host and spokesperson got her big break as a professional cheerleader for New England’s football dynasty, balancing her academics with a 70-mile commute to and from games and practices.
Kostek will be heavily involved in promoting MuscleTech’s line of proteins, including Nitro-Tech 100% Whey Gold and Grass-Fed 100% Whey Protein, as well as aminos such as Amino Build and isolates like Iso Whey Clear. Her fitness background spans 25-plus years, starting with dance classes as a toddler, and includes collegiate lacrosse and certification as a barre instructor.
She took time out of her busy schedule to chat with MuscleTech.com about life, nutrition, fitness and the power of positivity.
Q: We know your big break came through cheerleading and dancing for a certain professional football team in New England. So, what’s it like to perform in front of 70,000 people?
A: “To be a dancer, you have to be a performer. It’s about going out there, attracting the audience and putting on a show and adding to that electric environment for anybody who’s watching.”
I discovered that I loved being a performer at such a young age. I was addicted to getting out on stage and performing for those two or three minutes at a time. I couldn’t wait to get back out there and do it over and over again.
I have been performing from 3 years old, all the way up until now at 28 and I don’t plan on stopping. It’s something that I feel I was meant to do. It’s neat to see how dancing has really transformed into everything that I do in my life. Whether it be on-camera hosting, or public speaking, or modeling. Being a performer has become who I am. I think the best part about it is, you don’t have to speak to anybody else. Performing is a feeling and becoming that feeling that is shared to those watching. All in all, performing has shaped who I am and it’s my life.”
Q. When did you realize that both dancing and modeling could become a full-time career for you?
A: “Modeling for me is something fairly new. It’s probably what I’m best known for now, but it’s so interesting to me because I have some 25 years of being trained in dance. I have to give it up to my mom because she raised me in a way that allowed me to try out any and all things that became an interest to me and let me learn and grow to figure out my path on my own.
I’ve tried karate, took piano lessons, sang in choirs, tried out sports teams, and started my dance career in ballet classes as a little girl. I’ve really been a fan of the arts over the years, but dance was where I discovered what a passion is. It has shaped who I am.
As I continued to pursue dance year to year, I finally reached a point where I asked what’s next? How can I take dance to a new level? When’s the next time that I can do this? When’s the next time I can perform on stage? Once I’m done with high school, how can I turn this into a career?’ So, I had to learn and educate myself on my options.
I’m the oldest of four, so I didn’t really have that person to kind of look up to and ask. My mom is not a professional dancer. My aunt, my grandma, no one in my family is a professional dancer, so I really had to find my own path and figure out my personal journey as far as dancing goes. And let me tell you, when you have a passion, and you have a purpose, nothing will get in the way of what you’re meant to do, because I can’t even believe that I get to say that at this day and age, I get to do the same thing that really ignited my soul at such a young age. So, performing, and being a dancer… that’s mine for me.”
Q: 5’8” is not considered tall in the modeling world. So, how do you manage to overcome obstacles like that, even when you might not have any control over them?
A: “Standing at 5’8” is tall to me, but in the modeling world I had to learn that it’s not the industry standard. It was definitely something I wasn’t prepared for. It was something I was a little bit blind to. I thought, ‘Hey, if you go in and just own it, and you have confidence, you can get wherever you want to go.’ And that is true, but you’re going to have a lot of doors closed in your face many times too. You need to remember to continue staying true to yourself, because although you may have something that you believe in, it may not go your way every time for each room you enter for every job that you want.
Height is something that we have no control over. But, what I do have control over is not conforming to the industry standard, and breaking those boundaries. I didn’t want to do that for just me in my career, but I wanted to do that for other people. I believe that I was meant to crack into modeling at the point in my life that I did, and not anytime sooner for as much as I thought I should have. Having my break in my model career at the age of 25 also proved to me that age was a boundary I was overcoming too in the industry. Sometimes I think I would’ve been a little swayed if I was younger getting into the modeling industry, and listening to those kinds of limitations they request. Being told to lose X amount of inches, changing my diet, changing the way I train in order to shrink the size of my body. If I followed those requests, well, I wouldn’t feel like my best and true self. Working against judgement on height and weight in that industry eventually led me to the right people that aligned with who and how I wanted to be. I urge you to really trust the timing, trust the process, because nothing will get in the way of what’s meant to be for you.”
Q: What is that like in this industry? To battle the numbers?
A: “Battling numbers in this industry, speaking candidly, was never really an obstacle for me, personally. It was something that I had to take on in the industry, yes. But, I am so fortunate that my mom raised me in a household without a scale. She created a space where I never found myself obsessing over numbers. She always told me, ‘Camille, when you look in the mirror, it’s how you feel on the inside. It’s not about the number on the back of the tag in your pants, or in your bra, or in whatever it is that you’re physically wearing. It’s not about the number on the scale. It’s about how you feel.’ There’s so much truth to that. I remember a photo shoot where I wasn’t in the best shape of my life, but I was in such a good space mentally, and that makes all of the difference. Being comfortable in your skin creates an aura of love and a glow that radiates to all around you. Self love and acceptance will always outweigh any number trying to define you.
Q: How do you battle judgment? How do you battle having to judge yourself in an industry where physicality is everything? How do you control what you can control in limiting outside noise?
A: “You know, we like to call them ‘haters,’ especially in this day and age of social media and technology where people speak their opinions about you through their keyboard. It’s really, really easy to let these words hurt you, but only if you allow it . I am human, so I have my moments where I have had my breakdowns, or have wondered, should I be losing weight? Should I be doing this? Or should I not pass up an opportunity to do that? I definitely find myself questioning myself sometimes, but the one common denominator is constantly going back to, who are you? What makes you happy? Does this go against your beliefs?
I sound really redundant, but once you start to practice that, and start to honor yourself and understand that there will always be so many outside forces, and so many people working against you, that it always comes back to you yourself at the end of each day, every day, and you do what speaks to you, you know the answers already. No one else.
Even knowing this deep down, I still find myself asking for other people’s opinions at times. I will contemplate if they know the best decision for me. When you really sit with yourself, your inside voice knows the answer before anybody else anyway. The choice is always yours.”
Q: People might not know that you were once a barre instructor. How did that happen and what was the process for becoming certified?
A: “Barre came about simply because I missed dance. I missed getting into a studio every single day. Once I resigned as a professional cheerleader/dancer, I thought, ‘What’s next?’ I was picking up classes out in Los Angeles where I would train and perform with people who had dance backgrounds, but I wanted more. I wanted it every day and I wanted to kind of feel that team environment with a consistent group. A former professional cheerleader that I was friends with had opened up a barre studio, and she said, ‘Camille, I know you’re in town. I know you just resigned from the squad, do you want to join our team? There are so many other girls who miss being in the studio, and if you’d like to join, certification is happening in a couple weeks. Let’s do this.’ Without hesitation I replied with ‘Sign me up.’
I never knew that I wanted to be a barre instructor. I never knew I was going to be one. And I had never been a teacher before, only team captains. I’ve always really been the student when it came to workout classes. But I love challenges and mastering new things and meeting new people. This new job felt right. I tried out and met some of the greatest people. There’s nothing more fulfilling in a career than hearing that you’re changing somebody’s life for the better and that job led me to many of those moments as a fitness instructor.
I loved getting people up and moving, helping them move their energy after being in a dark place, or even recovering from an injury. Being able to help them or modify a workout for them, and have them come back each and every time to be better and take their fitness to a new level was inspiring. I still stay in touch with some of my clients from four years ago. I have actually considered going back in and doing a little guest teaching. That community is so much fun, it became a family.
That’s how I got into teaching. I missed being in the studio. I loved the concept between a workout and incorporating the ballet bar. It was a natural fit.”
Q: Community is a big part of who you are, and even part of your relationships, as you just mentioned. Talk about being in a fitness community – whether it be a barre studio, cheerleading, your partner Rob, etc.
A: “Community is wellness. Community is fitness. Community is everywhere in the health and wellness space. And no matter where you go in the world, like when I go out to Tampa and I visit Rob (Gronkowski), I’m always on the hunt to find and join a fitness community.
There have been times that I don’t know anybody in town or it may be that I don’t know anybody in the room, but you’re all there in this amazing environment looking to level up. it’s a way to instantly connect and meet people. I love the human connection aspect to training, whether you’re in a gym and you take group fitness classes, hopping into a barre studio or a dance studio, or whatever it may be, you find like-minded people in the room. What are we without our health anyways? Wellness will always lead you to some form of community, we are all just out here to live our life and make the most of it.”
Q: At what point did you start to pay more attention to what you were putting in your body? Things like lean muscle, especially given how important lean muscle is in ballet and barre? Or how protein can help supplement your diet to maintain maximum health?
A: “I started paying attention to what I was putting in my body at a young age. That’s all due to my mom who had control over what she was feeding me. She grew up in the Virgin Islands, so she was hand picking coconuts off of the tree in her yard, eating fruits and vegetables that were growing outside and I am grateful that she carried those eating habits to her children. When I was sitting in my high chair, before I had teeth, I was already eating avocados, yes before they became a craze.
My mom has taught me to be aware of what you feed your gut, because your gut is your second brain. Growing up as a dancer you are constantly looking in the mirror in a leotard and tights. You’re wearing very minimal clothing, and I couldn’t help but always study my physique, as a dancer you focus on body positioning, on technique, endurance and performance. It matters what you’re fueling into your body for each category.
If I would show up to dance after having a busy day and did not eat as much, my performance was pretty weak. Whether I was stepping out onto the lacrosse field, or I was going out to perform on the sidelines of a game for 7-hour days, it’s so important what you’re putting into your body. Supplements are something that I’m still learning about. But, one thing that I do know is I need them.
Vitamins, proteins and aminos all help me to perform at my best with mental clarity while building muscle. I have been learning the importance of getting enough protein into my body especially pre and post workout.
I used to train and do these hardcore boot camp workouts and just drink water. And my gosh Yes hydration is everything. But, you need something to help keep that muscle on. You need something to help add to those gains and the work you just put yourself through. I’m so thrilled that I have MuscleTech on my side, because this is a protein that I personally love. It’s not easy for me to find a protein that I love that both tastes great and feeds my body in a great way. This brand suits me and I’m excited to help bring it out into the world.”
Q: Do supplements come up in your relationship at all? Because you and Rob (Gronkowski) have very different fitness goals. He was trying to gain weight headed into the new season, and you obviously don’t want to do that. So, how do you have that conversation?
A: “Rob and I both have very different physiques and both have very different professions and our anatomy is clearly opposite. So when it comes to our bodies, different foods and different supplements are feeding us in different ways.
But, one thing that we know for sure is clean eating is so important in our household. Getting up, being active, training your mind, and training your body are all things that we work together on. We love doing band workouts. We love doing yoga. We love meditating together. We love making smoothies together. And sometimes our dinner plates are a little bit uneven in the sense of portions, but no matter what, we’re both eating clean food.
So, even though we’re in different professions with different physiques, one thing that we do have in common is what it is that we’re putting in our bodies and why we’re doing it.”
Q: What advice would you have for others who are having similar conversations with their loved ones? How do you turn fitness and nutrition into a team effort?
A: “My advice for turning nutrition into a team effort is talk to each other about what your goals are. I would find myself waking up and training early in the morning. Rob would always go into the stadium where he would get his workouts in. The times when we would find time to train together allowed us to take our fitness goals to new levels. I started noticing that I stayed in the gym a lot longer because I was eager to keep up with his workouts. Rob would notice things about my training when we would be together too. He has been able to correct my form and give tips and tricks for training at new heights. He knows what he knows best and I know what I know best. So, it’s really nice to learn new techniques, because when you’re doing something the same all the time, your body starts to get used to it.
One of my most memorable workouts with Rob was when I actually took him through the training process of my certification for barre. I wanted to practice teaching somebody especially since I was going to be judged on my performance the following day. And I said, ‘Listen, I need you to take my class. I need you to let me know how you felt. How did I do? Did this flow? Etc.’
And when I went to go teach him one of the movements, he had me cracking up because he wasn’t familiar with working out certain muscles in the body as a ballerina might. Men don’t typically turn their feet out like a ballerina when training. I had him stand in second position and turn his feet out, and sit into a squat and just slowly pulse, no weights needed. It was a new motion for him, working on an area that he had never worked before. I found it to be a pretty wild discovery that he had never trained that way while it has been something I had been doing for 25-plus years.
Meanwhile, he takes my body to the next level, showing me sled pulls and battle ropes that I hadn’t really mastered without his help. I definitely encourage team conversations. You guys can take each other’s fitness and wellness to new heights.”
Q: How do you define strong?
A: “Strong to me is being you. There is only one you and that is your power. There’s so much strength to owning all of who you are. It is a journey, but that journey defines that strength. That is power. That is strong. That’s strong to me.”
Q: The power of positivity comes across in a lot of what you do. So, how important is that? How do you maintain that positive energy when things aren’t going well?
A: “I think one of the most frequently asked questions I get is, ‘Camille, how do you stay so confident? How do you stay so positive?’ To that I say the power of positivity is so real. You can say that this sounds like positive affirmation BS, but it is real when you start to apply it to your life.
Your mindset affects not only your mood, it affects you physically. It affects you mentally, it affects you emotionally, and it’s definitely a work in progress. Going through the emotions and really grieving and feeling when you’re in a dark time, when you’re in a hard time, is part of that healing process.
I always tell people, stay positive, always be optimistic and keep peace in your heart. And what do I mean by that? You’re already so hard on yourself, especially as a woman. When I look at myself in the mirror, or I’m on social media, or I have to be a role model and kind of be on all the time, I get discouraged at times. Sometimes I second guess myself but then I remind myself to practice and apply what I preach.
Why be hard on yourself when many others are already doing that job for you? What is that doing for you? Worrying and instilling fears in yourself, setting limitations for yourself, you’re not helping yourself. You’re only bringing yourself down by doing that. It is the only option to stay positive in all situations. Whether it’s work, whether it’s relationships, whether it’s love, whether it’s career, always look at the positive. What’s not meant for you now could be meant for you in the future. What’s meant for you is always meant for you. Nothing will get in the way of that. When you’re passionate about something, when you hustle with your heart, it is seen. You will be heard by the right people at the right time. So, stay positive.”
Q: Where did #NeverNotDancing come from?
A: “#NeverNotDancing is something that came about by accident, completely unplanned. I am a dancer, but it has nothing to do with my professional dance background. It has everything to do with the fact that I have a hard time with staying still. Whether I am in a grocery aisle and I’m dancing, or I am in a room where there’s no music and I’m dancing, or I’m that first person to kind of step out onto the floor at a wedding to get everybody up and moving, it’s always been my icebreaker. I feel like it’s in my blood.
It got to a point where one time I was on the set of a photo shoot in New York City, and the photographer said, ‘Stay right there. We have to adjust the lighting. Do not move.’ Well, the song in the background was so good that I just had to dance. One of the women on set took a video of me and she said, ‘This girl is just never not dancing.’
I ended up taking that video and I posted it on my timeline about four years ago, and at the time, it was a little bit of a switch up on an Instagram timeline of posed photos. It was before videos, and reels became popular. I started noticing right away that people were really attracted to it by the way they were responding. They loved watching it because it made them feel good.
For the record, it wasn’t any professional kind of dancing, completely in the moment, goofy movements . I started creating this hashtag called #NeverNotDancing, and would post videos I would take of myself dancing or I would have my family and friends film me dancing in the streets, or at an event, in an appropriate place or not, I would have them capture me dancing around freely. Eventually it became viral.
Dance is a universal language. It’s positivity. It’s being a free spirit. It’s flowing. It’s living in the moment. It’s more than just the hashtag. It’s about how you feel. This hashtag became something that people loved sharing with me. All walks of life sharing dance moments around the world and I loved watching and then reposting to share with everyone on my platform.
Now, when I meet people for the first time they ask to make a #NeverNotDancing video over a quick picture. And I love it. It allows you to have more than just a ‘Hello, Goodbye’ little photo. I’m happy that it has become a part of who I am, because I am #NeverNotDancing, and it’s cool to share that energy with people right when we meet. I hope you get up and dance a little today if you’re reading this!”