Here's a peek at how reporter Katie Warren uncovered a surprising culture among star instructors at trendy fitness company SoulCycle
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The Inside Story."
- This week, we're interviewing reporter Katie Warren who exposed sexualized behavior and claims of fat-shaming among some star instructors at popular fitness company SoulCycle.
- Warren explains how covering the lives of the rich and famous prepared her for digging into SoulCycle, how this story came together, and her view on the future of the boutique fitness industry.
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Talk about your reporting process for the piece. How long did it take to come together?I started working on this soon after I wrapped up my previous SoulCycle piece and spent about a month reporting it while working on a few other stories at the same time. I started by going back to many of my most helpful sources for the previous story. For everyone I spoke to, I always asked them who else I should try reaching out to and asked them to connect me with other sources if possible. I also found many new sources by scouring LinkedIn and even Instagram for people who had tagged photos at certain SoulCycle studios.
Weekly check-ins with my editor helped guide the reporting process. I went back to some sources several times to nail down specific stories. After most of the reporting was done and we knew the gist of the story, we put together an outline and then I started writing. I almost always do additional reporting as I'm drafting the story and I see where there's a hole or where I need to go back to a source for clarification on something.
Why is this story an important one to tell?SoulCycle instructors undeniably hold positions of power. They are the faces of the brand, studio employees bend over backwards to keep them happy, and riders idolize them. And yet some of them are accused of using their power in ways that hurt people.
This story also speaks to the uncertain future of a brand that's been struggling with internal power struggles, executives jumping ship, and of course, the pandemic keeping many of its studios closed. Before I started reporting on SoulCycle this year, some of its community had already been feeling disillusioned with a company that they see as failing to uphold its stated values of inclusivity and acceptance. So I think a lot of people are interested in seeing what's going to happen to the company.
What do you think is the future of the boutique fitness industry post pandemic? Do you think these types of high priced spin classes will continue to be packed with riders?
I think people are going to be wary for a long time about being packed into a room to exercise with a bunch of strangers. There are so many personal trainers who offer free workouts on Instagram now, and many people have Pelotons or SoulCycle bikes at home. So I think people have gotten more used to working out at home during the pandemic. I don't think group boutique fitness classes are gone forever, but I think their glory days may have passed.
What's been your most rewarding experience as a journalist?
You're moving to Singapore soon. What will you be doing there?
Yes, I'm so excited! I'll be the first reporter at the Singapore bureau, so I imagine I'll be doing a little bit of everything at first. But I plan to continue my coverage of the lifestyles (and sometimes misbehavior) of the world's one percent, from high-end real estate and luxury travel trends to investigative features on the most interesting brands and people in hospitality, travel, entertainment, and more.You can read Katie's reporting on SoulCycle here:
SoulCycle's top instructors had sex with clients, 'fat-shamed' coworkers and used homophobic and racist language, but the company treated them like Hollywood stars anyway
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