Getting Fit and Fabulous w/ Caleb Marshall
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 1 year ago

Getting Fit and Fabulous w/ Caleb Marshall

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Based in Los Angeles California, Caleb Marshall found a way to combine his love for pop music and dancing into an actual workout routine. He posts short videos online of him dancing along to some of today’s hottest hits. But a younger Caleb would have never pictured himself as a fitness icon. Today Caleb talks to us about how he started his career making dance videos and the steps he took to ensure he embraces his true, authentic self every day of his life.

Be sure to follow Caleb on IG and TikTok! Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Sebastian Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Straw media. At this point in your life, you've probably been told to be yourself at least a handful of times, whether it was during a pep talk for a first date or maybe a job interview. Most People's words of wisdom is to just be yourself, but for members of the LGBTQ plus community, it's a lot easier said than done. If you're queer, being yourself can be dangerous and can come with future life limitations. It can also be difficult to be yourself online, when so many people express their hate and negativity while hiding behind their computer screens. But Somehow Caleb Marshall found a way to be his most authentic self and he's never looked back. Caleb is what I would call a fitness pop star, also known as the fitness marshal. Online. Based in Los Angeles, California, Marshall found a way to combine his love for Pop music and dancing into an actual workout routine. He posts short videos online of him dancing along to some of today's hottest hits. People like to say it's more like Richard Simmons Meats Britney Spears. He's been making fitness videos for the past six years on his youtube channel, but a younger Caleb would have never pictured himself as a fitness icon. I thought that that was the last thing I'd ever go into. Today, Caleb talks to us about how he started his career making dance videos and the steps he took to ensure he embraces his true, authentic self every day of his life. I'm Caleb Marshall and this is pride. Caleb was born in the very small town of Marion, Indiana, I think, just the most stereotypical. I mean the biggest story we had was a walmart and that was like, whoa. You had to drive twenty minutes out of town just to get to red lobster and...

...so like. That was that was where I grew up. So was red lobster like the fancy restaurant and that everyone went to, like, Oh, prom we're going to red lobster. You were celebrating if you were going there, that that was for money. Growing up, Caleb's faith was very important to him and his family. He was raised Christian and attended a Baptist Church. It was something that was taught to me since I was very young, was Christianity and my family. How very conservative values, and so that was, I think, a big struggle for me because I grew up with the rhetoric that I was inherently wrong. His Church would tell him how much of a sin it is to be gay, and it's something that has affected me, you know, up into this day. When you're raised and such a small town with a man and a woman and that is all there is to it in just the whole structure. There was never, there was never another path for me, and so that was why I really was always so sure about creating my own path, because that's what I did for survival as a kid. Also, fitness helped me overcome and dance helped me overcome. It's because I felt so ashamed and so out of place and I really thought my entire life that I was just going to hell. Caleb love to dance, he loved to perform and most of all, he loved to listen to pop icons like Britney Spears. especially as like a young gay kid, listening to that this pop music, when I felt so out of place and insecure, really always brought me confidence and made me feel like I could do anything, and so I kind of took that love for Pop music and just how I felt and translate that into dance fitness once I got to college. When he went off to college, he saw it as an opportunity to find a space where he could feel powerful and accepted. I knew that I love to dance and I knew that I loved performing, and so those were two things that...

I thought maybe I could do within exercise. And so I audition to teach this cardio hip hop class and just basically did exactly what I did in front of my bathroom mirror my entire life, but did it, you know, for a professional audition and I got it and it just everything made sense and everything clicked. Before Caleb was posting his videos on Youtube, he was dancing in front of his mirror in his child hot home and his parents, well, they were the only viewers he had. I was very lucky and the sense that my family supported my love for acting and singing and dancing right from the get go. It was never a question. My Dad especially was very supportive. At first, calebs parents tried to help him find a hobby by signing him up for a sports team, but after he talked to them about his passion for arts, they immediately switched gears and encouraged him to pursue his dreams. You should be in acting classes and dancing classes and do whatever makes you happy, and so, although the sexuality was never tied to that, they never thought that those were intertwined. I always felt very, very supported for like cultivating my love of the art. So that was something that I felt really comfortable and I didn't have to hide, you know, dancing in front of my mom or my dad. So that was a huge blessing I had. I really got to be myself in that sense, Caleb never hid his love for the arts from anyone. In sixth grade he met someone who helped him show his entire city what he could do. There was this guy named mark fouser and he came from La and started this acting or this performing arts school in my hometown and it was like legit. We made town commercials, we got together and put on these giant shows for the whole city and it was really it was like a small town Hollywood. Just like calebs parents, people in town were supportive of his love for the arts. That's something that I do want to acknowledge because I think a lot of times I talked about growing up in the small town and how hard that was was with everybody...

...being so conservative and and not really in favor of any other sexualities other than heterosexual. But what they were is very supportive of the arts and and that sense, though Caleb love to dance and act, he initially went a different direction when it came to choosing a major. He was studying video production at Indiana University Bloomington, and so I thought that my goal in life was to be a music video producer. During his senior year of college, Caleb we did the best internship he could imagine for video production. It was here in Los Angeles and it offered him an amazing opportunity to work alongside professionals in the industry, and I realized that I hated what I was doing and I had this big, like Oh my God, moment, like what do I do with my life? Eventually, when his internship ended, he knew he had to face the music. And then I came back to school and really just accepted that the thing I loved most was teaching these dance fitness classes and I had no idea how to make money from that, because I was making literally like ten forty five an hour teaching these classes. So it didn't seem viable. But I knew that I loved I did, I knew how it made me feel and I really wanted to translate that to other people, and so I took that and made a youtube channel. But before I did that, I came up with the brand. I came up with the fitness marshal and a slogan and all of these other things that really felt ex writing and felt like it was this whole persona, and so I kind of took that and and threw that onto youtube and by the time I graduated, within eight months, had gotten a hundred thousand subscribers, and that was when I wasn't even like I didn't have a posting schedule, I didn't know what I was doing. I was just literally putting my passion online and it resonated with so many people and by the time I graduated I knew that this was what I was supposed to do. From the beginning of his dance fitness journey, he looked...

...to Britney Spears for inspiration. I remember I was sitting at home on my floor and I have that you know, like the bubble TV's just remember the baby one more time. In Bo marcill coming on and I saw this girl and pigtails doing backflips and dancing and I was just captivated and I don't know what it was, but from that moment on I was just like, Oh my God, this is this is what I want, this is what I want to do, this is what I went to feel. And I think just seeing the way that she carried herself on stage and how, like when I would see her talk on TV, she was just so real and just a typical southern girl who didn't really understand her her power, and I thought it was just so brilliant the way that she could have this persona on stage but still be such a genuine, good and kind person, and that both sides of that really inspired me. That's why I'm such a fan as because Brittany the performer, in my opinion, is just captivating and thrawling and inspiring, but Brittany the person too, as we've seen, especially with all of this free Britney stuff going on, is just so strong but also so just real and and that that spirit has been something that has inspired this whole journey of mine. I'm sure she knows. I would think like, especially with your videos goings, I mean it's I think it's always funny when there's like something, yeah, you created off like a person creates off of another person's thing, and that personally, really frivous. When they do notice now, I oh, this is legit. Yeah, I've never met her and I don't I don't know if I could handle that personally, but that would be a dreamt he has more than three million subscribers on youtube and his dance videos are seen by millions of people every week, but to his family and friends in Indiana he's still just caleb. I don't know if anyone really understood it.

And also it's like the digital space is so different than mainstream. So it's like I could have ten million subscribers on youtube but like, I don't think people in my hometown would understand that as much as like me being on the Indianapolis News. Like it's just it's a whole different world. But I think that once I started to do more traditional media and I just like posted more about my numbers, like hey, this video just got fifty million views, I think people really started to notice. But I never have fell like I've been treated differently or people look at me differently. I don't know if I'm just naive to it, but I feel like I'm still that kid who is performing plays on Christmas for my hometown. It feels very normal and especially with my family, like no one has like tried to extort me for money or fame or what to promote them. It's really always just been my friends and family that I that I knew before all this, and I also think having my tow bacup booties, who are my best friends from high school, is even better because it's just like where this family who's known each other for literally ten years or more, and it it. There's no ego, there's no competition, it's just genuine friends who are hard so down to Earth, and it really keeps us all grounded. Instead of recording his videos in a studio or even in his living room at home, Caleb looks to the great outdoors. In the background of his videos, you can usually find a beautiful mountain with hikers mosying along a path or walking their dogs. It's so fun because, I mean it's been that way from the beginning. It's we find a location, we throw up a tripod and we shoot the video really just in one take, like very rarely do we do multiple takes unless it's really bad, and so I think that element of just us being so genuine is necessary. It was important to him to be really authentic with his viewers.

He wanted to make sure they knew that he's not perfect. No one is, and I think so many people follow me because they feel like they don't fit in as well and they don't feel like they're perfect or look the right way or have the best dancing abilities or whatever that reason may be. And so, since I also share so many of those insecurities, I don't want to present myself in a way that seems unattainable or untouchable, and so I love for it to seem real. I guess we're on a mountain and there are really people just walking in the background and joining in sometimes, and it's just very authentic and I think the more that I take away from that, the less fun I would have anyways. And so it just it really works. Finding things that are real on the Internet these days is like hunting for buried treasure. More often than not, social media is full of filters, are brush selfies and paid sponsorships. So even though Caleb is determined to share a very real piece of his life online, it's not always easy. It's a constant journey for I mean even even now I'm so judgmental of myself and then the content I post, and oftentimes after a shoot I'll be like, oh, that was awful, like that sucks, we should Redo it, and then it's like everyone around me lifting me up and being like no, it was great, like don't worry about it, and encouraging me. So I think the way to get past is just is to get past it, but it also accept that it's going to be hard and it may not always be easy, like it's still going to be scary to put yourself out there. Maybe, maybe always. But what I've told myself is that the things that scare me or the things that are hard or often times the things that I really need to do, and every time I do it it's never as scary as it was in my mind and I've always felt like those scary moments or what has propelled me to to the next the next rung or wherever I'm trying to go in my life. And so I really make it a point to to tackle the scary things head on when we come back Homophobia online and...

...reconciling with his face. Welcome back. Today we're chatting with fitness star Caleb Marshall. After Caleb realized he didn't want to become a video producer, he channeled his love for Britney Spears into making fitness videos dancing to top pop hits. He usually records his videos outside on a public hiking trail, which means he has his own life studio audience when people walk by. So I think that we're generally just having such a good time and being so joyful it. Most people are just like think it's funny and we'll smile and like take videos. Maybe they're saying things that I don't hear, but I really try not to pay attention to that. There was one time where a guy walk past, and I'm trying to remember which video it is, but if you look in the background the whole time you can see him just just flipping us off like his whole way down the mountain and I was like wow, he was an older guy and I was like you really took the time out of your day to to flip me off. Why we're just dancing on the mountain. Not many people are willing to say anything to Caleb in person about his dancing, but thousands are ready to share their hateful comments with him online. So often times people act one way in public, but once they're behind a user name, then their true thoughts and feelings come out. And I mean just yesterday I was I was in a really bad mental head space and I felt very stuck on a dance I was making up and so I went through some of the comments on a video I just posted and it was a really fun like literally fifteen seconds of me just dancing and being kind of full out and extra and it kind of it got pushed so not just my fans saw it, but it really went to like millions people and so I got to see what just the general public thought, and it was so many comments about just like how gay he is and out can't watch this, or this is why...

I don't like gay people, or like why does he have to be so gay, or just so many comments, and it's just like I really forget sometimes how ignorant people still are, because they just know that you can't do that really facetoface. But people still feel that way and there's still so much homophobia out there and it just makes me sad because I really feel like I'm just being happy and and trying to be joyful, and so when my joy is just attributed to my sexuality, that's really annoying because like, yeah, I am gay and I'm celebrating, I'm having a great time, but it's like if all you can see when you see a gay man dancing and being joyful is his sexuality, then you're just so simple minded. That's so sad. Personally, there have been times when I have chosen to ignore social media for a while in order to steer clear of all the negativity that comes with it. We'll just turn off my notifications for like a week and try to pretend they don't exist. But when you're like Caleb and your career is online, you can only ignore it for so long. I usually go through the comments, I really do, because oftentimes it's just our actual fans, who are the sweetest, kindest group of people who really again, also have their own insecurities and so we just lift each other up. But it's really hard when I'm reading the comments that are not from my fans and they're just from other people because it's it's a whole different tone and I think it's easy for me to think arts, to just picture all of the comments being like from people who really care about me, but I forget that there's a whole world out there that's really nasty. Should the social media platforms themselves be doing more to prevent cyber bullying? Is there even anything they can do? I don't I don't know what the answer is, but I think that that social media platforms are too scared to really get involved because of it being such a political...

...issue and it being a constitutional issue, and so then they really just give more like creators the tools. So, like on my Youtube Channel, I've blocked a lot of like the most vulgar words, like things that really hurt me and that I think are just offensive to everyone. All this block those words and that really helps when creators are given tools. But from a mental health standpoint I still see all that on the back end, and so that's what's really difficult. The question that gets raised is whether or not blocking all of these hate comments is a violation of the constitution. Does it interfere with the users freedom of speech? I think the answer is that there is none. But what I wish they would do as a creator is block accounts that are harassing and are bullying. I think it's clear when it's stream of speech and when it's actually hurtful to someone else. And these platforms are private, these aren't publicly owned entities, and so I think that is their responsibility to target hate speech and bullying instead of just doing pride campaigns and and saying yes, be yourself, we love you, but use our social media platform and we're not going to protect you. But used to report them that that's not helpful. And so, to answer your question, I guess I've just decided that now they're not they're not doing enough and I think they're really probably scared to do something. But it's pastime and it's really hurting people, especially young people and young creators, because putting yourself out there online can be terrifying and if you don't have a foundation and an existing group of fans to help motivate you, the bullying can be devastating. I have a foundation and history to help remind myself that I am of value, which even now I struggle with so much, and so I think that it's so damaging to think about a new young creator who is also anything other than straight, getting online and then...

...seeing all those comments, seeing all that hate, and I think that could not only prevent them from starting to share whatever their gift is, but it could also lead them to a path of self harm or depression or whatever. That is. Two Thousand and nineteen actually was the worst year, I think of, of the channel, not even not views, but we had a lot of problems with music. Playing music and dancing to it sounds simple enough, but it comes with a whole series of hoops to jump through once you put it on the Internet. There was a specific instance where we didn't feel like we would ever be able to make a video again because we were so we are facing so many obstacles by people with billions of dollars who didn't want us to make videos, dance videos, using music or using like popular music, and so it's really hard for us because it got to a point where we already weren't making money. We don't monetize our videos, and then we also have like the artist that we love, like their labels, coming at us and being like, we don't want you to make videos ever again and we want to take all your money, and we want to. It's just it was really hard because what we've done since the beginning is just do this because we love it and try to figure out how to pay our rent along the way, and it hasn't been like the journey of a lot of other youtubers who can monetize all their videos and by all of these things. It's just been a really steady journey where we're trying to just follow our hearts and and do what we love, and so it was really disheartening to feel like we were not only not able to make money from it, but also so unsupported by record labels and by the music industry, because as a content creator you just feel really worthless, and I think it wasn't up until ticktock boomed that labels really started to understand the power that creators had and the influence that...

...we have over what music is even popular. And like two months later, when we were literally like all our money was gone, like we had everything taken from us, no support from any labels, like, we thought that was the end, but Caleb held on to hope and continue to fight to make his content and two months after hitting rock bottom, a miracle happened. We strike a deal with with Warner Music Group, and they are so invested in us and we're like no, we love your content, we want you to use our music, like we want you to support our artists, and I think that was really one of the first labels to realize the value of creators, and I mean they gave us our own playlist on spotify with like the official Warner Music Group playlist, and it just was this really weird moment and I'm like, I think this is a god moment, where it was I was ready to quit because all of the doors were closed and I had nothing, but I was like, I just love this so much, there has to be away, and I held on long enough and all these doors started opening and everything changed, and then we started youtube memberships and we're able to monetize that and it's just like every door that closed and I thought was the end, was just closing so that a different door could open, and it was this really beautiful like reassurance that this is this, this is a bigger purpose. I what I'm doing has meaning, what me and my friends are doing has a purpose beyond us, and I think that that is what has fueled us through all the really hard times. You also brought up something just now when you said it was it was our God moment. So not to go back too far to that, but you're upbringing being in a very religious community. Have despite all of the I guess you'd say like controversy and and varying opinions about the LGBTQ post community from religious people, have you been able to hold on to faith? I struggle a lot with that. I mean so this day and I talked to a therapist about it who is a...

...gay, married man who's also Catholic. So we talked about it. But I think that I've really had to find my own version of faith and I think that the like the idea of church and like organized religion, as much as I've tried to make it fit in my life, it really just doesn't. But I still I still believe in a God, I still believe there's meaning bigger than me and I don't I don't know if that just brings me comfort. Um, I think it's really hard to reconcile, reconcile, and that's why I don't think people realize how damaging religion can be. Is because when you grow up and you're told your whole life that you're going to go to hell for something and then you realize eventually when you grow up that that can't possibly be true because that really is who you are. It's this weird it's this weird reconciliation where I have to I have to find a way to believe in God without believing in everything that the Bible says. And I'm not sure what the right answer is and I I'm sure that my family and I disagree a lot, but all I know is that I believe that I and loved by a God and I believe that I have purpose in that this world has meaning, and that's what I hold on too, and I try not to overthink it because at the end of the day, no one really has the answers and I think it's just nice, you know, to hold on to that relationship as much as I can. But it's really sad that I I grew up in a place that made me feel like it was so wrong, because it made it so much harder for me as an adult. So hopefully I, if I have kids are the next generation, if they are raised religious, it won't be in such a condemning sense, because I think I have just realized that God is love and that's what the that's what the whole point should be, and so I think all of the rules and religion has been so tainted and I think that things like tick tock as have really taught me a lot and just figuring out the history of everything and and the...

...why behind it. And I've just realized that people are corrupt and they will twist anything they can to make their agenda be the way and I think that a pistad politics in every aspect of life. And so I think just finding the love and which is that, I think, the central point, is really the most important thing for anyone who is still struggling to feel accepted within their faith. Caleb wants you to know there is nothing wrong with you. I think that's the biggest thing. I mean, I prayed every single night, praying that God would change me or make me normal. I cried. I remember my prayer was God, please let me grow up and have a wife and kids, and it was just really it just weird when you're so young and you feel like that. And so I hope any kid listening or any parents who are listening. It's just know that you are your kid is normal. You are normal, there's nothing wrong with you and God loves you. Just is the way you are and you were made the way you are for a reason and you should never have to fight that or question it or feel uncomfortable about it. It's just a part of you and that's okay. On top of creating dance videos every week on Youtube, Caleb is launching a subscription service for his fans on the platform. memberships. Is genuinely the coolest thing that we've done so far because it's this new it's this new product on Youtube, which is allows us to basically have a subscription service in addition to the videos we already make, and so that was really important to me, because I am the last person who wants to just make a quick buck or do something that I'm not super proud of, because I really put so much time and effort into everything that I make. With the subscriptions, Caleb can offer fans a longer work out in addition to his three minute videos. They can now experience length of your workouts file live stream, and so they're seeing...

...us raw live as it's happening, doing all of their favorite dances and they're able to get this full work out. They don't have to make a playlist, they don't have to watch ads. It's just the seamless way for us to really connect and the most genuine way possible and for them to get an even better full length work out. And so that is we have a subscription tier which is fifteen dollars a month and that gives them access to every live stream we've ever done and we do a new one once or twice a week, because we do thirty minute workouts and sixty minute workouts and it's just so fun because I mess up all the time and you get to see it live and see how real we all are. We're just all joking and laughing and it's it never feels like a workout, but yet somehow I Apple Watch tells me that I'm burning more calories and sweating more than I do if I'm on a treadmill, and so it's the craziest thing because it really is a workout that doesn't feel like a workout and I think it's so cool to be able to offer that to people and it's a product that I really really believe in and it's so affordable for I mean it's literally hundreds of workouts available for, you know, just the monthly feet. I think there are a few countries wherever youtube has restrictions, but mostly it is available worldwide and if you go to our Youtube Channel Home Page, if you click the joint button on it, then you can select the booty army elite tier, which gives you access to everything that we offer. We're doing one today, actually, right after this. Oh awesome. Okayl yes, I have my mushte on. I was going to say, is this like just your you know, one o'clock on a Wednesday or tire, you know, have to have the girls out. If you aren't familiar with calebs videos, he wears a cropped mesh top while he dances. It's a signature look and it makes his dance videos even more fun. But now he's going from rocking athletic attire to creating it himself with his new clothing line. I mean we source the fabric, we did all of the fit things, design everything ourselves, and it was really amazing...

...because we thought that there really was an active where out there that was serving everybody. It was more just like one type of woman. And so we launched with extra small to three X, which was a big feet being self funded. But not only that, we took the time to fit on models of different sizes and adjust each individual size of the clothing to the body type that it was going to be on and it's it wasn't just a scale up like whoop, like most friends do. They'll just fit, you know, a sample size and just scale it up and ship it out. Sure that if you're a small, it's going to fit you differently than if you're a three x and it's going to fit you and ways that you need, whereas maybe someone that's like a medium doesn't need an extra small, doesn't need it. It was just really important and we're really excited, because I don't think I can say anything again, but we're not stopping where we are now and we're really excited to just keep serving more people and and doing it really thoughtfully. He has so many amazing projects going on. You have to stay up today. So connect with Caleb. I'm on Tick Tock and INSTAGRAM. I it's the fitness Marshall Everywhere. I also have a personal youtube channel called Caleb Marshall that I share more intimate things. I share things of, you know, my partner and I cooking or doing like a Qa, and it's a way for me to kind of share not only just like more of me as a person, but also more of, like my identity and my life as a gay man, and it's really cool to have that one on one connection with the audience that's not always just dancing, because I really do have so many more aspects of my life that I get to share their. Pride is...

...a production of Straw hut media. If you like the show, leave us a rating on Apple, podcast, spotify or wherever you're tuning in from, and be sure to follow us on Instagram, facebook and twitter at pride and tune in weekly for new episodes. Be Sure to share this episode with your friends, subscribe to our podcast and then follow us on Instagram for more stories from Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me everywhere at leave by chambers. Pride is produced by me, leave by chambers, Maggie Pulls, Ryan Tillotson and Kaitlyn mcdinn, edited by Sebastian I'll Calla and Daniel Fever. Sound mixing by Sebastian, I'll call up. So it's like Writtey, if you're listening and the timings right. Just be careful, be gentle. He may not be able to handle it. Since I fled that, I will drop I.

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