When you’re in the presence of greatness, you can feel it. The energy engages you unknowingly and there is an automatic connection and sense of relatability – and then you become open. This is what occurred when I met yoga teacher, Miles Borrero. Meeting you where you are, she looks in your eyes when she talks, listens contently when you speak and her words are spoken with an authenticity and a realness that is rare. The comfortability she feels in her own skin is contagious and makes you want to do better yourself.
Miles (birth name Camila), was born in Brazil, raised in Colombia and came to the states at the age of seventeen. While professional acting was the original goal, yoga pulled her in a direction that more appropriately aligned with who she was at the core. The practice allowed for progression, growth and acceptance – values that Miles had always incorporated in her personal life and ones she struggled to find in acting. Yoga was a natural fit for her – loving everything from the physical aspect, to the philosophy, to the dharma and the chanting. As a competitive horseback rider beginning at age four, Miles innately understood the concept of patience, connecting and tapping into another creatures’ needs and desires. More then anything, yoga provided Miles with a space where she could feel a sense of community and give something back. She eventually decided to leave acting for good, completed 200 hours of yoga training, and began to teach. Her classes are rigorous and creative, but with a lot of heart. What she gains from her own practice she aims to inspire in others: to stay in check, balanced and honest. In addition to daily classes at Pure (East & West) and Kula (Tribeca), she teaches regular workshops and holds retreats twice a year in locations like Jamaica and her upcoming 2015 trip to India. All details can be found on her site.
I had originally sought out an interview with Miles, particularly because I was intrigued by her recent shift from Mila to Miles – a profound transformation even if it only involving a couple of letters. When I asked her why she explained that it was about having a name that matched who she was inside. Miles says, “I don’t think of it as a name change. It feels more like a nickname shift. I was feeling like a part of me was craving more space. It’s not a statement, and really doesn’t change much of what was already there to begin with. It’s something I’ve been playing with for a little while and have enjoyed greatly. Like clothes, our names say a lot about us. It seemed like an obvious extension. And my favorite aunt has always called me Miles.”
Becoming your authentic self takes courage and Miles Borrero is the epitome of a woman who embraces hers. She so effortlessly represents the perfect balance between the mind and body experience, and it is obvious why she inspires her students on and off the mat. Her openness allows the space to remain true to her core, true to her spirit and true to her soul style. So I asked her a bit more about hers. Here’s what she had to say…
YSS: What is Your Soul Style? How is your personality reflected in your style?
MILES: My soul style has become very simple, over the years. Mostly I worry about my carbon footprint and minimizing it, so my soul style had begun to reflect that. I wear things for many, many years because I don’t want to own a lot of stuff and worry about what happens to it after it leaves my hands, so things tend to look very worn and cozy. In some ways it makes it so that I am so far out of vogue, that I have caught the cycle as it has come back and made me in vogue again. I love this idea in the Japanese culture, kintsukuroi, where they repair pottery with gold when it cracks or breaks. The idea is that the piece becomes more beautiful when it has been broken. Clothing feels the same. I have this shamelessly holy sweater, and by holy I mean it has a ton of holes in it. It has recently gotten to the point, after ten years, where I think it may not be going out in public any more, but I wore it with holes and everything till recently and loved it. Now I will just love it at home, I think. It may have crossed over to the land of no return.
YSS: How do you describe your style?
MILES: Low key, comfortable. If it is not comfortable, I won’t wear it. I ride a vespa type scooter, and a skateboard and am very active, so I have to be able to move freely, in case I need to cartwheel or something spontaneous. You never know.
YSS: What does your style say about you?
MILES: That I am elegantly disheveled. That’s what I hope it says about me. Cares, but is care-free.
YSS: What is your definition of style?
MILES: Style is how you put yourself together. How your insides become your outsides. It moves the art piece that is you on the inside into a more visible platform. We all have it, even if we think we don’t, because ultimately we all visually put forth something into the world and that is an action in itself.
YSS: Since you are a yoga teacher, is your style influenced by that?
MILES: Yes, in that often times I don’t carry or wear real people clothes. The clothes I teach in are different than the ones I practice in though. I feel good walking around in them in the world. I’ve perfected my teacher look to be comfy for movement but still look professional. But I love the days when I don’t wear any yoga clothes and then I usually really go for cute with a fedora and my Chucks and things that have more character. Maybe even suspenders. Since I don’t have many clothes, I find a small accessory can add a lot. A tie clip, the gages in my ears, things like that.
YSS: What is your head-to-toe look on a typical day?
MILES: Drop crotch pants pulled up half way to the shin. Some cute t-shirt that I may have picked up on a trip with the name of a place or a plain v-neck that has a nice color to it. And my Rod Laver Adidas that are green and white, which are the best shoes in the world, or my Chucks. I like my arms being bare so I can expose my tattoo, too. So loose tank tops are also a favorite. Especially when it’s warm.
YSS: Did your style evolve over time or has it stayed consistent?
MILES: I’d say it’s evolved over time. I grew up going to a school that had a uniform, a blazer and tie type thing, and then I would go horseback riding after school. So I would basically move from my uniform into my jodhpurs, Other than that I only had one pair of jeans and some t-shirts for the rest of life. When I started going to college, I had to figure out what to wear and it felt like I had never really thought about it. It took me a long time to understand that I could be creative with that. But I’ve always been a simple dresser. And now that I can wear anything I want, I mostly wear men’t clothes because they feel right and make me feel handsome.
YSS: You’ve lived in NYC for quite some time. Where are your favorite places to shop? Any favorite designers?
MILES: I really don’t shop that much. When I do, I like to treat myself to things I really love and have a bit of a flare. I love All Saints because it has things that are just a bit unique, but still basic and simple. Their stuff makes you look a little special though. I’m not sure you would consider them a designer though. And I love the way G-star pants fit me. I’ve also been a big supporter of street artists and their t-shirts. I love some of the silk screens of Brooklyn bridges and water towers, and there is this guy in union square who works with dragons that is amazing. I still have two of his shirts from years ago and have no idea if he’s still around. I’m not sure I really own any designer designer clothes other than a Marc Jacobs pair of shorts I bought because they were red and I was tired of wearing black and the truth is they are a complete bust because I can’t really practice yoga in them. They completely become a droopy mess if it is even remotely warm out.
YSS: Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you have a style icon?
MILES: I don’t have one icon in particular. I’m always looking at everything, people in the subway, magazines, stuff on the internet… I love seeing how people piece themselves together. And I love love love photographs, so I’m always stealing from what I see when I like something. People can be really beautiful and unique in how they combine their style and I can really appreciate it though I tend more toward the simple side of things. I do like adding a little flare though. I love it when people combine unseeingly things together, when there is a paradox pull – big heavy boots with a cute dress. Or men that have a bit of a rough look with lots of hair but a pink shirt. I like the play on androgyny, gender, and soft versus hard.
YSS: Do you have any style challenges?
MILES: Sometimes the biggest challenge is convincing myself to buy something even if I love it. I have to be sure that I will wear it. I don’t like having things that are not being used in my closet. If they are not being used it means I don’t love them. So it feels sometimes like a big decision and can take me a bit to make the plunge.
YSS: Do you have favorite fashion/style moment?
MILES: I like dressing up for important occasions like weddings. Bow ties make me very happy. On the flip side, the less clothes the better, swim trunks and a tank top and I am the happiest and fullest version of myself I can be, but I’m not sure that fits into style. I would dress like that all the time if I could. I should have just been a beach bum.
YSS: And your worst?
MILES: OMG! Yeeesssss!!!! Lots of those. When I still lived in Colombia, where I grew up, and the only jeans you could find were what I call butter jeans. The kind you had to use butter to get into. I had this scraggly long hair and would throw on a huge t-shirt over the pants because the pants freaked me out. Also, when I was an actor and felt I had to be really girly and would wear high heels and tight tops and skirts to an audition. I’d throw on a little make-up. It may have been scary, and may have been the reason for work being slim. It just wasn’t me. The worst part about it was that I was completely dressing for other people so there was no way for me to make it look good because it wasn’t starting from me or from a strong sense of self. I also had my hair long and looked like I hated it, which I did! The only time I liked my longer hair was when it was in two little Bjork buns. That, I thought, was cute!
YSS: What is your advice to women on how to embrace their style from the inside out?
MILES: I think women are so beautiful. As people, when we embrace ourselves and love ourselves, it shows. At the same time, when we are self conscious or feel overwhelmed, that shows too. I am not sure what you wear matters much in the end. It is how you wear it. Feel beautiful and you will look beautiful. I think that the things I feel the best in are generally the things people seem to think I look good in. Because feeling good is contagious.
YSS: Must have item in your wardrobe?
MILES: Cool sneaks. I love nice sneakers. And good cologne, must have a light aroma of awesomeness. Just enough to wake people’s noses up.
YSS: Three things people don’t know about you….
MILES: That I’m bilingual. That when my hair is not spiked I can’t think as clearly. That I have a crazy chai addiction – I allow myself one in the morning.
Miles is wearing, t-shirt: ELEMENT // shirt: MOSSIMO SUPPLY CO. // pants: LULULEMON // sneaks: ADIDAS ROD LAVERS // sunnies: CLASSIC SPECS // mala beads (neck): India // mala beads (wrist): handmade by student and photographer, Joey Sbarro