Picking Up the Torch
After seemingly endless months of social isolation, a return to some kind of normality is on the horizon. There is a palpable feeling of urgency in the air – a yearning to move past rocky moments – and people are hungry for a deeper sense of connection. Isaac Calpito, a celebrity trainer and choreographer, identified many others suffering from extreme isolation and quite literally picked up the torch. When quarantine measures went into effect in mid-March last year, he started teaching Torch’d, a workout he created, on Instagram Live. With participants like Vanessa Hudgens, Lisa Rinna, and Kelly Ripa, his daily workout class quickly generated worldwide attention.
Also known as Isaac Boots, it’s not hard to see why Calpito has become somewhat of an international superstar. With his infectious smile, charismatic resilience, affectionate disposition, and sparkly leggings, it’s impossible not to feel joy while watching him lead a butt-kicking workout. He possesses an innate, dazzling ready-for-the-stage presence, evident even through an iPhone screen. “Since I was a little kid, I have had a zest for life – a passion for theater and music and art and Madonna,” he says, beaming. “I grew up with no money, really. I couldn’t afford dance class. I always say that Madonna was my first dance teacher, because I would just obsessively watch her videos over and over on MTV and emulate her.”
Born and raised in Hawaii, Calpito’s dreams were much bigger than doing hitch kicks in his living room. The day after his high school graduation, the star bought a one-way ticket – and flew to New York City with $40 in his pocket. He has since never looked back. With a stalwart work ethic and incredible determination, he launched into an impressive 10-year stint on Broadway, dancing in shows like MAMMA MIA! and West Side Story. Searching for a way to keep his body in peak-performance shape during a rigorous show schedule, he began designing his own workout plan. “I created Torch’d, actually, when I was a dancer on Broadway in West Side Story,” he recalls. “I created it for myself, I didn’t create it as an agenda to become this worldwide thing.” Soon, though, as his castmates caught onto the high-powered fitness routines, he realized the potential for Torch’d to become something much larger.
Now, each of those classes has attracted thousands of viewers, and Torch’d is a global phenomenon. “It just feels really cool to be able to do what I do, and hopefully inspire people to move,” Calpito says. “But also, there’s a community aspect of just showing up, having a laugh, and making friends with people that you would’ve never come into contact with. They inspire me as much as I hopefully inspire them.”
But Torch’d isn’t just about burning fat and sculpting muscles, it’s about changing lives. Partnering with the charity, No Kid Hungry, the wellness influencer has already raised over $1.1 million to help feed kids in need. Calpito adds, “I think there’s nothing more innocent than a child, and there’s nothing more basic than food. I don’t think what I’m doing is deserving of sainthood, it should be a natural passion for everyone.”
Full of vigor and joy, Calpito continues to be a ray of sunshine for everyone he meets. “I remain committed to showing up every day – for myself and for this amazing Torch’d community around the world,” he tells me. “If I can do what I do and inspire people to do so much good for kids who need it, there’s no reason we all can’t do what we love and make a difference that’s outside of us.”
Writer: Summer Myatt
Photographer & Videographer: Boris Brenman
Stylist: Bianca Jebbia
Hair: Tomo Nakajima
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to One Manhattan Square (@onemanhattansquare - onemanhattansquare.com) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)