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By Galena Mosovich | October 1, 2015 | People
Hard work, determination, and heart have allowed these Miami men to flourish in one of the most booming cities in America and set the gold standard for success.
Jacket ($118) and shirt ($85). Hugo Hugo Boss. Dadeland Mall, 7535 N. Kendall Dr., Miami, 305-666-8519. Shoes, Louis Vuitton ($715). Miami Design District, 140 NE 39th St., 305-573-1366. Pants and watch, Thomas’s own
Tony Thomas trains the bodies and minds of professional athletes and celebrities—and regular people, too. He pairs his sports performance training with an expertise in wealth management, specifically a program he dubbed “Workout Your Wealth.” Thomas talks a lot about longevity, a difficult concept for young athletes to grasp. “You have to redevelop the mind. Now the contract is your life, and it’s the most important one in the world,” he says.
As he describes his principles, you can hear how sincerely he cares about his clients. After all, he was in their shoes at one point, playing basketball for the University of Delaware and then for the University of Charleston. At 6 feet 5 inches tall, Thomas is anything but sheepish, but he does admit to having a softer side. He’s obsessed with yoga and regularly practices on the balcony of his Miami Beach condo, a 30th-floor apartment with sweeping views of the downtown skyline that he shares with his Yorkie, Girly.
How did you build a business in Miami?
“When I first came here, I didn’t know too many people. I started a basic YouTube channel in 2007 thinking it would help me get my name out there. I struggled for the first five, six months, but then it started growing. Now I have 9,000 subscribers, and some fitness videos have a million views.”
What’s your most rewarding experience as a trainer?
“I started working out with Ricky Julien pro-bono when he was 14. He had issues with school. He was skinny and not that athletic. We trained one-on-one, and he learned very quickly. He ended up playing football for a Division I school and graduated. He has his own brand now, and a lot of football players are wearing his clothing. He tells me he couldn’t have done it without me.”
Do you eat pizza?
[Laughs] “I definitely have my cheat days. I know what I should and shouldn’t eat thanks to food sensitivity tests. But sometimes you have to indulge. I grew up in Delaware and New York, and pizza is the main food group there.”
Suit jacket, Dior Homme ($2,500). Miami Design District, 161 NE 40th St., 305-571-3576. Shirt, Dolce & Gabbana ($395). Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-866-0503. Sunglasses and cuff, Betancourt’s own
Carlos Betancourt came to Miami Beach in the 1980s when his Cuban-born parents decided to leave their lives in Puerto Rico. This move would shape the artist’s entire aesthetic as the beachy city was embarking on a special transformation. “We called it the ‘South Beach Underground,’” Betancourt remembers. “It was a collective of creativity in which we all participated and invented our own world.”
Many people were rejecting the reality of South Beach and its changing tides, but Betancourt chose to adore his progressive surroundings. This month, his first book illustrates what it was like to live in an “Imperfect Utopia,” which was also the name of his influential studio on Lincoln Road where locals mingled with luminaries like Morris Lapidus, Julian Schnabel, Linda Evangelista, David Hockney, and Keith Haring. Imperfect Utopia explores the radical time and place that deeply influenced Betancourt’s dazzling oeuvre through more than 250 images and text by United States Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco, among others.
Why don’t things happen organically anymore?
“There’s no time for a place to develop organically. Immediately it’s mainstream with digital. To be creative, and for something to happen naturally, it has to be slow.”
Imperfect Utopia, is an exciting milestone, but I also hear you’re prepping for a major mid-career museum show.
“My studio director, Alberto, and I have been working with curator Cheryl Hartup on my solo exhibition, which opens to the public in November at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is a very difficult thing to happen, to produce a show of this magnitude with containers traveling overseas.”
All clothing and accessories, Sherman’s own.
When Matthew Sherman looks back at his company’s swift rise to success, he laughs at the time he cried on his yoga mat asking his grandmother for divine intervention. His company, Jugofresh, was born in his kitchen in 2012 with the help of just one investment: a Norwalk Juicer. Word spread quickly through South Beach about Sherman’s organic cold-pressed juice—a novelty at the time—and orders for cleanses shot up from three to 35 per week. He started building out a store in Sunset Harbour while continuing to operate from home—that is until his landlord saw business pick up and raised the rent significantly. Instead of giving in, Sherman improvised, carrying three employees and additional costs with zero revenue for four and a half months.
“The quality of an entrepreneur is that you don’t see things like this as challenges,” says Sherman. “When you look at struggles, those are actually great memories.” Today, Jugofresh has eight thriving locations, led by Sherman and his Executive Chef Darren Laszlo (“Chef Paco”) and a headquarters where about 20 staff members work on “raising the vibe.”
Were you always so focused on wellness?
“People are skeptical of health food and organic produce because they have never felt a higher baseline of feeling great. I grew up on processed foods, and I don’t think I knew what it was like to feel great.”
How did your personal journey influence the creation of Jugofresh?
“I always struggled with school and with my weight—360 pounds was my peak at 19. I was told I had learning disabilities and that I’d never do well in school. I went on to complete my master’s [Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology from Barry University] with a scholarship, and I lost 180 pounds. You don’t really know your boundaries until you push beyond them.”
Why do you think people are so attracted to the Jugofresh vibe?
“It can be intimidating to walk inside a health-based business. You have to make it fun. There’s no need to guilt people; making someone feel badly defeats the momentum toward fixing things.”
Jacket, DSquared2 ($2,785). Saks Fifth Avenue, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-1100. Shirt, Tommy Hilfiger ($29). 616 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-534-2570. Pants, Theory ($285). Bloomingdale’s, Aventura Mall, 19555 Biscayne Blvd., 305-792-1000. Watch and ring, Hunter-Reay’s own
“To say somebody has no fear… that’s the guy you want to avoid.” As a professional racing driver and winner of both the Indianapolis 500 in 2014 and the Izod IndyCar Series championship in 2012, Ryan Hunter-Reay is certainly no stranger to dangerous undertakings. The 34-year-old champion, who was raised in Boca Raton and schooled at Cardinal Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale, started with go-karts at age 12 with a sponsorship from Skip Barber Racing School, and refers to building a career in the sport as a “monumental task.”
As with any high-stakes sport (in this case an open cockpit racing at 240 mph), Hunter-Reay had to learn quickly in order to get to the top level, build a personal brand, and stay there. Izod signed up to support him in 2009, and in 2010, he got his big break, signing with Andretti Autosport.
Do you ever get used to crashing?
“You never get used to it. In 2010 I ran out of fuel. There was a car right behind me; he hit the rear of my car and flew over me and as the car came down I could literally see it coming down (our heads are exposed)…. It took the paint off the top of my helmet. I narrowly escaped, it was just a matter of inches.”
You’ve driven car number 28. Why is that number significant?
“It represents the 28 million people worldwide living with cancer. We use motor sports as our platform for raising funds and awareness. When my mom went through cancer treatment in South Florida, I saw the lack of organization in general and the lack of a clear direction given to newly diagnosed patients. My goal was to contribute to a state-of-the-art facility here, and AutoNation has matched every dollar we’ve raised for Cleveland Clinic Florida. We’re at about $3 million.
You reside in Fort Lauderdale with your wife, Beccy, who comes from a family with a big-time racing legacy. Has that helped your relationship?
“It takes a special someone to deal with how much we travel. I’m always on the road— testing, racing, or making appearances. I couldn’t ask for a better wife and mom for our two boys…. I don’t want them to race; I want them to golf.”
All clothing and accessories, Díaz-Balart’s own
It’s 11 am and veteran Cuban- American journalist José Díaz-Balart steps off the set of his show The Rundown on MSNBC. This studio, in downtown Miami, is where Díaz- Balart tackles the toughest issues in American politics with a bilingual audience in mind. “In the past, if a thought was shared in Spanish, it wasn’t necessarily expressed by English-language media. Now, segments run on MSNBC in Spanish with subtitles,” he says. The 54-year-old Florida native is proud to break down these barriers for an estimated 54 million Hispanics in the US. “I’m fortunate enough to think in two languages, dream in two, fight and love as well. It’s all equal.”
Díaz-Balart, who also anchors Telemundo’s highly influential Noticiero Telemundo and Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart from a studio in Hialeah, is the only journalist to serve as a news anchor on two national television networks in Spanish and English on the same day for an entire season. Earlier this year, he made history interviewing President Obama in an exclusive bilingual town hall meeting on MSNBC and Telemundo.
How do you deal with the backlash of the debate on immigration?
“When people who are threatened by reality say, ‘Go back to where you came from,’ I think, okay, I love Fort Lauderdale, but why do you want me to go there?”
You come from a prominent political family. Why TV?
“My mom and dad always said, ‘Try to make a difference. Try to contribute. If you can do something positive for someone else, do it. And make sure you understand that in itself is the reward.’”
You live near Little Havana with your wife and two young daughters. How do you spend your time with them?
“When I’m with them, my focus is only on them. We do a lot of reading and playing. There’s no other discussion, focus, conversation. We are so blessed to have time together; so many people don’t have the time to be with their family. Some are separated by dictatorships, politics, and geography.”
Suit, Canali (price on request). Village of Merrick Park, 358 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables, 305-446-1499. All other clothing and accessories, Oliver’s own
JP Oliver spends most of his time in South Beach’s chicest hotels—he lives in the Mondrian and works out of the Delano. This is his role as the regional vice president for Morgans Hotel Group, a job that keeps him busy every day of the year. He oversees the southern collection of the brand’s portfolio. “I can’t imagine people who don’t like what they do. I can’t relate to that.”
After attending hotel/restaurant management school in Switzerland, the resorts side of the business took Oliver to Washington, DC, Scottsdale, Indian Wells, Maui, Kauai, Beaver Creek, and many pristine properties in the Caribbean. “It was like the world unfolded in front of me,” he says. Seven years ago, Morgans Hotel Group gave him the opportunity to open the Mondrian.
How did you know you wanted to be in the hotel industry?
“My father’s friends were in hospitality. They always had a great time. They always had a great deal of fun in their life. Maybe they didn’t have the best work/life balance, but I saw it as an amazing lifestyle that I wanted to be a part of.”
Have you been able to establish that balance in Miami?
“I’m a Flywheel junkie. It gets my blood going. I’m usually there cycling every morning or afternoon!”
What’s your go-to cocktail at any of the MHG properties?
“I’m not a drinker myself, and this probably kept me out of trouble throughout the years. When everyone else is nursing a headache, I usually wake up and press restart. If I were to make a recommendation to a guest, I’d say the raspberry mojito at the Delano Beach Club.”
In the basement of the Delano, there’s a mirror featuring a handwritten quote that changes daily. What’s been your favorite?
“You’re not here for a long time, you’re here for a good time!”
photographs by SHANE MCCAULEY. Shot on location at The Mondrian South Beach. Styling by Kristina Kitchen for Larson
Productions. Grooming by Steven Hoeppner and Alexander
Sampson for abtp.com