Hubert Burda Media

Getting to Know Payal Kadakia of ClassPass

How did a personal need become the hottest fitness program in the world?

In Prestige Online’s new “Getting to Know” series, we ask our favourite personalities what they’re like outside of work – and get a little more personal.

Former business consultant, lifetime dancer, and one of the biggest names in global startups, Payal Kadakia of ClassPass offers her best advice for accomplishing the most in life.

What’s a normal weekend for you like?

Well, I was just in Hong Kong. After that I flew to Bangkok and then I was in Delhi for the weekend. I’m actually choreographing a Broadway play in Delhi! That’s a side thing that I’m doing right now and I’m really excited about it. I went to see the stage and the theatre. So it’s hard to say what’s “normal” – it really depends!

What’s on your playlist?

Bollywood songs. I just love Indian music, it’s like my heart and soul. But I listen to a whole variety of things. A combination of Bollywood and Beyoncé I would say.

At a bar, what would you normally order?

A ginger ale, I don’t drink that much. Red wine maybe? I don’t really drink hard liquor…

What is a favourite pastime of yours?

I love dancing! I also cheer-leaded for ten years, which was a big part of my life and big part of who I was. I started young, from the third to twelfth grade, so that’s ten years of my life. I also just like hanging out with my friends.

Can you tell us something that not a lot of people know about you?

I’m 4’11″. Which I feel like most people don’t know, a lot of people think I’m taller than that. I also live by my calendar. I plan out everything. I even plan when I’m sleeping!I’m a big proponent of having flexibility and I believe time is the only way you’re going to accomplish anything in your life. If you haven’t allocated a time towards a priority, it’s not going to happen. I truly believe that is so much of why I have been able to do all the things I’ve been able to do.

What would you say is your greatest moment of 2018?

Raising ClassPass’ series date and being one of the first female founders to have raised that amount. I mean the stats are completely against female founders raising funds of that size. It was amazing, and not just obviously for the company but I felt a really important moment for women being able to show the world that anyone can do anything. There’s no reason I succeeded more than anyone else – it’s all just hard work and believing in yourself.

Who’s the last person you called?

My husband!

What’s the last meal you had?

I had eggs this morning. Eggs and a croissant.

Can you tell us a guilty pleasure of yours?

Chocolate! Milk chocolate or caramel. I love caramel and butter. Honestly, either candy and chocolate!

Can you show us a recent photo of you?

This is from my dance performance just a few weeks ago.

How do you balance your active life when you’re constantly on the go?

While I was in Hong Kong I went to three classes on ClassPass in the first 24 hours. I did WeBarre, Barre-to-Barre and H-Kore. H-Kore was unbelievably hard, but amazing! I also managed to fit in a run. I feel like working out helps me with jet lag. I just like walking into a place and feeling strong. I’ll always make time for myself to feel that way.

How did you get started in this whole business?

I started ClassPass about seven years ago. I actually was working as a consultant at the time, even though I really wanted to pursue dancing. I’ve danced my whole life and it was a very big part of who I am. One day I was looking online for a ballet class to take and I couldn’t find it. I just found the process of having to find and book these classes a really daunting task. I started thinking about how technology could solve this problem of people staying connected to their passions. That’s where it started.

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