Queen K Buzz: Kristin Mayer

Written by: Katie Araujo | Image by: Laura O’Meara

Image by: Laura O'Meara

No stranger to Freeplay Magazine, do-it-all designer extraordinaire Kristin Mayer is back to make a splash in Kona this year. Unlike in the past where she has dawned an athlete wrist band, she will be stirring the pot at the Kona Underpants Run tomorrow morning with her Betty Designs “Wattie’s Hotties” teammates for another year of turning heads. In addition to having a couple of her custom Betty Designs kits grace the Queen K on Saturday, Kristin shares with us her goals and direction of her brand:

Guide us through your transformation as a competitive triathlete who crossed the finish line in Kona in 1998, to fashionista who showcased Betty Designs on the island for the first time in 2010. What does Kona symbolize for you?
I’ve been a very fortunate girl. When I moved to San Diego in December 1994, I started freelancing a bit in the triathlon industry and racing at the same time. Agent to the top pro triathletes in the late 90s, Murphy Reinschriber, contracted me to design a couple of swimsuits and kits. From there, I would use my connections to design matching race kits for myself—I loved to match my kit to my helmet and bike. You could say that Kona is the first place my custom kit design was unveiled, coupled with the fact that I have crossed this finish line, makes this place special. I definitely know what the athletes feel on race day and the dedication it has taken each of them to get here.

Top pros like Michael Lovato and Rachel Joyce will be dawning custom Betty Design kits on race day, surely a glimmer of the growth and success you have achieved. How does Betty Designs differentiate itself from what else is out there?
I love, bright, bold, contrasting colors and graphics. I also love to play with asymmetry quite a bit and (of course) putting my logo and other motifs in strategic areas (i.e. crotch of swimsuits and bib shorts).

What is your favorite Kona memory?
While crossing that line in 1998 was definitely memorable, I love coming back every year to meet up with clients and friends, and to share my enthusiasm for the sport by cheering wildly on race day. This place feels like one big extended family for me. It also reminds me how fortunate I am for having been able to marry my passions for design and triathlon into a way to earn a living. Something I never take for granted. For some reason I just feel at peace here on the Island and pretty much don’t stop smiling from the time the plane touches down until I return home.

The Kona Underpants Run seems to draw nearly as much attention as the actual race itself – how have you seen the “race” evolve and what’s your involvement this year?
In 1999 when I came back here to spectate the race for the first time, a couple of girlfriends and I decided to “crash” the Underpants Run because at the time no women ran in it. It became an annual challenge for me to find something cute to wear with a couple of my girlfriends. I’ve worn everything from Paul Frank to Ed Hardy to Juicy Couture.

Partnering with Wattie Ink last year turned many heads and showcased a mix of fashion, beauty, and strength, what can we expect to see this year?
Well the difference this year is it’s really all about the charities—VASH and Ahu’ena Heiau. The boys at Multipsorts.com, Roch Frey & Paul Huddle know how important it is to give back to this Island since every year the triathlon world storms this place and takes over. Yes, this year there is the same group of awesome women plus a couple new additions. I needed to come up with something better than last year, design-wise, and hopefully I’ve done it. Let’s just say there will be some “bling” to the suits. Post-event we will be opening up sales of the custom bikinis to the general public. All profits go to charity.

If you were to put together your favorite things to see and do while on the Big Island, what would they be?
1) Swim in Kailua Bay. It’s like a gigantic aquarium.
2) Check out the bodies at Dig Me Beach. Trust me, it’s impressive.
3) Try SUP (stand up paddle boarding).
4) Drive out to Captain Cook. It’s gorgeous.
5) Hike a volcano. It’s an all day affair, but totally worth it.

Balancing your dynamic lifestyle as fashion designer, triathlete, and mother, where do you see yourself within the multisport industry in the next five years?
Hopefully my line continues to grow and evolve, and teams and individuals still look to me to create their brand for the race course.

Are there any specific athletes or brands you have your eye on that you would like to collaborate in the coming future?
Absolutely! I’d love to collaborate with Trek and or Cannondale to create some killer bike graphics for women. On the athlete side, I’d love to have the opportunity to create kits again for Lindsey Corbin. (I collaborated with her in the past on a couple of training cycle kits) She always wants to look put together from head-to-toe, and is the perfect mix of a very feminine, yet strong athletic woman. I love that she always wears a dress on the podium. The other dream teams I’d love to create for would be Trek/K-Swiss, Team Timex and the Saucony athletes.

Who are your top female picks to win on Saturday?
Oh geez. Don’t put me on the spot. I’d have to say Rinny, Rachel Joyce, Leanda Cave, Kelly Williamson, and Linsey Corbin.