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How Tristan Cameron-Harper went from Ice Hockey Champ to Kilted Yogi Celebrity

Tristan Cameron Harper
Image used with permission by copyright holder
For this week’s Worn Out Wednesday, we speak with Tristan Cameron-Harper, former ice-hockey champ and now Kilted Yogi celebrity on his life, careers, and personal style. 

My name is Tristan, l am 29 years old. I was born in Jersey, part of the Channel Islands, then moved to Scotland when I was one. I grew up in a small city called Dundee attending a private school until the age of 15. I was always a very active person growing up and still am to this day; I played many sports but my main focuses were rugby and ice hockey. Ice hockey in Scotland is not popular at all, but there was something that intrigued me about the sport especially the physical aspect of the game.

I always had this strong gut feeling about playing ice hockey at the highest level possible and eventually becoming a professional. Growing up I was very fortunate enough to be able to attend hockey camps in Canada, developing my skills further so l could reach that goal of becoming a professional ice hockey player. At the age of 14, I was luckily scouted by a prep school called Banff Hockey Academy in Alberta, Canada, giving me the opportunity of moving across the pond and really focusing on ice hockey full time while going to school. I got a scholarship to attend Banff Hockey Academy that I attended for two years until the age of 17. I was then scouted by a team in Holland in the NHL (Netherlands Hockey League), signing my first professional contract while turning 18 with the Nijmegen Emperors and having an outstanding year winning the league title.

Tristan Cameron Harper playing hockey
Image used with permission by copyright holder

I was then scouted by Northern Michigan Division 1 college hockey, they then put me into a league called the NAHL (North American Hockey League), which is a Junior league consisting of players from 17-21 years old who are talented with the similar mindset of reaching division 1 college, minor pro, or straight to professional. I played in this league for three years, then on my last year turning 21 l decided to make the move to Nova Scotia playing for the Yarmouth Mariners, finishing my last Junior career with them. I was then scouted by Florida Everblades in the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) Minor Pro, a step below the NHL. I played the first quarter of the season, but with the unfortunate event of the NHL having a lockout, I then lost my contract with Florida as the guys in the NHL who had a contract took my position as they had priority over me. I then signed in the UK and played professionally in the top league EIHL (Elite Ice hockey league) for six years ending my 3rd season & career with the Braehead Clan in Glasgow, Scotland.

After seven years playing professional and 21 years of playing hockey, l had the same feeling as l did when l was younger when l originally wanted to be a professional hockey player. During my first season with the Braehead Clan, l was scouted by Model Team, the top model agency in Scotland. This gave me the opportunity of getting into the modeling industry; I always had an interest in the modeling world and wanted to see how l would do. I started to book more and more jobs, giving me the privilege of meeting many new people from different groups all over Scotland and from abroad. I enjoyed working with many creatives from all over, learning as much as l could whether it be photography, how to be a better model and enjoyed every moment.

Being an athlete, coming from a sports background the modeling world is very different. I like different, l always felt different, l always wanted to be independent and explore different avenues in the world. This gave me more confidence to put myself out into the world learning not only about myself but my surroundings.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

My final year with the Braehead Clan l was starting to find myself drifting from the sport becoming very passionate about being outdoors, getting into yoga, practicing meditation daily and really focusing on the modern day term ‘Mindfulness’. For me the sports industry was a beautiful part of my life, l learned a lot from it and made some amazing friends along the way who are still in my life to this day. On my days off during the hockey season, l would choose to go into the Scottish Highlands, hike a mountain, or maybe just an easy walk in the forest, take a book, hot brew, chill and just be immersed in nature. I was finding a love of nature in a way l had never quite experienced. With the practice of meditation l could feel l was becoming much more present and with doing yoga l was starting to feel benefits in ways that l had never imagined. Even after a hard day exploring, feeling physically drained, l would always come home feeling full of energy and this sense of achievement. I got this feeling when l was younger playing Ice Hockey, but now l was getting it elsewhere, l always loved the outdoors but now l was truly starting to connect in a way that l never thought was possible.

l always had this dream of going to Base Camp Everest, so l said to myself, “Ok if l feel so strongly about something, just do it, get it done, don’t hesitate, test yourself, then see what comes of it.” During my last season l decided to plan a trip to Nepal in April for two weeks, trekking from Lukla to Base Camp Everest, something I never imagined doing (and wrote about it on my blog).

Tristan Cameron Harper wearing north face gear
Image used with permission by copyright holder

After trekking in Nepal, the true test was asking myself if I loved the experience. The answer was Yes l loved it. After coming back, l had so much energy l knew l wanted to leave hockey, be an outdoorsman, explore, inspire, meditate, do more yoga and really immerse myself into the beauty of our planet exploring it in every positive way.

I would do meditation focusing on goals, and my yoga practices would also always have a point of focus with goals. Everyday l would make sure to be positive, have a different outlook on life, be the best l can, encourage people however l can, learn whatever l needed in order to get where l want to be . This path l was on started becoming so exciting, all of the things l was doing were having an effect not only on myself but my surroundings, l was noticing changes wherever l went.   After coming home for a few weeks being pretty tired but buzzing from my adventures in Nepal, l got a call from my agency asking if l would be interested in representing Scotland as Mr.Scotland, which involved a series of interviews. I got the gig and I am officially Mr.Scotland 2016/17 and then attended Mr.World!

Tristan Cameron Harper mr world 2016
Image used with permission by copyright holder

After being at Mr.World and having an epic experience, meeting so many awesome gents, even having some epic meditation sessions with Mr. Canada & Mr. Phillipines l was back home again. My goals to become a full-time Mountaineer, Blogger, Content Creator for BBC, Model and just be the most inspirational person l can be with nothing but good vibes were happening.

I was working on all my skills to become a mountaineer, so l can eventually lead groups, teach children and hopefully build that dream of a self-sustainable eco home in the Highlands for people to come and immerse themselves in nature, do yoga, meditate, learn, and of course enjoy Scotland’s Beauty.

I was then invited to an event at BBC Scottish headquarters in Glasgow, l would be attending BBC The Social event. BBC The Social is a platform that is very new showcasing Scotland’s creative side, giving them a platform for freedom of speech showcasing what Scotland has to offer. I attended the event with Finlay Wilson who l had known previously from attending classes in the past and from social media. We both lived in the same city, so we both drove together scoping out what BBC The Social exactly wanted to do with us.

I am an outdoorsman, Finlay is an extremely talented yoga teacher. l do yoga, l love nature. He enjoys nature. We are Scottish, ginger, and love to wear kilts. I mean, this seemed like a recipe for something that we could make work. Finlay and I chatted away, bashing ideas back and fourth and then, out of nowhere, Finlay suggested kilted yoga in the Highlands with the end shot being our kilts coming down. At first l was 50/50 on the idea but agreed why not? It ticks a lot of boxes. We decided to propose the idea to BBC, but they rejected it, which was strange, so we left it at that for the time being. Finlay went on to create a video going over basic yoga poses with his dog that he adopted from Sri Lanka which got over 2 million views. The BBC were now very surprised that such a video got so many likes so they gave us the go-ahead to create a video and of course we had to do the kilted yoga video.

Tristan Cameron Harper 2
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A random day filming in the Hermitage located in Dunkeld, Perth, and Kinross, a magical protected forest, cold, doing yoga, indulging in nature, sliding on rocks not purposely, doing more yoga and of course with the money shot, headstand with our kilt dropping to show off our bare bums. This was a random day and something that we never imagined would turn out like it did. After two weeks waiting patiently, the Kilted Yoga was about to get released.

After 24hrs it had over 3 million views, this was insane. After a week it was at about 35 million, then now, to this day, it has had over 50 million views.

I couldn’t believe this happened and still scratch my head thinking how has this made such an impact, but l guess we were right from the beginning. For me, the personal message we sent is smiles, good vibes, laughter, kilts, bearded, ginger, health, outdoors, beauty and maybe you wanna try some yoga. And it brought me to America for the Scottish Day parade and I even made it to The Manual Scotland party!

So for me on this present day, I’m focusing on mountaineering, my blog, creating content, working with amazing people, exploring, daily mediation, learning all l can, loving, spreading nothing but good vibes and of course taking the time to work with my body through yoga and connecting with our home EARTH!

As for my personal style:

Jeans:  Boulder Denim They are super stretchy, for me I am very active and having a pair of jeans that adjust to my llifestyle is key and of course they can look very smart with a nice shirt or casual with a t-shirt.

Shirts:  Lululemon. I mean l love good feeling material, Lululemon ticks a lot of boxes especially when I’m doing yoga or just want something light wearing that feels good.

Pants: Levi’s Twisted. Going to go vintage here, l have a great pair of pants from when Levi’Levi’s first released the twisted style, they fit perfect plus Levi’s nailed it when they came out with this unique style.

Suits: Paul Zileri.  I remember my first proper suit I got was a Paul Zileri. The Italians just get it: super light, great material, you feel awesome wearing this brand.

Shoes:  Jack Purcell.  l love the shape of these shoes, super comfortable and can look great either formal or casual.

Accessories: I’m all about my crystals & stones, l wear a shaman necklace always around my neck with tourmaline being the main stone and for a bracelet either my sodalite stones or lapis stones. I love wearing my Breitling Navitimer but only on special occasions as its vintage.

Outerwear: Belstaff jackets are always a go to but l do have my fare share of Barbour jackets also, both my fave jackets.

Favorite Cologne: Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

Favorite App:  Instagram

Favorite Piece of Technology:

GPS System

 always good to know where we are, I’m an outdoorsman so this is key whyou’reour in the mountains

Next Style/Gear Purchase: My next style purchase is probably more Lululemon pants and gear would have to be a drone so I can start creating some amazing content for the brands l work with and my blog.

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Cator Sparks
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Cator Sparks was the Editor-in-Chief of The Manual from its launch in 2012 until 2018. Previously, Cator was covering…
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