Pippa Middleton, J. Lo, Kim Kardashian, and virtually the entire female population of Brazil all have something that I want. I don’t mean to be ungrateful—I thank my mother every day for passing along her flawless-skin DNA. But the flat tush I could have done without. For as long as I can remember, jeans have been my enemy (and no, strategic pocket placement does not make a bumpin’ bottom), while long sweaters, T-shirts, and blazers have helped disguise a backside that is, sadly, a mere continuation of my back. The final straw: The models strutting their way down many of the spring runways sporting one pair of curve-hugging, retro-fitting shorts after another. Balenciaga’s were high-waisted, Dolce & Gabbana’s bloomeresque, and Prada’s and Louis Vuitton’s left almost nothing to hide. So I decided to put my barely there derriere through a booty boot camp.
My guru was David Kirsch, the Manhattan-based trainer to the stars. Karolina Kurkova was the first to dub him Master of the Ass, after he sculpted her rather meager raw material into something substantial. “You have a banana body,” Kirsch said, as he examined my backside in his Madison Square Park office. “You’re not totally hipless, but you have a flat butt.” Kirsch wrapped a measuring tape around the thickest section of my lower body: 35½ inches. (J. Lo’s backside is rumored to top out at around 42 inches.) “It’s fixable,” he assured me, agreeing to take up my cause as a kind of challenge, with one-hour sessions three times a week.
For the next three months, Kirsch had me frog-jumping, donkey-kicking on all fours, and platypus-walking—in a plié squat with my hands behind my head. As an avid gymgoer, I didn’t expect to break much of a sweat just lunging and squatting. I painfully discovered I was wrong and limped around slightly bowleggedly for a few weeks. My ass, as they say, was on fire.
After nearly 10 weeks, though, I had an epiphany: Midway through a session, I poked a finger into my lower left cheek—a new habit of mine—and discovered some meatiness. Though the subtle sloping I was going for seemed slow to materialize, plastic and wood seating were no longer agony for my tailbone. It seemed as if, finally, baby was getting back. (It wasn’t all blood, sweat, and tears: Kirsch’s routine also involved eating more proteins and leafy greens and abstaining from what he calls the ABC’s: alcohol, bread, coffee—along with dairy, sugar, and fruit.)
Then I heard about an Equinox class called Brazil Butt Lift. How could I not check this out? I tracked down its inventor, Leandro Carvalho, at his private East Village studio. Carvalho has famously helped shape the rears (or, as he calls them, the “bum-bums”) of Doutzen Kroes and Gisele Bündchen with workouts inspired by one of his first clients, fellow Brazilian Alessandra Ambrósio, by mixing Carnival-style dance and capoeira with kickboxing, lunges, and squats. He saddled me with 2.5-pound ankle straps to make all of it even more challenging. (In Brazil, 10-pounders are the norm.)