You might recognize him from the unveiling of the U.S. Olympic team opening ceremony outfit on the Today show or from his features in V Man, Esquire and Vanity Fair. He might not be a household name just yet, but Tim Morehouse is going for gold in London and hoping to bring fencing into every physical education class in America. Not surprising for a man who spent seven years with Teach For America.
Morehouse was born and raised in New York City. He went Brandeis University for undergrad and received his masters from Pace University. He is also credited with teaching President Obama to fence.
Here he talks to SaksPOV:
SaksPOV: How did you get into fencing?
Tim Morehouse: When I was young, baseball was my sport. I didn’t even know what fencing was until I was in seventh grade. One fateful day I saw a sign that said “Join the Fencing Team, Get out of Gym”. So, I found the fencing room and joined without even knowing what it was…What kid doesn’t like sword fighting anyway?
SaksPOV: You’ve brought a lot of visibility to fencing. Many athletes float under the radar. What has motivated you to become a champion for your sport?
T.M.: I think fencing is the greatest sport in the world. I feel very fortunate that I found it. It really helped me find focus, discipline and self-confidence. I want to provide others with the same opportunities that I’ve had. I just started a foundation, Fencing-in-the-Schools, to train PE teachers to teach fencing and I hope to make fencing a regular part of physical education in America. I also founded and help produce the largest fencing televised tournament in the country called the Fencing Masters.
SaksPOV: You’re not shy in front of the camera. You’ve done some modeling. How did you get into that?
T.M.: [Fencing] is truly the sport of Kings —don’t let them tell you that polo is! It is known for its elegance, precision and chivalry. New York City is such an amazing fashion world that I signed with Wilhelmina Modeling agency and have been doing a whole host of fashion shoots that involved fencing.
SaksPOV: What are 5 things every guy should own?
T.M.: (1) A good set of values that includes being nice, working hard and helping others, (2) a really great suit, (3) good music, (4) A dog [at some point in their lives], (5) my book American Fencer: Modern Lessons from an Ancient Sport.
SaksPOV: Who are your favorite designers?
T.M.: James Journey who designs for this great brand Seize sur Vingt. Andrew Buckler who used to have his own label but is now at Cole Haan. Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss are all fantastic.
SaksPOV: You travel a lot for work. What do you pack?
T.M.: My swords and the rest of my fencing equipment! I also can’t leave home without my laptop with a TV series or two loaded onto it (The Wire, Smallville, 24, etc), my phone, clothes and a good book.
SaksPOV: What’s the best style advice you’ve been given?
T.M.: Just be yourself. Also, in an only-in-NYC story…I was walking down the street in a really nice suit wearing my backpack and I passed a homeless man who yelled at me, “Don’t wear a back pack with a suit stupid!” only in NYC do the homeless give fashion advice!