This week I was fortunate to be featured by lululemon’s #shareyourstory campaign. If you’ve met me, you know I live in lululemon. I’ll often start the day in the dance studio, go straight to class and work all morning and afternoon, spend a few hours at the gym, and then end my day back in the studio for rehearsals. lululemon’s clothing carries me seamlessly from ballet to biology to the barbell and back. I don’t have to worry about changing outfits, so I can use that energy creatively.
Here are some photos from the shoot, as well as a few interview questions!
Please tell us a little bit about what you do and how it brings you happiness?
I’m a dancer, nationally qualified weightlifter, and pageant girl. I love what I do because my passions are so diverse, and I never have to settle for one option. I get to seek the best of all worlds. Young women today are raised to believe they can be graceful, or strong, or smart, or beautiful, but never all four at once. Being able to pursue all of these things unapologetically, and defying odds along the way, brings me happiness.
I love shattering expectations. Barely two years ago I was a frail ballerina who had wandered into a CrossFit gym. Less than a year ago, I competed at my first weightlifting meet in pink shoes with a bow in my hair. Now, I’m qualified for my second trip to University Nationals. Nobody expected a ballerina and pageant girl to make it this far. I coined the phrase Barbell Beauty Queen (also my blog and hashtag #barbellbeautyqueen!) to poke fun at the process and remind myself how far I’ve come.
What are your big goals and what are you doing now to achieve them?
Pageant wise, I’m hoping to place in the top ten at Miss Michigan this summer. I’m taking a lot of dance classes, doing tons of solo exercises, and working with a great choreographer and costumer to have the strongest talent possible. For swimsuit, I’m unconventional since don’t train for aesthetics — I’m a weightlifter, so I train for strength, power, and performance, not a bikini bod. But to help me be a bit leaner, I’m working with a nutrition coach to help me cut body fat while still getting stronger.
Weightlifting wise, I’m aiming to qualify for the 2016 American Open and lift in the A session at University Nationals. I’m in the gym almost every day, and also dialing in my nutrition to perform better. I’m also a big believer in visualization helping performance, so for three weeks leading up to each meet, I practice mindful breathing and visualize every lift I’ll take on the platform.
What do you love most about the Ann Arbor community?
I love Ann Arbor’s diversity. I grew up in a small homogenous town, so nobody ever challenged my ideas and beliefs. Being around people with different backgrounds and ideologies has taught me to see through the eyes of others and be more creative.
My passions give me energy. Between school, work, training, and dance, I’m always on the move. Most of my days start before the sun is up and end long after the rest of Ann Arbor is in bed. As much as I love coffee, it’s easy for the long days to wear you out. Thankfully, I’m so passionate about everything I do that I can stay energetic all day (power naps help too).
Thanks lululemon! You can check out the original posts here and here. And special thanks to the amazing Zparkle Productions!