Where are you from?
Political Science major at Elon University.
So, we hear you wear a lot of hats?
I love hats. I actually have a lot of hats. From swim caps to beanies and snapbacks. I love them.
Tell us about the hats that make you who you are:
My first hat is one of my favorites: I am a model, mostly known for my fitness work- and that’s something I’ve wanted be for as long as I can remember. You can ask Mom, she’ll tell you I always said I wanted to be a smart model that stood for something, that did really rad things. It’s safe to say I am exactly who I’ve always wanted to be, but I’m not done yet. That’s the most exciting part. I’m really just getting started in this industry, as I only just started truly chasing that dream recently. But darn for being just a hair too short for some jobs.
Another amazing hat I wear is my coaching hat. I coach mostly private swim clients, but once I stop getting distracted and finish my USATF certification test, I will officially be a run coach. This will open up opportunities to host clinics and other awesome events. My coaching isn’t limited to sports: mental coaching also goes along with what I am involved with.
A really fun hat I also wear is the influencer one. I have my own personal media and marketing brand/website, where I focus on building my brand and image. This one is full of brand partnerships, networking, social media love, and writing. In the past, I worked FOR others. I did live media coverage and traveled the country working for others doing this and that. It was amazing but I’ve since nixed that and now work WITH people and it’s amazing. Oh yeah, I’m a fitness contributor for a magazine’s website out of NYC.
I also train as a competitive athlete. Taking last year off was rough, but the adjustment to coming back was easier because of my knowledge base. I may not be a pro, but I train with the mindset and intensity of elites and alongside elites. Which is another reason why I coach and love to share my passion for movement and want to work with kids. It's not fitness for me, it's movement.
And… I work to connect those I know with others when I see a potential relationship.
Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?
I don’t like to call myself an entrepreneur. I’m obstinate like that. I’m a unicorn.
How have you obtained such a large social media following? Any advice for new bloggers?
My following started after I graduated college and started to come back out of my shell. I just started sharing me/my brand via Tumblr. Social media is an amazing tool that allows us to connect to those who are interested in the same content. When I stopped focusing on my own brand, I stopped growing. Now that I’m focusing on me again, I’m growing. I still struggle with sponsored posts and how to keep them real to my image. I want to keep them all me, but there are those that you know, occasionally pay my bills. So I’m very strategic with who I choose to partner with. Building my brand was pretty organic too. I also really love to talk to strangers even though I’m very guarded.
That said, my biggest suggestions are staying true to yourself and to do what you want. There are so many things on the “do’s” and “don’ts” out there. While I agree with a lot of those “rules,” at the end of the day, it’s your brand. Hashtag all you want, darlin’! Create your own image and roll with it. Do your thing. Be as edgy or as conservative as you want to be. Social media families don’t happen overnight. Brand partnerships don’t either. It takes time to cultivate those relationships. Know what you will do for free and know what you will do for trade. And don’t be afraid to ask others to take photos. Stand in the middle of the street for the perfect selfie! I’ve done it. It’s invigorating!
You have had some real health changes this year. Can you share?
My health knocked me on my derrière and took me out of the game last year. It was one of the most frustrating and enlightening challenges I’ve ever been through. Even though I’ve been through it all several times, I have always come out on top. I like the heat. Having to go from a Type A person and forcing myself to be more of an A- (but really a B+ person) to recover from physically crashing, while experiencing mild cognitive impairment, was more than hard.
What are some of the health challenges you face?
After battling mystery illnesses for over 10 years, I was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Neurocardeogenic Syncope but before you feel sorry for me, STOP. Why? Because once you get to know me you’ll know this only fuels my fire and helps me tell my amazing story.
How do you stay motivated?
While my health scared others, I just kept fighting forward. Did I paint this on a billboard? No. Why? Because the way I approached last year is the way I have approached all the really crappy things that have happened my entire life: it’s another amazing challenge for me to overcome. I wouldn’t let it own me. It wasn’t about hiding my challenges, it was about fighting them the smartest way possible but not letting them take over mentally. I may not have fully known what was going on or where I was four days of the week at one point- and a whole lot more with the multiple chronic illnesses that I found out about- BUT those things didn’t define me. I still lived. I also had an amazing support system to keep me in check.
How have you chosen to get through these difficult diagnoses?
I chose the same thing I’ve chosen my whole life: to be HAPPY. No matter what comes my way, I will always choose happy. And now after taking a year off from racing, working, and having a steady income so that I could recover, I often forget I have any health challenges hiding under the surface, that is until I go too fast, too long. I’m still working on finding the balance, but I’m back to training, I’m back to chasing my dreams. I occasionally have some bad days that resemble last year, but I now know how to work with them and I’m stronger for it. You can’t stop a natural disaster or a Unicorn.
What's up next?
So much fantasticalness is next. I plan to turn the world upside down before I’m through with it. I don’t think about my age. I’m pretty sure I’m stuck at 24 even though my birth certificate says about 27. First, I need to finish getting my life reorganized (referencing last year’s mess). I have to find an affordable apartment in the next month. Little details need to be tended to, although these things are trivial to me because I’m always looking at the big picture. My head may be focused on training or getting sidetracked by my ADHD: hello, sparkly purple thing… There are things I’m keeping close to the chest here because well, surprises are rad and I’m not ready to share.
How do you want to make a difference in your community?
I want to tell my story this year and inspire not only women but men as well- to help people overcome whatever comes their way. I have a lot to give and share, which I would like to do via public speaking. I want to work with youth organizations, kids, and plan some amazing events (like an urban field day). I hope to create more brand partnerships and sponsorships for these events, while growing my own brand.
Tell us why you belong to groups like Girl Tribe on Facebook:
I was bullied growing up for simply being me. Girls can really suck. And while I’m still learning to trust the intentions of others- because I know not everyone has a heart like mine- I know the women in Girl Tribe support each other in every way they can. Even if it’s just a “like” on a post to show that they see you. This goes back to so many of the things I do and have learned. Acknowledgment is huge and a “like” can be similar to smiling at a stranger on the street. A person’s outlook can change from a positive interaction. It’s support. That’s what Girl Tribe is: support. And I’m pretty sure, Girl Tribe is also this giant army of women that someday, if the need arises, will physically mob anyone who tears anyone down. We have one another’s backs.
Find me here!