The One X Ten Interview:
1. Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I am born in raised in Manhattan Beach, CA. Where I call home is always changing, at the moment its still Manhattan Beach, but in a few weeks it will be in Uberlandia, Brazil.
2. How did you get started in your sport and when did you realize you wanted to pursue it professionally?
I started when I was 5 or 6 years old, on the beach. I was with my brother when he was getting dropped of for beach volleyball camp, and the instructors grabbed me thinking I was old enough for the camp, even though I wasn't. They let me jump in, and the rest is history!
3. What is the biggest setback you’ve suffered as an athlete?I think the biggest set backs are all the injuries I've endured.
I think being a professional athletes is one of the best jobs in the world and is so fun, but when you have to battle through injuries and pain it definitely can be trying and feel more like a job. I've had shoulder surgery and it took me a couple years to figure out how to be as effective again. There was at least a year following my operation where I felt like I wasn't as powerful, and it forced me to learn a lot of different off-speed, less powerful shots that could help me score even though I couldn't hit as hard anymore. I think every time something bad happens, there's an opportunity to learn and grow from it. Now, I am healthy, back to my normal strength, and I have a few shots in my repertoire that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
4. Best piece of advice from women starting out in your sport?
I think the thing that helped me growing up was seeing the payoff of hard work. When I started out, I was tall, awkward, and not very skilled...but I was competitive and determined to play and I told myself if I practiced extra, played even harder, that I would improve and it would pay off--and it did. I think now more than ever, a lot of players are dealing with stress and pressure, whether its from parents or colleges, at an earlier age. I was lucky, because even though I was a top recruit growing up, I was able to ignore a lot of the talk and play free and competitively and it really cemented my love for volleyball. I think for the young girls today making sure that they enjoy the game before anything else is really crucial. Because then all the hard work and sacrifices you make to become the best feel worth it.
5. What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a female athlete?
I think a lot of people generalize female athletes as feminine and weak, or masculine and strong. I like to think that being strong doesn't mean being masculine, and that embracing femininity and strength don't have to be mutually exclusive.
6. Whom in your sport do you admire the most and why?
There isn't one specific volleyball player that I look up to. In general, I feel motivated by a lot of other top players. I like the challenge of competing against the best, and seeing how I match up.
7. What’s in your gym/workout bag?
Heading to the gym, usually you will find the following in my backpack:
-about 4 extra shirts (I win the word for the biggest sweater, and I usually go through at least 3-4 shirts a practice)
-an extra pair of arm sleeves. I've started to wear arm sleeves since playing in Brazil. Because its so hot and because I sweat so much, it helps me control the ball, and it also doesn't make the ball is sweaty after I pass, so my setter is usually happier as well.
-a handful of snacks...everyone who knows me, knows how much I eat!
-a big refillable water bottle. Obviously, playing in brazil, I am losing a lot of water when I play because it's so hot...so I try to drink about 5-6 liters of water a day.
-wallet, to grab a coconut water or a smoothie from the juice bar on the way home
-lip balm...who likes dry lips?
-face wipes, so I can clean my face after workouts even when I'm on the go
-phone and headphones
I usually eat a good sized breakfast, so I can feel fueled for my morning workouts. In Brazil, I usually have oatmeal with some fruit (papaya, mango, and banana) and I like to top it with some nuts, cinnamon and coconut milk. It's so yummy! Other days, I'll make eggs and toast and have some fruit with that as well.
9. Favorite workout or workout tip?
In general, I just like to keep my workouts fast paced and I like when they're not the same everyday. In Brazil, we usually lift 5 days a week, and so every lift during the week is a different lift, which is nice. I find that if I really power through the workout, I get a better sweat going, and I feel more motivated and energized. Oh and good music always helps!!!.
10. We define “The Wonder” as the state of reaching the truly extraordinary—the achievements that most people, including you at one point, could not fathom. What is your Wonder and what has it taken—or what will it take—to reach it?
I think "the wonder" will always be that next goal, or level, that I haven't reached yet; that thing I am always striving for. As an athlete, there is always room for improvement. My biggest goal that I haven't reached yet is definitely compete the Olympics. I think if I ever have the chance to go, I will feel like my dreams have really come true.