The One X Ten Interview:
1. Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I was born in New York City and grew up in Old Greenwich, CT. For the past 10 years, I have lived in Ann Arbor, MI.
2. How did you get started in your sport and when did you realize you wanted to pursue it professionally?
I learned how to skate when I was four years old. I was invited to some birthday parties that were held at skating rinks, and my parents wanted me to have fun and not be scared of being on the ice. I started by taking group classes in US Figure Skating's Basic Skills Program, but I wanted to take private lessons right away. While working hard and taking my sport seriously, 18 years have flown by - but that's because I have always loved skating. I first remember watching skating in the 2002 Olympics, and that was the point that I really began thinking about working to reach the most elite level of my sport.
3. What is the biggest setback you’ve suffered as an athlete?
I am grateful because I don't think I can identify with the word "suffer" when I think of my life as an athlete. I have had to train and compete while injured, and sometimes I have come up short of some of my goals and expectations. However, none of those experiences stick out as being my biggest setback. To continue the pursuit of being the best athlete I can be, I believe that if you learn from every experience - both positive and negative, your resilience will serve you well.
4. Best piece of advice for women starting out in your sport?
With anything, I believe that you decide to pursue something because you truly want to. Any sport takes discipline and self-sacrifice. You need to believe in yourself. It's also important to learn how to handle feedback and critiques without taking it personally.
5. What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a female athlete?
Speaking from my experience as a female figure skater, I think that some people may underestimate the physicality and athleticism involved in my sport. While figure skating is known for being more "glamorous", it is a sport that is a unique blend of physical skill and artistry. Skating, at its best, is meant to look effortless, but behind each performance is years of sweat and hard work. I definitely don't wear a dress or costume to train every day.
6. Whom in your sport do you admire the most and why?
I have had a variety of incredible role models. The skating community is a tight-knit one, and I'm lucky that people I have admired from afar are now friends. As I was moving up through the ranks, many people were supportive, but some of the women I admire most are Kristi Yamaguchi, Michelle Kwan, and Tanith White. They are all champions, but beyond what they have accomplished on the ice, they are also intelligent and kind women - true role models.
7. What’s in your gym/workout bag?
Every day I use a small suitcase to carry my skates. While I travel a lot, whenever people in my apartment building run into me going to the rink on a normal day, they always tell me to "have a safe trip". In my skating bag, I have a towel to dry my blades, guards to protect my blades, extra skate laces, exercise bands, band-aids, callus cushions, chia bars, a pair of headphones, and a powerstation.
I start every day with oatmeal. I like having something warm and filling. I also have a cup of coffee, some green tea with lemon, and a glass of fresh grapefruit juice.
9. Favorite workout or workout tip?
My tip is to find a workout that you enjoy. It's easy to follow trends like cycling, boxing, or yoga, but you have to do what works for you. If you're motivated, you'll get an even better workout. It's hard to always put aside time to work out, but I don't think working out should be a chore. It's a choice to be heathy, so use your time and energy the best way you can.
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?
My Wonder is being completely in the moment when I am competing. Even though I have been skating for 18 years and competing around the world for 8 years, I feel like I have developed the ability to consistently reach this state only over the past year. Being on the ice with everyone in an arena focusing on you is a huge adrenaline rush. When I was younger, I would depend on muscle memory to get me through a competition. Competitions felt like they were over in a second. Now when I'm in my element, time feels like it slows down. I can create a moment and share my passion and love for what I do with the audience. I won't be an athlete my entire life, so I am thankful for every minute that I am one. After experiencing this breakthrough, I'm excited to see what's next.