I have always thought that a ballerina is among the most beautiful things one can be.

The beauty of ballet lies in it’s effortlessness: dancers perform intricate movements that require incredible strength and stamina, all the while appearing as if they are floating on a cloud.

My love for ballet began at the age of 6, and developed in me qualities like discipline, stage presence, impeccable posture, and the desire to be physically active. However, as much as I loved the art of ballet, I lacked the confidence to dance with the effortless beauty of a true ballerina. Having spent a good portion of the first 15 years of my life in a studio lined floor to ceiling with mirrors I became ruthlessly critical, constantly doubting my abilities, and feeling as though I was never good enough. Looking back on videos of myself performing, I always see great technique but a dancer who was always holding a little something back. I wish I could tell myself how great I really was.

Discovering Strength 

Fast forward to my senior year of high school when, like most high school girls had been taught by the media, settled into the belief that I didn’t have a perfect body. In an effort to change that, I jumped at the opportunity to be taught “how to fitness” by a friend who had been working with a personal trainer.

Weight training came naturally to me and I gravitated toward the new feeling of strength. I loved the idea that each workout was an opportunity to get stronger, learn, and grow. As I began to see my work in the gym transforming my body, I was hooked. But working out on top of an already packed dance schedule pushed me to the point of exhaustion, and having no concept of nutrition I became far too thin.

At the time however, I thought I looked great. I finally had abs and was that much closer to the “perfect” bodies of the women I saw in magazines. But my newfound confidence was fleeting and hinged on the distorted physique I saw in the mirror. Although in the gym I felt fearless, behind closed doors I was still as critical as ever. 

My College Fitness Experience

When I came to college I no longer had an outlet to pursue dance, so I found solace in my university’s gym. As per the classic Freshman experience I put on some much needed weight, and was finally able to train to my full capacity. I continued to sift through the wealth of fitness and nutrition information online and as my knowledge grew I began to better understand how to properly eat to fuel my training. With it’s extensive video and recipe database, Bodybuilding.com was a go-to source for me. This led me to apply for and accept the position of a campus ambassador for the site. I also joined the FSU Healthy Noles, a peer health education club, and my passion for health thrived as I felt truly embraced by the fitness community on my campus



One day at the squat rack, a boy (who I would later fall in love with) approached me and asked “Do you compete?” 

I had considered it, but had no idea where to start and again lacked the confidence that I would ever be able to accomplish such a feat. He taught me how to train, eat, and think like a bodybuilder, and finally something clicked. I felt strong, powerful, and most importantly healthy!

By summer of my Freshman year I was stepping on my first NPC stage as a Figure Competitor and to my surprise taking home first place wins in both teen and novice figure. Through the process of preparing for the show there were definitely ups and downs, but each and every day I reminded myself how far I had come. I refused to revert back to that critical teenage girl and instead learned to love and accept my flaws. When it came down to show day, I strutted out on the stage and for the first time in my life didn’t hold back.



Self-love > Self-doubt

I am now in my Senior year at Florida State University, I am a nationally qualified figure competitor, and I have embraced fitness as a lifestyle choice that I will continue to passionately pursue through out my life.

Upon graduation I plan to obtain a masters degree in Public Health Communication and dedicate my life to improving the way health information is communicated to the public. There are still days when self-doubt creeps back into my mind, but I have come to understand that the perfect body doesn’t exist, and that confidence comes with accepting and loving myself no matter the circumstances. Despite the bumps along the way I have nothing but gratitude for the lessons, the friendships, and the happiness that fitness and dance have brought into my life. From ballet to bodybuilding, my fitness journey continues. 

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