1. Briefly describe what it is you ‘do’
I travel across Canada inspiring young people to be real. I run an organization called Keep it Real and we as a crew; skateboard, Dj, paint, film vlogs, and design clothing. We put on our events at schools, skateparks, drop in centres, church's and camps.
2. Just for fun. Share with us an awkward teenage moment
When I was in grade 10 I worked at Mc Donald's for a few weeks but only because my friend applied for me without telling me so I actually went along with it. On one of my last shifts there, a guy I had a crush on came in so I had to serve him fries with my face super red blushing. I'm lucky that he was nice and at least smiled the whole time.
3. When did you discover what you wanted to do?
It wasn't overnight that I realized what wanted to do, it was a gradual thing. My first time speaking in public was when I was 14 at a Hawk Nelson concert. After I realized that it was fun and easy to do, I started practicing speaking in public a few times a week after I finished high school. I started adding in creative ideas to keep the attention of my audience so I would bring my skateboard on stage and often have my graffiti posters in the background. Sometimes I would show fun videos that I made too. As time went on I kept getting encouraged by my friends to keep doing what I was doing.
4. What drives you to do what you do?
In life we all need hope. I remember being a teenager and having older role models that encouraged me. I hope to do the same and use my influence in the right way. My goal is to encourage others that their life has value and purpose.
5. If you could go back to your teenage years, what is something you wish you could do differently?
I was such a prankster growing up so I probably would have slowed down on the pranks. It took me years to lose that reputation. I'm not saying it's bad or anything, the odd prank here or there is fine, but in my job there are moments that I want people to take me seriously and know that I actually can be responsible.
6. What traits are you most proud of?
I like to smile and laugh a lot. For real, I find so many things funny and I don't know why, I like having joy. Im an energetic risk taker that is not afraid to think outside of the box. I'm a people person and I enjoy meeting others and memorizing their names.
7. In moments of self-doubt and lack of confidence how do you build yourself back up?
I play the guitar, go for walks through nature, journal, listen to podcasts, pray out loud in the car, and draw. Another cool thing I like is on YouTube if you search "The fathers love letter" the music is old school but the words are so powerful.
8. A fear you have had to overcome in order to get to where you are today?
I had to get over the fear of talking about money with people. As I get invited places to do Keep it Real people are willing to pay me. At first I didn't know how to discuss it that well with people and some took advantage of me when I was younger. Now I discuss it clearly and we decide together what a fair price is for when they want to book me. Also I fundraise for our organization too so I had to learn how to get over the fear of asking others for help.
9. What is something that keeps you up at night?
Well when I have coffee in the afternoon I stay up, just kidding. I can think of a few things. when I really get passionate about a project I will literally stay up all night and spend countless hours on it. Sometimes I start to dream and I can't turn my mind off. On a more sad note, sometimes I stay up at night thinking about what the future holds for the younger generation. With everything going on in the world, what will things be like down the road if we sit back and do nothing now?
10. What is a piece of advice you have always held with you?
I remember one time after school I was driving with a friend of mine who has been like a big brother. He taught me how to graffiti and I'll never forget what he said years ago. He told me not to find my identity in the things that I do. He himself is a dancer and he said that being a dancer is not his identity, it can be taken away at anytime. I've held onto that because over the years I have realized that I am more than just the things that I do. Being a skater girl doesn't define me.
11. Something you wish you knew and understood when you were a teenage girl.
Oh man, if I would have known about eating healthy back then I so would have. If I went back in time I would have pushed myself to eat more fruits and vegetables, not skittles for breakfast, haha.
12. Name a woman past or present whom you admire or look up to?
Well it's hard to just choose one. I definitely admire my mom for always being there for me but for someone outside of my family I would have to say my friend Kathy Maietta. She is such a cool lady. Years ago when I was a teenager she really encouraged me one summer at camp.
She also does some speaking herself so she is someone that I look up to. Also my other friend Cindy Bodach is someone I see as a mentor and good friend. Cindy worked at the West49 head office so my first time traveling across Canada was thanks to her as she sent me on a few skate tours through the store. Cindy is someone that I can call up and ask for advice at anytime. She genuinely cares about others and is always willing to put others ahead of herself. She sets a good example of how to lead well. Cindy gave Keep it Real a portable skatepark that we used for years and that really helped us to get our start. She will always be a legend in my eyes.