SISSY // Ballerina & Donut Lover
How long have you been dancing?
Since I was three years old: ballet, tap and jazz. Then, at around the age of ten, dance became more intense and I began focusing on ballet and contemporary.
Do you have a favorite type of dance?
I like Ballet the most. Oh Jeepers, I love it - it makes me feel so elegant.
Have you ever choreographed? If yes, describe your creative process.
I have choreographed. I’d done a few things just for fun, but nothing that I’d performed until last year. My friend Isabel and I created our senior duet together. We choreographed it to the song ‘better together’. We let what other people were doing inspire us and fed off each other’s energy - and off the music. It was really fun!
Must haves for dance?
Zenzee shoes, obviously! Mint chocolate Cliff bar, half before and half after. Pointe shoes and toe pads in a Nutcracker bag. 10 extra bobby pins; I’ve probably bought 10 packs of 50 pins this year, all somewhere in my bathroom, on the floor. Also, you gotta have a water bottle because if you don’t, you’re screwed.
Can you talk about some of the pressures that go along with being a dancer?
There’s social pressure because you’re essentially required to quickly become close with strangers. Luckily for me, I’ve only had to work with the nicest people.
As far as health goes, you really don’t want to get sick, so you have to always go to bed early, eat healthily, warm up, and stretch after class. And, when it comes to body image, you definitely have to look healthy (though Park City Dance was a little more lenient). Still, part of the reason I’m not going to become a professional ballerina is because I don’t have the ‘right’ body type for it, possibly the hardest expectation dancers have to live up to.
So, what’s your favorite way to relax after a long day of dancing?
Ooo, donuts. I really like donuts, they just make me happy, and I really like taking baths. And jamming out to Ella Fitzgerald, and making cookies - either one. Or just sleep.
Do you think you’ve made lifelong friends through dance? What are those relationships like?
Oh jeepers. As I’ve mentioned 5000 times, I’ve made a lot of close friends. I spend more time with them than my regular family so they’ve become a second family to me, they know me better than anyone else.
You experience adversity with them. If there’s a really challenging combination or you have an injury, you get through it together. I had a bad foot injury, and it was really tough, but they got me through it; they support me through everything. But, honestly, we’re just a weird group of girls that get to be weird together. I love weird people.
What are your other interests?
I dabble in donut-eating, for one, and community service. I also really enjoy skiing, it’s a big part of my life because it’s what my family does together, besides hiking and hanging out. I’ve also been getting really into rock climbing recently.
We’re hear you’re really adventurous, tell us about some of your favorite ‘adventuring’ experiences.
The first one that comes to mind is my two-week trip to Europe. I went to Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Berlin, staying in AirBnBs along the way. Nature-wise, I’ve ventured on a few backpacking trips. One trip, I went to the Tetons and hiked all over the place. That was super fun.
So, if you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be?
Wow…I’d either go to Vienna to visit my homegirl Isabel or I would go to Switzerland - it looks really pretty and I love chocolate, what could be better? Or maybe Finland, cause that’s where I’m originally from.
Who is the most badass woman in your life and how does she influence you?
Well, I’m gonna go with my mom. She inspires me to be kind and goofy and to love life. She’s just a good Mama, she makes me feel loved. She’s also very spontaneous which makes her badass.
And your quirks? Tell us about your quirks!
My 'Sissy-isms'! Well, I sometimes randomly break out into dance, and different accents. I enjoy calling people goob, goober, bubba, girl. Is it quirky that I like to stay up really really late? I don’t know if that’s a quirk or just a problem. I also eat a donut a day, I’ve had two today.
Oh! And I don’t have a real name! That’s a quirk, for sure. When I was born, my parents couldn’t decide on a name so we left the hospital without putting anything on my birth certificate. I had a bunch of birth announcements with a bunch of different names for each of them. I was the nameless baby until my brother started calling me Sissy. Then, in preschool I named myself Kayla. First grade was Isabella, second grade onwards I was Elise. For now, my birth certificate is still blank! My passport and driver’s license both say ‘Elise’ though. Wait. *checks driver’s license*
“Eat dessert first." Dessert being donuts, by any chance?
How would you describe your sense of style?
All over the place! Sometimes I wear really cute clothes and totally rock it, and sometimes I dress in donut clothes. But I really like leggings, and dresses in the summer.
Last but so not least, what’s your favorite Zenzee style?
I’m bias because I have the Hippy Stripe Blue…but I also love Foxy Me. If I were to get another pair, I’d probably get those, or the XO shoes. Those would be so cute for Valentine’s Day!