How and when did you get started in training and living a fit lifestyle?
Like almost every girl out there, when I was a teen I focused on being skinny instead of fit. When I was 16 I was dieting and exercising and won Miss New Jersey Teen USA, but looking back, I see that I really had no idea what I was doing. I was crash dieting, barely eating, and doing a little cardio when I had the energy. That kind of lifestyle was not sustainable in any way, and thankfully, since then I’ve had a total paradigm shift. My entry into training and living a fit lifestyle is kind of a funny story. I was dating this guy last year and we fought constantly. Sometimes I would get so angry with him that I couldn’t stand to be in the same room, so I’d lace up my Nike’s and go for a run to escape. Eventually, we fought so much that I was always running, and I discovered that my mind is most at rest when my body is most active. Once my boyfriend and I split, I started running to clear my head, heal my heart, and assess the next steps I needed to take in my career. I would run with no goal in mind other than to be at ease by the time I finished. I run until I’ve run out of things to think, which usually happens after a good 7-10 miles on most mornings. I’m on the road a lot and love the euphoria of running in a new city, meeting new people along the way, and feeling completely free. My body has thanked me too, and I feel fit, lean, and have tons of stamina. In a way, I run to get away from myself, only to find and recenter myself again.
What types of cardio have worked best for you and what’s a typical workout you do during the week?
While running is obviously my favorite, sometimes the bottom of my feet get so cut up and blistered that I have no choice but to switch it up (I’m definitely NOT a foot model). My philosophy is that it’s better to focus on leading an active life on the whole. It doesn’t make sense to do a super hard workout for an hour if you’re sitting on your butt the remaining 23 hours out of the day. I have a bunch of tricks for staying active, for instance, instead of watching TV on the couch at night, I’ll head to the gym and read a book while on the elliptical. I do the stationary bike and I like spinning class minus the screaming instructor and sweaty people three inches away from me. For the most part I stick to floor exercises like good old fashion crunches, pushups, and stretching. I also have a light routine where I’ll do 100 crunches and 50 pushups before I go to bed and after I wake up in the morning. Consistency is key. I try to always be in motion, and when that’s combined with clean eating, I feel my body becoming lean, strong, and curvy without bulk.
Along with your musical career, have you ever felt like quitting… and if so what/who motivated you to keep going?
Quitting? No. Procrastinating? YES. They say that if it scares you, you should do it. That is absolutely true for me regarding my musical endeavors. For some reason, I’ve always had this notion that in order to really tackle my music, I need to be in the perfect physical shape, the perfect mental space, and the perfect place in life. After years of waiting, or rather feeding myself this excuse, I’ve realized that perfect day will never come, and my authentic imperfect self is what will ironically serve me best. In many ways, I want to buy into the idea that’s I’m fearless or unbreakable- but that’s just not true. When it comes to life, love, and especially music, I’m extremely vulnerable. My lyrics are my innermost thoughts, and my performance is a reflection of my hard work. I have to block out the voice in my head that says I could have worked harder, I could have done more and remember the reason I’m an artist in the first place. I’m an artist because my life is given purpose when I share my emotions and connect with others. It’s during those moments that I feel the most alive and beautiful and knowing that is what keeps me going.
What supplements do you use… and what are some of your favorites you would recommend?
I don’t use any! My diet is mainly chicken, fish, veggies, fruits, and nuts…I’m hugely addicted to peanut butter. I think you can get everything you need nutritionally through the right natural foods, and I honestly don’t like the idea of a bunch of super processed powders, gels, or what have you in place of simple clean eating.
When you look back what do you think has been the key to achieving your goals?
I feel like I’ve done so much in my life because failure isn’t an option. It’s obvious to the point of a cliche to say that when you really want something, you work for it. What’s somewhat less obvious is just how hard that work really is. People quit along the way to their goals because, in the end, they aren’t willing to put in what it takes. Talent is just a small ingredient in the recipe for success. Endurance, stamina, and discipline are what will get you to your goal. If you’re the most talented person in the world but quit when the going gets tough, you’ll never make it. End of story. When you work for your dreams with all you possibly have and then some, you grow as a person. You find yourself going to the gym at night even though you don’t want to, doing that last rep, practicing your dance number a few extra times, and working that discipline muscle until you start operating on a high functioning, high-intensity level without even thinking about it. Committing yourself to excellence is the key to achieving goals. Of course, you can’t always come in first, but with this attitude, the goal you thought you were working to attain isn’t able to define your success anymore. YOU know you did your best, and so that type of gratification comes from you- and no one can take that away.
What’s one tip you would give to a person just starting their fitness journey?
Consistency is key!!! When I went to college in New York City, I ate everything I saw. Pizza at 3am, snacking all day, eating carbs late at night, chocolate all the time… it was awesome. BUT, what wasn’t so awesome was that none of my clothes fit me anymore, I was totally unhealthy, had zero energy, and most of all, I didn’t feel good about myself. At first, it was tough to change my habits, but I stuck to it. I started eating only lean protein and cut out all carbs and sugars, and slowly introduced different workouts into my routine. If I hit a plateau, I refused to throw in the towel and kept my blinders on moving forward. I trusted the process and knew that if I did it the right way, I couldn’t lose. Sure enough, I’m now in the best shape of my life and I’m never going back. There are so many people trying to sell a quick fix, but to tell you the truth, there isn’t one. Each day is an opportunity to move a baby step forward, but sooner or later, all those little steps add up.
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Even though my dad passed away when I was only 8 years old, he left me with one of my most valuable life lessons. He told me to whom much is given, much is expected. I am fortunate enough to live a very privileged life, and for that very reason, it’s my duty to make the most of every blessing God has given me. It is one thing to be given spiritual gifts, but if you don’t do anything with them, it’s the same as never being given them in the first place. My goal is to live a healthy, beautiful life of example where I can help others through my music and message.
What’s next for you?
The last year was all about getting into the best physical shape of my life and putting myself out there. As a result, I actually won both the Las Vegas International Model Search as well as Miss Swimsuit USA International. With those titles under my belt, I’m moving ahead with music on my mind. I’ve been writing and recording music in New York and LA and have been filming a reality show in NYC for the past 3 months. The show airs on BET June 28 at 10pm EST and features my crazy, unpredictable, fabulous life as an up and coming artist. It’s kind of insane to see myself on TV commercials now, but completely gratifying to see all this hard work paying off. I have an awesome team behind me who are challenging me daily to kick my own ass so that when the show airs, I can show the world what I’m made of. Right now, I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire so to speak, and I’m just waiting to see what the universe has in store.