Sara Mearns (31) is New York City Ballet’s boldest ballerina. A passionate, intense dancer, she started dancing at 3 and starred in Swan Lake when she was only 19. But instead of resting on her laurels, Sara has kept challenging herself with daring projects, from a collaboration with hip-hop dancers to a leading role in a Broadway show. I talked with the fierce Swan Queen about sacrifices, body confidence, and how to turn pain into gain. “I’m not the typical skinny, tall, long-neck kind of ballerina.”
Marlies: You describe dancing as ‘expressing yourself through movement’. Do you remember the moment that you realized that this was your calling?
Sara: I started when I was 3 years old and dancing was really the only thing I knew. Then, when I turned 12, my ballet teacher passed away and her studio had to close. My mom found a school in another city, so for a year, she would drive me to class, an hour and half each way, 6 days a week. As a ballet dancer, you have to decide at a young age if this is going to be your career. And from that moment on, you have to put dance first, and pretty much sacrifice everything else in your life.
Marlies: That reminds me so much of the muse for my current collection: Queen Elizabeth. An incredibly courageous woman who made tremendous sacrifices for what she believed in. I think a lot of young people have dreams, but they forget that there are ALWAYS sacrifices.
Sara: I agree! That’s why determination, courage and self-discipline have always been hugely important to me. No one else is going to do it for you. It’s just you. I was actually never at the top of my class. So when I wanted to be admitted into the School of American Ballet in New York, I had to work from the bottom up. I had to sacrifice friendships. I basically had to beg! But when I did finally make it, I was extra grateful: I had worked very, very hard for it.
Marlies: And then, at only 19, you were selected from the corps de ballet to perform the role of Swan Queen in ‘Swan Lake’…
Sara: Yes, I was so young! I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect but my director wanted to see if I had the potential. And I guess I showed that I did! But although that is almost 12 years ago, I still feel I have to prove myself every time I step on stage. It’s a daily struggle for me. Am I good enough for this role? Am I good enough for this profession? But I have accepted that as part of wanting to be the best artist I can possibly be.
Marlies: You once said that dancing is like oxygen for you. What was it like to not dance for 8 months when you suffered a back injury in 2012?
Sara: Well, the first 6 months were pretty devastating; I really didn’t think I would ever dance again. But then I started living what you could call a ‘normal life’. I was meeting people, going out with friends. And now, I will never take another minute of dancing for granted. Because I realize that anything can be taken away from you at any moment.
Marlies: You do a lot of modeling and your body is a very important tool for you. Yet I never get the impression that you are preoccupied with how you look; you always come across very strong and authentic. With my designs, I want to motivate women to develop exactly that kind of self-confidence. How did you reach that point?
Sara: To be honest, I still struggle with it sometimes! I’m not the typical skinny, tall, long-neck kind of ballerina. I am womanly. I have a lot of muscle. No one else looks like me; this is a new look for a ballerina. But I tell myself this: if I am strong, and do a great job dancing, then I have nothing to be self-conscious about.
Marlies: Yes! Very often when we look in the mirror, we only see the way other people might perceive us, and we find many things to be insecure about. But when we learn to use our talents, we will be able to see so much to be proud of in our reflection! That is why I encourage women to follow their dreams and dare to grow. What is your most important piece of advice for women?
Sara: Don’t try to be someone else. In ballet school, there was always someone with better feet or a better body. But they didn’t have my artistry, drive or personality! I tell young dancers: be YOU, work hard! There is so much competition out there, if you start looking the same as everybody else, no one is going to be able to pick you out!
Marlies: Be your unique you; I love that! There is a cliché that professional dancers having to sacrifice their personal happiness for their careers. Yet you seem to have it all: the gorgeous fiancé, the dogs, the apartment.
Sara: I actually took a long time to get there! And in a way, I have my injury to thank for it; that is when my life finally opened up and I met my fiancé. He is a Broadway choreographer, so he’s not directly in my world but he knows exactly what I do. And I know what he does. And we respect each other’s schedules and drive. I have been through many relationships in my life, but I had to first emotionally grow up to understand that this is what I needed: a ‘grown ass’ man who is not a child anymore. And I feel insanely lucky!
Marlies: I think you deserve it all, Sara! Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story!
I AM A FEMINIST.
You know I’m a self-made woman who has made it my purpose to challenge women to dare. It’s an achievement I am immensely proud of, and for that reason, I am equally proud to label myself a feminist. But looking back more than a hundred years, I’m even prouder of the progress women have made together.
FEARLESS ﬂy GIRL
Niatia (pronounce: ‘naah-tee-yah), also known by her stage name Lil Mama (28), is a fearless rapper, singer, dancer and actress from Brooklyn, New York. Her breakout hit ‘Lip Gloss’ came out in 2007, and since then she has been a celebrity judge on America’s Best Dance Crew, played Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez in VH1’s CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, and was most recently the lead actress in a movie called ‘When love kills; The Falicia Blakely story’. But it hasn’t always been a smooth ride…
GUTS & GLORY
Meet Viktoriya Isakova (41), a stunningly beautiful Russian actress who is not afraid to get down and dirty for her brave performances. Her film credits include ‘Tochka’ (2006), a movie about human trafficking and prostitution and ‘Mirrors’ (2013), in which she plays the tragic Marina Tsvetaeva, one of the greatest Russian poets of the 20th century. I talked to the winner of many (international) awards about ageing, lingerie, and the need to always stay true to yourself.
Happy Women’s Day
Happy Women’s Day! I am extra excited about this edition, because wow, what a year it’s been for feminism! This is the year that we went global; that we showed up with our money, our bodies, our time and our voices to show the world: this is OUR time!
Marlies|dekkers heeft een grote variëteit aan lingerie wat gedragen kan worden door iedereen en voldoet aan iedere vrouw haar behoefte. Naast het aanbieden van producten op onze webshop, houden we een blog bij in de categorie ‘Maison Marlies’ waar over verschillende onderwerpen geschreven wordt zoals; Waarom 50 worden fantastisch is, een 5-stappenplan voor het kopen van lingerie voor jouw vriendin, vrouw of partner , hoe je lingerie als deel van je outfit maakt en andere leuke onderwerpen.
In Maison Marlies blog kun je van alles lezen over het leven achter en rondom het bedrijf. Of je nu wilt weten waar ze haar inspiratie vandaan haalt voor het ontwerpen van een nieuwe collectie, of dat je interesse hebt in haar levensstijl, gezonde recepten, of haar smaak in bijzondere kunst, je kunt het vinden in de blog. Deze zakenvrouw krijgt het voor elkaar om met een knipoog te schrijven over haar zakenreizen, shop avonturen, haar collega’s, vrienden en familie en zelfs over haar vakanties waar ze even helemaal tot rust komt. Wanneer je even niet meer weet hoe je jou goede bh maat kunt vinden, biedt Maison Marlies een aantal richtlijnen zodat je je boezem kunt schudden zonder dat je borsten eruit floepen. Comfort voor je buste is een combinatie van de juiste maat en de juiste kwaliteit. Je wilt toch geen onhandig ondergoed, terwijl dit eigenlijk heel makkelijk voorkomen kan worden door het dragen van hoge kwaliteit lingerie?! En wanneer je voorgevel goed op z’n plaats gehouden wordt kun je eindelijk volledig je vrouwelijkheid vieren. De blog geeft advies over het mixen en matchen van lingerie, over het stimuleren en inspireren van je eigen stijlgevoel en houdt je op de hoogte van de laatste trends.
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Haar celebrity vrienden zijn ook erg blij met de perfecte pasvorm van de bh's van marlies|dekkers. Deze vriendinnen laten met trots hun sexy lingerie van marlies|dekkers zien in fotoshoots voor tijdschriften, en tijdens optredens, tv-shows of zelfs in films. Maison Marlies wijdt een speciaal gedeelte van de blog aan gerelateerde nieuwtjes en ontwikkelingen zodat je altijd op de hoogte blijft van de laatste ontwikkelingen rondom de speciale missie die de visie van Marlies’ ademt voor de toekomst.