Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I studied Art & Art History at UofT and always felt a little out of place because there weren’t many people in my program (both peers and faculty) that liked sports. I became very anxious and confused with what I wanted to do with art, if it was the place for me… and although I focused a lot on sports and basketball, I found that my work wasn’t very relatable. I started to run on the indoor track to release some of my anxiety and found it more therapeutic than creating! This is where my love for running came into play! When I approached my work again with a focus on the physical body and the practice/drive/perseverance that goes with achieving the big wins, I began to connect more with others. I was then able to continue to focus on basketball (and other sports) with the lens of a female athlete – investigating things like body, gender, and ability.
I also work as a Special Education teacher, which has provided me the opportunity to coach my students in the Special Olympics each year. In 2018, my students really wanted to paint regulation lines on the court that we would practice on, and the idea turned into us painting a community-focused mural on the entire court. (It is to-date the largest sports court in Canada.) I have since been inspired to facilitate other community and public projects, like my outdoor art show that encouraged physical fitness – as you had to walk the trails to see the work, and my series of basketball nets made from feminine materials like flowers, lace, crystals and pearls (that was recently highlighted by CBC Arts).
What is something you have done outside of a sport you’re passionate about?
Aside from sport and teaching, I am really passionate about fashion. Since a very young age, I would lovingly watch the Fashion Network, know all of the big designers, and cut up Vogue magazines to make my own curated “look books”. I still love to visit clothing or fabric stores and touch everything I can. This passion for fabric and form has been recently creeping into my artwork. I am currently experimenting with a new body of work that explores materials like lace, leather, tulle, and velvet in different sports contexts. I recently posted on my Instagram an all tulle basketball jersey inspired by the WNBA Black Lives Matter warmup shirts. I am looking forward to sharing more soon!
What do you take pride in as an athlete?
Pushing my body further than I thought it could go. I also lived for the “runner’s high” and would be so excited when I was still moving after I thought I couldn’t anymore. As a new mom, I am stronger and faster than I ever was! I know what it’s like to feel pain and discomfort and have to move through it. When I used to quit before, I now know that I can do more. That this body is capable of more. That’s the best feeling in the world!
What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to improve inclusion in sport?
Watch female sports! Support female sports! Know female athletes by name. Know female teams and leagues. I love that more and more female athletes are becoming household names, and by adults showing that we care about female athletes and will support them, we will help showcase and model brighter futures for young female athletes. Encourage young girls to play! I have also been learning a lot about why young girls stop being active. (An amazing book to read is Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel!) Recent studies show that young girls stop with sports because their body is changing and they don’t have the proper bra. 1 in 4 girls stop playing sports because they get their period and are scared they will leak while playing. These conversations are uncomfortable, but SO important to have! We can change the future of female sport!