Introducing the inspiring Miss Niña, a 25 year old Engineer from the Philippines. This doe-eyed beauty talks about being a female in a male dominated occupation and how Lyra makes her feel empowered and confident.
How long have you been dancing Lyra?
I started learning Lyra six months ago.
Did you feel nervous before your first lesson?
Yes! I was scared of making a fool of myself and being terrible at Lyra. I was scared I wouldn’t make any friends. I was terrified!
What obstacles have you faced as a female working in a male dominant occupation? How has this impacted on your self-love and body image?
As a girl growing up in what felt like a boys world, people would be surprised by my interests in Maths, Physics and Engineering. Even though I received a lot of encouragement from my Dad, who believed I could do anything I wanted to - it would still bother me a lot because I used to think that I would struggle through my studies because of my gender. I always felt the need to prove myself, but it was never enough. So it fed into this idea that there was something wrong with me. I would think I wasn't intelligent or strong enough.
For a long time whenever I reflected on myself, there was always something wrong. Even now, I often catch myself criticising myself thinking there is something wrong with me, mentally and physically.
When your expectations of yourself are based on what everyone else expects of you, it’s really easy to let yourself down or think that you’re not good enough. The self-hatred turned into depression, and I would punish myself over and over again, thinking I would never be good enough.
How does Dancing on the Lyra make you feel?
Lyra makes me happy, I feel more confident in myself and empowered. I love how Lyra challenges me physically and mentally (it’s a mental challenge to trust yourself to let go of the hoop when you’re hanging upside down by your ankles). So when I finally nail a move, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Lyra makes me feel free to be myself!
What do you enjoy most about coming to class?
The people and the loving atmosphere they create. As much as I love learning Lyra, it’s the students and teachers that make me love coming to Sky Sirens. Even when I’ve had a really bad day, I know that if I have a Lyra class later that evening, my day will get better.
How would you define Self-Love?
Self-Love is about being good to yourself; you acknowledge your value and worth. You begin to realise how absolutely amazing you are inside and out. Even when you make mistakes, instead of punishing and hating yourself, self-love is treating yourself with the love that you deserve. Everyone deserves to be loved; the first step of receiving it from others is to learn to love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll never believe anyone else will.
What is your most beautiful physical feature, and why?
My eyes. They’re big, brown and doe-eyed, like a Disney cartoon character. They let me observe the beauty around me and in people.
What advice would you give a Lyra virgin who was nervous about signing up?
Do it, but do it for you. Do it for your happiness. Any voice in your head (or outside) who tells you that you shouldn’t or that you can’t, ignore it. You have nothing to lose, and so much to gain. So why not?