At #STYLECHATTER we are not only discussing fashion but also inspiring lifestyle to empower all the ladies out there, on the hot seat this week we catch up with Malaysia’s former national rhythmic gymnast, Farahana Azmin also known as @farstiptoes on Instagram as she prepares for her weekend Xtend Barre class at Urban Spring, Jalan Bangkung. Keep on reading as we discover what keeps her going while juggling her two interesting (& demanding!!) roles and her journey.
1. Share with us about yourself and your journey? I have always been involved in the performing arts, namely ballet which I started at the age of 4. At the age of 10, I was selected to be in the Malaysian rhythmic gymnastics elite team and during that period, my time was filled with 7 hours a day 6 days a week training sessions in Bukit Jalil and schooling in Sri Petaling and Sri Aman in Petaling Jaya. After quitting the national team, I branched out to stage jazz, hip hop and contemporary during my A Levels and also continued doing ballet in London whilst completing an engineering course at UCL.
Currently, I have a full time corporate job in a property development GLC doing Strategy. I also have a weekend/weeknight job teaching Xtend Barre! (A combination of pilates, cardio and elements of dance) and Ballet for Kids. Stark contrasts, but I love both my jobs! I love my corporate job which constantly seeks to challenge me and grow me. And my weekend/weeknight job keeps me on my toes (literally!). It can be tiring, but I think both my jobs balances out both the corporate and performance/fitness sides of mine.
2. How do you juggle your multiple roles? I think the trick is to enjoy what you’re doing. You also need to really be rajin and push yourself to the best of your abilities and talents. I am also thankful to be part of a team who believes in working hard at the same time take time to enjoy life to the fullest.
My parents have also played major roles in my life journey as they have been fully supportive of all my endeavours, from sending me to ballet classes at a very young age to ferrying me to and fro Bukit Jalil and PJ for training and school to supporting me all the way to New York City for my dance training!
3. How does it feel like to represent the country as a national gymnast? It was and is an absolute honour to have had the chance to represent Malaysia. As an athlete representing your country at international competitions, you feel immense pride and love for your nation. I also loved being able to travel for competitions; I’ve competed in Spain, Russia, Portugal, Bulgaria and the US. It was also an absolute joy to make friends with gymnasts from other countries and compare our diverse backgrounds and cultures.
Being an elite gymnast has taught me lots of things; the importance of drive, discipline, determination and perseverance! When you’re an athlete, you don’t quit. It was all about balancing school, training and a social life and I had amazing support from my parents and sister.
As a child, I have always loved performing and dancing for an audience whether it be in kindergarten or birthday parties. My parents (thankfully!) enrolled me for ballet classes when I was 4 and there was no stopping me after! I love the fact that ballet and rhythmic gymnastics teaches you grace and elegance from a very young age. Gymnastics, ballet and dance will always be a huge part of my life and has shaped the person I am today.
4. What do you prefer to do during your free time? Dance of course; Ballet and Hip Hop are my favourite styles. I love performing and I absolutely love how dance lets me find myself and lose myself at the same time. It’s an indescribable feeling.
As cliche as it sounds, I also love travelling! I love experiencing new cultures, food and learning about the vast history of how a place came to be what it is now.
- 5. What is your favourite holiday destination? I am absolutely in love with New York City, the place is magic for me and unlike any other destination. I lived there for 4 months a few summers ago doing an internship and a dance course, but the memories and the longing to go back and explore so much more has never left me and I get wistful each time I see scenes in movies/ series based in NYC. I feel Manhattan really resonates with me in the sense that it has both the corporate life (Wall Street) and performing arts (Broadway!) intertwined in the city. It really is the cultural, financial, media, and fashion capital of the world.
- 6. Any quotes you live by? Live in the present and seize the day! Life is short, and we must always count our blessings.
Always be kind; your attitude determines your direction.
Farahana is wearing Mkita Oversized Side Button in Green in UK8. Shop Farahana’s look online and in-stores. Photography by: Syazwan Asyraf @syzwnasyrf