Do other girls think they’re good luck?
That may be it. Some girls wear ribbons which is also not my thing. I think each competitor has a superstitious thing that works for them.
Your hands and feet must be a mess from the powder and all the stress you put them through.
I like to pamper myself before I compete and get a manicure and pedicure but gymnasts’ feet are pretty beat up. I’ve broken pretty much every toe, but my feet still look functional so I’m happy about that.
Nail polish and nail art are so popular right now. Why don’t you do nail art to match your leotard?
I honestly wish we could but it’s in our rules–we have to have neutral nails or no polish whatsoever.
That is so sad!
I know! Because I love all the fun colors now.
I heard that you used to work for a designer. Tell me about that.
I worked for a mens’ clothing line in California called Tank Farm. I worked with the owners interning and just learning the ropes. I design all my own leotards.
Would you like design to be a post-gymnastics career path?
I would love that! I’m definitely into fashion. Being an athlete, it’s always difficult trying to find clothes that fit. I’ve been playing around with the idea of maybe starting a clothing line that caters to athletes. My boyfriend’s ridiculously tall and has these enormous legs and can’t find jeans that fit, and I’m ridiculously short and can’t find jeans that fit. So I think there might be a niche.
What designers or brands do you really love?
I’m a big Alice & Olivia fan. I think their stuff is so cute. [Ed. note: Attention, Stacey Bendet! Make Alicia some cute leotards/hair ties!] Aqua always makes really reasonably priced clothese that fit well and look really good on everybody, too.
Last year you posed in ESPN’s nude edition (below). What was that like?
It was a little nervewracking. Obviously being comfortable with your body is a big issue and I worked really hard to get into the shape I was in. I was really proud of it and that’s why then the opportunity came up I was like, this is something that’s really neat and I think when I’m older and I look back on this I’ll be like, “Dang I looked good when I was in my 20s!”
There’s been a lot in the news lately about body image and asking magazines to show more realistic looking girls instead of super skinny models. How do you feel about this?
It is something that is a harsh reality. Models are definitely gorgeous and designer clothes are made to fit them like a glove but for everyday women–we’re not built that way. Sometimes I wish I was 5’7″ and skinny and glamorous. But I’m 5’1″ and muscular–and I’m good with my body the way it is. Every girl should be proud of how beautiful they are inside and out no matter how they look.
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