Tell us about yourself – age / family / job / etc

I’m 22 years old and I am in the process of qualifying as an actuary (10 board exams down, 3 to go!). I currently work at a bank as a quantitative analyst and I tutor Maths part-time. I’ll also be working as an Economics and English tutor at an outreach program from May 2018. In between all of this I study for exams, travel at least once a year and spend loads of time with my dogs.

When did you join the Vertical Vixen studio and pole dancing?

My first class was with Lara on 4 January 2017.

What were your reasons for joining? are they still the same?

I joined mostly because I had seen one of the instructors, Travis, on his journey and wanted to experience that for myself. I’d also been through a horrific break up, illness and depression a year before I started pole and because it had taken me so long to start healing from all of those, I wanted to start pole as a distraction.

Because of the classes / new exercise regime – did you start to make changes to other areas of your life? if so what?  (what other benefits have you gained from your classes at Vertical Vixen?)

I thought pole would be a good distraction from the emotions I had been feeling and it was, but I didn’t realise that pole would actually help me heal. In addition to the physical strength and flexibility I’ve gained, I’ve also learnt to love exercise and love myself. I no longer see things like cellulite as flaws. I would never wear shorts in the past for fear of showing my “jelly” but now I honestly don’t care about showing it because I know it’s not a reflection of my strength or fitness. I went from never exercising at all to doing 3 hours at Vertical Vixen a week AND training for the 947 Cycle Challenge on a tandem with my dad. I think my parents had seen me go through my worst before I started pole so to be able to be motivated enough to do something like that with my dad was really special.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of trying pole?

COME! If it makes you more comfortable, bring a friend along. Else come on your own. I started by myself and I’ve never looked back. The friends I have made are wonderful. You don’t have to be comfortable in your own skin to try it. That will come with time.  Also, don’t let the “pole dancers are strippers” stigma scare you. Pole dancing means different things to different people. It’s your pole journey and as you gain strength and confidence what people think will start to matter less and less.

Why would you tell someone to join a pole class?

Firstly, the people you meet are awesome. It’s really a no-judgment zone with loads of laughs. Secondly, I’d tell you to join because of how motivating and empowering it can be. The reason pole is the only exercise I’ve ever managed to stick to is that I see progress every single class. It might be small (e.g. being able to lift my feet off the ground this week when I couldn’t do that last week) but that’s what keeps me coming back.

Lindsay Thomas