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LUV BLOG

WOMAN OF THE MONTH: TRACI COPELAND

WOMAN OF THE MONTH: TRACI COPELAND

Traci is a world-traveled Hip-Hop/Street Jazz dancer who’s performed on stage with Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Black-Eyed Peas, Wayne Wonder, Music Soulchild, and has appeared on various TV shows like Fashion Rocks, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and MTV’s Say What? Karaoke. Traci appeared in several workout videos for Women’s Health Magazine, Runner’s World, Insanity, and Asylum 2. She’s modeled for Women’s Health Mag, Self, Shape, Runner’s World, Health, Cosmo, Prevention and appeared in campaigns for some of the top athletic brands in the world.

A competitive gymnast for 13 years and collegiate track and field competitor, Traci turned to yoga after a recurring knee problem. Yoga allowed her to run five days a week and complete multiple marathons. The marathon training gave her a sense of accomplishment which was in-line with her competitive days of track and field at Georgetown University. There, she competed in triple jump, long jump, high jump, and on occasion the 200 meter dash.

Currently a Nike Master Trainer, Traci continues to inspire people all over the world through the pursuit of movement, and holistic health. A true advocate for self-care. 

How do you identify yourself?

I identify myself as a “Mover”.

I could say athlete, but athlete to me still means that I’m competing to win something, and I don’t want to have to compete any more.

Mover to me, means that I can do yoga, I can dance, I can run, it doesn’t have to necessarily fit into one box. It’s an overarching thing, and it’s more something I do for personal enjoyment, rather than competing with the person next to me.

In terms of self-care it needs to not be in that format for me. A mover can be lots of things... not just physical… it can be moving or inspiring people as well, in a small, but impactful setting.

What’s your greatest accomplishment? What are you most proud of?

I think pivoting careers was a big accomplishment for me. I was working in a corporate job when I left college and I didn’t like my job at all. I was taking dance classes for fun. Then in 2002 I decided to leave my career and pursue dance full time. I took a leap of faith because it was something I was really passionate about.

Back then, 18 years ago, people weren’t doing things like that. It was a lifestyle change, but a huge pay off in the end. It paid off because I got to follow what I really wanted to do. Dance and movement and teaching and yoga and running. It opened the door to so many things I wouldn’t have done if I’d stayed in that role.

I’m definitely really passionate about what I do. Not everybody has that luxury with work. Someone once told me that whatever you do in your downtime will become your overtime, and that ended up being true for me.

How do you express love to others?

I like to give gifts, and doing things for people. I like it when close friends feel that they are important or special.

How did you overcome obstacles to get where you are today?

I think at first my confidence came from the outside. Those I was taking class with, ended up being the community that helped me overcome, and shift because they were very supportive in ways I didn’t expect. I developed certain relationships and support systems, and that’s what helped… Because you can’t do it by yourself.

How has any self-limiting narrative kept you from your greatness?

I think comparison has been hard. If you see someone who’s doing something like you in a similar field, it’s hard not to think you should be doing the same thing, if not more. But that can be a really dark place to go down, because nobody does you better than you.

How did you overcome that voice?

I have to constantly do things that keep me grounded. Especially when I’m traveling a lot. For me, going on a run, or getting into a spiritual practice and reconnecting with my church community helps.

What's your favorite self-love ritual?

I actually booked a hydro-facial for tomorrow. I feel like this season, with travel and eating different foods, my skin needs it! I also love a spa here in New York called Ancient Baths that I like to go to for contrast bathing.

How do you stay fit and healthy? What are your top three tips?

I think it’s a combination of things:

1. Eating clean. I try to eat plant-based. I cook vegan food at home, and use the vegan delivery service Purple Carrot.

2. Consistency with your work-outs. Once a week isn’t going to do it. So getting on a proper schedule – finding out what that is for your lifestyle is important. Working out 6 times a week just might not be realistic, so saying “I’m going to work out at least 4 times a week” could be a better option.

3. Finding time for yourself. Just reading for an hour, doing a bit of meditation, or having your nails done. For me the guitar is great because I switch off from everything else.

What impact do you hope to leave on the world?

Diversity is a big thing for me. Convincing someone, even if they don’t feel they look the part, that they can run for example, because diversity means all shapes and sizes.

As well as equality. Fitness and working out should be available for everybody. It’s expensive to go to classes, but I’d like to see access for everybody, especially inner city kids. I’d like to bring access and education, across fitness and diet and nutrition to everyone. We’ve got to find ways that we can do that, particularly for those under-served communities.

What three things would you tell your younger self?

1. As a kid I was my own worst critic. Especially when it came to sports. If I didn’t compete well, especially in gymnastics, I felt like I was letting myself down as well as my team. So I would tell a younger me, not to put too much pressure on myself.

2. Change your perspective, as there’s a whole big world out there. Moving from the mid-west to New York helped spark my curiosity and opened up that door for me - before that I was going with the flow with everyone else. Nothing I was doing was outside the norm.

3. Explore beyond sport, like music. You don’t know what you’re capable of and in doing so find ways to have an holistic healthy lifestyle.