Guest Interview with Aerialist Paige Walker
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a 42 year old mom of two amazing kids, almost 6 & 9yrs. I’m from New York and have been living in Sydney for the last 12 years. My background is theatre/music theatre and dance so, for me, performance is in my blood.
I currently am lucky enough to fill my life with work that is focused around all my loves. I am an aerialist (performer and teacher), an American Dialect coach, I do voice overs , I am a tango dancer and I also became certified as a pilates instructor last year.
It certainly keeps me on my toes and means that down time is nearly non-existent but each thing fills me up in different ways so I feel pretty energised most of the time. Not to say I don’t totally hit the wall occasionally!
How did you become an aerialist?
A few years ago my family and I decided to take a break and go to Club Med, Bali. They had flying trapeze there and I thought it sounded like fun, so I gave it a try. After getting off the board, initially- it was MAGIC! I had never felt anything like it and became hooked from the first minute!!
After I got back to Sydney, I continued with the trapeze but decided to take the aerial work in another direction and do double trapeze. I love working with a partner and there is much more artistic freedom with doubles. Amazingly, I was performing with it 6 months later and, from there, I have continued to add different skills and apparatuses to my repertoire.
It is, by far, the magic in my life- outside of my kiddos. Starting at almost 38yrs has given me a real perspective that this experience is finite and I better enjoy every blissful moment I have up there. But it also has made me feel so strong and capable in my body and mind. I think god, if I can hang from only 1 foot, 5 meters off the ground, then most other things in life just aren’t that scary!
What do you enjoy about your work?
I love that my work (all 6 different careers that I have now as a single mom) keep me active in body and mind. I don’t ever get a chance to feel bored or stagnant and I also love that, as hard as it’s been being a single mom for the last 2 years, everything I do for work, I choose. I love it!!
Has fitness always been important to you?
I was a really active kid, living on a farm and then I went to a performing arts school from 13, where I introduced dance and music theatre into my life. I continued with all of that through college-but then when I was 21 my dad died very suddenly and everything kind of lost its sparkle.
I ended up with a pretty wicked eating disorder and it took a couple years for me to begin to get my head around all of that. During that time, I lost all my muscle and my ability to even walk a cross-town block in NY. I remember talking to a girlfriend of mine and she would go to the gym for 2 hours before coming to the club where we worked until 6am. I remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine having that sort of energy. It was awful.
When I found dance again and pilates and it all changed for me. I was really able to focus on ‘strong being the new skinny’.
What does healthy eating mean for you?
Healthy eating for me now has to really be a mix of good food and also some fun stuff as well, because I can very easily make food my enemy.
When my first child was born and it was a tiny, tiny baby girl- the first thing I did was go out and buy a book on how to teach your daughter to love her body.
I was terrified that she may go through the same thing I did. Thank goodness I found all the aerial work because, for that, I have to be strong. I have to really think about what my body needs. So it’s lots of veggies, lean proteins, nuts and fruit and good carb with some sugar and coffee thrown in for good measure.
What are a few of your kitchen pantry essentials?
Salad, sourdough bread, lentils, tuna, chicken, almonds.
What do you indulge in?
Coffee and some very good chocolate sometimes. I DID just get an ice cream maker, so that may be my new indulgence. I’m pretty strong willed though, hopefully it will see me through NOT eating gallons in one sitting.
What are some of the things you value most in life?
The things I value most in my life are my family and my friends, my craft, the time I’ve been allowed to do it and the people I partner with.
What is your favourite quote?
Leap – and the net will appear. This is a zen saying, not sure of the original author but so apropos.
Do you find time to nurture yourself? What does this involve?
I don’t have very much down time, at all. When I do, I love to sit in the bath and read but sometimes just having some play/creation time on my trapeze with my partner is just what the doctor ordered. When I can just play. And I love cooking with my kiddos. We cook together every Sunday.
What are your tips to staying happy and healthy?
Be active! Get in your body and dance!!
What do you and your kids like to do on the weekend?
The kiddos and I love to hang out and just be together on the weekends. We like to cook and every Sunday we have movie night.
Would you like to share one of your favourite healthy recipes?
I just made this today for the first time and it was fabulous.
Peach and Plum Pie in the Sky
4 ripe plums
4 ripe peaches
1 TBS organic butter
sprinkle of brown sugar
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of ground ginger
shortcrust or any kind of ‘pastry’ that suits.
Slice the fruit in thin slices and stew slightly in a pan with the butter and a dash of the brown sugar, the ginger and cinnamon until slightly softened.
Place the pastry in a baking dish and use any of the brown sugar you have left over the pastry. Place the warm fruit in the pastry and sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 200 celsius until crust is browned and fruit softened. Serve with yogurt or homemade ice cream.