Justine Rickard (Canada), receiving the 2015 Amateur Women’s Championship award, from Natasha Wang, 2015 PoleArt Cyprus.
Justine, which part of Canada, are you from?
I was born and still live in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Justine Rickard training, Moncton, New Brunswick.
Since January 2016. I teach pole classes at Pink Fitness Studio.
I am also a student of psychology, who is coming on to her 6th year of working on earning a BA.
I have been taking my time, in order to put focus on my passion – Pole.
I gave away many years to an eating disorder, and decided to choose life in 2012, when I spent four months in treatment.
A year later, I decided to try pole as a way to challenge my remaining body image insecurities, (…those tiny shorts!).
Never in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined, my life as it is now!
Many of the World’s top Pole athletes, compete at Poleart Cyprus.
How did you choose, to enter the 2015 Poleart Cyprus Championships, & end up on stage with Natasha Wang?
Initially my friend and I, were planning a trip to NYC, to compete and train.
Justine Rickard, NYC subway.
When we missed the deadline for registration, we decided to look into what else was happening in the pole community at this time.
We found out that PoleArt Cyprus was happening, and said, “let’s give it a go”!
How did you feel, competing Internationally?
I remember watching the other women finalists in my category, preparing for competition.
Stretching and contorting their bodies, in ways mine will never twist.
At that moment, I remember thinking how far out of my element I was!
I have no dance background and no gymnastics.
I suffer from scoliosis, and on a good day, I can manage to do both side splits.
I’m also from the middle-of-no-where-Canada.
I think, one of the reason I admire Natasha Wang so much, she is achieving so much, even though she didn’t start with the background, that so many athletes come into pole with.
Your thoughts, winning the Championship?
I don’t think it has really hit me yet, even all these months later.
Having Natasha Wang! Announce my name as the winner, 2015 Poleart Cyprus, Amateur Women’s Champion!
Is just as amazing, as it sounds!
Congratulations & well done,, Justine!
Why are you so driven, focused & dedicated to pole dance?
The only thing I have ever been good as was my eating disorder. Pole has given me an opportunity to really, truly explore my body in an entirely new way.
Most of all, pole is 100% about what you are able to do, and 0% about how you look physically.
When I start to fall back into old, negative patterns, I remember that I need to engage in behaviors that will contribute to becoming a better, stronger athlete – regardless of my size.
Pole has given me my life back; it has offered me a way to incorporate theatre and art, back into my life!
(Something that absolutely makes my soul soar!)
Pole dance, has also taught me to be kind, supportive, and proud of myself!
It provides a way to prove to myself, that I am capable of achieving things I never dreamt I could.
(Placing 1st in all five competitions I have competed in).*
* The ONLY time Justine comments, winning 5 consecutive Championships.
1. 2014 East Coast Pole Fitness Championships ~ 1st Place Amateur.
2. 2014 Canadian National Pole Fitness Championships ~ 1st Place Amateur.
3. 2015 East Coast Pole Fitness Championships ~ 1st Place Semi-Pro.
4. 2015 Canadian National Pole Fitness Championships ~ 1st Place Semi-Pro.
5. 2015 Poleart Cyprus ~ 1st Place Amateur.
Justine, winning 5 consecutive Championships, is an incredible achievement!
Justine Rickard training, Moncton, New Brunswick.
How popular is pole dance in Eastern Canada?
So far, Pink Fitness (est. 2011), is the only Pole studio in the province of New Brunswick.
I believe our studio, is one of 4 or 5 studios in all of the east coast.
It is certainly a new sport here, but I think it is growing in popularity, and I am looking forward to seeing it take off!
What are your future goals & plans?
Rest and heal my rotator cuff injury, in order to pursue pole as far as I can go with it.
I have applied to a few competitions in Canada, and internationally for this year.
How do your friends react when you tell them, you are a pole dancer?
Those that remain in my life are supportive.
I think a lot of criticism comes from stepping away from conventionality.
I’m taking so long to earn my first university degree, I’m not married, engaged, pregnant, nor am I a home owner.
I think when anyone carves their own path, others will judge or criticize, what they don’t understand.
That being said, the encouragement that I do receive from those in my life that support me, is probably what sustains me the most!
I have the world’s best parents for letting me follow my dreams!
The greatest coach, and friend, anyone could ask for!
And a pole family to dream about; an incredible group of teachers/mentors/cheerleaders who support me all the way!
I am so lucky!!!
Congratulations & Best Wishes Justine!
Thank you for sharing.
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