TBT – Why iRiDE
iRiDE to find one hour a day where I can like, no, I can LOVE my body. I can carry that connection and confidence with me beyond a 55 minute class. Not just finding peace but finding POWER in who I am on and off the bike. iTEACH to share that with others
My iRiDE story begins with my secret. I was a child actor. I was on some pretty iconic and pretty irritating 80s and 90s fair? My maiden name and a google search is all you need to reveal some embarrassing and crazy outfits. . and some embarrassing and crazy memories.
It was an amazing and adventurous upbringing that afforded me some incredible and fabulous opportunities. But like many childhoods, there were some profound obstacles as well. From a very early age, the choices that were made for my career, were not always in concert with what was best for. . my being.
My hair was actually straightened five days a week for five years. No joke. A hairdresser and her old school Conair would fry the mermaids from my curls Monday through Friday from the time I was 5 til I was 10 years old. I became more manageable, and less me. Ever hear those stories about Judy Garland developing early? Looking young is always the name of the game in Show Business, so if puberty hits, like it did for me, when you are 10, lets just say measures are taken to hide and hinder the onset of becoming a woman. More cast-able, less me. To ensure a good night’s sleep and to help aid with energy and metabolism, there were times when my diet consisted of dimetapp at night and dexatrim in the morning. More control, less me.
The road to disconnect is inherent to being a child actor. Years of being a puppet left me bereft of any sense of connection let alone confidence in the one thing that truly was my own…my body. I saw my peers gravitate to all sorts of hedonistic and hackneyed attempts to find themselves. How many tabloids tell the tale of the fallen child star? Well my addiction came in the form of a Metallic Gold Stationary Schwinn Bike that I inherited from a new house’s old attic.
Not just an addiction, but truly my salvation. I would pop on my disc man and pedal for an hour in the morning and an hour at night. Much better than any medication concoction! A beautiful dichotomy was born. One of losing myself in the music and motion yet finding myself in the purpose and passion. This was all my own. Unscripted and uncharted, I chose the soundtrack and the shape of the road.
Once I was old enough to make my own decisions off of that Gold Schwinn, I immediately transitioned from in front of the camera, to behind the scenes. I became a talent agent where I poured energy and enthusiasm on aspiring actors. I never told them to lose weight or straighten their hair in order to land a part. I told them to find their authentic voice and shout it from the rooftops.
As for my own authentic voice, I continued to find exercise an essential component to my well being. Bikrams yoga and 430 am bootcamps on the beach . . .but I missed that stationary bike. I had heard about Body and Soul a gym in West Hollywood that was taking indoor cycling to a new level. What I found in that studio transcends my scope of vocabulary. I think back to my hours upon hours in the spin room, and can still feel the regeneration of each cell. Insecurity was supplanted with inner strength.
Owner and Director of Body and Soul, turned SoulCycle master trainer and guru, Janet Fitzgerald “kicked my ass and opened my heart” . When she approached me about turning my love of helping others, and my devotion to indoor cycling, into a career as an instructor, somehow it all made sense. I am so proud to have trained at the gym whose seeds planted SoulCycle.
I am even more proud to be in this moment, here and now. Living on the Shoreline, a former child actor, a retired talent agent, a stalwart indoor cyclist, and now a devoted SHiFTer.
I am also a mother of four and the Theater Arts Director at a therapeutic boarding school. I work with many young students who suffer from a myriad of self harm related afflictions because of discord and disconnect with the one thing that is truly their own . . . their bodies. I believe the scourge of insecurity can be cured, with a little faith and a little fitness. SHiFT is a gateway towards self realization and self love. It is a journey, thanks to Jenn Kuehn and the entire team, that is changing bodies. . and saving lives.
I spent 10 years riding a now vintage Metallic Gold Schwinn Bike (RIP Goldie;)). I have been Spinning for 20 years, and teaching for 16 years. Though the bikes did not travel, I most certainly did. And to this day, every pedal stroke is my chance to connect, to create, to conquer.
So iRiDE to find one hour a day where I can like, no I can LOVE my body. And I can carry that courage and confidence with me beyond a 55 minute class. Not just finding peace but finding POWER in who I am on and off the bike! iTEACH to share that with the SHiFT community
Written by Emily Webster, check out my Screen Off class on Wednesdays at 9:15