Before the Audition
It was the third time I sent off my application email to audition for SoulCycle. I had re-worked my resume and cover letter, and re-read every word. There was something different about pressing the little “send” icon this time. With the first two auditions, I had lingering feelings of uncertainty. I say uncertainty but I really mean a lack of confidence. How can you spend hours mastering a craft and yet you still doubt your skills? Anyways, this third time around I had an overarching feeling of contentment. There was a peace that had washed over me. I owe part of this to my amazing community at SoulCycle Yaletown. One of my closest friends, Daniela, is an amazing instructor and she had spent many hours with me, prepping, rehearsing, supporting, and riding with me. My last ride before heading to LA was unbelievably special as the whole room erupted with cheers and well wishes after she told them where I was off to. Her light was shining so bright and her leadership was so strong, that I went off to LA with all the SoulCycle strength one could ask for.
The Night before LA.
The night before my departure, I packed my RYU Gym Tote (best carry-on ever!) with all the essentials: medications, supplements, BCAAs (a plenty!!), PJs, makeup and toiletries, two outfit options for the audition, sunglasses and a pair of jeans. My passport was ready next to my sneakers and I went to bed feeling calm.
The next morning I bounced out of bed (typical for me…I like mornings, and I really like my coffee) and headed for one last quick strength session at my gym. After a short day at work, I headed to the airport and everything was going smoothly. My flight was easy, I had no luggage so that was a breeze, and hopped in my Uber. On the way to the Airbnb I asked my driver, Mimi, to stop at Whole Foods so I could pick up some snacks and dinner. With autoimmune disease, my diet is a crucial component to maintaining vitality and wellness. When planning trips and vacations, my booking and research does not stop at the flight and accommodation: food is even more important to me than where I stay. I plan ahead of time and know where I can eat, how to get there, prices and options. Whole Foods is a dream as the hot and salad bars are always loaded with safe food options, and I can pick up great snacks for the next day while there. So there I was, standing in a Whole Foods in LA, hustling around the store as Mimi was waiting. After loading up a container filled with Roast Chicken, green beans and roasted beets, I ran back to her car and we were back on our way. Mimi dropped me off at my cute Airbnb and I rang the doorbell. So far so good- this trip was a breeze! After showering and getting in my PJs, I had my dinner at their cute little kitchen table while calling my parents. After dinner, I had my favorite snack in bed: coconut milk yogurt, a banana, a handful of purely elizabeth granola and some tahini and honey drizzled on top. Nothing like my old staple US brands to coble together a tasty treat! At this point I was beyond tired so I turned out my light. I was so grateful to be safe and sound in LA, well nourished, well hydrated, and feeling peaceful and excited about the next day.
Day Of the Audition
The Morning Of.
The day was here- I made it- it was audition day! I peeled back the covers to check my clock, expecting to have to lie in bed until an appropriate hour (I am not gifted in the sleep department) however, it was 7:30am! By the grace of God, I just scored a 10 hour sleep before the audition and was feeling fantastic. The pre-audition jitters and nerves had yet to set in (are they going to? What is going on? Where are they?) and instead, I was feeling a huge sense of gratitude, strength and excitement! I had a quick shower and put on my minimal makeup: blush, concealer and waterproof mascara. With my favorite rose coloured Soul sweatshirt (to match my hair of course) and boyfriend jeans + jacket, I was ready to walk to Culver City to find breakfast and coffee.
I had researched a cute little smoothie shop with bowls and ordered the Pitaya bowl. The hot pink mixture came adorned with bananas and raspberries and had some hemp protein in it for good measure. With a pot of Foragers Cashew milk yogurt along side, I headed to Blue Bottle for the most amazing Oat Milk latte. Oat milk = a revelation for dairy free lattes. I wanted to fuel my body with easy to digest, non-bloating, tried and true foods and this brekkie could not have been any better. After a phone call to my parents and Daniela, I sauntered down to the studio to check it out and also surprise my friend and instructor, Madison Lari. What a treat it was to see such a beautiful and friendly face! There really are few things more reassuring than good chats with friends, even if you haven’t seen each other for over 2 years! By the time Mads and I parted ways, it was 11:15am and I was ready to check in and get changed.
Now the interesting thing about the audition is that you have no idea where you are going to ride in the room and in what order you will be up. I didn’t want to be first or last, and didn’t want to be in the second row. My “blessing trip” continued as I was on bike #10! The anxious energy became palpable in the studio as more and more candidates arrived. It was buzzing! The nerves were high and the butterflies were flying! We poured into the studio, saying a slightly awkward “hi my name is…” to our neighbor auditionee as we set up our bikes. The awesome thing is that we had about 30 mins to freestyle ride before the second part of the audition. Getting the chance to just freestyle and ride with no limits or pre-determined choreography is a dream! Interpreting the beat of the music and the rhythm is one of the best aspects to SoulCycle. Now it wasn’t totally stress free as the audition team walked around the studio with clip-boards in hand, analyzing our form, rhythm, energy and presence. Nothing like having someone whom you admire standing 6 inches from your face, looking at your every move, to make your heart beat a little stronger!
After the group ride, we were excused from the room as they deliberated who would be called back in the studio for the second part. It is amazing how 10 mins can feel like 40 when your fate is being decided. The numbers started to be called and #10 was fourth up! This was it- my third audition- and I was standing, ready to do the damn thing. I had rehearsed my two 30-second song clips countless times and prayed through countless moments. When my turn came, my mic-pack was turned on and it was show time: the moment I had been practicing for what felt like years. My message was simple and clear: turn up your wheel! Resistance on the bike is what grounds you and supports you; it is what builds your mental strength, not just physical. I love my resistance and wanted the room to take the opportunity to ground themselves to this amazing opportunity we had at hand, rather than just rushing through it.
“Hey y’all! My name is Tia and I have come all the way down from Vancouver BC to be with you! Fun fact: if I had a spirit animal I would be a pixie.”
With my intro done and bike set up, there was nothing left but to hop on the bike, clip in and go! Every second of the first song was passing as I had intended…until it kept on going. I had planed out 30 seconds exactly. Not 41, not 26, but 30. And my song kept playing…it wasn’t being switched. Now when you are not anticipating any more music to be played, every second feels like 10. “Just keep talking…keep the room engaged…keep the room lifted…keep shining your light.” 60 seconds of the song pass and I feel a little off my game, and the song is finally switched.
Ok. Drop it in the saddle.
With nerves floating in my chest, the second song starts flying by. I take a pulse check of the room and decide the choreo I wanted to do would not fly, so I kept it super simple. I was feeling good and the 30 seconds had come and gone…and again, the song kept on playing. My song eventually ended and my audition was done.
Those few minutes of life had whizzed by and I did everything I could do. As I took of the mic-pack belt and got back onto bike #10, I had a slightly underwhelming wave wash over me. I was feeling like my audition was anti-climactic. I wanted to go back and do it again, or at the very least, go over it in my head…but I couldn’t. I had to clip in, show up, and ride through everyone else’s audition. I promised myself that I would shine my light and give my joyful pixie-dust no matter how I felt after my own audition. One-by-one, everyone went up and went through the same motions. 1 hour and 14 minutes later the audition was done. Add that to the 30 minutes we rode before and we had just spent over 1 hour and 40 minutes spinning our legs and hearts out. My third audition was done.
Did I Succeed and pass?
Yes. And no.
Yes: I passed. I had a FaceTime chat with the Talent crew and it was determined that my audition was successful.
No. I was not going to the Intensive Training Program.
Yes. I would *probably* be going to the next full 10-week Training Program.
Yes. I would have to audition again.
No. I did not fail. I didn’t earn the end result I had wanted right in that moment. I didn’t make it straight through to training; BUT, I was not going to give up.
Failure Vs. Success
You see, life is not linear. Life would be fairly boring without the failures and successes in our life to punctuate time. I did technically fall down, but I was not going to stay down. I was not going to let another “No” prevent my from pursuing my passion. We have the choice in life to turn failure inward, or outward. If we turn it outward, failure becomes success. If we keep it inward, it remains a failure and prevents us from seeking and achieving our higher dreams and goals.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas A. Edison
Don’t give up on your dreams. Don’t stop living your life because of failure. You are so damn close to your finish line of success.
Keep. On. Going.