It's not too often that you get an inside look into the life of a successful ballerina-preneur.
Tina Pereira is not only a First Soloist with one of the best ballet companies in the world, The National Ballet of Canada, but she is also the founder of an exquisite ballet apparel brand, Ballerina Couture. Dubbed a #SnapchatChamp by Fashion Magazine (read more here), this phenom had us wondering how she stays on her toes.
How did you get started dancing in Trinidad?
Actually, my Mom danced in Trinidad. I was 3 years old when I left Trinidad. I didn't start dancing until I was 5 when we lived in Canada and started my training at NBS when I was 12.
What was the hardest part about living away from home at that age?
Hmm. This is tough. I was really lucky since I got to see my family every weekend. But I would say that I missed my Dad's cooking during the week.
What was one challenge you faced as a student?
Learning how to use my hyperextension.
Who was the first person you called when you were offered your first professional contract?
What does a typical day in the life look like for you?
My whole day is structured around my dance schedule which is different every single day. Sometimes I wake up extra early to get my Ballerina Couture work done. I also am learning Spanish at the moment, and constantly thinking about my next Insta post, while trying to snap along the way.
How does a ballerina-preneur stay properly fueled throughout the day?
I enjoy a very healthy diet of mostly lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. I stay hydrated with lots of water, and I am always sipping tea. Avoiding sugar also allows me to maintain a stable blood sugar level and restful sleep.
How do you take your coffee?
Do you enjoy adagio or grande allegro more?
Adagio, I love to move slowly.
Tell us about what inspired you to launch Ballerina Couture.
I have always been interested in designing my own leotards, but I never imagined that Ballerina Couture would come out of it! I love to apply my creativity and challenge myself in new ways, so I bought a sewing machine one day and began to experiment. Many of my friends wanted me to make leotards for them, so one year when I was recovering from an injury, I decided to use the time off productively and I launched BC.
What sets your leotards apart from the rest (besides the fact that they're gorgeous)?
Haha. Thank you. I have designed them to look the most flattering on all body types. The waist is accented, and the necklines can be slightly adjusted to be worn how you feel most comfortable, making them suitable for all ages.
You've dealt with injury. Do you have any advice for injured dancers?
Learn to rest well, eat good food, and stay as positive as possible. Perhaps challenge yourself to learn something new. It is important to take your time and heal and to be patient as you slowly build your strength back.
What brings you the greatest joy?
What is the best part of your job as a dancer?
The feeling of being on stage, and the magic that comes along with it.
Any advice for young dancers pursuing a professional career?
Begin each day with the intention of being even better than the last.
What's on your bucket list?
Tokyo and Morocco.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
My real name is Elizabeth.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to spend time with my family and friends.
What is your favorite TV show?
I don't watch much TV, but Modern Family is my go-to.
Photo Credit: Aleksandar Antonijevic, @asquaredphoto