We were introduced to Nicole Evangelista through the a friend in the Caio Terra community and we were instantly impressed. Nicole is one of the most promising jiu jistu athletes coming up the ranks. She's 18 years old, a self proclaimed perfectionist, is learning to speak Chinese and is seriously a badass.
Get to know Nicole!
What do you do?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Full Time College Student
How do you define the word 'strength'?
How much weight you can deadlift.
I am obviously joking... kind of... In all seriousness, strength to me is directly correlated with confidence.
Imagine a house in a fierce hurricane. Rain is pouring, the wind screaming, and the waves devouring everything in their path. Life is the storm and you are the house. With confidence, the house stands strong, unweathered. Without confidence, the house, even if built by stone and bricks, will eventually succumb to the storm. Why? Because the house did not believe in it's own strength.
You have to have confidence in yourself in order to reap the benefits of strength.
How did you discover your passion?
I am an only child, so to ensure I had social interaction outside of school my parents always had me in extracurriculars: taekwondo, soccer, violin, gymnastics, dance, cheerleading, etc... I didn't per say dislike them, but I didn't connect with them.
When I was nine, my dad, being a former Marine and wanting me to learn self-defense, had me try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I instantly fell in love with it. Fast forward, nine years later I'm head-over-heels, utterly and completely still in love with Jiu Jitsu. It's a romance better than The Notebook.
How do you incorporate movement into your daily lifestyle?
I try to train Jiu Jitsu everyday. Sometimes this is hard now that I started school up again, but it makes it when I do train that much more special!
Where would be a good starting point for someone who is looking to add more movements into their life like what you do?
Women tend to shy away from Jiu Jitsu cause of two main reasons: they don't want to get hurt and/or it's uncomfortable to grapple guys.
Getting injured is always a risk in any type of physical activity you do, but honestly Jiu Jitsu is much safer than it appears. Your training partners are not there to deliberately hurt you; we all are there to help each other get better, stay safe, and have fun.
As for the grappling with guys, if you have never done a contact sport it will be a little uncomfortable at first because there is no such thing as personal space in Jiu Jitsu. However, 9/10 guys that do Jiu Jitsu will not look at you as a sex object. Especially the upper belts. They aren't there for that and you aren't there for that; you guys are just there to just train. They see you as equals.
I've been in the sport for 9 years and have never had an issue with inappropriate touching. But I have heard of it. So, if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable in a non-Jiu-Jitsu-sport way, tell the instructor. He/she will take care of it 300%. They're a black belt, they can whoop up on some weirdo. No problemo.
How do you define 'fitness'?
Fitness to me is any type of physical exercise: lifting, Jiu Jitsu, running, etc... Anything that makes you sweat and anything that makes you crave more.
Where do you see the future of the fitness?
I see the future of fitness becoming even more embedded into society.
Compared to even a couple years ago, people are looking to become healthier and increase exercise. Look at all the juice bars, organic restaurants, and even the soul cycles opening up!
Does movement increase your self-confidence? If yes, how?
For sure! I could get all scientific about the endorphins, but I won't. Instead, let's talk about pizza.
I don't know about you, but I love a good pizza with homemade red sauce, fresh mozzarella, pineapple, and ham. I love adding even more toppings on there sometimes like artichoke, olives, salami, etc... I just love pizza! But can you imagine a pizza with no toppings, no cheese, and no sauce. Just the dough. It wouldn't even be considered a pizza; just a flat circle of sadness. The pizza dough is you. Just you. Once you add in your hobbies, favorite TV shows, experiences, and friends you now have added the sauce and mozzarella. A solid pizza, but not to its full potential.
Exercising adds that flare to your life, to your self-esteem, and to your aura. This is cause you get in better shape, but more so because you're doing something for yourself. No one else. It's like a spa, but for your muscles and mind. Once you incorporate exercising, your pizza is complete. Now, that's saucy.
Last Saturday, I competed in my first Judo tournament in 4 years! 5 fights || 2 ippons || 2 submissions || uno loss|| 2 golds and 1 silver. Thank you @nialexander for encouraging/forcing me to fight only 3 days before the tournament and letting me borrow your judo gi 😂 I had a lot of fun! Thank you Heidi for throwing an amazing tournament and being there for me. Also thank you Kari for staying to coach and remind me of all the details I forgot 🤗 It was great to see all my old Judo friends! 💖 || @wartribegear @bjj_tees @coldestplaceonearth @caio_terra_association|| #CTA #judo #itried #backtoguardpulling ||
What advice do you wish you could have given your former self?
In all honesty, I don't have any life changing advice to my former self. Just to stay on the course, don't get swayed, and keep trucking along no matter how hard life may seem.
If you stay on the course, it will not only get better, but it'll will be more amazing than you could've ever imagined.
What motivates the crap out of you? (quote, music, people, sport, etc)
My coach and 11x World Champion, Caio Terra and my dad.
Anything else you'd like to share with us or a bunch of women out there?
Don't hesitate when trying something new. It's gonna be weird and uncomfortable at first. It ALWAYS is! But in the long run it is more than worth it.
Go try Jiu Jitsu!