Meet Andrea Brooks.
I (Dani) had the pleasure of playing with Andrea a little more than a year or so ago at an impromptu 'get out and play' sort of thing out here in North Carolina along with fellow WMC Project presenters, Julie Angel and MaryBeth Gangemi. I had a blast hanging out with her and learning from her, and learned that just a few weeks later, she'd be moving to Dubai to coach Parkour. I'm not going to lie, this made her instantly even more interesting to me.
I've been keeping up with Andrea on social media and love to see her play and see her handstands all over the world. You should also know that this strong woman tore her achilles tendon this past year and has been recovering after surgery. Throughout her entire time of recovery, she was finding ways to explore and play and move, and that's freaking awesome.
Andrea is a playful mover with a wise and kinda soul, and a huge heart. AND she truly wants to collaborate and connect with you, so hit her up and get to know her!
Q: What do you do?
A: I'm a Head Coach at Parkour DXB in Dubai, UAE... If you aren't familiar with Parkour, check this out.
Q: What else do you do?
A: I am happy to be a See & Do team member. I am a creative soul and dreamer. I write, sing/rap in my car, travel, study many languages, dance, listen to old school hip hop, do handstands a lot, eat delicious food and act like a kid.
Q: How do you define the word 'strength'?
A: Strength is a measure of how much control you have over the amount of power you possess. Strength is how much further you came from where you started. Strength is doing something for your own good despite all your doubts. Strength is in restraint. It is a deep acknowledgement and understanding of being human and having agency over your actions. Strength is love in physical form.
Q: How did you discover your passion/work/niche?
A: Movement has always been in my blood. It is natural like speaking a language but my road to parkour was another story. What led me to knowingly practice parkour has to do with one brave step towards my authenticity that had a domino effect.
I ended a relationship that I knew in my heart wasn't for me. The break up led me to wanting to relocate within the US and leave my job as a gym manager at a gymnastics facility. Equipped with my new bravery of taking leaps of faith, I approached my boss to ask for a raise because I had plans to leave. In the negotiation, he offered me the opportunity to get certified in parkour coaching. I was very excited with the opportunity for knowledge far more than I could have been about monetary compensation. My first big parkour event I attended is when I knew that parkour would absolutely change my life and help me take control of the life I wanted.
Q: How do you incorporate movement into your daily lifestyle?
A: Movement is my profession so many times I am not doing it for myself. I have to actively carve out time to move for me. I am lucky to have a space to move and I simply start out with light stretching and then will go wherever my imagination leads me. Sometimes I book an appointment in my calendar with myself or with a friend to make sure I am prioritizing it.
Q: Where would be a good starting point for someone who is looking to add more movements into their life like what you do?
A: Research where you live. Find like minded people. When you find people you like that do what you want to do, just the thought of seeing their faces will make you want to go. Find the energy in tribes of good vibes. hehe. Oh, and then show up! Just show up. Don't think, just show up. Did I mention show up?
Q: How do you define 'fitness'?
A: Fitness to me is having the tools to balance your life mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially. Being "fit" means being equipped with knowledge and having the self awareness to execute WHAT you need when you need it.
People confuse fitness as being merely physical, but to me, it is the tip of the iceberg. There is no point in doing anything physical if there is no deeper meaning to it.
Q: Where do you see the future of the fitness?
A: I am a firm believer in what was once old will be new again. I am HOPING with fitness that 'less' will be 'more'. That fitness will be seen as being able to explore a city for a day, play with your kids or nieces or nephews, to be able to take control of one's mental health openly without stigma.
The physical and solely aesthetics nature of fitness is so overly saturated that I hope people start to crave for something more. It won't have to be "workouts" and "clean eating"; it will be finding joy in living and well, just eating.
Q: Does movement increase your self-confidence? If yes, how?
A: Oh yes! Movement makes me feel accomplished. It makes me feel like if I set my mind to something physical and do it, then the sky's the limit. I always feel way more empowered in motion than standing in front of a mirror. And so, I keep moving!
Q: What motivates the crap out of you? (quote, music, people, sport, etc)
A: Some days my mind is moving well before my body. When I listen to music, I picture all types of movements and it inspires me to do something.
Music gets me going for sure and sparks all types of ideas and possibilities. I transport myself to another place and imagine becoming who I want to be.
Q: What advice do you wish you could have given your former self?
A: To try more of what sparked my interest and to care less about others' opinions.
I spent way too long thinking about others. I thought that my story needed to revolve around being with someone. I thought my happiness was conditional to my circumstances. I am my own hero, my own story and I embrace all of the new chapters. I wish I had fallen in love sooner with getting to know myself.
Q: Anything else you'd like to share with us or a bunch of women out there?
A: Everyone wants to put in their two cents and tell women "this" and tell women "that". "This" is the new "that." "Flaunt yourself" "Cover that up".
I believe that self empowerment doesn't live snugly into a well crafted slogan. It is YOUR life. Your outfits and actions owe no explanations.
Blaze trails by being authentic. Being authentically you makes room for us all, now and the next generations, to do the same. Dig deep and listen to that lil dreamer inside of you. Make her proud. Oh, and I am here if anyone ever needs to talk! Truly!