You’re going to want to pull up a seat for this one, Aerie fam — because our next #AerieREAL Shop Talk features our very own Role Model Aly Raisman! If you’ve followed along with our career advice series, you’ve seen us highlight some of the unique and creative minds behind the brands at AEO. Now we’re excited to branch out further by highlighting Aly’s impressive and multifaceted path, which she explains was fueled by hard work and compassion!
Aly shares insight on the skills she’s learned as her journey has taken from gymnast to advocate, and what her experience has been like as a gymnast, #AerieREAL Role Model, advocate and more. Read below to see what all she has to say in her Shop Talk, and catch up on all the details behind her new OFFLINE by Aerie x Aly Raisman collection in our recent post.
From being a champion in gymnastics to championing self-care and self-advocacy, can you describe what the progression of your career and personal journey has been like over the years?
It has been a cool journey to get to know myself and explore interests and passions outside of gymnastics. When I was training, I was a perfectionist and very hard on myself. Today, I’m working on being the best that I can be while also learning to not to be so critical of myself.
What skills do you think helped you along the way to having a successful career, and how did you foster those skills over the years?
Gymnastics taught me hard work, dedication, passion and the importance of loving what you are doing. Taking into account what I’ve learned from my gymnastics career, I try to approach each situation with compassion and when I set my mind to something, I do it to the best of my ability. I try to be mindful of not comparing myself to others, which can be hard at times, and instead focus on being the best version of myself.
How would you describe your experience as an #AerieREAL role model, and even further having the chance to work with design and create your own collection?
Being an #AerieReal role model and working closely with the Aerie team has been amazing and has taught me so much. I’ve made so many friends over the years and I love the community. Designing my “Survivor” leotard and my two collections with Aerie has been so fun and also impactful. I feel very grateful that a portion of sales will go towards Darkness to Light, my non-profit partner in the prevention of child sexual abuse.
What has been your favorite part of working on your own OFFLINE by Aerie activewear collection? Any favorite pieces or outfits?
I love that my collection has a leotard/bodysuit/swimsuit! I spent so much of my life in a leotard and am excited to bring this to my collection, with it also being so versatile. I also love how we created sporty skirts and a dress!
What are some of your favorite books, websites or other resources that help you stay knowledgeable and on top of the latest trends in your field(s)?
Darkness to Light is a great organization for adults who are looking to help prevent abuse and better inform themselves about the warning signs. You can take the training for free with the code FliptheSwitch. Darkness to Light helps to educate the adults where the Monique Burr Foundation provides resources for children, so I encourage people to become familiar with both, if they’re able to do so. I recently read the Four Agreements, Fifth Agreement and Attachment Theory by Thais Gibson. I really enjoy learning new things and growing and also have learned the importance of self-care and working on myself. I recommend checking out the Sanvello app for guided meditations, therapy, journaling and practicing gratitude.
What were you inspired by when it came to designing your OFFLINE collection?
Nature! I love gardening and I find that growing plants is very calming and peaceful.
As someone with many successful endeavors, your future seems limitless! What’s next to come for you and do you see yourself pivoting into any other lanes?
Thank you! I recently partnered with Woodward as the Gymnastics Program Designer to help elevate the program. It is a summer camp where gymnasts can come from around the world to learn gymnastics and try other fun activities like gardening, horseback riding, swimming and dancing, to name a few. I am passionate about reminding kids that they are not defined by their sport. We hope to help gymnasts improve their gymnastics skills but also provide them with tools they can use outside of the sport. I’m looking forward to joining some of the kids at camp this summer!
We’re endlessly inspired by Aly’s hard work and love hearing about her many endeavors. What are you inspired by most in her journey, Aerie fam?