Meet Nina Rivers, PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT's May 2019 photo contest winner. About 18 years ago, the 24-year old freelance dancer and teacher began making moves in ballet and later went on to get super serious about choreographing jazz, contemporary, salsa, and afro fusion routines worth regramming. When striving to reach her goals, the Charleston, SC native is fueled by the Gary Vaynerchuck quote, " skills are cheap, passion is priceless. Here, she shares how she stays active when dance slows down.
Tell us how your winning photo came about?
I actually messaged my friend Scott to see if he was down to shoot this past summer in Columbia, South Carolina. It was a gloomy day and we knew it would start raining soon so we quickly drove up to a parking garage near my university and started making magic. He's a super creative guy so I have to snatch him up whenever I'm back in my home state.
Please briefly share your fitness journey with us.
I started dancing ballet when I was six so I have always been pretty active and healthy. There was a moment when I slowed down with dance and I began to notice the difference in my body. During that time, I decided to get into the gym or be active in anyway way that I could. We all have our ups and downs with working out or even our eating habits, but the important thing is to get back up when you fall down.
We believe fitness + friendship = FUN! What is your favorite group fitness workout?
Definitely Zumba because I'm a dancer and I love any workout that involves good music and flashy dance moves. I also tried cycling this past summer for the first time and I fell in love. It is extremely challenging but the best reward is feeling like you've climbed 10 mountains after.
While working out is important, so is eating the right foods. What is your go-to pre-workout meal? How do you refuel after a workout?
I don't eat a lot before working out. Normally I stick to almonds or Bang, a preworkout drink without sugar. After a workout, I stick to fruit or something with protein like eggs, a Quest bar, turkey slices, etc.
What is one item that is always in your gym bag?
Headphones. I cannot work out without music. If I forget my headphones, I head right back to the house to get them. Ain't no working out in silence here!
What are your top 3 fitness Instagram accounts to follow?
1. @tabatachang (a beautiful brazilian that's a beast in the gym)
2. @massy.arias (a superfit Dominicana that also posts adorable photos of her daughter)
3. @fitgurlmel (really puts in work and shows her diet as well on her IG stories)
I would add the singer @teyanataylor too because those abs! Sis, give us your fitness routine and diet!
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I actually wanted to be a foreign aid officer. I was interested in international law and wanted to dig deeper into what it means to be a diplomat.
What are your top three goals you hope to accomplish in life?
1. Eventually I would like to own my own studio space that offers practice space not only to dancers, but also models, actors, and other artists. I would like to rent out spaces at an affordable rate because it is hard to find affordable studio spaces these days!
2. To have an impact on younger girls in the dance (entertainment) field who think maybe they are not pretty enough, or they are too curvy for dance, or their skin is too dark. I would like to see more diversity in the entertainment field across the world
3. One of my fitness goals would be to finally participate in a 10k run or a biking marathon. It is crazy how much our bodies are capable of and we don't even know it. I think the main difference between people participating in the Ironman Triathlon and people that are not active, is their mindset.
What does PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT mean to you?
There's this misconception that all women are naturally tiny, flawless beings that should not eat too much, or gain too much muscle. Its time that we show the world that pretty girls are strong. Pretty girls are hard workers and yea, pretty girls sweat.
Since PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT, what is your favorite deodorant?
Secret Clinical Strength. Go get it. Even if you sweat a lot, this deodorant will have you smelling like fresh laundry.
How can readers stay in touch with you on social media?
I'm posting on my feed and story on a daily basis and I love being connected to other women that are going through their fitness journey. It's better that we stay in a supportive community when it comes to our fitness goals.
Photogtapher: Scott Southall | IG: @bandogphoto