Spending time with our three Model contest winners helped us understand one important thing - all tomboys have a story. In both big and small ways, they make a difference in their community. This can certainly be said of our latest model, Ali Frye. Ali lives in a Province that may be less known to most Americans: Prince Edward Island. This North Eastern maritime province is where Ali is currently seeking her degree in veterinary medicine. Our conversation followed her from growing up on the west coast in Okanagan all the way to present.
What was it like growing up as a Tomboy?
I grew up in the Okanagan doing everything from ballet, karate, skating, drumming and soccer…other than trying to make me wear dresses to my disliking, I would say my parent’s were always supportive and encouraging of me to broaden my horizons. They encouraged me a lot to try to do different things, including hanging out with the boys. When I got older, I would I get offended when people would say “that’s a girl thing.” I would always challenge it. Not that being a girl is a bad thing, but I didn’t like gender roles.
How did you get on the path to becoming a Veterinarian?
When I was younger, I went to school for recreation and sports management. I’m into the outdoors and getting my hands dirty. It’s funny because I never grew up wanting to be a vet, I was on the track thinking I would own my own gym some day. I used to be a personal trainer, taught kickboxing, and Zumba, and loved every minute of it. It wasn’t until a company I worked for had us do a visionary goal session that I was asked, “If you could be in one place in the world where would it be?”, and I said with the Big Cats in Africa. Having never really thought more on it other than that it may be a pipe dream or a volunteer opportunity at best, they made me question why I would settle for that. It was then that I decided to go for it. And, I was going all the way to have the skills I needed to be of use to the animals….I went back to school, got the courses I needed to apply to veterinary school and got accepted my first try. (I also accumulated the most amazing dog and cat along the way who are probably one of the few things that keep me sane in this program!)
How have you encouraged other women to follow in your path?
Before changing career focus, I was involved in leading a series of programs designed to empower women to try out new activities outside of their comfort levels. We did things like self defense classes, target practice at a gun range, hiking, snowshoeing, etc. It was an amazing feeling to get to encourage people to break through their own reserves and reach new heights they never imagined possible for themselves. Watching someone fire a gun for the first time, it's both absolutely terrifying and exciting all at the same time, but there is nothing more rewarding than seeing insecurities turn into empowerment.. When they were ready to walk away from an activity but stuck through it and grew as a person, there's nothing like watching their boundaries be broken. I think the same could be said for when I worked as a personal trainer. You push people to their limits every day, break through their barriers to get at what is holding them back, and then motivate them to achieve something they feel is impossible. In the end, nothing is impossible and the best reward is helping someone realize this.
What does being a tomboy mean to you?
I guess I just really wanted to stress my point that for me being a tomboy is about learning to be who you want to be without having any boundaries set based on gender. I used to struggle with finding the balance….On one hand, I wanted to prove I could be as tough as any of the guys, that I could do anything they could do and didn’t need a “guy” to do things for me (my competitive nature coming out), and on the other I still enjoyed getting dolled up (on rare occasions) and spa dates with the girls. It took me a while to realize there didn’t need to be a negative connotation around being “a girl” and that as long as I could be the best version of myself, it wasn’t about gender roles at all.
Who's your favorite tomboy?
Holly Rilinger! She is one bad ass who is one of the top coaches, trainers and motivational individuals in the fitness industry. When odds were stacked against her she made her dream of being a professional basketball player come true and is now a Nike Master Trainer and the CEO of her own company. She kicks some serious ass and motivates others to do the same...plus she's got a rockin' bod that no one would want to mess with!
What are your favorite TomboyX products?
Your tank tops. I practically live in them.