Puritan’s Pride recently announced its collaboration with Olympian and U.S. national champion figure skater Ashley Wagner. Social Media Man Dan recently sat down with her to discuss the ins and outs of life as an elite athlete, both on and off the ice.
Welcome to the Puritan’s Pride family! We’re really excited to begin our work together. I’ve been sending you samples of some of our customers’ favorite products over the past few months. What did you think of everything?
I was really excited about the beauty products! I chopped off my hair a couple of months ago and I’ve been trying to really take care of it ever since. I’ve always been told that Biotin helps support healthy hair, and the Hair, Skin & Nails gummy vitamins got the job done!** The Powdered Peanut Butter has been amazing for the road, too. It’s the perfect snack that I can take anywhere in the world with me. The Manuka honey has also been super yummy in my tea!
I always ask this, because I think that the answer says a great deal about one’s personality. Which of the essential oils was your favorite?
I have a VERY strong sense of smell, and for me my favorite essential oil really depends on the day and what kind of mood I’m in. I really love floral scents, so I’m usually drawn toward rose and lavender. On the other hand, I also love fresh, invigorating scents like eucalyptus and peppermint. It all just depends!
Though many of our fans and customers have seen you compete on television, the sport of figure skating still remains a bit of a mystery to some people – at least outside of the Olympics. Why should EVERYBODY watch skating?
To me, figure skating is the total package when it comes to sports. What we do as athletes is extremely technical and difficult. Just think — we are rotating three times in the air in a fraction of a second and fighting back g-forces, and then wrapping it up by landing on one foot on a blade that’s 3/16 of an inch. If you aren’t impressed by that, then I don’t know what will do it for you! Beyond the athletic aspect, skating involves SO MUCH DRAMA. You watch these athletes battling it out, putting their careers on the line with only 4 minutes to prove that they belong on top of the podium. *Cue dramatic music* If that still doesn’t convince you, it’s mostly a bunch of fit women skating around in spandex. I rest my case.
The International skating season is just getting underway. Last season we saw you win 3 medals on the Grand Prix circuit, regain your national title and conclude the season with a top 5 finish at the World Championships. How do you feel heading into the new season?
This season is a very important one for me, and there’s a lot on the line. It’s a make-or-break season for me. I feel very ready for the task at hand. I enter every competition with a great deal of training to back me up, and I’m excited to see what this year brings!
This will be your 8th season competing at the senior level. This makes you a ‘veteran,’ and you’re only 24! How does training and competing differ today from when you started?
I think I’ve lasted so long in this sport because I’m really good to my body. When I was 16 years old and starting out on the senior circuit, I’d step onto the ice, do a lap, and then skate a clean long program. Needless to say, 8 years later things have changed quite a bit. I have to train smarter than when I was younger. I have to get to the rink earlier, stretch more, and really make sure that I’m warmed up before I take the ice.
Also, over the years I’ve figured out that multiple practice sessions per day that are short, sweet and efficient works best for me. I’m definitely a work horse, but that doesn’t mean that I need to be on the ice for 6 hours straight every day.
At the end of the day I’m still doing this for the same reason as when I started — I’m madly in love with my job, and I’m not ready to stop!
I’m thinking back to one of my favorite Diva Wagner moments. Before taking the ice for your free skate at the 2015 U.S. National Championships, the last thing you said to Raf (your coach) before beginning your program was, “I’m terrified.” Yet, you skated the program of your life, set a new scoring record for the National Championships, won the competition and brought thousands of spectators (including myself) to their feet. How do you manage and overcome performance anxiety?
I’m naturally very outspoken and when something is on my mind, I say it. Saying that I was nervous to Raf was my way of just expressing the obvious so that I could get it out of my system and deal with the pressure. Vocalizing how I’m feeling makes those feelings more ‘real’ somehow; I just acknowledge how I’m feeling and I’m ready to push through. I’m nervous every time I step on the ice, probably because I’m SO invested in what I do. I think the day that that goes away, I’ll be ready to finish.
We recently provided prizes for the TSL Fantasy Figure Skating Challenge. If you had to bet the farm on one skater (or pair) other than yourself, who would it be?
Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. I think we can all agree on that.
You always look stunning on the ice, so many of our customers would be surprised to learn that you consider yourself a ‘tomboy.’ As an elite athlete competing in a sport that’s equal parts elegance and athleticism, what does ‘beauty’ mean to you?
My beauty routine has definitely changed over the years. My goal is always to use the beauty and aesthetics of skating to help emphasize the program that I’m performing and the type of character that I’m portraying. My long program this year is set to music from the movie Moulin Rouge and I’m playing ‘Satine’ (the character portrayed by Nicole Kidman in the movie). I’ve created a makeup look that’s very similar to what she looked like in the movie. I want people to look at me when I step on the ice and recognize Satine!
Speaking of which, we love the red hair! What inspired this change?
Last year when I stepped onto the ice at the National Championships, it seemed like every single one of my competitors was blonde. I never want to be someone who blends into the crowd, and red was something I’d been thinking about for a while. I’m young, and now is the time in life to be able to make fun changes, and at the end of the day it’s just hair! I’m loving it though. I feel like I was meant to be a redhead!
You obviously spend a great deal of time on the ice. What type of training do you do off the ice to achieve and maintain a high level of fitness?
Biking is my favorite form of cardio exercise. I love running, though it’s tough on my knees these days. I do yoga to keep myself limber, and also just to just have a moment to myself. I do a little bit of weight training and some resistance training with bands, and that’s basically my off-ice program.
We know firsthand that navigating the complex world of nutrition and healthy eating can be challenging. Walk us through the ins and outs of nutrition as an elite athlete.
The diet of a figure skater is not one to envy. We have to be incredibly strong but also very petite, because everything we have on our bodies we have to bring up into the air with us. I am essentially on the paleo diet, with some carbohydrates mixed in here and there. I am constantly eating, but I focus on small meals throughout the day rather than big ones. I eat lots of fruit to keep me going in between practice sessions.
What does a ‘splurge’ or a cheat meal look like to a competitive figure skater?
I give myself a cheat day once per week to help keep me sane, and when I splurge, I SPLURGE. I’m an all-American girl, so on cheat day I go straight for a big, juicy burger with fries. Shoe string fries, to be precise; I consider myself somewhat of a fry connoisseur. I’ll finish off the meal with a nice, warm slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream, and I’m a happy girl!
What is it about you and coffee?
Coffee. Oh how I love thee. Honestly, I’m addicted to it, but the first step is admitting that you have a problem, right? I think I just love the idea of what coffee can be. It’s a quick jolt of energy when you need it most — a shot of espresso and you’re good to go — but it can also be mean a nice conversation with a good friend over a cappuccino. The possibilities are endless.
What’s your go-to Starbucks order?
Tall Flat White.
Tell us about Dexter.
Dexter is AWESOME. My partner in crime. I went into a pet store one day as I often do to play with the puppies, get my fix and leave, but on this particular day they had kittens out. I picked up a couple of them and they just wanted nothing to do with me. I picked up Dexter, he looked at me, meowed and licked my face. WHAT CAT DOES THAT?! It was fate, I was hooked, and the rest is heavily documented on Instagram if you’re curious.
Last question. May I call you Diva Wagner? Please say yes. Or how about Swagner?
Please do. Swagner was something I wish I never said. I’m a dork, but hey, that’s life! I would like to think that I’m pretty down to earth in real life, but as soon as I step on the ice I’m absolutely a diva ;).