wOMAN emPOWERMENT IN SPORTS AND ARTS
By: Jessica Pidgeon
& Alexa Dominique Pascual
October 05 2022
Women Empowerment in Sports and Arts
Alexa Dominique Pascual, Canadian resident and Asian-American contortionist, dancer, professional circus performer and activist, is passionate about women empowerment and bringing awareness to mental health in athletics and the arts. Hear her story and her tips for how we can learn to love ourselves and advocate for the change we wish to see.
Women and performing artists are two typically marginalized groups in our society, and I belong to both. There are times when I get caught up in what everyone thinks and I feel like I just want to fit in. It is hard when you feel like you do not belong, or like you have to prove yourself everyday. I have learned a lot through my own journey, so here are my tips for overcoming these feelings.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself
While these thoughts of comparison and self-doubt are unfortunately “normal” among women in sport, they can really impact your mental health. Even professionals face these challenges, and we never really get used to it. When these thoughts take place, it is always important to remember your worth. You are amazing and talented, and you do not need the approval of other people.
While I have this mindset now, it did not happen instantly; it took a lot of time and practice reminding myself that I am worth it. As an athlete and performer, I have been called a loser and a lot of horrible things. I have been underestimated and looked down on by men and by people older than me. For a while, I let these things impact me mentally and struggled with depression and anxiety. But, ultimately, that did not stop me from achieving my goals. I came to realize that not everyone will appreciate you, and that’s okay. You have to learn how to love yourself and appreciate the things that are happening right now. Take time to realize how far you have gone. Personally, this really helped me with my own anxiety.
“Work hard, keep your hopes up and always have that motivation to succeed. Nothing will work without those three.”
Alexa Dominque Pascual, VIS Athlete™, performer, and activist
You are in control
As a woman in the performing arts industry, I do face a lot of prejudice and interact with people who try to control and manipulate me. What I have learned is to stand up for myself and to not be afraid. New performers and athletes have to realize that no one controls your destiny; it is YOU who controls your path to success. Do not give anyone the power to destroy you – because you are capable, strong, and talented! Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Instead, be the change in this world. We as women athletes have the power to come together and make that change by being outspoken but respectful, confident but in control, and positive but realistic.
Be the change
As a contortionist, dancer and women empowerment activist, I have also become politically involved. I respect differing political views and do not force my personal opinions upon anyone else, but I have learned how to be open minded, strong and outspoken about my rights. Getting to know politicians and staffers in the government has helped me to learn more about the world and the issues that exist, and has shaped my personality and my confidence. I have been inspired to use my voice to create change.
I want to show that artists and athletes can contribute to the political system and have their thoughts be heard because we are citizens as well. We represent our nations when we perform and compete. We should not just inspire people when performing, as we can also use our voices to enact change in other areas.
I encourage you all to let your voices be heard. Pick a cause, and advocate for it. Use your voice – whether that be speaking up in your local community, raising awareness using social media, becoming politically involved, or whatever else – because we have the power to change our world for the better!
Follow Alexa on Instagram @alexadominique.8 to learn more about her journey in performance arts and her advocacy efforts!