We sit down with our friend and model for our Flow: Ruby campaign Airess, to talk about volleyball, coaching, and the lessons she's learned on the court.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m originally from Stockton, CA. Born and raised. I’ve always been active, into sports hard core as a kid. In high school I played 3 sports, basketball, volleyball and track & field. I ended up getting a volleyball scholarship to play in college at California State University Los Angeles. As soon as my ticket out of Stockton was given to me, I never looked back. I started coaching Volleyball in my senior year of college and I fell in love.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Competitive, unique, real.
How did your journey with sports start?
I fell in love with sports at a very early age. Growing up we didn’t have a TV most of the time so we had to go outside and play or find ways to entertain ourselves. I think my competitive spirit always found ways to create competition in any and everything. So when I started running track and playing basketball it just felt right. It was fun but it also gave me a purpose.
What is one of the most significant lessons one learns from being on the court?
Discipline. What you put in is what you get out. You can’t really cheat the game, the sport. It knows everything. All the hours you’ve spent training and not training. All the blood, sweat and tears! It won’t give you anything that you haven’t earned. And that all comes from the discipline that’s required to be successful.
"If I’m able to affect just one person’s life in a positive way, to somehow make them believe in themselves, it will suffice. I did my job. And that to me means more than anything!"
What’s the best thing about being a coach?
The best thing about being a coach is I get to be apart of someone else’s journey. A coach’s job is to take the athletes to places they can’t see, to make them reach heights that they never knew were possible. To see the potential in them when they can’t see it in themselves. If I’m able to affect just one person’s life in a positive way, to somehow make them believe in themselves, it will suffice. I did my job. And that to me means more than anything!
What are the challenges that you have encountered as a female athlete and how have you overcome them?
I feel like women have always come second in this world. We’re always looked at as "less than". When it comes to sports it’s been an ongoing battle for women to be considered as equals. The fight for “Title 9” to be passed and the fight for professional women athletes to be paid what they're entitled to. It’s improved throughout the years but the fight is never ending. To be taken seriously in the profession of sports as a woman is hard. Especially if you’re not surrounded by an uplifting environment. I try really hard to keep the fight alive. Even now as a female coach I have to appear stronger. A no-nonsense attitude so that people don’t feel they can take advantage of me. But I’ve made a commitment to myself and to women in sports everywhere to stand up and keep fighting.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Moving to the Philippines to coach volleyball. I literally left everything I had in LA. I had a dream and I took a leap of faith and followed it. It was the scariest moment in my life but damn I’m so proud that I did it!
How do you define success?
I believe success isn’t just about the result of something, or the destination. Like setting a goal and achieving it. I believe success is really about the journey you took to get there. All the sacrifices you made, the hard work, dedication, studying, emotional heartache you went through, the failures and whatever else it took for you to get there. Having these small success on a daily basis is the most important thing. If you’re winning on a daily basis in life, then the big win at the end will come!