From Volleyball to Fashion: How I Created My Dream Job
In my lifetime, my body has gone through so many transitions. Growing up, I was always very lean — I didn’t like that. I can remember a time when I wished I were thicker, but the “skinny” comments never kept me from doing things I wanted. It became more of an annoyance.
What most people don’t know about me is that I grew up doing ballet (13 years to be exact). As a ballet dancer, my frame was ideal — long and lean, I just didn’t seem to stop growing. I grew past all the boys and stuck out in the choir, so that only meant one thing: soloist opportunities. Then I got into volleyball at age 16.
As a volleyball player, I started to gain muscle — and fast. All of a sudden, that childhood thickness I dreamed about became a reality and didn’t stop there. But that transition was necessary for the athletic journey I would be taking in the future.
I became a professional volleyball player.
Contrary to public opinion, professional volleyball isn’t just something that shows up every four years in the Olympics. It’s as real as any other career. The thing is, the USA doesn’t have a professional indoor league, so if you want to pursue a professional volleyball career, you must travel outside of the country. Which is exactly what I did.
At times, it isn’t as glamorous as people may think. Picture lounging by the freeway in the snow because the team van broke down, or needing a translator to talk to your teammates. As with anything great, it isn’t easy — but I sure wouldn’t trade a single minute of it. When you play overseas, you’re far from everything that is convenient, comforting, and normal to you. Your family, friends, culture. Normality is redefined, and in my case, that meant living out of a suitcase for eight to 10 months a year.
I love being an athlete and having the opportunity to do it at the professional level. Anything that gives you that “pro” title should be worn with pride. It’s blood and sweat spent on something you truly love! Because of this opportunity, I’ve traveled to places I never imagined I would get the chance to, met amazing people, and have made lasting friendships. Life called on me and I answered boldly.
Rekindling the Fashion Flame
Due to an injury, I’ve had to set aside athletics for a while. With this time away, I’ve started to rekindle my love for style and fashion — and I’ve channeled it into my blog, On Wyatt Style. I’ve always had an interest in it even before I became a volleyball player. In fact, one of my dreams was to attend Parsons School of Design. I always wanted to design clothes for women with a frame like mine because dressing for my tall, athletic build was a challenge.
When I was younger, I used to make my own clothes so they would fit properly and look just how I wanted them to. The transition into fashion from an athletic background has been seamless for me — not because the fashion world is easy, but because I have a drive for it. It was a passion that was put on hold because of my volleyball career. I actively researched ways to be involved and learn, and thanks to the internet, everything is at my fingertips.
Turning Your Passion into a Career
I think that when you have a passion for something, you work at it and learn about it at any level. The best advice I could give anyone transitioning into something new is to go for it! Use where you are and what you have to build it. Seek support but protect your energy from those who try to bring you down. It would be silly for me to compare my work to someone who’s been doing this for the past five to seven years. So, I take what I see from people who are experienced and see how I can learn from them.
It’s important to always be learning. You need to be your own educator and get experience. Ask questions, read books, speak to people who are unlike you, talk to people who are doing things you one day want to do. Making genuine connections is so important.
When you can look at the things that make you unique from the next person as a blessing, your outlook on the things you can accomplish become endless. Own all of it — it’s that attitude that makes everything stylish. Style comes from knowing and embracing all that you are. It’s about being confident in who you are. Style is not the clothes you wear, but a state of mind.
Last modified on May 25th, 2018