Being a ballerina is a full-time job, but Megan Fairchild has also performed on Broadway and even pursues cooking in her spare time. We met this fabulous woman at the SHARE event to benefit women with breast and ovarian cancer. She shared with us her love for the arts and how she maintains a healthy lifestyle.
Did you always know you wanted to be a ballerina?
I started dancing at four and a half years old, but I tried a lot of other things as well, like gymnastics and violin. Ballet stuck with me.
Being in the dance industry, is there pressure to have a certain body type?
In ballet, you spend all day in front of a big mirror. It’s not always pressure from other people, but the pressure you put on yourself. As you get older, you learn how to maintain your weight and diet to stay strong and athletic, but also light and fit so you can move quickly. It’s an important balance – you can’t go too far in either direction.
Was there anything specific you did to maintain a healthy balance?
My mom’s a dietician. She told me to have everything in moderation, so I never tried any crazy fad diets. Once I was told to watch my weight, but I actually weigh more now than I did back then! It’s not noticeable, because I’m more toned. Through it all, my mom always made sure I stayed healthy.
You were recently in the revival of the musical, On the Town. What was it like transitioning from ballet to acting in a Broadway musical?
It was crazy. At first rehearsals were very overwhelming. I was outside of my comfort zone and felt like I was making a fool out of myself. I had to get over my shyness and be willing to feel a little stupid, so I could become a new version of myself.
You were at the SHARE event, A Second Helping of Life. Is this something you’re passionate about?
Unfortunately breast cancer isn’t uncommon in my family, and a friend asked me to join her at the event. My mom had breast cancer twice, my aunt had it, and my grandmother and great-grandmother died from it. I’m definitely passionate about it.
You mentioned before that your mom is a dietician. Did this affect you growing up?
It totally did. There were never any sweets in our house, so whenever I was at a friend’s house, I was excited to eat cookies. I try not to limit myself in any way – I’m not afraid to have sweets. I find it healthier than trying to completely restrict myself.
What would you tell your younger self, knowing what you know today?
It’s ok to make mistakes. If you’re afraid of making them, you may make even worse choices. I would tell myself to let life play itself out and to be a little more relaxed.
Interview conducted and written by Monica Wahid (WomenWorking.com Intern)