“Gold Medal Families” is a new docu-series premiering on June 28th, following the lives of six Olympic prospects. One of these six talented athletes includes Nastasya Generalova, who could possibly be the first rhythmic gymnast of color. The road to the 2016 Olympics to Rio is a tough one, but she’s ready for it. RnB Magazine had the pleasure to chat with Nastasya as she talks sacrifices her mom has made during this process, working with Taylor Swift, advice for aspiring young gymnast, and more.
-When did this passion for gymnastics transpire?
It all really started when people said I was not good enough for this sport because I did not meet the criteria for the physical appearance and my weight. I got really angry with myself and I wanted to prove to myself that yes I can do this sport and yes I will achieve my dreams in rhythmic gymnastics. So I started to train and train and always be the first one who comes to the gym and the last one to leave and at one point I began to get high results and turn heads, so that was the moment my passion for rhythmic began.
-How is it having your mom, who is a former gymnast herself, as your trainer?
My mom is definitely not my trainer, but she was a former artistic gymnast herself. My mom is very kind and loving and she sacrifices a lot for me and I am really thankful for that, or else I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have today or ever. I’ve learned that we don’t have much, but when you have someone you love, that’s all you really need.
-Speaking of your mom-she works extremely hard to ensure your family is taken care of, sometimes missing competition days. Do you find it hard at times with your mom not being there?
I don’t find it hard not having my mom at competitions, because I’m so used to her not being there since I was little, so quite frankly I find it normal. It doesn’t distract me and I can focus more on my competitions.
-Qualifying finals for the Olympics in Rio are currently going on. If selected, you will be the very first Olympic Rhythmic Gymnast of color. Congratulations. How are you feeling about this huge accomplishment?
I haven’t made the team yet. The competition is this weekend but to have the opportunity to be the first Olympic Rhythmic Gymnast of Color means a lot. Everybody who has supported me my coaches, my team, my mom we’ve made alot of sacrifices to get here and no matter what happens I’m hoping I can be an inspiration to other young rhythmic gymnast of color that they can do this too!
-Tell me about working with Taylor Swift for her music video “Shake It Off.”
When I worked with Taylor Swift! Oh boy there’s a lot of things, where do I begin. Well for one, Taylor is probably the nicest and most humble person I have ever met. She’s not flashy, not boastful of her success at all. It was as if I’ve know her like a close friend, that’s how humble and kind she is. When we got on set for her video we had to keep the whole thing a secret for the longest time, because nobody could know her new album was coming out. It was so much fun teaching Taylor some rhythmic gymnastics and see her working with the ribbon. There was definitely a lot of energy and there was no judgment at all, everything was doing it for your fun, so I hope I can work with her again because I loved her!
Training, competitions, the new docu-series. You are extremely busy. How do you manage time for extra-curricular activities with such a busy schedule at such a young age?
It is very difficult doing “fun” things such as going to the mall, or hanging out with friends because I never have the time to, which sometimes makes me sad, but at the same time I’m very grateful for what I do, because I know I have achieved so much at such a young age so I have to make sacrifices in order for me to have an abundant amount of opportunities and for dreams to come true.
-Speaking of the docu-series “Gold Medal Families,” tell me, how did this opportunity come about?
“Gold Medal Families” really came to me, so they found me. They were looking to make a docu-series on a few athletes/families and show people what it really takes to become a high level athlete, because some people don’t understand the sacrifices, blood, sweat, and tears it takes. So I guess they have heard about me and some of my accomplishments so they were interested in documenting my sport rhythmic gymnastics.
-What can we look forward to from the show?
From this show you will expect several families with their amazing athletes from different sports to show the audience what it takes to be a high level athlete and maybe even make the Olympics. But the point of the show will be to see different families, with completely different backgrounds and see how family together, either big or small all help their athletes achieve their dream in their sport.
-When you aren’t training and competing, what do you do on your spare time?
Well, usually I never have that opportunity but when I do, yes I can hang out with my friends, but because I am a part of Wilhelmina models, I’m always doing some shoot or doing something interesting in that context, so I’m quite a busy person.
-What advice would you give a young girl who aspires to be a gymnast?
Be prepared to work a lot, and I mean a lot if you really want to achieve something, but most important, it not quantity but it’s quality, so if you don’t love what you do, then there’s no point in doing it at all, so be yourself and shine. Never listen to the people who say you’re not good enough or you don’t meet the standards, just be yourself and you will be flawless.
-Thank you so much for the interview. Is there anything else you would like to say/add?
Hopefully I can help show other that you can do anything you put your mind to. Always take the opportunities that are given to you, because you never know what can happen. Even to the people who say you can’t do it or you’re never going to make it, don’t prove it to them you can, prove it to yourself you can and eventually those “haters” will be completely out of your life and you can go so much further. The people who try to bring you down or always talk behind your back or only talking about you, because you’re the only thing that’s interesting to them and they are jealous of you, so be proud of who you are and be humble.