Welcome to the latest Wonderful Women, my series of inspirational Q&As with some of planet earth’s most kick-ass ladies.
This week I’m chatting to Alessandra Ferri, who was the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer when she was aged just 19.
Now 52 she has returned to dance.
By breaking down barriers, Alessandra is showing people around the world that age is just a number.
She’s currently working with No7 as they unveil their new global brand direction. A direction that shows the world No7 understands that beauty is about more than looking pretty, it’s about empowering women to get out there and make an impact. It’s not about showing off, it’s about showing up.
You can see Alessandra performing in No7’s latest TV advert to support the launch of NEW No7 Lift & Luminate TRIPLE ACTION Serum, but now over to Alessandra…
Describe a typical day for you?
Well there is no typical day when I am touring as you can imagine! When I’m back at home in New York however, I wake up at 7am and enjoy a nutritious breakfast. Before going out I do a 45 minutes Pilates work-out, which prepares me for the day ahead. Then I head to my daily ballet class, which takes place at 10.30 and is around an hour and a half. The class is followed by a couple of hours of ballet rehearsal (depending on what I’m preparing for, sometimes it’s much longer).
Then I end with a body massage or physiotherapy treatment, which I need to stay strong and supple – I work hard on my body, I’ve never taken it for granted and I particularly don’t now. It’s not like it was when I was 19, obviously! When I am not rehearsing I love to go out and enjoy musical concerts, drama or dance performances in New York.
It’s such an amazing city, there is always something to do. I really do need my rest for my work though, so I mostly come back and spend the evening with my youngest daughter Emma and I’m usually in bed by 10.30pm!
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Being the youngest principal dancer for the Royal Ballet School at 19, was not only an achievement in itself but it began my journey of truly learning who I am. To have done what I have done – to have an outstanding dance career, two children, juggling both at times, taught me about who I really am, deep inside and I believe this is my greatest achievement. As life goes on you understand yourself more, with the years I have become more authentic, more true to myself.
What’s in your handbag?
In general I actually really hate handbags, but as you would imagine I carry my cell phone, a wallet and keys with me.
What are your ambitions in life?
To truly live it without fears. I do believe we have to find happiness inside ourselves. I believe living life in the moment without making too many plans. Once you put the label on something, once you say that it’s going to be forever, you screw yourself up. But if we could say about everything, that it’s just for now – then you never know, it might end up being forever. I think that’s the secret of life.
What advice would you give your pre-baby self, that you now know?
I wonder what my pre-baby would have told me? Having children is such a beautiful experience that you can’t prepare yourself for. Physical presence is important but what’s more important is to be fully present as yourself, as your soul, as a guide. I do believe that we have to find that happiness inside ourselves.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I don’t see myself ever, I try to let it happen. Once you realise it’s never really over until it’s over, every chapter of life can be exciting. I’m sure I speak for my peers – women my age – when I say being 40 or 50 or 60 is irrelevant. What matters is your energy inside. That’s why I love that No7 is recognising this and it’s a privilege to be part of this campaign. Women don’t use beauty products to look pretty for the sake of it. We use them to enhance that energy – how we feel, or want to feel. If you’re feeling full of energy, life and power, you want your skin to reflect that.
What advice would you give a budding dancer?
I would say never to lose sight of the original joy and enthusiasm that originally inspired them to dance. I grew up in Milan and ballet came naturally to me, I never thought I would have to do anything else. Although my Father thought I was wasting my time, but my mother supported me and when I decided to go to London at 15. They supported me as they realised – you have to live your dream.
Finally , Happiness is :
Happiness is to coming to terms with yourself, with who you are.
NEW No7 Lift & Luminate TRIPLE ACTION Serum (£27 for a 30ml tube) is available in Boots stores and on boots.com from 13 April.