Tell me about yourself.
Hallie: My name is Hallie Mossett. I'm 22 years old and I am an African American woman. My family historically is Native American. My mom is a quarter European and Native Ameican and my Dad is Black. I just consider myself African American. Throughout my life, I have had a passion for performance and the arts. When I was young, I danced at W. D. Alan dance and started doing gymnastics when I was 5 years old. Although I was young, they wanted me to stay because they thought I was talented. I never wanted to let that passion go, but as I got older gymnastics got more demanding.
I was a gymnast for 17 years. I used to be on the USA National Team and started elite training when I was about 9 years old. I had to leave private school and be homeschooled so that I could train, but I was able to go back to high school but only for about three hours a day, then I headed off to gymnastics because I was still on the National Team. I have had 5 surgeries. I’ve broken my hip, lacerated my liver, broken my chest and torn my knee up, but I am still standing today. Throughout everything that I have experienced in my gymnastics career, I think my main passion and goal in life is to be a performer. Being a sports psychologist is still my academic dream, but I think my actual passion in life is to be a performer for the rest of my life.
Are there things that you encounter that your counterparts do not?
Hallie: When I was younger I didn’t understand why I was so different from everyone else. I had a huge identity crisis maybe around ten or eleven years old. I was one of the few African American girls in my gym, but it was pretty diverse since the gym was based in LA. I was called fat by my coaches because I was shaped differently than the other girls. I was really stick-thin but I had legs and glutes! I had a black girl body! I really struggled with recognizing that the differences in my body with the other girls was okay. I think being a women of color in a sport like gymnastics especially when there wasn't that many African American or women of color back when I was younger really had its effects on how I viewed myself. I saw my body type as different and not unique. I think having positive role models in my life that are women of color like my mom and even some teachers really helped me. I’ve had some people in my life tell me it’s okay to be different.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Hallie: My mom always told me to never let how anyone else feels about me affect the way I feel about myself. She always told me I was strong and beautiful and that it was okay to be different. She would always say, "Who would ever want to be the same as everyone else? You want to stand out and you want to be the one that everyone is watching." Now I am in an African American sorority which is very different because I have never been in a space with a lot of African Americans. I’ve come to the realization that it’s really important as a woman of color to recognize your beauty and your strength.
What is one of your earliest experiences with beauty?
Hallie: When I was younger, I had beautiful luscious long curly hair, my mom went away for one summer and I wanted to wear my hair like everyone else because I wanted to fit in and I damaged my hair terribly. I had a really hard time recognizing what the standard of beauty was for myself and how I saw myself. I didn’t see myself as beautiful.
How has community been important for you?
Hallie: I think when you are able to interact with people that identify similarly to you, it gives you a safe space to open up about struggles that you have like relationship struggles or just any setbacks that you may have faced in the past. A lot of people in the sorority are so prestigious and successful. It’s great to see all of these women rise above all of the negativity in this country that is put toward African American women or women of color. I think that’s the most rewarding thing to see people who are successful and confident and beautiful and strong and worthy.
What’s your self-care routine?
Hallie: I really enjoy choreography. I’ve always enjoyed it when I was younger. I've made it into a job for myself for the past three years. When I am visualizing myself onstage or making up a dance or expressing myself through dance in my room by myself in the mirror, it makes me feel like my best self. Recently I’ve gotten into painting. I just painted a piece with a large cross on it with Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13” written in cursive. That was fun! My favorite song right now is Lemon by N.E.R.D. ft Rihanna. I love the beat and how it changes. I also didn’t realize that the lyrics were about the political climate until my cousin told me.
What makes you feel unstoppable?
Hallie: My dad almost every day would tell me you can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That is my favorite Bible verse. He gave me a cross that I would take with me to National Training Camp which was the most stressful environment I’ve ever been to in my life! Even though I would come back and cry sometimes, I would hold that cross. I think that’s what makes me feel unstoppable in all aspects of my life. I can do anything I put my mind to. Having two parents be such strong role models for me, telling me that I can do anything I put my mind to has played a big part in helping me build my confidence. I am so grateful because not everyone has that. With all the other things that are said to us and about us as women of color in the media especially with our political climate, there are so many things that could make a woman of color or any person of color feel like they can't do anything that they put their mind to. So I think those positive words of affirmation have been really helpful in my development as a strong women.
Keep up with Hallie on her journey: