Welcome back to part III of the series The Athletic Artist: Sparking Creativity Through Training, which aims to profile some trailblazing individuals; learning how they use their training as a way of fuelling creativity in their business and/or artistic endeavours.
In part III, we’re turning our attention to the incredible, multi-faceted and inspiring Priscilla Frederick-Loomis; a US-born Olympic high jumper, entrepreneur, and content creator. Priscilla represented Antigua and Barbuda (gaining dual citizenship in 2014, her father’s birthplace) in the 2016 Olympics – making her the first ever female to represent Antigua in a field event. However, her athletic CV doesn’t just stop there. Priscilla is also a National Champion and Record holder, a 2x Pan American Games Silver Medalist, a 2x World Championships Competitor, and a 2X Female Athlete of the Year recipient. Oh, and did I mention that she’s only 32 years old with all of these accolades under her belt?
What makes Priscilla remarkable isn’t narrowed to just her raw athletic talent, clear hard work and determination in the sport, but also her drive to pursue other activities and interests outside the gym (or field). She somehow manages to balance her demanding training schedule with other creative pursuits and business ventures.
Priscilla has started two businesses to-date: FLAWLESS and LASH OUT LOUD. She also founded a non-profit called The Priscilla E. Frederick Foundation to financially assist single parent households, promote community advocacy, start scholarships to help single parent households pay for their children’s high school education, and spread random acts of kindness. If that’s not enough, she also co-hosts a podcast and YouTube Series called In Our Prime, which discusses, as the name implies, the prime period of our lives (adulthood and marriage). Priscilla is also the New Morning Radio Show Host at 98.7 The Coast in South Jersey.
In a nutshell, Priscilla Frederick-Loomis is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, professional athlete, Olympian, content creator and overall “badass warrior.” Outside of her extensive resume, she’s also known for fostering self-love, advocating for self-betterment and if you’re lucky enough to connect with Priscilla, you’ll notice that her positive energy is infectious.
Priscilla’s Fitness Journey
Priscilla’s fitness journey started at the ripe old age of 6. Her mom was a hard-working single parent, enrolling Priscilla in activities that would “keep her out of trouble” and were feasible to pursue. As Priscilla recalls, the two activities with the lowest enrollment and equipment costs were track & field and volleyball. As soon as she first entered the field of athletics, Priscilla was a natural. That precocious talent got her deemed “that athletic kid” by her peers, a reputation she continued to uphold throughout her years of schooling. Once she stepped foot onto the field and court, she never looked back—keeping to a minimum of two sports at all times.
It wasn’t until her freshman year in high school when she first entered the world of high jump. Funny enough, Priscilla admits that she kind of just fell into it. Her high school track & field coach needed another high jumper to help a teammate out. “My teammate wouldn’t have been able to compete alone,” writes Priscilla. Her coach asked if she could fill the spot and she agreed.
Although some are lucky enough to step into natural athleticism (here’s looking at you, Priscilla), this is always accompanied by a side of fundamental learning. When recalling how she got further acquainted with the sport, she laughs and writes, “[my coach] taught me via a picture flip book.” Unbeknownst to Priscilla at the time, stumbling into this “one-off” high school encounter set the course for her future in the sport—catapulting her into an elite career in high jump. She received a full athletic scholarship to St. Johns University in Queens NY, became a Big East Champion, a 4X NCAA Competitor, and School Record Holder.
Although Priscilla was born with a gift, this gift had to be groomed…alongside the mentality to match it. To become great—not just great, but the best, you need to put in the hours and years of work. The Olympic mindset is one that’s hard to fathom. Dedicating years and years to pushing your limits and training for a single event is a sacrifice that might be hard for a lot of us to imagine. Priscilla has dedicated over 10,000 hours to her sport and “over 4,380 days focused on 1 goal, 1 Olympic Gold Medal.” She humbly writes, “it’s been a wild ride.”
Where does this drive to succeed come from? While the thought of standing on the Olympic podium provides a strong incentive itself, training for 30-35 hours a week to “prepare for the greatest competition of [her] life” requires an even stronger source of motivation. That’s where the intrinsic motivation and deeper meaning of her training comes in: her inspiration, her why, and the help of a solid support system.
Priscilla has a rolodex of whys that keep propelling her forward, but “setting herself apart” and “raising the bar” are what really drives her. She admits that her mother has been a big inspiration to her—helping her stay focused and motivated. “She trained me to be humble, to be gratuitous, to be thankful, but to always push myself to be better”, Priscilla writes. Aside from her mother, her husband & family, as well as the pride of representing her nation, help keep her laser-focused and present during her training.
Outside of her support system and the country she represents, Priscilla is driven to pursue activities that make her happy. She writes: “Pursuing happiness is a huge goal of mine and being successful in track and field and chasing my dreams brings me happiness.”
Priscilla is also intently focused on her own personal growth, which she says, “consists of positive self-talk.” Every day she carves out time to practice self-compassion, self-reliance, routine upkeep and most importantly, focusing on believing in herself. Priscilla admits that she wants to be a warrior and lead by example, but in order to do that, she notes that she “[needs] to be the best version of [herself].”
Fuelling Creativity Through Training
Gaining competency and mastery in track and field has helped Priscilla develop an elite mindset—a mindset that translates to all her endeavours—on and off the field. She writes:
With the Olympic mindset as my guide, I try to focus on being the best version of myself in every area of my life: hard work, dedication, courage, passion, time management, resilience, focus, personal development; these are all qualities I take into account with my podcast, my radio show, my cleaning business, my non-profit, and my marriage. If I want to be successful, I have to work at it.
Being present and getting into the flow state in our workouts, showing up (whether we feel like it or not), and pushing ourselves to do better all takes courage. These skills and qualities are not innate; they take time and discipline to cultivate. What’s so inspiring about Priscilla is that although she was born with raw talent, she realized that’s not nearly enough. Training to be an Olympian and actually becoming one is a remarkable feat—a chance that only 0.000175% of the world’s population gets to experience. Training for the Olympics is grueling—pushing yourself physically and mentally beyond what you thought becomes a part of your everyday routine. This tenacity, grit and perseverance encompassing Priscilla’s training are qualities that she employs in other facets of her life—helping fuel her creative and business endeavours.
The Creative Process
Priscilla writes, “I am a very colorful, vibrant person, so I get inspired and think of things all the time.” When Priscilla has a vision or an idea, she doesn’t let it slip by: she takes action. Sure, all of us have ideas, but it’s the ability to actually bring those ideas into fruition that separates the creatives from the majority. “I always invest in myself and my talent so that once I have a vision for something, I take it seriously and put a lot of time and attention to detail with it” writes Priscilla.
She came up with the idea for In Our Prime after launching a reoccurring IGTV series called To Speak My Truth that was co-hosted by her husband—a spot where they discussed trending topics, sports, politics, relationships and interviewed a variety of guests. With her husband co-hosting the show and her nephew producing it, the podcast and YouTube channel emerged as a fun, family project. Although Priscilla acknowledged that she didn’t have the most experience in the social/content landscape, she “wanted to get better acclimated with being on camera and hosting, [with] this project being a good vehicle for that.”
If you’ve ever watched Priscilla’s high jump performances, you’ll know she’s not only an incredible athlete, but a natural entertainer. “I love entertaining; being part of people’s lives and offering them fun and entertaining content.” From rocking vibrant hair colours, to busting out some dance moves on the field, Priscilla always finds a way to have fun—even in the most high pressure scenarios.
Priscilla has a rock solid relationship with her husband and wants to work with him on future projects. She writes,
I truly believe my husband is freaking awesome and people love our chemistry. In the future, I hope we can work together full time, but for now, this is a great start.
A modern love story—we love to hear it!
While looking for a “home” to produce her creative endeavors, Priscilla got in contact with the radio station 98.7 The Coast. When she arrived at the studio, the station manager mistakenly thought she was coming in to audition for the morning host job. Rather than correcting him, she decided to “not block my blessings, and audition.” She sent some audio clips, her media kit, and was offered the job. “It was pretty cool”, she writes. When you follow your creative energy flow and jump on unexpected opportunities as they arise, all sorts of exciting things can happen in life.
While Priscilla got involved with the station by “accident”, she’s learned some valuable skills in what she calls “prep work”: reviewing websites, magazines, and social media to come up with content for the show. These skills clearly translate into the skill set needed to host a podcast. Priscilla writes,
Creating quality content is something I strive for so I am always having fun and getting to show my personality through my social media pages. Both my work at 98.7 The Coast and In Our Prime take a lot of prep, but I love doing it.
Priscilla has deep rooted intrinsic motivation and enjoys entertaining, working alongside her husband, and helping enrich the lives of others which all help fuel her creative process.
Day in the Life
When Priscilla’s not training intensely for the Olympic games, she certainly doesn’t have a surplus of free time. “A typical weekday for me can go a lot of ways. My whole life is a constant go go go,” she writes. Priscilla starts her day EARLY—I’m talking 4:15am (ouch). Once she catapults out of bed, she then proceeds to have her breakfast, vitamins, and coffee. She makes time for a prayer, 5-minutes of journaling, and syncs her sleep tracker bracelet before getting ready for work. Priscilla is out the door by 5:30am, but never misses the last item on the docket: giving her husband a quick kiss goodbye.
She’s live on the air from 6:00am-10:00am then after the show, she’s doing post-show meetings, show prep and interviews until 11:00am. Then she moves on to her training.
Priscilla’s training starts at 12:00pm and finishes around 4:00pm. Yes, you read that correctly, daily training for 4 hours after what many of us would consider a full workday. She gets home around 4:30-5:00pm, preps for the following day (organizing her bag, prepping the coffee, etc.), sits down for dinner with her husband and “hopefully” has time to dive into a quick show before calling it a day. She ends the day similar to how she starts it: 5-minute journaling, a prayer, sleep tracking bracelet on, then off to bed.
In Priscilla’s jam-packed days, she somehow manages to “sprinkle in” Zoom meetings/interviews, massages and treatments, answering emails, scheduling her non-profit meetings/events/etc. She laughs as she writes, “then of course regular muggle life things like cleaning, cooking, errands, etc.”
While she does have a ton on the go, Priscilla has the self-awareness to know when it’s time to cut back on the extracurriculars and re-balance priorities. “Now that I’m in the home stretch of the Olympic Games,” Priscilla writes, “I need to cut down on extra activities and just focus on work and training.”
Priscilla Frederick-Loomis is an absolute trailblazer; not only is she an Olympic athlete, but also channels this drive into all other aspects of her life. Her training, business ventures and creative pursuits are all fueled by a desire to help others, entertain, and gain the competency to strive for better.
To summarize, here are some takeaways you can use to help you in your creative or professional pursuits:
- Ideas come and go, but having the drive to act on these ideas can lead to unanticipated and exciting detours in life—as was the case with Priscilla saying “yes” to her coach in high school and saying “yes” to the auditioning for 98.7 The Coast.
- A solid, encouraging support system can be a strong catalyst in helping you pursue your dreams—surround yourself with people that love you and want you to become the best version of yourself.
- We don’t always have to take ourselves so seriously with our creative pursuits. Oftentimes it’s more productive to keep the task at hand light. Have fun, and interject your own personality into your work—it will be much more enjoyable that way—it will make the work uniquely yours.
- For sustainability in our training and creativity, we need to find our whys (or mental framing) and uncover the intrinsic motivation to fuel our endeavors. While Priscilla has a strong extrinsic motivation for Olympic gold, that’s not nearly enough to sustain the gruelling hours of work she needs to put in for her training—there needs to be a deeper reason.
I’ll leave off part III of the series with some final words of advice from Priscilla:
Believe in yourself, your vision, your goals and your passion. Never give up on yourself; motivation, self confidence, and self reliance will get you what you want, but you also have to work at it. Nobody can say or do anything to distract you from being the best version of you! Everyday matters, so invest in yourself, and love the time you have been given.
Thanks so much for participating in the series Priscilla—we’ll all be cheering you on at the 2021 Tokyo games! Stay tuned for part IV of The Athletic Artist coming soon….
*What most people don’t know is that without a “lucrative sponsorship”, Olympic athletes are funding their dreams on their own. Priscilla writes, “ it takes hard work, a willingness to grind and a strong entrepreneurial spirit.” She owns her own cleaning business and was bartending to support her dreams. If you want to help support Priscilla for the 2021 Toyko Olympics, you can donate on her Go Fund Me fundraiser.