On the Cover:
Cover date: February 24th, 2015
An Interview with Sierra Blair-Coyle
Editor: Thanks for speaking with us, Sierra! We’re so honored and we do appreciate your time. It’s so cool to be interviewing a fellow Scottsdale-ite and fellow Suns fan!
Sierra Blair-Coyle: Thanks for taking the time to interview me, I always love to connect with fellow Scottsdal-ites as well!
Editor: As one of the most well-known and beautiful faces of bouldering and climbing, you’ve given a lot of people the inspiration to get into one of the world’s most physically and mentally demanding sports.
Has your family been supportive of your career?
Sierra: My family has been 100% behind me since day one. They have always encouraged me to follow my dreams in climbing and in life.
Editor: That's so nice to know. Okay, a post has been making the rounds and has started quite a buzz around you. After reading a multitude of comments, I think it’s only fair that you get to weigh in. You were asked if you were an athlete or a model. You answered that you are both.
People who follow your career had different POVs about your answer. She’s an athlete, not a model, one man wrote, while another wrote she’s a model who is an athlete. A third person said that you were made into a spokesperson but presented as a model so the brand sells more products.
I would like to give you the opportunity to share your thoughts with your fans, as to what your answer is to all those thousands of comments and set the record straight.
Why did you say that you were an athlete and a model? In your opinion, can a person successfully be both? (My POV is you seem to perform dual roles superbly.)
Sierra Blair-Coyle: I am an athlete and a model because I am an athlete and a model. A person can successfully do both, and a number of other things. It is incredible to live in a time where people can be who they want to be and do what the want to do.
Editor: Great answer! Comps are mega stressful. Attending ASU along with your climbing career must require a lot of time management.
What do you do to unwind, relax and hit the reset button. Fans love watching the comps but the pressure is on you.
What is your secret to un-winding? Yoga, meditation, music?
Sierra Blair-Coyle: First of all, I love relaxing! I don’t think people spend enough time relaxing. My favorite way to unwind is to watch movies or read books. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in a story and focus on something else.
Editor: How old were you when you the irresistible climbing bug caught you?
Sierra Blair-Coyle: The climbing bug bit me when I was eight years old. :-)
Editor: Who gave you your first lesson and where did this take place? These are often the sweetest of memories, because we always remember our first climb.
Sierra Blair-Coyle: My first climb took place on a wall at an outdoor mall by my home. I remember climbing and feeling like it was so much fun! I’m not sure if I made it to the top, but I kept dragging my parents back everyday so I could climb more and more!
Editor: There are invaluable lessons that we are taught when we first begin to climb. Which lessons do you refer to daily and use as helpful tips on staying at the top of your game?
Sierra Blair-Coyle: Learning footwork was a big lesson for me. It took some time to hone in on my footwork, but once I did I felt like it helped my climbing a lot. Climbing outside was the biggest help in this aspect; the feet outside are generally much smaller than in the gym!
Editor: When a particular boulder problem or climbing route doesn’t seem to let you through, how do you condition your mind and spirit so that you can crush it?
One can train physically and tackle this, but one must also have an inner, emotional place, a peaceful well-spring to draw strength from.
Tell your fans how you overcome climbing obstacles.
It might help your younger fans.
Sierra Blair-Coyle: Sometimes it helps to take a step back from a hard problem or route and get on something I easier. I like to call it an “ego boost”. It can help reset your mind so you are in the place where you know you can send a problem. I also try and remember that I am making progress when I work on a problem or route. Even if you aren’t getting higher move-wise, you are getting more proficient at the bottom. It’s all about small improvements.
Editor: Is there a certain outdoor project/projects that have always intrigued and challenged you?
What was the route and grade?
Sierra Blair-Coyle: To date there hasn’t been any super intriguing project outdoors for me. I really liked climbing The Rally in Maui, it was cool to make a return trip to climb the route. But it definitely wasn’t at my limit. When I climb outside it’s to have fun, so if I happen to send something hard it’s just an even better day than before!
Editor: Awesome! Who are your favorite climbers and why did you pick them?
I ask because each has a particular strength, like you do, which may resonate with fans.
Sierra: Sean McColl is definitely my favorite climber. He is very well rounded and looks so polished when he climbs!
Editor: Where would you love to visit and climb around the globe?
Sierra Blair-Coyle: I want to travel everywhere! I cannot get enough of traveling and adventuring. My number one place I would like to climb at the moment is Virgin Gorda, it looks so beautiful. Plus I am a sucker for Caribbean beaches!
Editor: Here’s an important question. Why do you climb? What does it give you emotionally?
There is a spirituality to it that some athletes feel strongly, while for others, it is merely a physical pursuit.
When you’re in the midst of nature, there is a connection that you make with your surroundings that others may not sense.
Many climbers whom I had the honor of talking to, who are now in their 50s and 60s, have learned to pick up on nature’s language quickly.
Does your heart sense it?
Sierra Blair-Coyle: I climb because something feels right to me when I climb. I love climbing and it really just connects for me. Indoors or outdoors, climbing is my happy place.
Editor: Totally agree with you that! Hey, did you watch Valley Uprising? What are your thoughts on the film?
Sierra Blair-Coyle: I actually haven’t seen Valley Uprising, but everyone always raves about it to me! I am a bit behind in keeping up on my climbing videos.
Editor: What are your thoughts on the preservation of nature and climate change?
(I ask because it directly affects the climbing profession.)
Sierra Blair-Coyle: I believe that everyone should do their best to respect Mother Nature and take care of her. I try and be as mindful as possible of the environment.
Editor: We all rejoiced when the Tommy and Kevin sent the Dawn Wall, and it surely did a lot to bring this art mainstream. It brought the whole climbing community together to rejoice as a family.
How did you feel when they accomplished this enormous endeavor?
Sierra Blair-Coyle: I am so proud of Kevin and Tommy for sending the Dawn Wall! They have been working so hard and so long for the send, it is incredible to see it accomplished. They will always be proudly remembered for that.
Editor: Well said. Let’s talk fun stuff. Music and books…on rest days, what kinds of books do you read and what kind of music do you love?
Sierra Blair-Coyle: I love to read romance novels and mysteries! I don’t have a favorite type of music, I am pretty good listening to anything!
Editor: Thanks for spending some time with us, Sierra. Please come by and talk with us again, your fans love to hear from you.
Sierra Blair-Coyle: Thanks for the interview, it was a blast!
Editor: So glad you enjoyed it!
Sponsors: Sanuk, Roxy, SPY, fuel:one, Climb X Gear, Asana Climbing, Sierra Sage Organics, Quotable Cards, Cell Med Clinics.
Official web site: www.sierrabc.com
Interview conducted by Vera Kaikobad L. Ac.
Editor of the Facebook Climbing Page 'An Interview With'.
Editor-in-Chief of ClimbSkiBoulderMagazine.com
Interview © Vera Kaikobad L. Ac.
All images © of the designated photographer and used with Scott's written permission.
Professional Rock Climber
Team USA 2010-2014
Hailing from Scottsdale, Arizona, 20-year-old Sierra Blair-Coyle has been competing professionally since the age of 14. A US Bouldering Team member (2010-2014) and two-time National Champion as a junior competitor, Sierra travels the world competing and doing what she loves while also attending Arizona State University on a full-ride academic scholarship.
Awards: Team USA (2010-2014)
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