We're thrilled to be featuring Jessica Blaine Smith, a true MISFIT and the talented eye who captures MISFITSTUDIO in photos. Get to know Jessica – her MISFIT love story, self-care rituals, fondest memory at the studio and more.
My MISFIT Story
I have been a part of the MISFIT community for nearly three years. I had heard whispers of it for years and I would have people tell me that I needed to go but it wasn't until Sahra Esmonde-White of Essentrics really pushed me that I actually decided it was time. Back then, MISFITSTUDIO was one of the only studios in Toronto offering Essentrics and it was something that I have fallen in love with. This love for Essentrics lead me to being hired to take photographs for the Essentrics team which is how I met Sahra. She told me that I as a MISFIT and that I had to go. I had never done pilates before - just yoga - so I wasn't sure what to expect from the mat classes but I hesitantly eased my way in. I remember my first fusion class a couple of months later. Amber lead it and at one point where we were all invited to let everything out, I did and I felt something. Something deep inside. We were a room of sweaty bodies living and breathing together, clearing our own shit and there was no other word for it but magic. Soon after that I asked Amber if I could photograph her and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since then, I have been documenting everything MISFITSTUDIO with my camera. MISFITSTUDIO has become my home. On days when I cannot make it to a class, I crave it. My body and mind need that place. The MISFIT gang is my other family. My chosen family. We all have our things, our hangups, our issues or flaws that we perceive and we are all doing our own things in this wild and wacky world but for that hour in that room at MISFIT, we share something. Something that is powerful.
Favourite MISFIT Class?
My Favourite MISFIT Class has to be fusion. It's challenging. It's sweaty. No fusion class is ever the same. But when you bring yourself there, like really bring it, there is no better feeling. You feel strong - mentally, physically - as though you can conquer anything in this world. GET SHIFTED is definitely also a favourite of mine. Again, it's challenging but more playful - the perfect mix.
Fondest memory from a MISFIT experience?
I cannot say that it was a specific moment but I do remember getting to a time where I realized that MISFIT was my place. That I belonged there. As a self-employed person who works from home, I'm often isolated from people. I don't have a work community to chat with at the water cooler and things like that. There was a moment when I realized that MISFIT was my community. It was my place for connection and that feels really good.
Who inspires you and why?
I am constantly inspired by those around me. People who have lived amazing lives, who have conquered terrible things and yet they are still standing. I'm inspired by creative people, ones not afraid to express themselves. One of my favourite musicians was Sharon Jones who passed away a year ago. She was an incredible singer and performer and yet she didn't get a record deal until she was 40. She persevered and followed her heart and became a success because of that. One of my most favourite photographers in the world is Chris Buck who lives in New York. He's a mentor to me. He photographs celebrities and other notable people and always manages to make the images a little quirky, and give the viewer a little insight into the personality of the subject. I believe that that it what a real portrait is all about.
What do you do to stay grounded?
Every morning, no matter what the day, I sit in stillness and meditate for about fifteen minutes. It's a practise that I began about a year ago and it has become such a big part of my life. I realized quickly that I needed this time to start my day on the right track. To set intentions and a tone to carry me through anything. I also stay grounded by really honouring myself. If I know that I need something such as alone time, I allow myself that. I have learned to use breath as a tool. When feeling frustrated, when listening to others speak, when listening to my gut. Breath really helps guide us. Journalling is also a big part of my life. After my morning meditation, I always write. Somedays it is only a couple of lines. Others it is a few pages.
Favourite self-care ritual?
As mentioned above, everyday I give myself time to sit in stillness and I believe that that is great for self-care. I grew up on Lake Ontario and on days when I can, I like to walk to the Lake. Being there brings me back to home and to what is important in my life. Otherwise, Himalayan salt baths with essential oils, candles, wine/whisky and a good book. Yes, please!
What's your spirit animal?
Amber once told me my spirit animal is the Koala. Cute and calm from the outside but disturb them and they will show their claws! I saw some wild Koalas while in Australia in April - I was the one who spotted them despite a bunch of tourists seeking them out. They sat there and let me photograph them. I took that as a sign that we may be aligned.
If you could develop any superpower, what would it be and why?
It is such a boring thing to say but I would love if everyone had the superpower of having clear communication - both speaking and listening. Imagine how wonderful the world would be with that!
Favourite spot to brunch in the city?
Man alive, I love brunch so it's hard to pick a favourite! For nearly a year of my life I met friends at Sneaky Dee's every Sunday for brunch so that will always be a timeless classic for me. We live close to Easy Restaurant and their huevos divorciados are what I always order because they bring me back to Mexico every time. And anywhere that serves chilaquiles - I am there!
If you could hop on a plane to vacation anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?
Mexico or Australia because they feel like my other home countries for me. Or Spain because I have yet to go.
What gives you strength?
My husband Josh. He is always so supportive and encouraging of me. Some days I'm not sure where I would be without him.
Mat or reformer?
Mat! I have yet to step foot on a reformer. :P
What qualities do you value the most?
Honesty. Authenticity. Openness. Kindness.
If you could give your younger self one piece of wisdom, what would it be?
You got this. You always do. Worrying doesn't help - just keep on trucking.
What does being a MISFIT mean to you?
Someone who is not fearless but who is unafraid to show the world their true selves. A MISFIT is someone who knows who they are and as that person continues to evolve, they embrace that vulnerably and openly. A MISFIT is open for adventure. A MISFIT is one who stands tall and owns her space in this vast world.
Get to know Lindsey beyond the mat – from her most memorable moments at MISFIT to the women who inspire her (spoiler: it's Jane Goodall – how cool is that?), we're so excited to share all of Lindsey's sparkle with you.
Find Lindsey teaching mat and Reformer each week on the MISFITSTUDIO Schedule.