For some people, locations like Dubai and the tropical Virgin Gorda are seen as luxury vacation and travel destinations. For Sierra Blair-Coyle these are bucket list destinations for another reason: rock climbing. Sierra is a professional rock climber, competing since the age of 14 (a playground jungle gym meant something else to this ambitious athlete) and earning a two-time National Championship as a junior. In between travel competitions and training, Sierra studies at Arizona State University and, like the rest of us who aren’t rising stars in the professional climbing world, enjoys catching up with friends and binging on Walking Dead episodes.
Photo courtesy Scott Soens, Roxy
If you could describe yourself in one hashtag, what would it be?
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
My grandma is awesome. She is turning 80 in August and literally has more energy than I do. I love seeing her and hearing about everything she has accomplished throughout her life.
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
Currently I'm attending Arizona State University and climbing professionally. I would love to win a professional competition, eventually receive my Masters degree, and own a marketing or public relations firm one day. For the time being however, I am focusing completely on climbing and school.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of attending college and continuing to climb professionally. It is a tough balance to maintain, but I am really proud of myself for pursuing both avenues of my life.
What piece of advice changed your life?
My first coach used to tell me, "climb like you know how,” when I would enter a competition. At the time, it didn't make sense to me, but now it is one of the most important parts of my attitude towards competitions. I have all of the tools, I know what I'm doing, I just have to climb like I know how to climb and everything will fall into place.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I see myself climbing, traveling, and living an adventurous life. My life is changing so quickly, it is an exciting journey.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
I want to be remembered as the person that helped climbing grow into a more mainstream sport. Climbing is awesome and it would be incredible if more people knew about the sport and were able to participate.
Who has been the biggest female influence in your life and why?
My mom is definitely a huge role model for me. She is a great mom, person, and athlete. She is always willing to help anyone and has a great overall perspective on life. Truthfully, I hope one day to become as amazing as my parents.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
When I was 14, I decided to stop competing in junior level competitions to pursue professional level competitions. It was a huge leap of faith, but it taught me that hard work pays off and that I can accomplish anything!
Why are you THAT GIRL?
I love life and am always trying to find new ways to push myself and inspire others. The best way to end my day is knowing that I tried my best and am going to work even harder tomorrow.
*Interview conducted and compiled by Sheila Moeschen, IATG Senior Editor