Empowered Women Blog Series: Kylie Potuznik (Barefoot Ballerina)
We think it's important to highlight and recognize women who continue to inspire us and what better way to inspire others than through art and dance, like our friend Kylie Potuznik A.K.A. Barefoot Ballerina. We've been in awe of her absolutely gorgeous and seemingly effortless photos for years. And we love her mantra which is simply "Have Courage and Be Kind". We were SO excited when she agreed to chat with us more about her journey and what inspired her to start Barefoot Ballerina and more.
Tell us more about what inspired you to start Barefoot Ballerina?
KP: I started Barefoot Ballerina as a passion project and creative outlet combining my favorite things - dance, travel and style. I was a professional ballet dancer, however, after breaking my back I had to make a huge life change and pursue a different dream (a blessing in disguise.) My life changed paths; I went to college and then got a great job at FOX after school which I loved. However, as the years passed, I had the need to return to my artistic roots and needed a creative outlet for myself. And that is how Barefoot Ballerina started :)
What’s the most exciting place the Barefoot Ballerina has taken you?
KP: I have been blown away by the response to Barefoot Ballerina. I have had the opportunity to travel to some beautiful destinations and collaborate with some amazing people and brands. I would say the most exciting place Barefoot Ballerina has taken me would be Aruba. Two of my best girlfriends and I jetted across the country to Aruba for a fun girls weekend in the sun. We went on some fun adventures and explored the island while getting to know the locals!
Having courage and following your dreams are two very empowering themes in much of your work. What does empowerment mean to you?
KP: To me empowerment is just that, having the courage to follow your dreams. It is looking deep into your heart, discovering what makes you smile and then chasing after it. And hopefully along the way you will inspire others to have courage and follow their dreams too.
What other women (either famous or in your life) have inspired you most and why?
KP: My mother + my sister are my biggest female inspirations. I am very fortunate to have two extremely independent, hard working and loving women in my life. They both inspire me daily to be the best version of myself, and I am so lucky to go through life with them by my side.
Given that your brand has taken off on social media, how do you feel about social media’s current role in culture and the impact it’s had on society, communication and its representation of women in the “influencer” space.
KP: I think that social media has opened a lot of doors for women to be able to share their thoughts, their talents and their passions with one another in a way that has never existed before. Whether I am looking up new fashion tips, travel destinations, recipes or workouts I am in community with other women who have similar interests and aspirations. I have discovered so many more amazing women on social media who I can learn from and draw inspiration from.
Because we love jewelry here at The Storm and we love it even more when it has a special meaning to you -- what’s your favorite piece of jewelry that you own and why?
KP: Well I couldn’t agree more. I would say my favorite piece of jewelry is a diamond cross necklace that my father gave me. My father passed away from cancer when I was 14, and it was important to him that he give his girls their first diamonds. So, the Christmas before he passed he gave me a beautiful diamond gold necklace. That necklace will always have an extremely special place in my heart.
What’s your favorite quote and/or a quote that you like to live by?
KP: Wow, this is a tough one. I LOVE quotes…This isn’t a quote… but in all honesty my ‘quote’ is every single line of “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. I can’t even pick one line of the song, because truly, I try to live by every single lyric in that song!
We can certainly relate with the sentiments of Kylie, as my Mom gave me a heart necklace on my wedding day engraved with "I Hope You Dance". It's one of my most cherished possessions and is one of the very reasons I was inspired to make jewelry that is made to feel special, be worn everyday and passed on to those you love. Thanks again Kylie for reminding us why we do what we love and that looking deep into your own heart truly matters. Be sure to check out more from Kylie and her journey as the Barefoot Ballerina at instagram.com/barefootballerina -- she seriously is The Storm! ✨xoxo