Sweat glitter. Ride harder. Mermaid Bred. Faerie Born. SOUL CYCLE Instructor- yet magic duster. You may have heard of #glitterbootynation spilling through her instagram page and rockstar photos. Who is this mystical creature? Well, we are about to spread her magic like butter, almond butter!
Photograph by CrzyPnda
Never even meeting Soeuraya- I could already feel her heat all the way from Miami. That is the cool thing about the power of social media. It can bring people who are out there changing the flow of the world- and bring them to light. Which is exactly what our ForceField mission is. Diving into souls, revealing their wild stories, visions, and this unnatural fire in their hearts to make the world a better place. WE want to know about them. ALL of them. Which is exactly what happened when I stumbled across her feed. It is pretty alarming how beautiful inside and out she is.
I was born in AZ, but moved to NYC when I was ten. All my favorite years were spent in the city.
CALL ME, BABY.
My family calls me RayRay or Raya. My instagram name is also a common tag for me (laughs out loud). One of my close mentors calls me raw baby and that just kind of stuck.
LIFE BEFORE THE BIKE
I was convinced that I was going to be an actress. Damned anyone that told me otherwise. I usually had 2-3 jobs at a time and was super active in nightlife. I was blessed then and still blessed now being able to be surrounded by some of the most creative beings. We were always creating, dancing, and just playing. I also traveled quite a bit around the US. I have been cross country twice. One of my favorite memories from traveling is just walking, bussing, and driving up the coast of US-1 in Cali with my best friends, Zeus and Kim.
PLANTING THE SEED
I was kind of all over place. I had been actively auditioning for commercials and tv shows, while bartending at two different places. I had also moved up to the Bear Mountain park area to be with my then boyfriend. I was commuting several times a week and remember being pretty miserable over all. Everything I was doing, even the auditions at times had become something to fulfill someone elses prophecy for my life. Enter SoulCycle. My agent at the time and now Chief Talent Officer at SoulCycle, Halle Madia, had just started working for Julie and Elizabeth. I had vaguely heard of the studios but never had any interest in sweating, crying, or vomiting in public places. When Halle started working for them, I never heard the end of it. She called me multiple times encouraging me to try it out- promising that it would be so worth it. I will never forget that Tuesday morning. 10:30am. NoHo. Marvin Foster Jr. I remember having so much emotion thinking that I had finally found it. He was dancing and performing. But it was who he was, nothing forced, or placed upon him. He was INSPIRING people. Lifting people up while bringing them together. Goals that I had hoped to accomplish through my dancing/acting but had not quite figured out how to do so. The rest is history. I started to prepare for training. Once training came to an end, I never looked back. Now having this job for two and a half years, I can say that my reason did not come until later on when I moved to Miami. My own person WHY I discovered is that -we all have the power to save ourselves. To be that strongest decision I ever made.
Photograph by CrzyPnda
WAKE UP CALL
I am an avid intention setter. My morning consists of snuggles with my pups, an espresso, all while having a sit down with my tarot deck and animal cards. It is not about magic, or anything weird. Just about seeing what you want from the day and allowing whatever cards you pull to be the wisdom or words that you walk with through your day. It is quite eerie how it is always exactly what I need to hear.
ROOSTER OR NIGHT RIDER?
It’s funny. If you had asked me this question a year ago I would have said night rider for sure. But as time has progressed, I have definitely morphed into an early bird. Not quite a rooster but definitely catching that worm at like 8:30 or 9am. ;)
ON STAYING GOLDEN
For me it is about spending time with people I love and the people I am inspired by. Also, so much fucking yoga (haha). Yoga every damn day.
Allowing myself to connect to my breath and give back to my body. This keeps me grounded and in a headspace where I can lead a pack and be there for my riders/clients the way that I want to be. The way that they deserve someone to be there for them. Also, I always take one night a week to light some candles, put on some Etta or Billie, and get in the tub. Soak away any aches, pains, or worrisome thoughts. It is amazing what a little music and warm water can do for your headspace.
I learned this lesson from Melanie G. while going through training and I am reminded of it every damn day.
"The high highs and the low lows are all a part of where you are supposed to be and who you want to be. It is about FEELING EVERYTHING (a tattoo that I have). Not shutting out that emotion but allowing yourself to dig deep into it, to feel it all out, and then allow yourself to grow from that."
To stay weird. Normal is boring. Normal is predictable. Life is too short to be normal, whatever that even means. Let your freak flag fly, whenever your heart desires.
Also, "This too shall pass." From the good to the bad. It is not permanent. It is a good reminder to not get too stuck in a feeling or on a person or circumstance.
THE BEAT OF YOUR HEART
I live for the singer songwriters. Something so beautiful and vulnerable in just a voice and an instrument. Mirah is one of my favorites. I also love just putting on my Spotify and seeing what comes up. Depending on day- it can be anything from Classical to Taking Back Sunday. That being said, my class is pretty similar. I love old school sounds, love mashups, and love making people feel something with a song.
Photograph by Max Reed
I want people to leave with a new sense of awareness in their bodies, in their breath, and also an understanding that they CAN. That the only thing standing in their way of whatever is on the other side is themselves with a set of circumstances. Challenging circumstances sometimes, yes, but never anything that is too big. By being ok with where you are in that moment only opens up the gateway to what is on the other side of that boundary you thought you had.
ONE WORD. WHEN YOU MOVE YOU FEEL?
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM
I could literally go on and on about these girls! Instead of doing that- I will just type their names in big bold letters and tell you to go take their SoulCycle classes.
JACLYN MITGANG (CHICAGO)
SUNNY MAE MILLER (BETHESDA/DC)
RACHEL LOEBS (MIAMI)
Also, my mentor Magda is just the strongest damn woman I have ever met in my life. Always lifting herself up while at the same time, lifting everyone around her even higher.
ORIGIN OF #GLITTERBOOTYNATION
The #glitterbootynation came out of my need for community in Miami. I wanted a place where my riders could feel ok to be silly. For them to feel included and encouraged to be themselves. If we all had a place like that, this inner “sparkle” that we all tend to try to stifle, it is actually so much easier to access and use. Anyone can be a part of the #glitterbootynation. You just have to come ride once. BE willing to give yourself and BE yourself. And I promise your tushy will be sore when you leave that studio.
ON FUELING THE FIRE
If you ask anyone that knows me, they know I am an eater. I just love food. It is there for you all the time. Through breakups, through high pressure situations, and celebrations. There is food for every occasion and I fucking LOVE IT. However, I also really like having abs. Portion control and what you are putting into your body is so important. During the week while I am working, I tend to eat about 4-5 times a day. Small portions about 300-500 calories for each serving and allowing myself to go a little bigger with my final meal if I have had a full day (i.e. 3 or more classes). That said, I do love to indulge. I am addicted to sugar. Dessert first is something I do on the regular if I am going out. Sushi is a regular for me too. I probably cook about 3-4 times a week because It is just the easiest way to know exactly what is going into your body and it becomes therapeutic to me.
MERMAID OFF DUTY
Perfect day includes a leisurely coffee, dog park with my pups, and surrounded by sunshine and salt water...
a little tequila in the picture makes it perfection and some easy poetry for the moments in between cat naps.
Man. What a SOUL.
Be sure to catch her class in Miami or whenever she magically appears in NYC! I know I will be.