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Conversations with the Inspiring Gia Zhao

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gia Zhao.

Gia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started my fitness journey since I was in college. Back then, I thought my whole life was in a mess. I just broke up with my best friend, and I couldn’t achieve satisfactory academic scores. I felt that I was a loser all the time and I was not interested in any social activities. However, I knew that I need to stop being self-doubt and make life-changing to myself. Deep in my heart, I do want to have a successful life, which in my definition is to be healthy, energetic and passionate to the thing I love. I thought sports might be an excellent way to lift me, so I started to run. It was not easy actually because I was inactive at that time. I would feel breathless even run a simple 800 meters running. I still remembered how to struggle I felt when doing these running. I would train at least five days a week as a beginner. I know it was hard, but I wanted to be consistent and trained my mind since I never really determined to one thing for a long time. Soon, I reached my goal, made feel so encouraged and be proud of myself. That strong satisfaction led to a new world, to be a passionate fitness girl.

I started to become a gymnastic, and I would try six days a week. I usually trained a lot, and I’ll combine strength and cardio for my weekly workout. I train six days a weeks and take one day for steady cardio or yoga stretch. Gym fullfills me all the time and stirs up my passion for sports. I’ve tried to do boxing like Thai Boxing and MMA and free diving. I want to see a braver myself, a girl smiles and workout actively in every beautiful day.

I believe it is fitness saved my life, and it makes me become stronger and never give up easily. I take the spirt to my career, and I want to do the best as I can, a good design as well. I want to achieve high academic performance. Whenever I feel bad or stressful, I’ll go to the gym which helps me a lot to reduce the negative emotion a lot. I have to admit that I’m an emotional and sensitive girl, who can be strongly affected by the environment. So I need reliable power to support my heart and stabilize my mood. Also, that power comes from the training which makes me find my confidence.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There are numerous obstacles during my journey, and I did remember how bad and uncomfortable I felt when I got fat and saw the body in the mirror. I know people always try to find ways to make work-life balance — workout in the 7 a.m. every day not that easy as it sounds like. Also, qualified 8 hours sleep daily wouldn’t always be promised for me, as an architecture student. The major still requires many works and there are a great number of people would stay up days during final presentation weeks. I sometimes overtrained myself and even made my body, my mind goes insane. Because I love what I’m doing all the time, my design work and my determination to the gym. However, both of them take me so much energy to reach the level I expected.

I always want people to look at me and look at my work saying: “wow, she’s amazing!” .However, that words weight so heavy that I know I need to push myself to the edge to break through. I remembered every cold morning I wore my Nike shoes and took my sports bottle and ran in the windy, cold days in Liverpool, and also days in Tokyo, in Kyoto, in Shanghai, in Suzhou… they’re promises I made to myself. There is a voice echoing in my head and saying: “Stay strong, you can do better than you thought!” These obstacles stayed strong in my mind and trained me to become as powerful as I could be. I enjoy challenges, enjoy to overcome the things you thought to be insurmountable.

Trust me, and you’ll thank the one not give up at the last minutes and the hardest time. Life never as good as it shows in people’s Instagram. I’m suffering from the pain in my life, my knee and back pain a lot since last year, and I couldn’t run and trained intensely as I used to be. Also, I had to give up many workouts because the amount of my work suddenly doubled and harder to finish. I became much less active and felt stressful. It made me depressed a lot for the whole year, and I’m still learning to overcome.

After a long time, I finally learned to take time to deal with the difficulties, be patient about the transformation, be confident to yourself. Stay a sharp mind can help you recover and be invincible.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into MoonLand story. Tell us more about it.
Except being a gymholic, to be an inspiring girl for my friends. I’m an architecture student currently in the March II graduate program in the Southern California Institute of architecture. I love design as much as the workout. For me, architecture is such a comprehensive major which require not only a creative mind but also pragmatic attitude. It requires consistency, process, and determination all the time. I started to learned things related to art like piano, painting, and dance when I was a little girl. I determined my career toward art direction. My design work generally uses highly saturated colour, as an expression of my passion. Vibrant, vivid colour represents diversity to me. I always play with different materials for architecture design. Light, Texture, atmosphere means everything in my design language. Meanwhile, I’m obsessed with elegant but expressive curve morphology. I try to use different design logic, solid and void, opaque and transparent, static and immersive experience to create unexpected moment throughout my works.

I found there is an unspoken mysterious relationship between my work and my life. I feel stressed when I’m out of inspiration. That is the time workout enlighten my passion and creativity. Sometimes, I don’t know architecture support me not being a lazy person, or a strong spirit encourages me to be patient and concentrate on my work. These two things complement each other, helping me become a better version of myself.

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
I think childhood makes a significant impact on my life later on. Both of my parents are geologists. They took my brother travelling place to place and me. I would say I kept live a kind of “nomad life” during my childhood years. My father is a sporty person. He used to take my brother hiking a lot, which always made me energetic and exciting and me. He would tell me fancy stories about natural phenomena when travelling. I believed my father grow a wonderland in my mind. He gave me brave and set me free to chase my dream, my “Moonland”. I used to love workout outside; not only nature has the power to cure my tiredness in life, but also these beautiful sceneries give me inspirations.

In my free time, I would take my sketchbook to the mountains or forests, even the beach. I listened to music I loved and experienced the places, the people passing by. I would do quick sketches when the feeling comes, a sense of being inspired. Family influences are essential to my character. I couldn’t become the one I am without support from my family. They are always supportive of what I’m doing, and I know they are proud of me. I mean nothing would be more potent to me. I keep my twin brother’s word in heart: “ Gia, to be the confident woman you want to be. I’m always back you up!”

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Yifan Wang

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