The A.A Report | Meet The Faces of ACTIVATE. ELEVATE. MOTIVATE.
Get to know AJE ATHLETICA Ambassadors Crystal Russell, Natalia Binks and Amy Pejkovic.
A-game: On. Style: Upgraded. Intention: Set.
2023? Yours for the taking.
Forget resolutions, it’s time for evolution — and no know this better than the faces of our ACTIVATE. ELEVATE. MOTIVATE. Campaign: Crystal Russell, Natalia Binks and Amy Pejkovic.
Below, meet the AJE ATHLETICA Ambassadors and find out how they're levelling up their goals, game and style in the new year.
ACTIVATE WITH CRYSTAL RUSSELL.
Dancer. Model. Creator. Crystal Russell knows what they want — and aren't afraid to go after it. After commencing intense dance training at the age of 10, an injury at 16 forced them to hit pause, inspiring the now 20-year-old AJE ATHLETICA Ambassador to re-activate her creative side in poetry, fashion, film and photography.
You began serious dance training at just 10 years old before kicking off a professional career at 18. After all that you’ve achieved and been through, what advice would you give to your 10-year-old self?
I think I’d just say that everything is going to be okay. I always followed my heart as a kid, and that’s why I can’t really say much else.
Also, I do believe everything happened for a reason, like me starting at a later age than the other dancers, my injury at 16, leaving my local studio training and finding a whole new world in the city.
Everything I went through made me a better dancer, and I truly feel I’m at the beginning of learning so much more.
What’s one thing you are leaving behind in 2022, and what are you working towards in 2023?
I’m leaving behind ‘settling for the bare minimum or even less’ in 2022. I’m working towards having better boundaries in 2023. And also expanding my creative ability in areas such as singing, acting and film.
Crystal wears the Thread Through Sports Bra 361, Batwing crew Neck 426 and Belted Windbreaker Pant 502
Getting from ‘goal’ to ‘go’ is often the hardest part. What are your top three tips for putting vision into action?
Firstly, create a plan and be honest with yourself: do you have the space, time and energy for this goal? If not, it might mean sacrificing something else.
And lastly, create a deadline or time frame. Parameters are important if you procrastinate and overthink, as I do.
Occasionally, starting is the hardest part, so the sooner that happens, the sooner everything can fall into place.
Which are your favourite AJE ATHLETICA looks to dance in, and what do you like about these styles?
I love the Drawstring Pant 512 with the Layered Crop Set 356, and the Braided Racer Tank 345 with the Embossed Boyfriend Tee 102 over the top.
I like that the pants and tee are baggy to complement and allow room for movement. The tank and crop set are super stylish are really nice designs.
Overall, everything looks really good while also being comfortable, which is the perfect combination for a dancing outfit.
Crystal wears the Longline Logo Spray Jacket 716, Mesh Back Sports Bra 363 and High Rise Bike Shorts 607 (coming soon)
Lastly, what is your favourite way to style a studio-to-street look?
Probably to add accessories. My strap bag, headphones and a vintage jacket.
SHOP CRYSTAL'S LOOK
ELEVATE WITH NATALIA BINKS.
Rising model. Content creator. Goal-getter — Natalia Binks is one to watch. Marking her first-ever campaign with AJE ATHLETICA after debuting on the Australian Fashion Week runways in 2022, the A.A Ambassador is taking all her followers along for the ride on TikTok, documenting her rise as one of the country’s top up-and-coming models.
What inspired you to document your journey as a model on TikTok?
I really wanted to be someone that younger girls and aspiring models can look up to as a role model. For me, personally, I’ve always looked up to different models from a young age and wondered what a ‘day in the life’ or behind-the-scenes of a photoshoot is like for them, so that’s what I wanted my TikTok page to be about.
What are your goals for 2023, and how are you working towards them?
A big goal of mine is to gain more overall strength, especially in my core, feel stronger and learn more about fitness.
This is something I am really inspired to achieve because not only is it physically rewarding but also mentally.
Working out always improves my mood and is my go-to on a bad day to make me feel better, and also something I am passionate about. I am working towards this by being really consistent and clear with each goal.
Natalia wears the Bonded Blazer 713, Ribbed Sports Bra 376, High Waist Split Hem Leggings 205 and Logo Quilted Belt Bag 930 (Latte Beige styles coming soon).
When it comes to your work, how do you find the drive to keep elevating your game, especially on off days?
Finding the drive and motivation can be hard sometimes, but having a clear mind can really help. Especially in this world of social media, which can be very draining.
I do a lot of journaling to motivate myself, I start each week by writing my goals and things I want to focus on.
For me, elevating my game begins by removing negativity and distractions weighing me down, off days and feeling lazy are big ones!
Which are your favourite AJE ATHLETICA looks to work out in, and what do you like about these styles?
My absolute favourite AJE ATHLETICA workout outfits are ones that are comfortable and stylish. I am really inspired by off-duty model looks, so many different pairings of simple bike shorts, crop tops and jackets give this look so effortlessly.
I Iove a runner zip-up jacket, how it is perfect to keep you warm on a cold day and also easy to take off if you get too hot, not to mention how flattering the fit is.
I also really like how so many AJE ATHLETICA styles include different patterns and bold colours too which are such a fun addition to lift a workout outfit and a definite summer staple.
Natalia wears the Bonded Blazer 713, Ribbed Sports Bra 376, High Waist Split Hem Leggings 205 and Logo Quilted Belt Bag 930 (Latte Beige styles coming soon)
What is your favourite way to lift a laid-back outfit?
I love accessorising by adding a simple bag to my outfit, it’s super easy and is always a go-to for me. Whether it’s an over-the-shoulder bag, bumbag or even a clutch. Having a few staple bags are my favourite wardrobe essential to spice up any outfit!
SHOP NATALIA'S LOOK
MOTIVATE WITH AMY PEJKOVIC.
High jumper. Model. Presenter — Amy Pejkovic is ‘motivation’ in human form. Twice representing Australia at the world championships before a brain tumour diagnosis at 19 saw her step away from the sport, the AJE ATHLETICA Ambassador learnt never to take life for granted — and give it everything she’s got.
Staying motivated to achieve any goal is half the work. How do you find motivation, and more importantly, keep it going?
Motivation can be a tricky thing. Over the years of competing as an athlete, working as a model, and studying at university, staying motivated is not as easy as saying “I want to achieve this, so, therefore, I’ll do it”.
It’s finding the ‘why’ during the hard days and remembering the reason you set your desired goal, and not being hard on yourself during the days when you need to stop and reset.
I find visualising what I want during a deep meditation super helpful, journaling out my thoughts, feelings, and goals—what I’m enjoying, and what I need to work on in my career, but also as a person.
Planning out my days in a physical planner (not my phone) helps me stay accountable and helps me stay consistent in what I am trying to achieve. My favourite way to keep my motivation going is self-talk, what you tell your mind is what you will do and what will begin to manifest in your life.
What are your goals for 2023, and how are you working towards them?
My current goals for 2023 are a little different. I have a few big goals, but also some smaller goals. A few of my bigger goals are: competing again in high jump or triple jump at the end of the year, working towards my goal of becoming a sports presenter, possibly starting a podcast, and collaborating with more brands that I absolutely love!
Then a few smaller goals are: waking up at a consistent time each morning and finding a morning routine that works for me, working on my self-confidence and exploring who I am as a person and what aligns with me, answering phone calls and emails within a few hours of receiving them—I tend to get distracted and forget about them—nourishing all my relationships with my friends, family, partner, and professional relationships. And making sure I am doing something every day to grow as a person.
I think to work towards your goals, you should work on bettering yourself, and expanding your mind and everything will fall into place. Working towards your goals isn’t just getting up and doing it, it’s your mental state, being vulnerable and honest with yourself.
Looking back 10 years on, how did being diagnosed with a brain tumour at 19 change your approach to motivation and life?
When I was first diagnosed, I had that much motivation to get through my surgery and come out the other end thriving and ready to tackle anything, it honestly amazed me. I wanted nothing more than to get back into what I loved doing which was the high jump and modelling and that's exactly what I did.
After my surgery, I was back jumping within three months. I was competing and hitting huge personal bests, I was booking jobs I never thought I would book, And I was loving where I was in life. Then in 2014, I was aiming for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and even though I was ranked second in the country for the high jump, I wasn't selected for the games. That is when my world came crashing down on me.
To go from being in hospital undergoing brain surgery, being in a walking frame and struggling to do daily tasks with a tremor in my right hand, two jumping Commonwealth Games qualifiers and still not being selected was utterly heartbreaking. It was like not being selected was a reflection of my recovery and that I had failed.
I went into quite a deep depression, the extent of my surgery finally hit me, and I had to process what I went through and what had happened, and not understanding why I survived and so many others aren't as lucky as I was, I almost felt guilty. This honestly went on for several years.
My physical recovery was a lot easier than my mental recovery. I had to find my motivation again to just do daily tasks, I really had to dig deep and find that zest for life that I once had. For me, finding that motivation again was surrounding myself with amazing people, doing small things for myself, finding a routine that I loved, and doing physical exercise and training. Another important thing I found that a lot of people miss is time. Sometimes motivation isn't instantaneous, it's something you must work at and allow for it to come and go in ebbs and flows.
Which are your favourite AJE ATHLETICA looks to train, and what do you like about these styles?
I have always been a minimalist girl, however since I’ve been wearing AJE ATHLETICA I’ve certainly been exploring my personal style in what I wear during my workouts!
I am currently loving the Winding Road High Neck Bra 364 in plum as it’s still minimalistic and very comfortable with a sexy fun twist back detail! I would pair this with the Panelled Bike Shorts 615 as I love a good pair of bike shorts and this pair is super flattering on the waist, a great length that doesn’t ride up and moves with you while you work out.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone struggling with motivation right now?
Be kind to yourself. Write down what you want to achieve, then break it down into smaller goals, then if you need to break it down again. This way it can be less daunting and overwhelming.
Journal all your positive experiences, things that make you happy and what you're grateful for. The brain is wired to hold onto negative thoughts more than positive ones, therefore, making our positive experiences more powerful and more memorable can help rewire our brain and create more space for allowing motivation. And fall in love with the small things, learn to enjoy the struggles as well as the wins.