Anyone who knows me will tell you that I spend a lot of time in dark rooms listening to really loud music, riding bikes that don’t take me anywhere. If you think I’m crazy, you’ve probably never taken a class at SoulCycle (and if that’s you, here is a little something to bring you out from that rock you must be living under). It’s a great workout, but TBH, what keeps me coming back, especially to those early weekend classes when I might otherwise be sleeping, is the people. All of them: the staff, the other riders, and of course, the instructors.
Riders gravitate toward specific instructors based on criteria like their music choices, coaching style, personality in and outside of class, and/or their look. Personally, I think that all of the DC instructors have something to offer, so I try to switch it up as much as my – or their – schedules will allow. That said, I have a soft spot for the five original instructors – Natalia, Abby, Garrett, Kathleen, and Megan – who opened the first studio in the West End (aka “WEND”) of Washington DC back in August of 2014. The success of that studio and the growth of the local SoulCycle community (or in company parlance, the family, or “soulfam”) in general owes a great deal to their energy, dedication, and skills.
I thought that it would be fun for riders to get a better glimpse of their personalities (and maybe some confessions) off the bike, so I asked them to fill out the Proust Questionnaire. Here is a mix of their answers. Enjoy!
What is your idea of perfect happiness? MEGAN: Being stress-free on a sunny day near the beach with family.
What is your greatest fear? ABBY: Being alone.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? NATALIA: Procrastination.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? GARRETT: Self pity. Ain’t nobody got time for somebody who sits around and feels sorry for themselves. Dust yourself off, get up, and realize how incredibly lucky and blessed you really are.
Which living person do you most admire? GARRETT: My father. He is my role model and best friend. So much so that I got his birthday tattooed on my arm. I’ll always strive to be even half the man he is today.
What is your greatest extravagance? ABBY: My handbag collection.
What is your current state of mind? KATHLEEN: Happy.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? NATALIA: No virtue is overrated.
On what occasion do you lie? KATHLEEN: To make others feel comfortable.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? ABBY: My height, but being 5’1’’ allows for some fabulous heels.
Which living person do you most despise? NATALIA: Not enough time in life to despise anyone.
What is the quality you most like in a man? MEGAN: Intelligent sense of humor.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? ABBY: Being funny – I love anyone who can make me laugh.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? KATHLEEN: “We can create whatever we want”, “Everything happens for a reason”, and “Live life with as much passion as possible.”
What or who is the greatest love of your life? MEGAN: Still searching for that one.
When and where were you happiest? ABBY: The fall of 2014, when we opened up our first SoulCycle studio in Washington, DC. It was the hardest I’ve ever worked and the happiest I’ve ever been.
Which talent would you most like to have? GARRETT: I’ve always ALWAYS dreamt (literally) of being a really incredible singer.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? GARRETT: Probably my chicken legs. I mean, I guess I could change this pretty easily, but I’ve been skipping leg day for years now and I don’t intend on adding it to my workout anytime soon.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? MEGAN: Moving across the country not knowing a single person and making a life for myself — twice.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? ABBY: That’s easy – Taylor Swift.
Where would you most like to live? KATHLEEN: Europe, on a vineyard, with horses.
What is your most treasured possession? MEGAN: A book my aunt gave me during a difficult time.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? ABBY: A day that doesn’t involve some type of chocolate.
What is your favorite occupation? NATALIA: Kindergarten teacher.
What is your most marked characteristic? ABBY: Resting bitch face. Oops!
What do you most value in your friends? GARRETT: Humor. I want to be surrounded by people who make me laugh and simply bring joy to my life.
Who are your favorite writers? NATALIA: Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Who is your hero of fiction? ABBY: If I say “Amazing Amy” from Gone Girl, will you judge me?
Which historical figure do you most identify with? MEGAN: Jane Addams
Who are your heroes in real life? NATALIA: My mom and my sister. #GirlPower
What are your favorite names? ABBY: Grace. I named my puppy after Debra Messing’s character on Will and Grace, my favorite TV show.
What is it that you most dislike? MEGAN: When people rush me.
What is your greatest regret? NATALIA: Not getting older sooner…you get to enjoy life much more when you’re older! At least I do.
How would you like to die? GARRETT: Suffocated by a million puppies.
What is your motto? MEGAN: Expect less, give more.