Dina Asher-Smith Answers Your Questions
This year for International Women’s Day we’re on a mission to empower women to love the skin they are in. And who better to help us with that, than Dina Asher-Smith.
Our ambassador Dina is part of an incredible line up of inspirational women in sport. She’s passionate about empowering women to be unapologetically them. And reminds us all that women shouldn’t feel like they have to change in any way in order to be accepted, powerful and inspiring.
We gave you the opportunity to ask Dina anything, all for International Women’s Day. And here are some of our favourites:
You’re part of an incredible line-up of women in athletics and sport, inspiring women across the world. How do you feel about being part of that? And why do you think that’s important?
Firstly, that’s a really nice statement, so whoever wrote that, thank you very much. Erm, I don’t always see myself like that but thank you very much. It feels cool to be presented as part of that and presented as part of that sentence. I think it’s important because I always think, particularly when… sport is obviously entertainment. Like, it’s a lifestyle for me, but for everybody else who is consuming it it’s entertainment. It’s important that as athletes we’re able to be our most complete self in the public eye, as women. Because it shows that yes women are brave, strong, athletic, courageous. Things that we all do, and all know anyway, but sometimes just have to display. And we can be our best selves, and not redact any of ourselves, not make ourselves smaller, not change ourselves in any way to be accepted, powerful and inspiring. So, it is really important. But thank you very much for thinking I’m part of that line up.
Do you ever find time to relax? And what do you like to do?
Yes, definitely, I have to find time to relax. I just like to chill with my friends, watch Netflix. Just normal things!
How do you feel when you see your friends in the crowd?
Oh, I love it so much! I absolutely love seeing my friends in the crowd. I remember I was at London 2017. I remember it was the World Champs and there was the relay heat and I was on leg three, so my exchange was at the beginning of where the 200m would start. And I remember the first leg of the relay was the morning after I finished the 200m final - so I was so tired. I was doing my run outs just before the race, and I heard a really familiar scream, and I was like that was really weird and then I turned round, and literally in the front row on my exchange were some of my best friends from school and I was like “OMG”. I didn’t even know they were coming; I didn’t know they had got tickets for there. And that completely lifted me. I was so happy! I went over and I was like “oh my god what are you doing here”, and then I remembered that I had to focus. But it’s small things like that make performing, especially when you’re at home and stuff like that, really amazing. It’s one of my favourite memories of running.
What’s your approach to tackling your fears?
I always think that things are always bigger than whatever is in front of your face or in front of you at the moment. Or something that might make you nervous or might give you an adrenaline spike. So just feel the fear and do it anyway. *Dina smiles and giggles*
Do you have a female role model?
Good question. I think I have loads of female role models. I have loads of people that I think are really cool. Obviously, like Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Serena Williams are pretty cool. Erm, I actually really like Malorie Blackman because I remember I read her book Noughts and Crosses when I was younger, and it really changed my whole perspective on life and everything. I remember reading it when I was like 8 and I remember being really confused, and I started it again and again and I didn’t really understand it. But I think her brain is really inspirational, and her work ethic too. So, her. But there is so many, so many. Too many to mention!
How do you prep for a big race? and do you have any competition day rituals?
Erm I don’t really have anything specific. Mainly because I try and make sure that I don’t have anything that if I didn’t do it, it would throw me off. So, I don’t do anything specific. But it’s definitely for me listening to some good music, putting on a full face of make-up, and enjoying it. Just being chilled really.
Where does your confidence come from?
Erm, I think mainly it comes from experience if I’m being honest. And that’s probably if I’m talking to younger athletes, that’s something I will always emphasise. Because I remember there was a time, particularly when you’re about 15, 16, 17, in sport where you’re just like “what an earth is going on, what am I doing?”. But I would say to relax and learn from the experiences that you go through and grow [from it]. But yeah, that’s where my confidence comes from. Experience is a great teacher and sometimes going through things and achieving despite the fact the odds might be stacked against you. Or despite the fact that everybody might have turned around and been like “you really can’t do that under these conditions”. When you go and do that. It reaffirms to yourself, “oh I just need to have courage in my own conviction and really just focus on myself and go and get the job done”.
Growing up, what motivated you to stick at athletics?
Really it was because I loved it. I loved sprinting; I loved the adrenaline rush. I loved the feeling of when the gun goes, you just have to run as fast as you can. And you don’t pace it, you don’t have to moderate yourself or anything. I really loved that.
What challenges did you face getting to where you are now?
There has been loads of challenges, whether that’s injury, whether that’s managing the transition from being a junior athlete to a senior athlete. [You have] added responsibilities, added pressures, different expectations out of your performance, different training-loads and just [the challenge of] adjusting to life. So yeah there are a few challenges.
What sport brings you most joy to watch?
Track and Field, obviously! I absolutely love Track and Field. Like, it’s actually one of my favourite things to sit down and watch a World Champs or a Diamond League. Predict the times people are going to run, and watch how people run. Watch their styles. Watch when they come onto the track, see if they look scared or not. Predict how the race is going to go. So yeah, definitely Track and Field. I love it so much.
If you’d like to find out more about Dina, click here to find out what motivated her to dedicate her life to becoming Britain’s fastest woman.
The response to our #ShareTheConfidence campaign has been incredibly inspiring, and we just want to finish by saying thank you to every single one of you who has got involved. By sharing the little things that make you feel like a champion, we really hope that women everywhere will be empowered to feel more confident, and most importantly, enough.
But please remember, International Women’s Day is just the start. Women deserve support and encouragement all year round. Whether it’s working out in your favourite gym clothes, to getting a good night’s sleep – keep sharing what makes you feel confident on social media using the hashtag #ShareTheConfidence.