When we at Poletry in Motion think about the artistry of pole, words like grace, strength, power, beauty and sensuality all come to mind. When debuting our first Pole Model, it was only right we feature Ayriel Talbert (@aerialayriel) who, we believe, encompasses all of those attributes-- and then some! In this interview, not only does she teach us the importance of vulnerability on and off the pole, she reminds us that even “bad bitches are people too.”
Tell us how your pole journey began.
I had a really horrible breakup and my heart was broken. I had been super sad for probably two months. I wasn’t really doing anything besides school. I was like ‘Ayriel you need to get up and do something!' I’ve always been into physical stuff and wanted to do gymnastics. In China they’ve been doing it (pole) for sport for a very long time. That’s when I realized, ‘oh it doesn’t have to be just about sex.’ When I started pole, the goal was never to be sexy. Even now I consider it more of a sport. I feel so much better as a person. The first class was a struggle but I still felt good at the end. And it was nice to be around a community of women that were encouraging. You know when you walk into a room full of women and they just stare at you like, ‘Mmmm’? That catty nature, I hate. This class wasn’t like that at all. I felt very uplifted. Especially to walk in and be uplifted by other black women was a nice feeling and is what kept me coming back.
How did your friends/family react?
I feel like everyone was super supportive between my family and friends. Except my dad. He didn’t find out I was (poling) until three months ago. My family was at a funeral and they were all gathered around my cousin’s phone and she was like ‘I wanna take one of Ayriel’s classes.’ And my dad was like ‘what are you talking about?’ So she showed him one of my videos. Later my dad told me ‘Just don’t forget who you are.’ Basically, he was like don’t be a stripper (laughs).
How do you balance being a teacher and student of pole?
I just remember to, even when I’m teaching, be mindful that I’m not above anyone even in skillset. I try to keep the same energy when I’m a student as when I’m a teacher and not having a switch. The stereotype is that you’re a bad bitch if you pole and I mean, in a sense yes but I’m a regular person too with regular interests. I think people just forget bad bitches are people too.
How did you get to your current level of skill set?
Details. All the details matter. Having an attitude of not that you’re not good enough but that you can be better. You always have to have in the back of your head, the day you don’t train, somebody else is.
Who inspires you?
@Supa_cent. She’s like the woman I want to be: She has a son and does amazing co-parenting. She’s very driven, she has her own makeup company. She employs her friends and family. She’s always feeding the homeless. She’s a very honest person and you can tell it’s not just for social media. She’s very authentic.
What about pole inspirations?
Definitely @isis_diamond. I mean I don’t even understand some of the stuff she does. I’m like, ‘how did you get your body to move like that?’
You were featured on Plies’ instagram page. What were your thoughts on the feature and reactions?
It was an interesting experience to say the least. When he posted the video, well, even when I posted it, I just thought ‘oh my leg is crooked in that part’ I felt like the video was displaying all my bad moves on this huge (platform). I went through and read the comments. I feel like most of them were positive and then some of them were not. I feel like the ones that hurt my heart the most were the ones that said ‘but have you seen @isis_diamond?’ Or ‘she’s good but have you seen @isis_diamond?’ And I’m like that’s very true, @isis_diamond is amazing. I can’t even be mad. Overall, I can’t get too involved in social media. I just feel like I’m too much of a sensitive person.
How does pole impact or influence your dating life?
I feel like it complicates things. I try to be upfront about it if I know it’s going to be something serious. I have to be very conscious when I’m meeting people and telling them that I pole because I know how it can be perceived and then I feel it can change the way people act. I was talking to this guy once. We met in person, and in conversation we exchanged social media. At first (the conversation) was chill but then he went to my page and the conversations went to a real heavy sexual tone and aggressive. I think it’s very weird that people expect you to “put out” because you pole.
What do you wish the world knew about pole dancing and pole dancers?
I think it’s important to recognize who you are and to accept that. I've wanted to pole since I was in middle school. I spent a lot of my life rejecting this part of myself because it didn’t seem appropriate for someone who was only 12-years-old to show that side of themselves. It was a conflicting feeling to feel like what I wanted to do was a “bad thing.” I thought ‘so if I wanna wear shorts I’m (considered) a hoe. All girls that wear shorts are hoes, but I wanna wear shorts and I’m not a hoe, so how do I make that happen? I was molested when I was younger. I feel like that experience intensified the feeling of needing to cover up and hide. It was a constant battle of me just beating myself up over it. Pole really helped me out of that and with the healing process. I tell everyone ‘you should pole’ because it’s very therapeutic. I can move my body like this and feel good and I don’t have to be doing it for somebody else.
What was it like shooting the video for poletryinmotion.com?
It was super fun! I’m not an in-front-of-the-camera person. I’m usually really awkward and don’t know what to do. It felt like I had my own glam squad. I enjoyed the experience. It made me more open to the idea of photo shoots and being in front of the camera.
Complete the following: "I Pole because __________ "
I can fly. Not even flying in the physical sense, but I feel very free. It’s a very calming and peaceful feeling that brings me joy.