Laila Hisham is a pole dancer, an internationally certified aerial arts and flexibility instructor, 2018’s Pole Theatre Competition Art Category winner, and a doctor to be. She’s been pole dancing for 4 years and instructing for 2, and is now doing her final year of medicine at Kasr El Ainy, Cairo University, absolutely crushing it with her good grades. During quarantine, she has been studying, training at home, and teaching online classes part-time. In this interview, Laila shares her secrets.
How did your story with pole start?
I’ve tried so many sports and I’d always get bored and move on to the next, up until I took my first pole class; I was hooked right then and there. I don’t know how to explain it, but it makes my heart happy. It was my mom who introduced me to pole dancing; she wanted to try it and took me with her as a fun thing to do together. I do have the coolest mom.
It can’t be easy finding that balance with so much going on, how do you do it?
I train 4-5 and teach 4 hours a week. Sometimes pole takes the upper hand, and sometimes, when I have exams, studying takes over. It’s definitely hectic, and my schedule is always crammed, but I try to balance my time as much as I can. I have a schedule that I follow that helps me be as productive as I can be. Keeping a planner also helps a lot; I find that the days when I don’t write anything in my planner are the days when I’m least productive. I try to give myself breaks sometimes in the middle of the week when I don’t have 7 a.m. classes, and I try to keep the weekends for somewhat of a social life.
What was it like winning the Art category at Pole Theatre Egypt 2018?
Pole Theatre is the first pole competition to be done in Egypt and it has 4 categories: Art, Drama, Comedy, and Classique. I participated in Pole Theatre Egypt 2018 where I competed with national & international competitors, and my concept was a ballerina who became a pole dancer and so is more liberated. I used to do ballet as a child, but I was a bit of a troublemaker so I never actually made it as a ballerina. Training in Pointe shoes was the hardest part for me. It was my first competition and I certainly wasn’t my best, but I won so I must’ve done something right.
What has pole taught you?
Pole has taught me a lot. It has taught me patience, consistency, confidence, self-expression, how to listen to my body, when to give myself a break, and how to be stronger both mentally and physically. I’ve been instructing for 2 years and have grown so much along the way. What I love about instructing is the ability to influence people and the pride and joy I share with my students when they master hard moves they deemed otherwise impossible.
I also want to add that without both my parents, none of this would’ve been possible. They’ve both been beyond supportive of everything I do; my dad got me the pole I have in my room now and my mom helps me pick cool pictures for my Instagram. I’m unbelievably fortunate and will forever be grateful for both my parents.