FKA TWIGS on Sport and Expression
As the Creative Director of Nike Women’s Spring Zonal Strength Tights campaign, FKA twigs has conceptualized, directed, performed and sound tracked a collection of work that sheds light on the power of modern movement and defines sport as an important channel of expression. Here, she discusses modern movement and the campaign line, “do you believe in more?”
It’s the same with any creative or athletic endeavor. It's not about the moment you jump off the diving board. It’s not about any one beat you’ve produced. It's about the moments before that – preparation is the training, and opportunity is the moment you reach your fastest time or show how good your beat is.
Since as early as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with training and taking classes. When I was three years old, I started taking dance classes at a local youth center, and by the time I turned seven, I was training in six different dance styles. Then I started acting. By the time I was eight or nine, I was singing.
When other people wanted to go on holiday or hang out with their friends in the park, l just wanted to take every class that was available.
When Nike reached out to me about collaborating together on this project, I saw it as an opportunity to inspire people who want to use their bodies in a positive way. I cast a group of amazing people who take their physicality seriously and have their own sense of style, in order to push people to be healthy and understand that, through any genre of sport, they can be the best versions of themselves.
You have to be incredibly in tune with yourself and focused to be able to compete or create — vulnerability and strength have a lot to do with this. As an athlete in your final moments of competition, everything you’ve done, everything your parents have sacrificed and everyone who has supported you are there in that one second. You have to accept your destiny and have both the physical power and willpower to do what you need to do.
It’s the same with being creative. You can work so hard on a creative project for over a year — you were in the studio until 4 a.m., maybe you had to get your friends to help you. Then there’s the moment before you let it go out into the world. And once you release it, that's it.
People don't always see dancers as athletes, but we are. Through dance, I’ve met young people who work really hard and have dedicated their lives to being active. To me they represent “modern movement,” which I define as exploring any genre of sport without boundaries. As a dancer, I try to embrace my fragility and accept that where I’m at is good enough. Dancers are taught to always look in the mirror, from an early age, to make sure we have perfect alignment. There comes a point when you just have to let go and trust that you're going to get where you need to be. Overall, dance makes you realize that there’s beauty in the imperfections. I think that's what can make it most intriguing for people to watch.
For me the dream is that you don't even realize you're working out. You're just doing you, and then the results come, and you value them as they're happening. We, as young people, like those in the film, can make movement something that goes beyond fitness. When I'm dancing, I'm not thinking about working on my abs or my legs. But if I train hard, I feel so confident in my body. Just through training, enjoying music, being with my friends, and exploring my body, all of a sudden I feel stronger.
“do you believe in more?” refers to a girl who grew up looking different from everybody else around me, who wanted to do things no one else wanted to do in a small town, who didn't grow up with lots of money, but just had so much determination and hope inside herself. I wanted to do more with my life. I wanted to do everything.
“do you believe in more?” is a question that anyone can ask themselves. Do you believe that, in six months' time, you'll be able to run faster, or jump higher? Do you believe that you'll be able to stay on the cross-trainer longer? Do you believe that you can reach your best physical shape? Do you believe that you can use your confidence to get that promotion at work or finish that creative project? It applies to whatever it is that you want to be or do.