I am excited to welcome the lovely and amazing Penny Higgs to the TWH Sisterhood today! You may recognize Penny from the popular Australian TV show So You Think You Can Dance, or most recently Big Brother, however I wanted to put Penny in the spotlight as she is SO much more than a reality TV star.
Penny is an amazingly talented lady who is passionate about travel, health, fitness and empowering young women. She owns her own dance school and believes that If you want something bad enough, you have to do it for yourself. Amen Sister!
You are an incredibly talented lady! Tell us a bit more about the dance school that you own?
I run my own Dance School called Dance Generation Performing Arts School, it is located in the suburbs out of Melbourne. The studio is my second home and wouldn’t have it any other way! I wanted to create a dance training facility with industry standard training and bring it out to the burbs. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but so very worth it. I made a career out of something I love, so work never feels like work. Small businesses can be hard at times, but if you have passion and heart, you should never give up.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration?
I am forever inspired by the women I meet on a day to day basis, not the celebrities, but the mothers who aren’t just mothers, the women who work, manage a household and are healthy, the women who are councellors to their children, they’re taxi’s, most of them provide support for more than just their own family. I am inspired by these super women who go unnoticed, but they’re running the show. It’s all that goes on behind the scenes, the work of these women we don’t see, but to me they are truly inspiring!
I know it must have been incredibly heart breaking having to withdraw from SYTYCD from a broken rib, what other challenges have you had to face in your chosen career and how have they defined the person that you are today?
It was heartbreaking to have to withdraw from SYTYCD, but like anything, I believe our setbacks can only make us stronger, that’s if we don’t let them defeat us, but instead use the bad cards dealt as fuel to drive us stronger and make us so determined nothing can hold back. I have been faced with many challenges in this industry, one of the biggest has been my weight and always being the biggest girl in every job. I do however see the positive in this, because I naturally have a fuller figured body it has forced me to constantly research health and nutrition, I now lead a very healthy lifestyle because of the pressure to be in good shape for the dance industry. Perhaps I can’t go eat Mcdonalds and be a size 8 like the girls I dance next to who are a good 10 years younger than me, but I’m a fit and healthy size 12 (and I wouldn’t have it any other way). Being healthy is so much more important than being thin.
You were highly entertaining on Big Brother and definitely one of my favourite housemates, how did you find the whole process, how did you stay so grounded?
It was the most bizarre experience and I am forever grateful to have taken part in Big Brother. I don’t believe there’s any other way but to be grounded going through that kind of exposure and process. After all, we’re still the same people, it’s a personality show and not a talent show, eventually exposure wears off and we’re still just ourselves. I think the biggest mistake a person can make after coming off a reality TV show is to get swept up in the aftermath and let it build their ego. Once that wears off we all have to go back to reality at some stage, best to keep it real the whole time and then we’re not faced with any kind of crashes or struggles.
People should follow your Instagram if they want some amazing health, wellness and fitness inspiration. Have you always been inspired by living an active and healthy lifestyle?
I have always had a healthy mindset towards nutrition, fitness and creating the healthiest lifestyle for myself possible. I believe we can always be better, I’m always striving to be the best version of myself I can. And it’s not easy, there’s times we deal with huge amount of stress in our lives, financial difficulties, relationship breakups, lack of time etc. But if we can look to each other for inspiration and motivation, if we can build each other up and help others to stay focused, then we should most definitely use that power.
What’s your own definition of happiness?
My definition of happiness is being fulfilled in your life, being happy with yourself, feeling whole as a person, having great self worth and to be able to live a lifestyle we love. We all have a different definition of happiness, I find happiness in the smallest of things, like floating in the ocean, salt water, sand, a great coffee and a late breakfast.
Do you have any advice for women who are struggling to follow their dreams?
You have to take risks, you have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone to achieve greatness. Don’t be afraid of failing, be afraid of not trying. People will tell us no, we will fail at things, but use that “no” as fuel to make us better. If you want something bad enough, you have to do it for yourself. Most of all… You can’t give up!
What does the future hold for Penny Higgs?
This year I have begun my venture into finding and sharing the best destinations for health and well being. I have started doing Health Retreat reviews. It’s a wonderful experience and I’m excited to go further with this role and continue sharing my knowledge and experiences.
You can find Penny on instagram under the name @dancinpenny, I LOVE following along with her account, you should check it out!
Thanks Penny! xo