(#40) The Brooklyn Peaches I Nicole Feddock & Nicole Sciarrillo
"Coming into the water for that one hour a week, splashing around to music, makes you feel like a kid again!"
Where did you each grow up?
NF: Suburbs of Chicago, basically half way between Chicago and Wisconsin. Very Midwestern.
NS: I grew up outside of San Francisco, a small town called Novato.
What were you like as children? What did you want to “be”?
NF: I was what my parents called a “ham”. Putting on dance performances in our basement, entering talent shows with friends, singing and dancing in the choir, ballet classes, cheerleading, drill team, swim team & overall very social! The opposite of book worm. I wanted to be a professional dancer.
NS: It’s funny to hear Nicole’s response, but I guess no surprise that I was very similar! I lived for the yearly talent show and every opportunity to dance and act. I started synchronized swimming at age 6 and the highlight of the summer was the annual show. I did love academics as well and had lots of dreams about what I’d be when I grew up. One of those ideas was to be a choreographer like Debbie Allen on “Fame”! When I hear myself counting to 8 repeatedly at the pool, I do often think of her!
How did you two meet?
NF: We met on the job! Working in post-production for advertising in August of 2003, 13 years ago! Nicole Sciarrillo was very welcoming to me, one of the first people I met upon arriving in NYC that Summer.
How did the Brooklyn Peaches come to be? Was there a particular moment when you knew it was something you wanted to pursue?
NS: I always feel sad when the summer is coming to an end! I love the warm weather and easy, breezy vibe of the season. In a moment of nostalgia I thought, what if I got some friends together and we did synchronized swimming for fun? I mentioned this to Nicole and she was on board right away. The Dodge Y took a leap of faith and gave us the chance to create our own class. We are eternally grateful to them!
Why synchronized swimming? What makes the Brooklyn Peaches unique?
NF: We were looking for a healthy activity, that was physical to do with friends! A workout that didn’t feel like working out, but more community based. Nicole Sciarrillo did synchronized swimming as a child / teenager, and I grew up taking dance lessons. We thought dance and synchro were the perfect amalgamation. That’s what makes the Brooklyn Peaches unique, our combining the synchro skills and techniques, with the dance movement. We are not following the exact rules and technicalities of synchronized swimming, but yet deriving from them, and adding dance techniques and moves to our class & our choreography.
I get the feeling that the Peaches really promote healthy body image...How do you do that? Why do you think that people feel that way about your classes/group?
NS: I’m so happy that feeling comes across because encouraging positive body image is one of the most important philosophies driving what we do. We want everyone to feel welcome so we introduce every new student as if we’re at a party together. When you feel like you’re among friends, you feel safe and less body-conscious.
What would you say to someone interested, but intimidated to try one of your classes?
NF: We would only encourage them, the only time we don’t encourage someone to try the class is if they don’t know how to swim, or have very poor swimming skills. It is important to know how to swim to try the class. Otherwise, we take total beginners with no prior synchro experience required. We work with our new students to teach them the very basics, and we’ve created a very non-competitive structure to our class. The main thing we emphasize is the class is just for FUN and it’s a release from most New Yorker’s very structured work weeks! Coming into the water for that one hour a week, splashing around to music, makes you feel like a kid again!
Congratulation on being pregnant - both of you! How has it been going through your first pregnancies together?
NS: It’s been incredibly special! We really can’t believe how lucky we are to experience this together. We are so excited to meet these little people and especially to swim with them! It’s fun to think that they’ve been swimming in our bellies all this time.
Has pregnancy changed how you view the world and your place in it?
NF: It definitely has, especially how crazy the state of world is right now. It makes me think about the long run and the future, more than just the present day. It makes me question what we can do to help make a change and carve a pathway to protect our children’s future. Becoming a Mom makes me wish I was born with special superpowers, I’ll have to do my best to generate my own!
What is the next phase for the Peaches? When do you plan to be back to teaching classes? Having shows?
NS: We’ll resume teaching our weekly class at the Dodge Y as of January 2017, but our performing group is year round. They will be in two very cool upcoming events that are open to the public. On 8/6 they will perform at The LES Film Fest Pool Party at the 60 LES Hotel. On 8/17 they are featured at a fundraiser for the +POOL at the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg. We hope your readers can check them out!
What keeps you inspired? What motivates to you to do what you do?
NF: I get most all of my inspiration from the people in my life. I am surrounded by creative people. I work with directors and designers, I am married to a musician, and have friends who make art for a living, perform, and are serious athletes. These people motivate me to keep active and creative, and keep synchro in my life!
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken that you feel has paid off?
NS: 5 years ago, I changed careers from advertising to social work and that was certainly a risk. The challenges of grad school initially felt very daunting, but honestly, having synchronized swimming as an integral part of my life helped me get through it. Shifting the focus from my mind to my body in the pool gave me balance and perspective. Now in my work as a therapist, I’m much more aware of the mind/body connection. In future studies, I want to learn how I can merge these two parts of my life through aqua and movement therapy.
What are the things that you want to fill your days with? What are the things that are most important to you?
NF: I try to fill my days with positivity, though that can sometimes be a challenge.
I definitely try to put on my rose colored glasses! What’s most important to me are the people in my life, and being able to make time for them. Not just a text message or a facebook comment, but taking time for a nice meal friends, and making time for those I love.
Words you live by?
NS: Gandhi : Be the change you wish to see in the world.
When do you feel like the best version of yourself?
NF: When I’ve done something to help make someone else’s day better, and when I am in the sunshine!
Any badass women you love?
NS + NF combined: So many! We are very proud feminists. One woman who has come into our lives through synchro is Malia Mills. We have deep admiration for her personally and professionally. Her company revolves around celebrating all women and their natural beauty. Her motto is “Love thy differences” and that inspires everything we do!