1. Hi Clara! Please tell us about yourself.

 I’m a proud Bay Area native, Oakland born and raised. I’ll tell you that Anchorage was a culture shock for me. But I believe something about seeing the other side; you need to have a bad day to know what constitutes of a good day. Same thing with the lifestyle I led while growing up in Oakland. I wanted to see the opposite.

I moved to Anchorage three years ago and love it here. Given my past background as a cheerleader for eight years, I like to dance to some oldies; HEART is my favorite. I am currently a member of a burlesque troupe and serves as their accessibility coordinator.

2. What are a few of your favorite things about your career?

I love being able to go to work where American Sign Language (ASL) is utilized on a constant basis. It is a dream that everyone will be able to use ASL but sometimes that’s not a reality.

In my workplace where I work with Deaf preschoolers to 5th graders, it has allowed me to use my native language to my best abilities. Everyday I get to see my students learn, grow, and thrive–I cannot replace that. 

3. How long have you been working with FF and what initially motivated you to seek us out?

I started with you guys when I was 23, so two years ago. I found out about your gym through a mutual friends and decided to give it a try. I remember not being able to make my bed the next day.

figarelle family

I like being challenged and I found it with your gym. I also felt I challenged you guys with being Deaf. You guys had never worked with a Deaf person before me, so that was nice!

I am forever grateful to you for being patient with my life’s ups and downs. Instead of diving in and telling me what to do, you guys were there whenever I felt compelled to return.

Yes, nobody is perfect! I worked with Figarelle’s for one solid year then wandered off a bit and am now back! I’ve learned that in your future relationships- you must respect your own priorities first. Overall, we are looking at almost 2 years! 

4. What Boot Camp classes do you typically attend during the week? What are some of your favorite exercises/workouts?

Thursday night crowds are my favorite! I do Tuesdays on/off due to a sign language class I teach. I am obsessed with deadlifts lately. Hurricanes are awesome it make my heart rate go up quickly. 

5. What is your proudest accomplishment?

 My proudest accomplishment was winning the burlesque idol preliminary round, I felt that didn’t only prove but showed everyone if you truly want it- you can have it. 

6. What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not working out?

I enjoy Yoga! Learning more about Ayurveda or anything else really; my pursuit for learning never stop. I enjoy Art, hiking, and anything Addams Family- that makes my heart so happy. 

7. If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be and why?

This is a fun question! 

 1) Janis Joplin; her voice! This hippie sends chills all over my body.

 2) Stephen King; he is my leading man and knows how to keep my eyes glued to the book! 

 3) Sarah Burke, the late professional skier who passed away from an accident. I wanted her to be able to know how much she has impacted the female skiing community all over the world- and for her to be able to see how they honored her at the recent Olympics.

 4) Su Isakson a dear friend who is also a very fluent ASL interpreter who can accompany with me to this dinner! 

8. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?


The most daring thing I’ve ever done was probably doing that 50 foot cliff jump in Jamaica and it ended wrong. 

9. What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?

 A lifetime supply of water/food, snorkeling gear, and a journal and pen.

10. What five places/countries would you’d like to visit? Why?

I would like to return to Cambodia someday. The Angkor Wat temple is one of most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and Khmer cuisine is delicious. I want to visit Egypt, Russia, Japan, and Sweden. As for Egypt, I am a sucker for anything King Tut! Russia; the history is really rich and I am fascinated with the soviet union. Japan is a part of my identity. I am a Hapa myself, my Dad is Japanese. Sweden because I know several Deaf friends there and they have visited me here.  I should return the favor.