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How the Podium Allowed Joe Royal to Just Be Himself

his summer, SoulCycle is traveling across the country and Canada for our Instructor Audition Tour. In honor of the tour, which kicks off Monday in Los Angeles, we're celebrating our instructors and the personal journeys that led them to the podium. First up, L.A.'s JOE ROYAL.

We all have some sort of "come-to-SOUL" moment: Mine happened in the midst of working as an actor in Los Angeles.

When I found SoulCycle, my workouts had become stale and I was beginning to resent my career. I found myself falling into very common acting traps, comparing myself to others, overthinking and trying so hard to be what others wanted.

SOUL not only kicked my butt, but it provided me a space to just be myself. The beauty of SoulCycle is that it embraces you, regardless of your differences and obstacles. You can have blue hair, crazy nails and still feel at home.

I decided spur of the moment to apply for instructor auditions. It was something that seemed so daunting and out of reach. I remember reading the requirements and thinking to myself, "WTF is a seated flat?" However, I pushed aside my fears and made the choice: I was going to audition!

My audition was a blur. I had set a goal to just be myself, let my freak flag fly and own it. I wanted to give back everything I had learned as a rider. I started my audition by belting out some aggressive vibrato and proceeded to tell the room that in my mind I felt like I was 5-feet-2-inches but really I'm 6-feet ... (still accurate to this day!) When I walked off the podium, I went through every emotion, but I accomplished my goal — my freak flag flew!

A post shared by Joe Royal (@joyousjoeseph) on

When I got the invitation to go to NYC, my heart fell out of my butt! I was always so afraid to just be myself, and for the first time, I felt like just doing Joe was enough.

I recently finished my first year teaching and I can honestly say this is the best job I've ever had. I've taught in three different markets and in each one, I was embraced just as I am. I've had party nails, crop tops and shirts that say, "Gucci means Good!" and it's always been enough, just being Joe has always been enough.

Thank you SOUL for making me a better and brighter version of myself!

Learn more about SoulCycle's 2017 Summer Audition Tour HERE. Time to book some classes? Purchase a series HERE.
Article by Joe Royal
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