Nicole (@nicclarkemitchell) and Sascha (@saschaolive) are the highly accomplished instructors, former ballerinas, TEDx speakers, recognized movement specialists, pilates lovers and besties from Australia that recognized the need for an inclusive fitness community online and decided to make their vision a reality. In April of 2022 they launched House of Sculpt - an online based platform for at-home pilates classes, and have since then built a huge community through their unique approach to fitness. In this exclusive conversation, we delve into their passion for pilates, the highs and lows of their career, their view on wellness and body image and the dreams they have for the future. Get ready to explore the stories behind their impactful venture to reshape the fitness industry and at the end of the article you will find a super rare and exclusive offer if you too would like to join their community. I have and trust me - there is none like it!
BY: ALVA POLETTI
We would love to know more about your background. What did you do before you decided to start House of Sculpt?
Nicole: I’ve been a registered Classical Ballet teacher for almost 15 years. I still teach a lot of Classical Ballet although Pilates has been a huge part of my training as a dancer. Pilates has supported me through all my era’s and I do not see it going anywhere!
Sascha: Before HOUSE OF SCULPT, I was studying Neuroscience and Psychology, and teaching Classical Ballet on the side. Although Pilates has always been a pivotal part of my training as a dancer and has been my main form of exercise in adulthood.
In your words - what is House of Sculpt?
Nicole: An opportunity to connect and grow. A place to challenge ourselves, break down our mental limitations and try new things.
Sascha: A community of like-minded people who value authenticity, connection, challenge and mastery. A place to have fun and feel good!
How did you come up with the concept for House of Sculpt?
We created something that we felt was missing. There was so much toxicity in the industry and we couldn’t find classes that felt equal parts fun and challenging whilst also shifting the focus away from appearance.
Starting a business is no walk in the park. What are some unforeseen challenges that you have had to face when becoming self-employed?
Nicole: There is so much sacrifice.. time, energy, headspace, money, sanity! But it is absolutely worth it. The learnings and the lessons outway the bad every single time. As I grow, our business grows. I never feel held back by a ‘job’ title or position because I can be of service to my community in any way they need.
Sascha: As someone who was used to so much structure from school and academia, I definitely struggled with the lack of formal routine when you run your own business. It really is all up to you! But there is a beauty in that too – you can formulate your week however you wish. It is also incredibly challenging to wear all the hats in the business. Nic and I not only teach Pilates, but are also video editors, marketers, lawyers, administrators.. the list goes on!
What is your vision for House of Sculpt?
Nicole: To allow people to reframe what exercise means to them. To enable people to see challenge as an opportunity to grow and movement as a means to empower themselves.
Sascha: To change how people feel about themselves and exercise. To show people that movement is a privilege and a tool to enhance their life.
What is the best and worst thing about your job?
Nicole: Worst: Waking up at 4:30am? Best: Reminding people that movement is there to be enjoyed. Simple but powerful.
Sascha: Worst: Definitely the early wake ups. Best: Making people feel good everyday!
How do your teaching/instructor styles vary from each other? Is there a good and bad cop?
Nicole: My style changes as I change. I feel I am a bit of a sh*t talker but also have an extremely technical eye and an uplifting energy. I want people to feel comfortable enough to get out of their head and into their body, comfortable enough to explore the idea that it’s in the hard things, the challenges, the moments during that bloody side plank where you really want to give up, that progress and change happens.
Sascha: I would describe my style as high-energy, detail-oriented and motivating. All my classes are dynamic and follow a seamless, creative flow so that people feel challenged and rewarded. Nicole and I have quite a similar class style but it is through our personality and different energies that we can uniquely motivate or connect with our community.
We have talked about your career journey, now let’s talk about your personal and wellness journey. How has that looked like for you? Have you had any mental or physical health struggles in the past that you feel like sharing? What did you do to feel better/get where you are today?
Nicole: I am sure I can talk for many women when I say my relationship with my body and what it represents has been an interesting journey since I was young. I have a completely different headspace now to when I was younger but the journey is in no way linear. It’s taken a lot of work, self reflection, pushing back against my beliefs and questioning everything. The industry has conditioned us to be obsessed with the way that we look and shown us that our value is in our appearance, but when I really sit with that, it’s so-bloody-boring. This obsession with self and appearance only distracts us from true joy, fulfillment and connection. Life is so much bigger and more beautiful than a few kgs here or there. I owe a lot of my recent growth to my meditation practice, a supportive, like-minded community (HOUSE OF SCULPT) and I am constantly reading and listening to content that challenges harmful wellness ideals.
Sascha: I used to struggle with my body-image and only saw my worth through what I looked like. I felt I needed to be ‘perfect’ all the time and would implement that perfection through exercise and diet. When I felt that I deviated from that perfection (e.g, miss a day of training or didn’t stick to my diet), I would sabotage and go the other way. This kind of ‘all or nothing’ thinking was really damaging to my mental and physical health. It all started to change when I began falling in love with Pilates as a way to feel good, rather than a means to alter my appearance. When you value movement for how it makes you feel and for its positive effects in other aspects of your life, it reframes how you value yourself.
Out of all the forms of exercise, what made you fall in love with pilates?
Nicole: It’s precise, beautiful, supportive and somewhat limitless.
Sascha: It is technical yet freeing, challenging yet beautiful and serves you for every life chapter.
What does a perfect morning routine look like to you?
Nicole: Slow, steady. Even on my earliest days I leave time to be slow. Meditate, coffee and a cuddle – non negotiables.
Sascha: Watching the sunrise over the water and indulging in some feel-good movement!
What does SOOTHE mean to you?
Nicole: It means being realistic and kind to myself. It means prioritizing the things I know are best for me and feeling enough peace and space within myself to be able to share and provide that for others.
Sascha: SOOTHE means to show myself love and protect my peace so that I can be the best version of myself. When I am my best self, I am able to show up wholeheartedly for my loved ones and give back to my community.
If you are not following your own classes what do you like to do to workout?
Nicole: Yoga, running and we have a great PT that we do together which is so fun!
Sascha: Yoga, dance and the personal training I do with Nic!
What mantra do you tell yourself in the mirror on the days you feel unmotivated to show up for yourself - mentally and physically?
Nicole: I ask myself how am I going to feel after I do ‘the thing’. Usually amazing… so I just need a lil’ kick in the bum.
Sascha: My friend told me that whenever I struggle with self-care or doing important tasks I should tell myself “I am doing this because I love myself”, and it turns out it really works!
If you had to pick a favorite class out of all of your classes which one would you choose and why?
Nicole: Oblique obsession 4. It’s the perfect mix of length, strength, creativity and control. I felt really good filming this class and I feel even better doing it. It’s my current go-to.
Sascha: Rotate & Radiate 1. This class is my all-time faveeee class. It incorporates lots of yummy rotation, is incredibly challenging and feels oh-so-good!
As if taking time out of their bussy day to let us pick their brains wasn't kind enough, Nicole and Sascha are offering all our readers an exclusive membership discount. I highly encourage you to use the code 'SOOTHE' for 20% off your first month at House of Sculpt Online* and commit to making pilates part of your routine in 2024.
*Discount is for new members only.