BaiYu Fisher – Iowa Nomination by Ami Yaro Photography by Megan Ruth Photography & others Issue 42 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: BaiYu Fisher was born in China with albinism and abandoned by her birth mother. She has difficulties with vision, yet she has become a great dancer and circus artist. She is a very positive and motivated person despite her difficult beginnings in life and her physical challenges. She has had the courage to come forward with even her toughest internal struggles and publicly tell her story in order to be a role model for others. At this point in my career, I have quite literally worked with thousands of young people. BaiYu inspires me.
Photography by KM Photography
Tell us about your childhood and physical challenges. I was born in Xiamen City with a rare disease known as albinism. This means that I lack pigment in my skin, hair, and eyes. This disease is not curable, and its primary impact is on my eyesight. Growing up I had several accommodations in school to ensure my success. Even now that I am in college, Iowa State’s Student Accessibility Center has provided me with accommodations to aid in my educational success. Throughout my childhood I was extremely active and did several extracurricular activities and would not let my lack of vision stop me. As a dance, self-taught aerialist, hand balancer and contortionist I have proven that there is no limit to success. There is no limit to what you can do because of what you were born with, where you came from or what society says you should be able to do.
Photography by Gary Merrick Photography
Where are you now with the internal struggles that have impacted you as a teen? Today I am continuing to learn and grow from my past. I am becoming an advocate for others who may be experiencing similar internal struggles. As someone with depression and anxiety, I understand the feeling of not being good enough. I know several teens who have experienced that feeling and being a voice for others is such an empowering thing to do. Contributing to changing the stigma around mental health is my current priority because mentally ill people are still human beings and should be treated as such. I truly believe that no diagnosis should define a person. Being able to stand up and come forward with my struggles has inspired other teens to do the same and the beauty in that is breathtaking. To know that I have such an impact on others gives me hope.
Photography by Jaime Hough Photography
How did you get into dance and contortion, and what is your training like? Walk us through your journey as well as what a typical training day is like. As a child, my siblings were dancers, I grew up playing piano and doing gymnastics everywhere I went. When my siblings were in dance, I decided I was just going to “try” it. Seven years later and I found a new physical activity. I had gone to see my first Cirque Du Soleil show and was inspired to be a contortionist from that moment on. Living in Iowa I knew there weren’t any contortion instructors, so I began teaching myself. I began learning and expanding my knowledge in aerial arts and contortion. On training day, I always start with a warmup whether that be learning a new tik tok dance, dancing around the house, or going for a run. I typically do strengthening after that to prepare my body for handstands and contortion. From there I will stretch out and work on various contortion poses. Then come the handstands and lastly will come the aerial stuff and I will end with another stretch session and conditioning.
Look for BaiYu in issue 42 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!