Tessa Virtue talks being a 'people-pleaser,' 'perfectionist' on Jann Arden's podcast

Tessa Virtue got candid about life on the latest episode of The Jann Arden Podcast. (Photo via @tessavirtue17 on Instagram)
Tessa Virtue shared a sneak peek about her life on the latest episode of The Jann Arden Podcast. (Photo via @tessavirtue17 on Instagram)

Tessa Virtue is getting candid about her life.

The 33-year-old retired Canadian ice dancer opened up about the current state of her career during a conversation with 60-year-old Calgary-native singer Jann Arden. On an episode of The Jann Arden Podcast released on Saturday, Virtue shared a glimpse of her life nearly five years out of her last Olympic Games.

Virtue, who won gold at the 2018 and 2010 Olympics, as well as silver in 2014 with Scott Moir, said she had an "interesting" transition away from being an athlete.

"It most ways, it was really refreshing, because it was so liberating to go from this singular focus into being able to says 'yes' to multiple different projects and passions, whether that was school or work or diving into the corporate realm," the London, Ont. native told Arden. "All of it just felt like I was ready for that shift.

"Now, especially that I'm four-and-a-half years out, I feel like things are sort of seamlessly integrating, and everything is starting to make sense. I'm starting to feel like I've really found my rhythm, and that's also just lovely."

At the moment, Virtue explained that she's separated from her management team and she's operating as a "one-woman show."

The five-time Olympic medallist further shared that she was "encouraged" to take assertiveness training classes when she was younger.

"I'm such a people-pleaser and I'm a perfectionist, and I tend to manage other people's emotions," she added. "I'm really working on this right now because I just take it on and I feel responsible for those around me."

Virtue explained that those training classes focused on how to speak up in the right way, learning how to communicate and becoming self-aware enough to identify feelings she would've repressed.

She also said spending 22 years in a professional partnership with Scott Moir, 35, was a "perfect playground" where she could practice those strategies and techniques.

"Early, early on, I wrote a mission statement personally and professionally, like really, really young," Virtue said. "That gave me the sense of confidence in being able to walk into a room and say 'no' to executives who wanted me to be a certain thing and be a certain way.

"Maybe that's part of being in figure skating, when it's that balance between the technical ability and the aesthetic component where there were so many opinions on how I should act and look and behave. ... There were just so many opinions that at some point, I just needed to tune out a lot of that noise."

Despite that "noise," Virtue said she tries to stay true to herself when it comes to working with others.

"I always preface any kind of shoot by saying, 'I'm not a model, I'm not paid to just show up and be moulded into what you need me to be,'" she shared. "I come as my own brand and entity, and I think, hopefully, that's part of why I'm hired to do things. I'm pretty firm on staying true to that.

"I've never worried about missing out on opportunities like that because I'm happy to walk away. Being relevant, that's not the most important thing in my life. I feel like I've already overextended my welcome in the Canadian landscape."

While it's been so many years since she was in the spotlight from being an Olympic athlete, Virtue said she can't believe she still gets to do the work she does, including working with major companies like Adidas and Buick.

"Everything's just sort of a bonus," she added. "I'm ready to step into the background when that time comes and when that feels right."

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