#LIVEUNFILTERED: The Unfiltered 5 with Nicole Sciacca

Nicole Sciacca isn’t your average yoga teacher. She’s your average everything...and that’s exactly the way she wants it.

Don’t be fooled: On the surface, Nicole’s life is one, giant aspirational resume. She began her career as a top dancer. Like, tip top. Then, she single-handedly opened a premium yoga and cycling studio in Venice, CA before it was the Venice Instagram portrays it as today.

And, she now teaches for at a peak yoga studio in LA, Playlist Yoga, along with through the wildly popular Aaptiv training app. Oh, she’s also a single mom.

So while it’s clear she’s got mad talent, enviable drive and superhuman skills, those are not the things she leads with... She leads with heart. Raw, red, beating, unfiltered heart. She leads with what makes her normal - what makes us all normal - the desire to authentically connect with others.

You see, Nicole is a living, breathing, sweating celebration of being exceptional by being normal. She shares it all - and not just the ups or the downs, but the in-betweens. She finds the commonalities present in even the most externally glamorous feats and publicizes them.  Unwaveringly broadcasting her steady, unadulterated voice IRL and on social media is a ballsy task, especially within the more-often-than-not vain fitness industry, but she pulls it off in a way that makes us want to #LIVEUNFILTERED, too.

Get to know Nicole and pick up a few gems on how she keeps her head on straight in an age of many - literal and figurative - filters.

#LIVEUNFILTERED with Nicole Sciacca

What is a trigger that makes you feel the temptation to adjust or alter your voice or image on social media?

I hate to say this but some of the "wellness" community, specifically social influencers who take a highly curated approach. I say this is a "trigger" but only in the way it makes me feel IN THE MOMENT. I have no desire to have 75K followers and a visually flawless image. It's so boring. I'd much rather say what I feel, show that to my community, interact with like minded folks and discuss strategies for optimal healing and growth. That work can not be done on a perfect platform. It's just too messy.

What do you feel like are they curating - how are they portraying themselves that makes you sometimes feel pressure to conform?

I find highly stylized pages; whether that's page tone, all exotic and professional photos, filtered and photoshopped, to be damaging and overall inauthentic for the audience or community they're "creating". I don't feel the need to be like this anymore...perhaps 2 years ago I was impressed with their efforts and now I just go to the comments and see if they even connect with people.

What is one messy thing you like seeing on Instagram?

I love seeing people talk to the camera freely. I can instantly tell how comfortable they are with themselves when they're speaking. I know it's a challenge for most to share, unfiltered while looking at themselves in the lens but it's another avenue for real human connection. Breath, tone, verbal hiccups, an honest or uncomfortable laugh. All of that tells a way more interesting story than perfection.

How do you consciously #LIVEUNFILTERED despite feeling the temptation to sometimes polish your edges?

Well, for better or for worse, I speak my mind. Freely. I've been doing that my entire life so it isn't a technique i've had to learn. I am continuously doing a "self check". Am I being reactive? Is this in my best interest or is this a programmed behavior? Are my negative thoughts true or coming from a place of fear?

I connect to people immediately when I share my real life stuff. I think people are looking for this in our current climate. That glossy, air-brushed magazine vibe is just not where we are anymore. Thank Goodness!!

Tell us something you speak your mind about that is controversial or counter-popular.  

I have a more honest approach about what the Yoga Machine is selling and to whom. I like to talk about "being more honest than impressive". The industry has at times promised healing for nearly every possible situation from migraines to depression and I find that to be misleading.

You're a prominent voice of authenticity in the fitness community. What's one way you stand up for body/image realness in the way you post each day?

I talk about and embrace my imperfections. A decade ago I would have scrutinized my own body and spent hours comparing myself to those "fitness models" that I felt were the true depiction of "health". Fortunately our dialogue is shifting and people can see themselves in fitness/wellness role models in people like Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial, Katie Joy Horwitch @womenagainstnegativetalk, Angela Leigh @pureleighliving, Margo Kellison Lightburn @margoyoga, Brigid Titgemeier @beingbrigid, Sarah Baldwin @sarahbcoaching. It's so refreshing to be a part of a movement that allows people to acknowledge that mental and physical health and healing can never be honestly depicted in blanket imagery.

What are your personal imperfections that most people would slap a filter (physical, emotional, spiritual) on?

I have a potty mouth, I don't have a shredded physique because it's not a focus like it was in my 20s, I often own my wet hair and leave the house "half done." I frequently talk about life as a single mother. I go to a kick ass church in Venice and I'll openly talk about how that community has changed my life and my relationship with God.

Follow Nicole (especially her very #unfiltered Instagram stories) at @nicolesciacca.