Grand Prix debutant Jade Slavin answers our questions.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AT THE GB ACADEMY?
“I started at the Academy in June but I have been doing taekwondo since I was nine.”
HOW DID YOU GET THE CALL TO JOIN?
“I first got the call when I was at Uni (Northumbria University). I was invited to come down for a day sparring and came down for a day and sparred against some of the girls on the team.
“Then I came back down the following week before a couple of months later I got asked to come down for a week’s trial. I thought I did okay but it wasn’t for another couple of months before I got invited to join full-time.”
WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
“I did a three-year sports science and nutrition degree and came out with a 2:2. I would have preferred a 2:1 but I am still happy I passed with an okay mark. Now I have finished my studies I am concentrating on my taekwondo and not so much on the modelling.”
WAS IT A SURPRISE TO GET ASKED TO JOIN THE GB ACADEMY?
“I thought I was a bit too old. I had finished Uni and most of the girls were 18 or 19 so I thought I wouldn’t get a chance. So, I was really excited and surprised when I got a chance to move to Manchester. I did have trials when I was 16 but the last stage and boot camp was on at the same time as my exams. I did my exams instead and didn’t think I would get another chance to prove myself.”
WHY DID YOU START TAEKWONDO ORIGINALLY?
“One of my dad’s friends did it. One day I bumped in to him and he had his taekwondo suit on. I was like ‘Dad, what is he doing, why he is he wearing that suit?’ Dad just said: ‘He does taekwondo, like the Bruce Lee films, you know’. I just wanted to have a go straight away and I loved it.”
HOW BIG A SURPRISE WAS GRAND PRIX CALL-UP?
“It was unbelievable considering I have only been here a short space of time. I didn’t think I was ready so I am so happy that Gary Hall and the other coaches think I am good enough. “
HOW DID YOU GET INTO MODELLING?
“I have always been tall and my family and friends used to say I should try and get into it. I started when I was 11, sending photos to agencies. But it wasn’t until I was about 16 when things started to roll a little bit. I got asked to do modelling for Athos, the clothing website, and other fashion shows. I am signed up to Maverick Models in Manchester but I really haven’t done too much work yet because I want to focus on my taekwondo plus the castings are usually during the week when I have training. I would rather stick to this.
YOU HAVE DONE BEAUTY PAGEANTS TOO?
“Yes, I did Miss Sunderland last year and made the finals and I also did Miss Earth in 2013 and got to the Grand Final. It was really exciting because I had not done anything like it before. I wanted to build my confidence up and try to better myself. But my main goal is taekwondo and trying to focus on Rio 2016.”
BECAUSE OF YOUR HEIGHT, DID YOU GET TEASED AS A YOUNGSTER?
“It was hard at school and I used to get bullied a few times for being tall and skinny. That’s why I got into taekwondo because my dad thought it would be a good idea to learn how to defend myself. I wasn’t badly bullied and it was more like verbal abuse.
“It did get me down and it was one of the reasons I started modelling to boost my confidence and prove people wrong. Hopefully, I am doing that now.”