What My Studio Means to Me, and How I Wish to Be Received


No matter what brings women through our doors, no matter what they may blurt out in the midst of their uncomfortable and nervousness chatter, I choose to see them as a whole. I don’t jump to conclusions based on what is standing in front of me. I am gentle with them, and always ask questions using humor. This is where it begins: the realness of what we do reaches them and there is an unveiling of the person inside.

Each time it happens there is a moment of complete awe, for she doesn’t realize how beautiful she already was. The time we spend together helps her soften her judgments about herself. She realizes that she is one of a kind. My role is to provide the environment and safety in which she gets to explore parts of herself that she may have forgotten, or has yet to discover.

What connects me to my girls is vulnerability, a sense of humor and a degree of feeling safe in an environment where no one is in competition. I am a reflection of who they are. I am just as nervous, just as vulnerable, and just as ready to let go and have an adventure. I get to know them and they get to know the pole and all of its beautiful interpretations.

I am deeply grateful for each one of them, for the studio, for all of it. Truly.


Marisa Oka


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