10 Minutes With: Retro Fitness Instructor, Francesca Taylor
This week we go back to the 80s and put our questions to retro fitness instructor, Francesca ‘Frankie T’ Taylor. Energy: obligatory. Leotards: optional (but encouraged).
30 Second CV
Name: Francesca Taylor
Current Title/Company: Freelance Retro Fitness Instructor / Programme Coordinator for The Company at The Winch
Educational Background: BA (Hons) Sociology & Gender Studies, Sussex University
The Real Deal
Brief overview of what you do:
I have two jobs. The first is a part time position for a charity called The Winch, where I work with hard to reach and disadvantaged young people (aged 18-25) in Camden, helping them to set up their own businesses. I deliver a programme which teaches them the skills for self-employment. I then support them for up to three years in the setting up of their business. I’m a mentor, teacher, key-worker and friend all rolled into one. It’s a challenging job, but I absolutely love it as I am passionate about guiding and supporting people to pursue their dreams and reach their potential.
I also work as a Freelance Retro Fitness Instructor. I teach at Frame in Shoreditch, and also do private 1:1 sessions as well as party and corporate packages. I teach various styles from 80s dance and aerobics to 90s rave cardio and R&B conditioning.
Can you describe your job in 3-5 words?
Freelance Fitness: exciting / colourful / retro / fun / dancey
Charity Job: rewarding / tough / exciting / challenging / inspirational
Do you have a weekday morning routine?
I can’t survive the day without a coffee! I was given a coffee machine as a Christmas present (thanks Mum!), but unfortunately it broke last weekend (very sad – I’m trying to blame my flatmate but I think it was actually my fault…) so now I have to buy a take away coffee each morning instead. That is the only routine event I do every day without fail. 🙂
What does a typical day at your desk look like?
When I’m working at The Winch no two days are the same. I am hardly ever just sitting at a desk as I have young people who come in and out needing support on a regular basis. The Winch is a buzzing community centre of sorts, with young people at the heart of what we do. I also deliver the programme during six months of the year, so on those days I am upstairs running sessions and workshops on how to manage a business.
Obviously for my fitness I am never at a desk because that wouldn’t make me a very good instructor! I am either at Frame jumping around, or I am seeing private clients in their home or office. Wherever I am, however, I am always wearing a leotard or legwarmers of some kind. I am trying to bring back the vibrancy and colour of the 80s aerobics movement. You could say I am trying to start a ‘leotard revolution’ of some kind. Although so far, it appears to be just me who is taking part…
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
Securing my jobs at both The Winch and with Frame have been great highlights for me. I feel very passionately about the work the Winch do in Camden, as I grew up in that area. I moved from a bigger charity to the Winch about a year ago and it was one of the best decisions I have made.
Before Frame, I co-created a class for Gymbox called We L.UV the 80s, which was definitely a highlight. I got to work with a renowned fitness instructor and content creator, and we created the class together. It was certainly a great learning curve and an excellent way into the industry. She taught me so much and I am really grateful to her.
As for Frame, I am delighted to be working somewhere that loves the 80s as much as I do. Frame is opening up a lot of exciting doors for me and I am very passionate about their work.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Nothing is going to come to you without hard work. I know you like to sleep in, Francesca, but if you want something you are going to have to start waking up early to get it.” – My English teacher at school!
What would you say to your twenty year old self with the benefit of hindsight?
Don’t get your bottom lip pierced when you are drunk in Prague.
Who are your role models?
My family and my friends – each has a little something to help teach and guide me.
How do you relax and recharge?
Binge watch a series on my laptop in bed.
What’s the last book you read?
Sin Patron: Stories from Argentina’s Worker-Run Factories by The Lavaca Collective
What are you listening to at the moment?
I am always listening to all kinds of music so can’t really say that I am only listening to one particular album/artist. However, someone I love with all my heart is Michael Jackson.
Complete this statement: I feel most powerful when wearing____ Lycra.
What social or political issues matter most to you?
I love London, however I am becoming increasingly disdainful and saddened by the changes and shifts that have occurred under the most recent governments. I am very concerned about the lack of social housing: lack of it being built but also lots of existing social housing being neglected (on purpose) in terms of maintenance and repair – so much so that it becomes uninhabitable. There is a form of social cleansing going on in this city. Families are being evicted from their homes, and are being moved out of London to make way for luxury flat developments that are bought by oversees foreign investors and then never lived in. It’s sickening, and something has to be done about it. I have followed passionately the campaigns of the Focus E15 mothers, New Era Estate and Sweets Way. I urge people to get involved and spread the message that this has to end.
If you could have lunch with any woman in the world, who would it be (and what would you order)?
My Great Grandmother. She was a singer in the 1920s. I would have loved to see her perform and talk to her about singing in late night flappers joints!