Emirati Yasmin Baker has believed that she could reach for the stars since her childhood. The 30-year-old is on the cover of this month’s Zahrat Alkhaleej Magazine and was also part of Nike’s campaign when they first announced the launch of their activewear hijab range in 2017. An aerial silks expert, she has never believed in letting society’s diktats get in the way of her ambitions.
Her fascination with aerial silks started as a child when she first saw the Cirque du Soleil perform in Washington, while she was on holiday. “It opened my eyes to the capabilities of the human body,” she says. At just nine years old, she was drawn to the sense of freedom that only being suspended in the air allows. As she grew up, she only grew more fascinated. Though intrigued with the performing arts, it was not something she saw as a potential full-time career. Instead, she made this incredible art form into her stress buster, mastering aerial silks in only two and half years while she was a student at George Washington University.
The biology graduate never felt that being an Arab woman limited her in any way. Aerial silks is known to be a very graceful and sensuous, and she says her parents were concerned about her safety when she first started, but nothing else. Disappointed with the lack of facilities available in her home country, she teamed up with Gravity Gym and Dubai Circus School to become an instructor in the airborne sport.
A true disruptor
She works for Expo 2020 in her current day job, but she will always be known as the first ever Emirati aerial silks instructor, even if she has be unable to practice since the pandemic began. Baker says, “Women in this region are really managing to dispel stereotypes, be they in the field of sports, science or the arts.” It was her positive mindset that led her to be handpicked for the Nike Campaign in 2017, “It was a no brainer for me, especially since the tag line of the campaign was ‘Believe in More’.”
As an instructor, she says she enjoys seeing others face their fears through the activity. For someone who has always been an outdoors, active person, she believes in constantly pushing her own boundaries. “But I do not have distinct goals, I have a no pressure attitude,” she says. Balance is her driving force, “I like to try things, but I never put pressure on myself.” However, Baker strongly believes that we have a duty to have an impact on our community, “To pave the way for others is such a powerful thing,” she says. And, she says, to do that you have to take a step outside your own comfort zone.
While the pandemic may have forced her to pause her aerial silk training, she has kept active with other outdoor activities, “We will see if I go back,” she says, “I will always have love and passion for it. But things must work for you in the time you’re doing something. And who knows, I might seek out some other activity.” At just 30 years old she has already become a force within the Emirati community and the positive reception that her recent cover received proves she will always be seen as a trailblazer. Baker is an example how, by not placing limits on yourself, you can be a true disruptor.