From the first time we met Gisella Dimitroff we were like: WHOA. This girl’s a total baller. A dancer, content creator, and co-founder of HER MUSE Collective, Gisella’s always been obsessed with all things visual, whether it be fashion, art, or “just simply the way the world looks at dusk and dawn.” It means a lot to her to be involved in the creative community and we’re so glad she is.

Gisella fights to love and stay true to herself and be a positive force in this world. We had the opportunity to chat with her at length about her fight and why it's worth it in this week's Lovers and Fighters journal piece. 

Gisella Dimitroff


GISELLA DIMITROFF: My name is Gisella Dimitroff. I am from Buffalo, New York and moved to Boston for college. I went to Boston University. I am a dancer/creative living in the greater Boston area. I'm connected to YORK Athletics from being involved in the creative and art scene here. I used to work for a brand called Bodega as a digital content publisher. I wrote all of their website content like editorials and copy and whatnot. Other than that, I just try to be the most creative I can possibly be, whether it's painting, doing graphic design, modeling, etc. In my free time I really try to channel that creativity. But dance is definitely my forte.

YORK ATHLETICS: The word fight is central to the Worth the Fight campaign message and the YORK Athletics brand. What does the word mean to you?

GISELLA: What does the word fight mean to me? Fight is such an aggressive word. I feel to me that it immediately instills some sort of electric energy in my body, that it's more than about physical fighting. I feel like every day is a fight in some way. And if you don't have anything to fight for, there really is no reason to be alive. Whether it's family or your passions, your dreams, your career, money, acceptance, or power. Negative or positive. I think that fight is what kind of keeps us going. In general in life.

Gisella Dimitroff

YORK: What is your most important fight?

GISELLA: My most important fight right now is honestly, if we're just going to be real and raw, it's just fighting to find reason to keep going. Really. I just graduated college last summer and I just kind of got thrown into the real world and whatnot, paying for everything and I'm working really hard and I'm hustling because I'm really hungry. I want to be successful in an unconventional sense. So I think my biggest fight right now is just making sure that I am loving myself and staying true to myself and in the industry I'm involved in. I'm not trying to stray from who I authentically am and where I came from. I think that's the most important thing. It's a fight with myself constantly. I fight with myself every day. So it has nothing to do with anything, anyone else or any external force. I'm just fighting for myself.

I'm fighting to prove everyone, like you were fucking wrong and I can do every single thing you told me that I can't do. It's a constant fight for myself to fulfill that duty that I've put onto myself. But it's also a fight with myself because constantly in the industry that I'm going for, it's just there's a lot of toxicity and superficiality. So when I am in the midst of working really hard, meeting all these people, networking, trying to find new gigs and jobs, it's really hard for me to fight for what I believe in and make sure I'm not doing jobs that I don't believe in. Not working with people that I don't accept their conduct in the industry.

And I definitely battle with anxiety and depression and have for a really long time. I constantly am fighting with myself like, you're not going to fucking make it. What the fuck are you thinking like there's no shot? Because I mean our generation, I think the older generation led us to believe that. They kind of said like, "You can't actually attain those goals." They say that we're the ‘nurtured generation’ and that we were the MVP or the participation award generation, but in fact my parents were constantly telling me, "No, you need to get a job with money. You need to be settled. Like this dance shit isn't going to get any. Isn't gonna repay the bills that we've had to pay for you and whatnot."

And I think just with the hunger of my generation and us creating new lanes, it's just going to be really powerful and I see other people doing it. So I'm like, why the fuck not? I'm going to live the life exactly I want to live. So even my parents, my family, some of my closest friends tell me that I can't do it and that I'm not creative enough and that I'm not a good enough dancer. So I'm fighting to prove all those people wrong.

GISELLA: I'm fighting to prove myself wrong because I'm my own worst enemy. I'm in my head every single day. My reactive thoughts when I see myself in a video or whatever, it's negative. Like I just nitpick everything. And I think that'll be a blessing and a curse eventually. But I'm just trying to really work on it. That's why I prioritize self-love and mindfulness and why sometimes I have to not hang out with anybody for a whole day if I really need to, you know?

Gisella Dimitroff

YORK: Yes, absolutely. Keeping that positive state of mind is really important.

GISELLA: YES. Positivity is absolutely everything to me. I think because I'm a dancer, I've become so in touch with myself and my body that I listen to my body a lot more than my mind because I have fucking tapped in the head like I can't. My mind races all the time. So if I feel something and my mind's thinking something else, I always go with my body. So if I feel a negative energy, I know that I have to kind of channel that and figure out why because positivity is the only way that I can come out and have a successful and productive day.

YORK: Going back to fighting for yourself, who helps you fight?

GISELLA: I never give enough credit to the people who help me fight. Shout out! Because of my self-deprecation, I really need people. I am constantly like, "Nobody fucking even loves you. They're not even real. Everyone's sucks. Everyone has bad intentions." Some people have made me feel like that before and it hurts. So you just kind of don't give anyone the benefit of the doubt sometimes.

My family, my parents and my closest friends help me fight. I keep a really small circle. I'm an extrovert and I can talk to anyone and I love people, but I also really can't stand people. Not everyone's rooting for each other because they have their own lanes and their own small circles. But then there’s different inspirational people around the world, like other women that I see that are changing the game and changing the narrative of what it means to be a woman in business and in street wear and fashion in the world nowadays. That’s fuel for my fight as well.  

Gisella Dimitroff

YORK: As you're going through this fight, you're fighting for all these different things. There's obviously barriers, down times, and shit that doesn't go your way. What are some of those obstacles that you face and how do you overcome them?

GISELLA: I think that half of the obstacles come from my own inner self, like I was saying. And the other half come from ... I mean, being in street wear as a female and being a female who likes things that aren't technically girly. I love my girly girl stuff, but I grew up with brothers playing sports outside and getting scraped up and wearing their clothes. Being a tomboy and hanging out with the boys, you're really cool and can hang, but once you kind of try to be involved and make space for yourself and pave your own lane, they kinda just get taken aback. Maybe it's like intimidation or them being scared that we might come in and take over their shit.

But I think that the only way is to work together. And I mean, I can't give up because it's like if we're really talking fighting, like Muhammad Ali never gave up at the 12th round. You got to just give it your fucking best. And even if it feels like it's the 12th round and you're going to pass out and faint, like just wait to pass out and faint until you get through that thing. You know? And I think that just reminding myself that I want to leave the world better than I found it. I try to see that there's a bigger purpose for the things that I'm doing and I know that we're all stardust.

I just want to spread as much light and love and positivity through the things that I'm doing. And if it makes an impact on somebody else, that's better. It gives me purpose and makes me feel like I can leave this Earth and feel good about it.

Gisella Dimitroff

YORK: Why do you think your fight is worth it?

GISELLA: My fight is worth it because I’ve felt it in me since I was born. I don't remember a time in my life where I wasn't driven, doing my own thing, a rebellious spirit. I will do what I want to do. I'll figure out a way to do it my way and to fight for what I want. It’s worth it because I've come this far fighting so hard against so many people that tried to control me and micromanage my life when I was younger. I'm going to do exactly what I want to do and it's worth it because I will never spend another day not happy with what I'm doing and feel like someone else is controlling my life, you know?

My fight is worth it to me because it makes me feel like this is really my life and I am doing the most with it that I can, as authentic as I can.

YORK: Fighting is hard work. What role does hard work play?

GISELLA: What role does hard work play? EVERYTHING. Literally everything. Working hard is fighting for something. Just like with Muhammad Ali, the people that are the greatest work the hardest. And the people that end up doing great things, like Nelson Mandela -- he didn't half ass his job to liberate the people of South Africa. Hard work is basically everything in a fight. You're not going to win if you don't work hard.

YORK: #truth. So solid. Can you talk about your shoes a little bit?

GISELLA: I wanted to go with the theme of worth the fight, so I wrote mad, different, inspirational sayings all over them like: ‘stay wavy,’ ‘fuck the haters,’ ‘spread love,’ ‘love is all you need,’ ‘be the change you wish to see in the world,’ ‘you can't love somebody before you love yourself,’ and ‘know your worth and fight.’ Just any inspirational messages. And I wanted a reminder of doing this shoot.

Henry Canvas Mid

YORK: We love how honest you are. Not a lot of people are as honest as you are about their struggle with anxiety and depression, although it’s obviously something maybe most of us can relate to. Are you comfortable talking about that a bit more?

GISELLA: Yeah. Fuck it. I hate that it's stigmatized the way that it is. Actually, it's funny because it goes with what I was saying about hard work. There was a period in my life where I kind of lost control of my life and who I was and I was doing things because people said that they didn't like it or they liked it. And so I think that I just got lost. The future was so unknown, which it obviously always is anyway, but…

When you're in any relationship, whether it's romantic or platonic, and somebody is trying to control you because they're not secure with themselves. I went through one of those periods and it really, really just deteriorated my soul to be honest. And I woke up every day with feeling sick and I knew it, in the pit of my stomach. That's why I'm so much about energy. And with my anxiety and depression, I know if I'm in a room and I feel something, I need to leave and I need to listen to that. Just because other people want me there, just because my friends want me to be at a party, it doesn't mean I'm going to go or stay. Like I'm that friend that says,"I have anxiety, I want to go home." Or, "I'm not coming because I don't give a shit, I don't want to go.” I’ve slowly learned to be unapologetic about that.

Life’s depressing and this world is depressing. This current state of the world is even more depressing. And seeing everybody and my brothers and sisters and people of color and women and the youth and even senior citizens, everyone is just getting shit on basically. It’s just depressing to think about. You get in your head and you're like, "What the fuck is the point? What is the point of the world? Why is it worth it?" Like I constantly ask myself that every day and some days I go to bed thinking, "It's not fucking worth it. Fuck it." Like I could just do nothing tomorrow. I could die tomorrow and it wouldn't change anything. The world would keep turning.

But that's why I've tried really hard to externalize that and make it more about living my life for the people that come after me. Again, I want to leave the Earth better than I found it. And so, if I'm living for other people and I just want to spread love, which is my goal in life, that helps me battle the depression and anxiety of being anxious about death. If I’m doing good things every day, that's something big for me. Again, I'm not going to do something that I don't want to do because if I die tomorrow, I'm going to be pissed if I went out doing something I didn’t want to be doing.

Like, are you kidding? I went out doing something I didn't even want to be doing for someone I don't even fuck with that heavy. I'd be rolling over in my grave. So that's why I make it a thing. I want to go to bed every night knowing that I have control over my own life and who I am and I'm going to be unapologetic about it. Some people think I'm annoying and I'm obnoxious and I'm loud and I'm too outspoken and opinionated. And that I'm just ‘one of those chicks’ that men get insecure around. And that fucking is hard, like especially in a male-dominated world and male-dominated industry like fashion and street wear and sneakers. They don't think you have a place, you don't have as much validity. So it’s a constant fight. But I just don't care anymore. And so often I go through a depressive state, like almost every single day. It'll change like that.

Gisella Dimitroff

YORK: So how do you pull yourself out of it?

GISELLA: Just recently I've been able to reach out to people, even if it's just when I need a hug or I need to talk to somebody because I'm scared for myself. But a lot of times it's the positivity. It's like, I know mentally that I can tell myself this is a physical thing. It's energy. You're just in a depressive state. There's literally nothing that went wrong with your day. You are a strong, independent, young woman. Blah, blah, blah. And it's just positivity.

And sometimes I’ll just stop and breath. Or I’ll take some time for myself and go and paint. Or I’ll dance. Dance is the best and biggest release. That's my therapy. And I mean, honestly, I would recommend everyone to try therapy. But having an outlet like dance has been such a therapeutic thing for me. I'm so passionate about it. I want it to be my career and I want to make something of it. So, it feels just so good to just release and be so passionate about something that can help you with cope with those things.

For example, the other day, I really didn't want to go to class. I just was having a day. People were shitting on me for something. Work was stressful. And I was not reaching out to friends. I just felt really down and I didn't want to go to dance and then I made myself go because I was already up and I was like, "If I'm dressed I'll just go." So I went and it was like the best feeling ever. It never feels bad. Sometimes you just have to force yourself to get up and go. And then you almost always feel better afterwards. Dance is so important to me, I could cry talking about it. Dancing, watching dance, it is so ... I can't describe the feeling.

It's complete freedom. My heart is open, I'm vulnerable. And I think that's why I like it. Because in life, I'm a lot less vulnerable. I'm an extrovert that's closed off. I'm an extrovert and we're cool, but you don't really know anything about my life and I like to keep it like that. I know people that I've known for probably 5-10 years that probably don't know this stuff about me to be honest. I don't like people seeing that I can be vulnerable and weak. Like I'm just like, I don't need help. Even when I am in depressed states, I struggle with not reaching out. It’s just me being like, "It's fine, it's fine." And I love comedy and humor so I always, always just project that instead.

Gisella Dimitroff

YORK: So you feel vulnerable when you dance?

GISELLA: When I dance I can feel vulnerable. I can close my eyes and feel super vulnerable with anyone in the room. It doesn't even matter who it is. I'll bring friends to the studio sometimes and I just, for 15 minutes I'll be like, "Oh shit, I forgot you were here." You know, because it just is so freeing and I love dance for that. Everyone can do it and although people are so scared to do it, no one's really judging you. No one judges, no one is judging in class. And if they are, then they're an asshole. Because that's not the point of dancing.

I like dance because it's sharing a different story. I can escape whatever story my life is writing at the moment and I can tell the choreographer's story in a different light. And I can always tell it in my own way and with my own type of vibe. And that's why it's like creativity. It's being, it's artistry, it's everything to me right now. It’s my heart and soul.


Gisella Dimitroff is a dancer, content creator, and co-founder of HER MUSE Collective. To learn more about her, follow her on Instagram @devlindidit.  

Gisella got creative and personalized her pair of the Henry Mid Canvas as seen above. Customize your own pair by clicking here

Special thanks to photographer Buck Squibb@thesugarwoman, and @n.trae for taking these kick-ass photos of Gisella during our Worth the Fight brand campaign shoot. 

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