Sammy Aucella: Tender Belly's Athlete of the Month - May 2024

Sammy Aucella: Tender Belly's Athlete of the Month - May 2024

Sammy Aucella is a renowned photographer and avid outdoor enthusiast based in Lake Tahoe, CA. Raised amidst the Sierra Nevada mountains, Sammy’s passion for adventure sports like skiing, rock climbing, and mountain biking began at an early age and continues to fuel her creative work. Her stunning photography captures the raw beauty of the natural world, blending her love for the outdoors with her artistic vision.

Sammy Aucella outdoors in snowLast year, Sammy faced a life-altering challenge when she fell over a 100-foot cliff while skiing in the backcountry. Despite a rigorous recovery over the past year and a half, her determination and resilience have driven her return to the sports she loves. Sammy's journey is a powerful testament to the human spirit's unbreakable nature, inspiring many as she continues to conquer both peaks and pixels.

Rapid Fire Questions

What is your WHY/Your mission?
My mission is to inspire others to design a life they love by embracing what scares them and listening to their heart's desires, rather than their fears. Through unwavering hard work, determination, and the support of a great community, I strive to encourage everyone to pursue their passions and overcome obstacles.

Some causes/non-profits that you support?
High Fives is a non-profit organization that helps athletes return to sport after life altering accidents. Last year I fell off a 100' cliff in the backcountry while skiing and received support. Clean up the Lake in Tahoe is also a great non-profit organization I love to support.

What's your favorite bacon recipe or way to enjoy bacon?
Baked bacon wrapped dates filled with goat cheese.

What’s one word or phrase that encapsulates the essence of your approach to life or work?
Do everything with passion.

Who do you think is the greatest athlete of all time?
Bode Miller

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
I wish I could time travel -- I'd see music throughout the ages, visit Egypt and explore ancient civilizations; check out dinosaurs and travel through Asia before there was instagram. I also want the ability to take friends with me and I do not want to be able to change anything.

What actress would play you in a movie?
I'm more interested in what they'll be wearing ;) They have to have fun style.

What has been your biggest struggle and what advice do you have for someone facing the same struggle?
I am a perfectionist to a fault. In the past, my attention to detail has stopped me from starting projects before I have the whole picture. Now, I do my best to simply 'follow the energy' and trust that my intuition is guiding me somewhere better than I could have ever imagined. My last four years have been a massive lesson in trust and this continues to help me tremendously.

How do you stay motivated and focused during tough times, and what advice would you give to aspiring athletes who are struggling to stay on track?
Community is often my biggest motivator. Surround yourself with people who are as determined as you are and it will be much easier to stay on track. Make vision boards! Set reminders on your phone that share motivational messages throughout your day. Make realistic micro goals and stick to these. Be honest with yourself about what you can do and when things feel hard, focus on the basics, don't overload yourself and build self trust and respect through your dedication. It will grow from there.

How do you define happiness, and have you found it?
I believe 'happiness' feels like happiness because it is often juxtaposed by more difficult emotions. It's what makes happiness so allusive and special. I've experienced happiness a lot in my life, but like most things worth striving for, it does require work. And when I don't feel happy, I find that showing myself love and compassion is the path to get me there.

What changes would you like to see in your favorite sport?
Something I am passionate about shifting in the sport of skiing is this 'bro brah', overtly masculine culture that no longer represents the community as a whole. I'd like to see more diverse representation in terms of sex, race and lifestyle -- showing that is is much more than getting gnarly and slamming beers.

What do you think is the most important lesson that sports can teach us about life, and how have you applied that lesson in your own life?
I think discipline is one of the greatest lessons we can take away from sports. Even if you do not win or place, discipline will translate into all areas of your life, work and relationships.

Favorite pump up playlist?
You can find it on Spotify here.

Tell us what we really wanna know... do you like your bacon?
Crispy & crunchy

Where can people go to find out more about you and your work? and @sammyaucella

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