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Community Spotlight: Carmen Ladipo of Brooklyn

Meet Carmen Lapido, one of our newest and multi-talented members at Brooklyn Boulders. You may have seen her playing the cello at BKB…

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Who are you and how did you get to Brooklyn?

I’m Carmen (hi!). I was born in Nigeria, and raised in Niantic, CT. I’m a food photographer and cookie enthusiast – best known in the gym for bringing cookies for the staff and climbers when I’ve been baking. I moved to Brooklyn a bit over a year ago when I started working at a food website in Flatiron.

 

How did you start climbing?
In January, for what was probably my first-ever New Year’s resolution, I decided I would find an activity that would help me with my work-life balance. In high school, my gym class took a field trip to a rock climbing gym, where I found out that climbing was a sport – something people did regularly, with chalk…and shoes? What a concept! Ever since then, I’d been very curious to explore the world of climbing to see if it was something I’d be interested in. I remember my first day at BKB…I got a 30 minute crash course on bouldering, and I couldn’t send a V0. The next morning I came right back…and the next night. I couldn’t stay away. Two weeks later I had a membership and a week later a pair of shoes.
 

How has climbing changed your life?

It turns out climbing was just what I needed to peel myself away from long hours at the office. I felt my disposition change for the better and I was taking better care of myself. Climbing is a great stress reliever for me. It’s one of the only times of the day where not only am I away from my phone, but I’m not even wondering what messages I’m missing. I also noticed that my relationship with my body changed pretty soon after I started climbing. Simple motions like climbing a ladder or reaching for something have transformed. I’m aware of my body in ways I was not before. I’m still fascinated by little things I notice day to day. Plus, using my body and brain simultaneously to solve a problem, like playing the cello, is a great challenge.

 

What are your current biggest projects, on and off the wall?

On the wall: eliminating “can’t” from my climbing vocabulary. Sometimes it’s such a mind game, and it really is all in my head. “I can’t dyno”, “I can’t support my weight on that hold”, “I can’t pinch” etc etc. I’m working on trying new things and taking risks. You can’t climb anything, literally or figuratively, if you’re afraid of falling!

Off the wall: Amidst the country’s political turmoil and sustained fill-in-the-blank-phobias, I want to contribute to the voices speaking up against the ignorance. I’m working on a photo project with my Islamic community at NYU around Muslim-Americans, to combat stereotypes around Islam, an often misunderstood religion. The goal is for people to understand that Muslims practice a religion of peace, and their experiences in this country spread past any “box” others may try to put them in.

Who or what inspires you?
One thing that inspires me is the BKB community, no lie. There are so many talented people here. So many artists, and photographers in particular. I follow so many people from the gym on Instagram and will get inspired by a new sketch or trip to the Gunks or new taco spot. Sometimes I’ll go up to someone at the gym that I follow on Instagram and introduce myself IRL. I can float ideas by friends and hear what they’re up to. It’s like the gym is one big hub of buzzing talent, and every day I get to discover more of it. It’s also the gym that inspires me to try new recipes when I’m baking. I gotta keep it interesting for the taste testers; funky cookie flavors remind me to “stay weird”.

Say hi to Carmen next time you see her IRL, and you can follow her on Instagram here. Want to be featured on our blog? Hit us up at stories@brooklynboulders.com.