Q + A with Sarah Copp

by: jess fracalossi

Her eyes are on the stars but her feet are firmly planted on earth. Sarah Copp tells us about her passions, her version of a perfect day, and how she manages to keep. it. so. real.

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Sarah Coppinger is the face behind the camera and content of much of our social media … and like all great artists, her work often gets more recognition than she does. Today is Sarah’s day. 🙂

This lady wears many hats here at The HB. Sarah is a senior instructor – teaching 8 classes per week.  She is the South Boston studio manager – running operations at our flagship studio and managing a team of over 20. Lastly, Sarah is our Director of Marketing – managing creative opportunities and forging new ones with a skilled eye and sincere passion for our brand and community.

Each of these titles – Instructor, Manager, Director of Marketing, demand a different type of leadership and skill set.. and she makes it look easy. Read on and learn a bit more about ‘Copp,’ grab her class, introduce yourself… to know her is to love her!

Can you tell us a little about your fitness background? What brought you to the saddle at The HB?

I grew up a dancer – it never felt like I was working out. I didn’t ever consciously think about “getting fit,” but I knew I enjoyed working hard and getting good at something physically challenging for me. I stopped dancing in a competitive way sometime in college, and it took a while for me to get that same full-body sweat, adrenaline-pumping feeling again. I started taking spin classes with this trainer, her name was Jaclyn, and that woke me up. She was tough, she kicked my ass and I got hooked on that. I thought, you know what, I could do this. My friend Sam, a graduate from Northeastern, told me your story and I remember emailing you, and you were right away incredibly nice. I could feel the warmth right through my computer screen. I got the full Handle Bar experience in Southie in 2013 (s/o to Lena being my first ever HB instructor and making my legs feel like jello), auditioned shortly after, and I haven’t looked back since.

What about education and career, you’re only 29 but you’ve accomplished a ton! What did you study, what career moves have you made that molded your path so far?

I studied English in the liberal arts school and journalism in the school of media arts and design at James Madison University. My path has been a strange one. Since I graduated, I’ve worked at (in this order) a newspaper, content marketing agency, donut shop, hair salon, nonprofit organization, and a cycling studio. Each has helped mold my path. I’ve learned something different, valuable, and often surprising at each of these places. I am certainly for better or worse exactly who I am because of all of these lessons I learned. I wouldn’t trade any of them.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Thankfully, there isn’t much of a “typical.” I’ll provide a snippet: Starts with coffee. The only time I don’t have coffee first thing in the morning is when I teach a class early. Get that natural jolt. I get ready for the day, make breakfast at home, while checking over emails. I check my tasks list for the day, figure out the order I’m going to tackle them. I usually have a few meetings, some with you and our internal team, others with photographers, potential partners, bloggers, and so on. I weave playlisting in and out throughout my day. I end almost every workday by teaching at least one class – couldn’t ask for a more perfect way to cap off the day. Sometimes I have one more commitment after my class, usually a fun one – dance class, some sort of event, drinks with a friend. Other times I’m home early and I get to make dinner and unwind.

What is your favorite part about The Handle Bar? Your favorite part about your job?

Favorite part of The HB: Its power to make people feel at ease with themselves and united in that confidence. When you find a place that not only encourages, but urges you to embrace all the pieces that make you who you are, don’t let that go. In case it’s not clear, that all started with you, Jess.

Favorite part of my job: Oh boy. Realizing how fortunate I am with how tough this question is for me. Broad brush- Connecting with people on a real level. I get to do this in a zillion different ways: through sharing music, teaching classes, telling stories through our blog or Instagram, building relationships with professional peers I admire.

Tell us your idea of a perfect day… what does it include, what’s the soundtrack, the weather, what are the little things that make you happy?

I read this recently, and it really rings true when thinking about this question: “If you pay the right kind of attention, the mundane becomes beautiful.”

Starts with coffee (there are worse vices, let’s go with that) on a Saturday, early, after an INCREDIBLE night’s sleep. It’s 75 degrees, sunny, light breeze. I’m listening to this playlist on my speakers at home, windows open, easing into the day. I’m working on a creative project with some members of our team, so I meet up with them and a talented photographer friend who’s lending his/her creativity to the cause. We have a kick-ass few hours working together (outside), and leave feeling high off the positive vibes from the shoot. I’m going to pick up a big new plant for my apartment at niche and learn how to care for it properly. I walk to the South End, still listening to that playlist, particularly this song. I’m by myself. (Super protective of my me time.) On my way home, I call my mom or dad, who surprise me by saying they’re in the neighborhood and want to take a stroll around Castle Island. We go to Sully’s (You said perfect, covering all the bases here. Leave no stone unturned). I talk to all of my siblings at some point throughout the day (I’m one of 5 kids). When I get home, a new rug I bought for our “parlor” (aka random room) has arrived. I enter home decor mode and get a little zen with our space. Wine and a bomb recipe cap it off, and there’s plenty to go around for a roommate dinner night on our porch. And that playlist is still going strong.

One of your brightest qualities is your ability to KEEP IT REAL…you’re uber cool, down to earth and genuine – any tips to your riders and fans on how to stay grounded and keep life in perspective?

I’ll tell you one thing, this is not an easy question for someone who’s “down to earth” and “keeps it real.” Fans?! (Hi Dad. Hi Mom.) The age-old phrase “I’m still Jenny from the block” comes to mind. I think being self aware is big. Not being self aware puts you in a reality separate from everyone else, and that must be really lonesome at times. One word I use so much I feel like a broken record is empathy. That’s a good one to have. Discipline yourself to listen more. Life’s a lot easier on you if you focus less on being understood, more on understanding.

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