Every day, we’re inspired by the stories of our #AerieREAL girls. Today, we’re featuring Sam Ellis! Sam is a college athlete who overcame compartment syndrome early in her collegiate career. She went on to compete for all 4 years, finally playing in the lacrosse World Cup for the first ever Israeli women’s lacrosse team. Get to know Sam by reading her inspiring story below!
Aerie: Hi Sam! Thanks so much for chatting with us. First, tell us a little about yourself!
Sam: I graduated from college just over a year ago and now I live in NYC. In college, I was lucky enough to be a member of the Princeton women’s varsity lacrosse team. It was honestly the best time of my life – minus the 5 AM practices.
Aerie: Then you joined the first Israeli National Women’s lacrosse team! What was that experience like?
Sam: While I was a senior in college I tried out for the first ever Israeli National Women’s lacrosse team. Soon after I was selected to play on the team, I became an Israeli citizen, flew to Israel to train with my team, and then we competed in the 2013 World Games where we finished in 8th place out of 19 teams. Lacrosse has allowed me to experience so many things I never thought I would get a chance to be a part of. I attended an incredible university that has given me limitless opportunities, I had an athletic career that gave me some of the best friends and memories, and I was given the chance to further my lacrosse experience beyond college, and into something that was more meaningful than I ever thought was possible.
Aerie: What does #AerieREAL mean to you?
Sam: #AerieREAL is about being comfortable with yourself and loving who you are on the inside and out. When it comes to girls, we all have a complex. But the most important thing that a girl can do is accept herself for who she is and allow that acceptance to evolve into confidence.
Aerie: What makes you #AerieREAL?
Sam: When I was in college I was diagnosed with compartment syndrome in my legs, which makes it difficult to be active and have full blood circulation in your muscles. This is due to a inadequate amount of space in your legs for your muscles to expand properly. It’s a growing injury that many athletes are getting diagnosed with in recent years.
I got diagnosed with compartment syndrome when I was freshman in college. Since I wanted to play lacrosse for all four years, I decided to get surgery in the fall of my freshmen year. Even though the surgery was successful and I was able to continue to play lacrosse, the surgery left behind four 3 inch scars on my legs. I’m completely self conscious of my scars and in the first few years of recovery I was embarrassed of them. Wearing skirts or dresses was tough because people were always staring at these dark indents and lines on my legs. As I got older, I began to embrace my scars as my own, I feel less self conscious then I did 4 years ago and have begun to accept them as part of me. My acceptance of these visual reminders of what i once endured is what I’d like to think makes me #AerieReal.
Aerie: What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
Sam: “Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.”- Ralph Marston
Aerie: What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Sam: Representing Israel in the 2013 World Cup games was a big accomplishment for me. Being an Israeli citizen and representing my country in a way that I could make an impact has fulfilled me in ways I can’t explain. I hope to continue to give back to Israel, especially though the Israel Lacrosse community. I admire all the people who have contributed and volunteered to help to grow the the sport that I love in a country that I admire.
Aerie: Do you have a role model? If so, who is he or she, and why does he or she inspire you?
Sam: This is going to sound cheesy but I really look up to my parents. They’ve been together for 31 years and they’ve taught me everything. My mom is my rock and my everything. She has loved me in a way that I never thought was possible and she has always been there for me and my family. My dad is my number 1 fan and hero. He has always pushed me to be great but never overworked me to be something or to do something I wasn’t passionate about. My parents are the type of parents that just want me to be happy, feel special, and most importantly, they want me to know how loved I am. I hope I can be like that to someone one day.
Aerie: Do you have a favorite Aerie item? Do share!
Sam: I’m an athlete at heart so I’m always wearing sports bras. I’m obsessed with the Aerie Seamless Racerback Bra— its perfect for traveling or when you’re stepping out to run a quick errand.
Aerie: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, All, or Nothing?
Sam: All – Instagram takes priority though.
Aerie: Favorite song to listen to in the car or working out?
Sam: “Life of the Party” by Shawn Mendes has become my go to song for everything.
Aerie: What’s your favorite part of the day?
Sam: I love the afternoon mainly because I love eating lunch- it’s the time of day where you can eat any kind of food!
Thanks for chatting, Sam! Follow Sam on Instagram @SamHopEllis, or Twitter @SamEllyz to keep up with this girl to watch. We want to know your #AerieREAL story! Share your story here, or on Instagram or Twitter with #AerieREAL!