Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

We’re inspired each day by the stories you share that show how you’re #AerieREAL. This week we’re sharing the story of a truly incredible woman who overcame some seriously extreme obstacles to make her dreams come true.

Krystal Cantu is an award-winning weightlifter, a sister, a fighter, a daughter, and a graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio. At 25, she can lift 200lbs – with only one arm!

On August 2, 2013, Krystal and her boyfriend Daniel were in a car accident where her right arm was severely crushed and had to be amputated immediately. Her first concern? Never being able to compete again. Despite the odds and with outstanding amounts of courage, Krystal was back in the gym 3 weeks later. Shortly after, by serious will and faith, Krystal begun beating all of her old records and lifting more than she ever could. She says the accident is ‘the best thing that could have happened’. Read on below to learn a bit more about Krystal and what makes her Aerie REAL.

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Aerie: Hi, Krystal – thank you so much for chatting with us. What does #AerieREAL mean to you? 

Krystal: Aerie Real, to me, is something that stands for so much within an individual. It is something within someone who has looked past the media and what they portray as an ideal individual. It’s accepting who you are and being happy with what you have been given. It’s knowing that perfection is not being thin or tall, it’s being you that makes you perfect.

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Aerie: What makes you #AerieREAL?
Krystal: I’d be lying if I said that I never wanted to be like the girls in the magazines. As you get older and you start to realize that looks aren’t everything, you change. I’m very happy with my body and who I am as an individual, athlete, daughter, sister and girlfriend. I don’t have the six pack or flat belly, but that’s okay.

Aerie: Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

Krystal: In three years I hope to have been in a lot more competitions with podium standings, as well as pursuing a full time crossfit coaching position. I hope to have seminars going as well around the states. Heading out to different boxes, answering questions, meeting new faces and showing everyone how strong they truly are.

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Aerie: What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
Krystal: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

Aerie: What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?

Krystal: My biggest accomplishment thus far has definitely been the progress I’ve had in Crossfit in under a year. There’s no particular event or movement that I’m proud of because I am really proud of it all. I continue to surprise myself with the strength I have mentally and physically. It’s been under a year and I can only imagine what can come in the next few years.

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Aerie: Do you have a role model? If so, who is he or she, and why does he or she inspire you?

Krystal: I don’t have one set role model, I have various ones. I look up to my mother who is the rock of my family. She has the biggest heart and puts her family before herself all the time. She loves unconditionally and never fails to be by my side when she knows I need her the most. I look up to Daniel, my boyfriend, because he is the true representation of how everyone should love. He cares and supports me in whatever I do. He may get upset with me from time to time, but he never holds grudges or ignores me. He’s a good hearted person who I love very much. I look up to my coaches and how they genuinely care for each of their athletes. They competed in the 2014 crossfit games (Ballistic Crossfit) and they never trickled away from us nor did they focus on themselves. It’s always their athletes first, and then them. The heart and dedication they show day in and day out is very inspirational ad motivating.

Aerie: What are three things you always have to have with you?
Krystal: My iPhone, Ray Ban Sunglasses, and iPad.

Follow Her Friday: Krystal Cantu

Aerie: What are three things you always have to have with you? Krystal: My iPhone, Ray Ban Sunglasses, and iPad. 

Aerie: What’s your favorite part of the day?
Krystal: There is nothing I look more forward to than a good WOD (Workout of the Day).  I am anxious throughout the day just waiting to head outside and sweat.

Aerie: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, All, or Nothing?
Krystal: Never really got into the whole twitter thing. I have an account, but never use it. I do love me some instagram and facebook though!

Krystal, thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

Follow Krystal now on Twitter or Instagram.

xoxo,

Aerie

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Farewell AEO 2014 Interns!

At the end of every summer we experience the same bittersweet moment as we say goodbye to our amazing interns! One of those talented interns, Tyreke White, spent the summer in our photo studio and demonstrated his talent of creating beautiful imagery. Inspired by his love of the popular blog, turned book, Humans of New York, Tyreke had an idea that goes far beyond the camera lens.  He wanted to create a photo book that would capture the emotion and moments of his fellow colleagues to serve as a reminder of the special friendships formed for years to come.  A project that could be shared and hopefully just the beginning of his life long journey to inspire the world.

Introducing the 2014 AEO Interns:

InternCollage

Row 1, L to R: Kristen Pospychala, Tyreke White, Chelsea Schulze, Megan Lundy, Maria Ilochi, Mark Dai, Kristin Schmidt | Row 2, L to R: Natalia Concepcion, Kirsty Butchart, Allese Kukalis, Angie Minnick, Chris Uhler, Julia Goll, Ellie Seta, Taylor Johns  | Row 3, L to R: Jared Clemmensen, Kelsey Birsic, Timothy McNally, Laura McCanney, Lindsey Barbour, Wesley Jernigan, Ali Garoon, Tara Llewellyn | Row 4, L to R: Tiffany Trinh, Alex D’Angelo, Megan Albright, Abby Einwag, Brian Kang, Brooke Hanby, Nicholas Massina, and Eric Mink

Tyreke put six questions in a hat and had each of his colleagues randomly pull one out with the task to answer the question wholeheartedly.  The responses from each participant is what evoked the emotion that Tyreke caught on film. We chose our favorite answer from each question to share with you below:

What is your greatest fear?
“I’d have to say my biggest fear is not pursuing my dreams and not going after what I think’s most important to me, even if that means being selfish. I just don’t want to be complacent.” – Nick M.

In five years, what do you hope to have accomplished?
“What I hope to have accomplished in five years is a good start to my career coming out of college, maybe even looking at grad school at this point, and really just enjoying what I’m doing, waking up and being happy with where I am.” – Chris U.

To you, what defines true happiness?
“True happiness, to me, means not having to think about being happy because that’s just how you live your life.” – Alex D.

To you, what defines true success?
“I define true happiness as waking up every morning, being excited about the people I’m with, the things that I’m doing, what I value in life and having that surrounding me at all times and being a point of hope, drive, and motivation.” – Kelsey B.

What inspires you?
“What inspires me are people, traveling, and finding beauty in the little things.” – Lindsey B.

Who has been the most influential person in your life and how?
“My mom actually might be superwoman. The best advice she’s given me is to keep laughing no matter the circumstance because laughing will get you through anything. She’s always been right.” – Brooke H.

 

Meet Tyreke White:

“The reason I began my photographic journey five years ago was very simple, I wanted to capture the world. I wanted to capture those fleeting moments that we often times forget about as quickly as they happen, and photography was a good device for this. Photography has allowed me to explore the huge spectrum of human emotions and personalities. Above all, photography has given me a subtle voice, a way to express how I’m feeling and to fearlessly share my story, my passions, and my dreams. Storytelling was the true inspiration for this project, however. It’s all too easy to take for granted the fact that everyone has a unique story worth hearing and remembering. So, when that storytelling is coupled with a shutter-click, the story is immediately ingrained for eternity – in a manner that is not only delicate but also inspiring. It is in this way that I hope to inspire the world. Thank you, AEO, for giving me the opportunity to showcase the stories of my fellow interns. And thank you, Humans of New York, for the photographic inspiration.”

intern, AEOStyle

Wishing you all the success in the world as you conquer your dreams, Tyreke!!

We would love to hear what inspires you and what you think defines true happiness. Tell us in the comments below.

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