Aliya Protto

 

Nous model, Aliya Protto, has only been signed with us since the beginning of twenty-eighteen – yet, her experience in the entertainment industry is already layered with success.

As a newly-retired USA athlete, Aliya has spent over a decade of her life performing in the competitive sport of Rhythmic Gymnastics. Now that she has officially transitioned into the modeling-sphere, we became eager to learn her backstory, understanding the wisdom that comes along with competing in a national sport. To read about her journey, as well as gain insight as to how rhythmic gymnastics has influenced Aliya’s modeling strengths, take a glance below:

 

 

Flashback to a young Aliya, who’s about to ‘get the ball rolling’ with her Rhythmic Gymnastics career.

1. At what age did you start participating in Rhythmic Gymnastics?

I started Rhythmic gymnastics when I was seven years old.

2. What motivated you to partake in Rhythmic Gymnastics?

Rhythmic actually kind of came to me. I was scouted outside of a gymnastics school, and went to a few trial classes. After that, my mother told me: “Ali, you can’t do gymnastics and take all these other recreational classes. Either it’s Rhythmic or you stay in swimming, art, and all those other activities.”

So, from there, I had made up my mind to stay with Rhythmic and gave up everything else. That was the first time I’d fallen in love with something.

 

Aliya training for her next competition.

3. When training, how many hours a week, on average, did you participate in rhythmic gymnastics?

On average we would train about 25 hours a week. During competitive season, we would train anywhere from 4 to sometimes 7-8 hours a day. Usually these hours were broken up, but sometimes they were all in one big chunk, which could be grueling!  National Team camps and international training sessions were the most intense, but they were also an honor to be a part of, and extremely rewarding.

4.  Describe your daily life as a professional athlete.

My professional training really picked up in my teen years, after I had made the National Team at the age of 16.

My daily life became: wake up, go to first practice in the morning, come home to study/finish my homework, squeeze in a quick nap if time allowed, and then I would be off to a second evening practice. I would usually get home around nine, have dinner, study some more, go to bed, and then be ready to do the same thing the next day.

Aliya taken by Marcel Indik.

 

Aliya Protto (USA) competing in 2015.

5. What ‘life tools’ do you feel rhythmic gymnastics has taught you that you may not have gotten anywhere else?

Towards the end of my career, I really learned to not care what other people thought of me. At first, it was extremely intimidating when I started to compete on the world stage, with such amazing gymnasts. I felt very insecure, like I didn’t totally belong. But, as time went on I just came to this realization that none of it mattered, I didn’t need validation anymore because I understood that I was “enough” the way I was.

It also taught me the importance of being passionate about something. Life isn’t perfect, and things don’t always happen the way you want them to, but it’s all irrelevant if you’re passionate about what you do. Passion is the force that keeps you moving forward, no matter what life throws at you!

6. What was your single greatest achievement in rhythmic gymnastics?

There were some really amazing moments, but the single greatest was in 2016. I was Senior All-Around Champion at Pacific Rim, winning 5 gold medals! I was happy because, in that competition, I was totally in the zone, and I had so much fun performing. It made the event all the more special!

 

Aliya – USA Gymnastics Championships 2015.

7. What was the hardest move to master in rhythmic gymnastics? How did you feel when you accomplished it?

There were sooooo many, haha! I cant really single one out, but the feeling of mastering a trick or a move is exhilarating. It’s that moment that everything clicks and falls into place, and just creates this amazing mix of joy, relief, and excitement!

8. Were there any role models that inspired you?

Omg Yes! I looked up to so many beautiful gymnasts that I still admire even today. There was the beautiful Anna Bessonova from Ukraine, Irina Tchachina and Evgenia Kanaeva from Russia, and Liubov Charkashyna from Belarus! They were the reasons I pushed and trained so hard because I wanted to be on the world stage like them!

9. It’s no secret that rhythmic gymnastics is an extremely physical sport. What were some of the things that you did to upkeep your fitness?

Aliya’s digitals taken by Nous Model Management.

A lot of what we did revolved around stretching, technique, strengthening, and diet. We stretched everyday to stay flexible and keep muscles lean. We did many hours of ballet for technique, and strengthening exercises to keep strong and maintain proper form. We also had to maintain a very healthy diet and very little body fat, to ensure we could jump high and maintain speed throughout our performances.

10. On any given day, what would have been the top reason that may have deterred you from practicing?

Pretty much being sick with the flu and not being able to remove my body from my bed!!!

11. What was (or is) your favorite song to work out to?

I had two! One was “Lean On” by Major Lazer! That was my workout & pre-performance jam, I listened to that song before going into the gym! The other one was “The Fire”  by the Roots, that song I also listened to religiously while warming up before a competition!

12. What inspired you to transition into modeling?

Aliya modeling for Lululemon.

Being in rhythmic, I felt very connected to the arts. It incorporated the art of movement, expression, grace, music (considering we performed to songs that came from various musical categories) —we even had beautiful ornate costumes! So to me, the idea of modeling, and the idea of being a part fashion seemed like a perfect fit. I saw modeling as being a part of another world of art, and I felt that would be the best transition for me.

13. Thus far, have you had the opportunity work with any athletic brands since joining Nous? What was it like to work with these brands?

Yes I have! I have booked quite a few jobs with Lululemon, which has been such a fun experience!! It was exciting for me having the opportunity to model clothing that my teammates and I used to train in, as well as being able to showcase some of my skills for the brand!

14. Is there anything that rhythmic gymnastics and modeling have in common?

Actually yes, in both areas I find that the way of telling a story is very much the same. You cant speak in either modeling or when performing in Rhythmic, so you have to really rely on your facial expression and body movements to really communicate and express yourself.

Aliya’s digitals taken by Nous Model Management.

 

15. Do you still participate in rhythmic gymnastics on occasions for fun?

Not as much. My main focus now is modeling, but I still will get out my equipment every now and then and play around a bit, and still work on maintaining my flexibility.

16. Do you feel that having a background in Rhythmic Gymnastics has helped transition you into the modeling world? In what way?

Absolutely!

Rhythmic really gave me some tough skin, and I think that has helped me so much in pursuing modeling. It has given me that “I don’t quit” mindset, and even when things don’t go smoothly, there is this resilience that my former athletic mind has instilled in me. It has also given me a great understanding of my body and how it moves, which I feel is essential for modeling as well. I feel that this aspect makes me different, and that I can bring something different to the table besides just a pretty face. It has also served me very well in the aspect of discipline, and hard work. At the end of it all, nobody cared if you were tired or things were hard, the only thing they remembered was if you did your job, and did it well.

 

Aliya is all smiles as she accepts her award.

 

Can’t get enough of Aliya? Take a look at this video of her competing in the 2015 USA Gymnastics Championship:

 

 

Check out Aliya’s portfolio and follow her on Instagram.

During the past couple weeks, it’s no secret that ‘June Gloom’ has been making its rounds throughout the city of Los Angeles. Yet, as Flaunt Magazine began their poolside chats with Nous Models, the sun couldn’t help but shine brightly. For Flaunt, all of their previous #poolaroid chats have been exciting, but this particular event brought something new to the table: commemorating Flaunt Magazine’s upcoming 20th birthday.

Therefore, having just celebrated Nous Model Management’s 20th anniversary this past February, we shared their enthusiasm. Being in business for two decades is a great achievement, and our girls, Aliya , Kendall Harris, and Moe Stuck, were eager to celebrate alongside Flaunt. The timeless, “Would You Rather,” game was the honorable poolside activity, touching base on all things from birthdays, fantasy parties, and their best wishes for Flaunt’s big 2-0.

To find out what Aliya, Kendall, and Moe’s answers were, as well as glimpse at some snaps from their cheerful day under the sun, take a look below:

 

Aliya Protto

 

FM: Best ever bday present you got and worst. Best: a journal.

AP: Worst: A wig. A QVC old lady wig.

FM: What did you do for your 20th bday?

AP: I was in Estonia competing at a rhythmic gymnast meet. I was training my butt off and my friends got me one piece of chocolate because that’s all I was allowed to have (coach said no chocolate).

FM: What do you wish to Flaunt for 20th?

AP: Longevity, success, and a huge bouquet of flowers.

Would you rather?

FM: Have a surprise party or plan it yourself?

 

AP: Surprise party. Plan it myself & I will get overwhelmed & cancel.

FM: Magician or clown?

AP: Magician. I hate clowns, they scare me.

FM: Disney Princess or Wild West party theme?

AP: Wild West party.

FM: Red velvet or ice cream cake?

AP: Red velvet. I love ice cream but not ice cream cake.

FM: Stripper in a cake or karaoke bar?

AP: Stripper in a cake; I can’t sing.

FM: Who would you rather have perform at your party: The Spice Girls or a hologram of Prince?

AP: Hologram of Prince, I think I would start crying.

 

 

Kendall Harris

 

 

FM: Best ever bday present you got and worst.

KH: Best: 2 cats that I bought myself. Worst: nothing.

FM: What did you do for your 20th bday?

KH: I moved to LA. My mom and I went on a Hollywood van tour.

FM: What do you wish to Flaunt for 20th?

KH: 20 more great years!!

Would you rather?

FM: Have a surprise party or plan it yourself? 

KH: Surprise party

 

FM: Magician or clown? 

KH: Both awful! Tarot card reader.

FM: Disney Princess or Wild West party theme?

KH: Wild West.

FM: Red velvet or ice cream cake?

KH: Ice cream cake.

FM: Stripper in a cake or karaoke bar?

KH: Karaoke Bar.

FM: Who would you rather have perform at your party: The Spice Girls or a hologram of Prince?

KH: Spice Girls.

 

 

Moe Stuck

 

FM: Best ever bday present you got and worst.

MS: Best: Stand out 21st birthday! My man got me scrapbook photo album with all our adventures because it meant so much to me. It was so much work and so out of character for him.

Worst- grateful for anything! Never got a bad gift, even a card means a lot more than an item. Worst is something very expensive because it would make me feel uncomfortable and show you don’t know me at all.

FM: What did you do for your 20th bday?

MS: College dinner, no money, not 21, stuck in small town, dinner with family, grandma, and mom. Iowa college.

FM: What do you wish to Flaunt for 20th?

MS: Original-cake with 20 candles; everyone can share it.

Would you rather?

FM: Have a surprise party or plan it yourself? 

MS: Surprise party, fun and spontaneous.

FM: Magician or clown?

MS: Magician.

FM: Disney Princess or Wild West party theme?

MS: Wild West party.

FM: Red velvet or ice cream cake?

MS: Ice cream, heck yeah!

FM: Stripper in a cake or karaoke bar?

MS: Karaoke bar, are you kidding me!?

FM: Who would you rather have perform at your party: The Spice Girls or a hologram of Prince?

MS: Spice Girls, tough choice.

 

 

 

Can’t get enough of these poolside sessions?

Take a look at the original article on Flaunt Magazine‘s website to view more.

Aliya Protto – Portfolio | Instagram.

Kendall Harris – Portfolio | Instagram.

Moe Stuck – Portfolio | Instagram.

Photographer – Jose Cervantes | InstagramWebsite.

Producer – Linda Nyvltova | Instagram.

Producer – Andie Eisen.

She’s so Nous! Meet, Aliya ~

Photographed by Bryan Whitely

Name?

Aliya Protto.

Where are you from?

Los Angeles, CA.

If you had to choose one thing you were most passionate about, what would it be and why?

 I am most passionate about traveling and seeing new places. Some of my favorite life experiences came from traveling and meeting new people. So anytime I get to go somewhere new I’m super stoked.

What food will you absolutely not, under any circumstances, eat?

I’m not a picky person when it comes to food, but the one thing I can absolutely not eat is cottage cheese! Tried it once, and it was one time too many!

Photographed by Bryan Whitely

Do you have a book that has changed your life?

My favorite book that has had such a positive impact on my life is “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.” This book has taught me a lot about achieving my goals and just going with the flow in life.

Which emoji would best capture your essence?

The little tiger emoji! 🐯

Do you have any lucky memorabilia? Why is it lucky?

Elephants with their trunks up are my lucky charms. They are supposed to bring wisdom and strength, and they are also one of my favorite animals!

What’s your favorite 1990’s/2000’s jam?

My fav jam from the early 2000’s  was Aaliyah’s “Try again!” I used to listen to that song all the time. It always got me super pumped up and made me secretly wish I was a pop star!

Is there band/musician you would drive across the country to see?

 I would totally drive across the country to see Kendrick Lamar perform. He is one of my favorite artists. I love his style and I think that he is incredibly talented.

Photographed by Bryan Whitely

Whose fictional wardrobe do you want the most?

 If I could choose to have someone’s wardrobe it would be Holly Golightly’s from Breakfast at Tiffany’s! She has the most chic, elegant, and classic wardrobe! I would be the happiest girl if I got to walk around in some of her outfits.

Who is your role model, and why?

I have many role models that inspire me in different ways, but one of the people I still look up to is Franca Sozzani, former editor- in-chief of Vogue Italia. Though she has passed, her charm and strength is still so inspiring. I look back at the many magazines she has edited and am always amazed at her vision and creative influence.

What’s your favorite weekend activity?

A nice hot cup of tea as I work on some of my many unfinished paintings! It is my favorite way to wind down after a hectic week and get my creative juices flowing!

Photographed by Bryan Whitely


Can’t get enough of Aliya? Follow her on Instagram and check out her portfolio!