Q&A with Maira Barriga Toyama who danced her dreams to New York

Tell us a little about yourself. 
I’m a freelance artist in NYC! 
What inspired you to become a ballet dancer & an artist?
I loved performing since I was little. I grew up in Panama and moved to a small city in Japan when I was nine. I’m half Japanese/Colombian and was bullied because I was different. Because of this, I wanted to get out and thought that dance was the way. But pursuing a career as a dancer/artist was very uncommon in this little city. I was lucky to have my mother who believed in me and supported my dreams even if that meant letting me go at age 15 to NYC to study in a full scholarship in the school of American Ballet at Lincoln center! It was truly a dream come true.
What message would you share to inspire & motivate others? 
Don’t let your surroundings hold you from what you want to do with your life. Believe in yourself, work hard, stay focused. And most importantly, have fun doing it! We only got one life,  so let’s cherish every moment!
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion, to me, is a form of self-expression, just like dance! It’s another form of language.  

Ballet dancer and sustainable fashion lover

How do you incorporate a slow & sustainable fashion into your daily lifestyle?
I’m VERY into thrift shopping! As they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! 😏✨
Your top tips for creating & maintaining a sustainable wardrobe.
First of all, buy from brands that are sustainable.
Don’t buy things just because it’s “trending”!
My boyfriend hates it, but I window shop a LOT without buying anything… if it’s on my mind weeks/months later, I know it's mine. My point is, take greater responsibility before consuming things!