I’m going to be a princess when I grow up, I decided.
Settling for the next best thing, my parents Stephanie and Martin signed me up for ballet lessons when I was seven.
From my first pirouette, it was instant love.
At 14, I secured a spot in a program at the National College of Dance in Newcastle, NSW, before being accepted into the Ballet Academy East in New York City, US, at just 17.
Living in the bustling city was incredible, but two years later I flew back home to Sydney in March 2020, just as the pandemic began.
After Covid restrictions eased a year later, I moved to Melbourne, hoping to join The Australian Ballet company. But sadly, restrictions kicked in again.
‘I really miss performing,’ I said on the phone to Mum.
‘Well, why don’t you perform on the street once the lockdown ends?’ she suggested.
‘I’m not doing that!’ I laughed.
But the idea slowly brewed and, with the encouragement of my loved ones, I wanted to give it a red-hot go!
'Their happy faces said everything.'
During lockdowns, I spent every spare moment perfecting my routine.
Nailing one last twirl in the living room of my flat in October 2021, I was ready to head out onto the streets.
Using my friend’s small speaker, The Dying Swan music filled the air.
With a tip jar in front of me, I began dancing at Red Stair amphitheatre in Southbank, nerves fluttering in my stomach.
A tiny group watched on as I leapt and kicked, wearing a black, flowy skirt and a leotard.
The crowds quickly grew. The tiny speaker’s volume was too quiet, so I changed over to earphones for my next few busks, and classical music blasted in my ears.
I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying, but their happy faces said everything.
Seeing people of all ages grinning as I twirled was so rewarding.
And after a few months, my tip jar grew bit by bit.
Although my main source of income was still from my part-time work making burgers at Grill’d and waitressing at a fancy restaurant. But the extra bit of cash helped towards my groceries.
'I was earning enough to quit my two jobs.'
As months rolled by and I swapped my earphones for a better speaker and upgraded to a sparkly pink tutu, a swarm of people would watch me dance.
Now and then I do get some funny stares, but it never knocks me down.
I once got heckled by a drunk, but I carried on.
The smiles outweigh the smirks, I tell myself.
Six months into busking, I was earning enough to quit my two jobs.
Three or four times a week, I was out performing on the street, and the other days I’d take ballet classes at a local studio.
'My dreams really have come true.'
After going on the road and showing off my ballet busking in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Byron Bay, I flew back to the US this July, and then Scotland in August to busk.
Walking through Time Square, New York, in my pretty pink tutu, someone even yelled out, ‘Barbie!’
And loads of little girls ran up for pics in Scotland.
Now, I’m off to Canada and again to the US to ballet busk.
Often when sweet little girls spot me in the street, they tug on their mum’s shirts and exclaim with joy, ‘Look, there’s a princess!’
My dreams really have come true.