Our wonderful Freed of London shop team members Keanah and Faye recently took part in a photoshoot for our upcoming launch of ‘The Showstopper’. After a long but fun day out in the sun, our senior manager, Sophie, sat down with our girls and did a little post-shoot interview! Read below to learn more about our fabulous team members.
Keanah – 20 years old – Freed team member since 2019
Sophie: Tell me about your background, have you always danced, is it new to you?
Keanah: When I was 4 years old, I started attending Saturday associates in Clapham.
Sophie: Is that where you’re from?
Keanah: I’m from Brixton.
Sophie: Okay, so you’re a London girl?
Keanah: Yes. And then I went to college and studied at the Brit School, which is a performing arts school.
Sophie: How old were you when you went to the Brit School?
Sophie: When you were there were you dancing all the time? Did you have to do academics?
Keanah: So I went specifically for just dance, so it was everyday Monday to Friday
Sophie: Favourite genre of dance?
Sophie: Did you ever have a dance exam or a syllabus to follow?
Keanah: Yeah so I went to my associates, I always took my graded exams with ISTD
Sophie: So you’re not dancing now, so when you left the Brit school did you think that was enough? Did you want to be professional?
Keanah: Leaving the Brit school I decided I didn’t want to be a professional dancer, but I didn’t want to give up dancing, so I kept it as a hobby, but I didn’t want it to be my forever life 24/7.
Sophie: Remind me, how long have you been with us here at Freed?
Keanah: I started two years ago in 2019
Sophie: How did you find out about us?
Keanah: Actually, where I was working beforehand wasn’t for me, so I wanted to move somewhere that wasn’t similar. Because I wasn’t dancing I wanted to stay connected, so when this job popped up I went for it.
Sophie: So you’re based in our famous London shop, tell me, is it what you expected it would be?
Keanah: It is in a sense that I knew it was going to be different to an ordinary retail shop
Sophie: What goes on day to day?
Keanah: It is different, in a sense of you’re not just serving customers, you’re answering emails, you’re sending out mail. I was used to customers coming off the street, whereas in the shop you have a lot of overseas customers, and a wide range of people coming to visit here.
Sophie: What is the hardest thing and the most enjoyable thing about working here?
Keanah: The hardest thing would be fitting shoes, and meeting new people is the most enjoyable, you’re always meeting different people.
Sophie: Tap is your thing, but how did you find today? Have you done photoshoots before?
Keanah: Only small ones, but never a full dance shoot.
Sophie: The shop has a very close team, you’re all quite different, are they more than work colleagues? Because it can often be a very demanding job.
Keanah: It is definitely a bonus to work with people that have a similar dance background but also have different characteristics, backgrounds and interests – you’re always learning new things.
Sophie: Had you heard of Freed before you started working here?
Keanah: Yes – funny story, so my dad used to call this the green shop because it was green a while ago, and he used to come here to get my brother’s dancewear, so I’ve always known this shop to be the green shop. Even when I came here, I was just describing it to my dad I like oh yeah it’s the green shop.
Sophie: Tell me a bit about yourself, you didn’t grow up here did you?
Faye: I’m British born, but I grew up in Texas in the US – I know, it’s bonkers.
Sophie: What made you come back to London?
Faye: When I was 16 I came over with my dad for a couple of weeks in the summer, I was talking to family, and they began saying I should study in London and I thought – what a good idea! So I applied to university here, and moved back to London when I was 18 years old on my own.
Sophie: What University did you go to?
Faye: The university of Roehampton, I studied dance.
Sophie: Have you been dancing all your life?
Faye: I started dancing when I was 2, my mum was a dancer, my grandmother was a dancer, and my great grandparents were dancers.
Sophie: So there was no way out?
Faye: There was no way out and my poor children have their destiny written for them already.
Sophie: What sort of dance did you study?
Faye: I did everything, I started with ballet, then I moved on to tap, and then I joined what we call a company team, so I did competitions – I did ballet, contemporary, lyrical, musical theatre, tap and jazz, the only thing I didn’t do was street and hip-hop because I do not move like that, that’s not how my body moves!
Sophie: So you teach as well?
Faye: When I was 11 years old, the head dance teacher saw me sitting in the hallway and said come help me and give me a hand – it was a nursery class. I left the class thinking yep that’s it that’s what I’m gonna do I’m gonna teach kids how to dance.
Sophie: Where do you teach now? What do you do?
Faye: I teach at Wimbledon dance academy, I’m an assistant teacher so I help with the ballet classes, and I also teach contemporary classes.
Sophie: You work in our London shop when you’re not teaching – before you came to London had you heard of our company?
Faye: Yeah so funny story, my mum came to the shop to get her first pair of pointe shoes when she was 15, and she used to tell me that story. I found them once, and I didn’t realise they were soft blocks, and I used to walk around on my toes in them when I was about 8 years old.
Sophie: When did you start working with us?
Faye: I started in November 2019, so just under 2 years.
Sophie: Is it what you thought?
Faye: It’s more than what I thought, it’s not a normal retail job, it’s very specialised, customers know what they want and what they’re after. As soon as a customer comes into the shop I have something in common with them, even if they’re ballroom and Latin dancers, they’re dancers, we speak the same language.
Sophie: Our shop is for any type of dancer, did you know that before you joined?
Faye: I thought it was more of a ballet shop, it was a good surprise to know you actually do everything.
Sophie: You’ve been on a fitting with me haven’t you?
Faye: Yeah so we went to the Central School in September 2020, it was the first fitting trip I’ve been on
Sophie: What is the best and worst part about your job here?
Faye: The best part is being able to help someone with their first pair of pointe shoes, that is such a huge moment for anyone, whether you go to a vocational school or do one class a week in a village hall, your first pair of point shoes is what you’re dreaming about from the get go. The hardest part is probably when you have a customer, and you know what they need, but they think they know what they need, so you have to meet them somewhere in the middle.