We had the good fortune of connecting with Abbey Eff and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Abbey, how do you think about risk?
I believe owning your own business and brand is ALL about risk taking. I don’t know if something is going to work or if people are going to enjoy something, a new class, a new challenge, a new product – I have no idea! But like they say, you don’t know until you try. I would rather try and fail than to never know and hold regret. The first biggest risk I ever took was when I chose pole dancing over my graphic design career. I had an interview with Nike as a designer – my dream job – and I was able to snag a second interview but it would require me to make multiple new pieces to show in my portfolio over the next couple weeks. I know I probably wouldn’t be sleeping. I also happened to be training for my very first pole competition, which now I look back at and think is silly because you can’t earn anything from winning a pole comp. But I had to decide what felt more important to me at that time. For some reason, my art career always felt like a struggle. I still enjoy creating & do it on the side, but helping people love their bodies and themselves through pole has become so much more fulfilling. When I started pole, it felt so natural & rewarding, and I was gaining so much from it. I felt like the universe was pushing me towards it. So I chose to not stress about the interview and instead focus my energy on this competition. It was the first of many competitions and a choice I do not regret. I believe that was a moment in my life where if I had chose the other path my life would look very different.

The next big risk I took was when I quit my design job of 5 years, I got rid of 90% of my life, and I moved to Australia to train pole and find new adventures. I was so scared and it was a huge risk. I had tried to save enough money where I felt comfortable going while being able to pay off my student loans at the same time but eventually I realized I will never feel comfortable enough. So I just did it. I found a cheap ticket and saw it as a sign and I did it. I remember telling people it was the stupidest thing I could possibly do. I was only meant to stay one year and I ended up being gone and traveling for three years. Turns out that decision was the best one I have ever made in my life. I was also able to meet so many amazing people in my community, I got to compete there and I built a name for myself on the other side of the world.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve launched my own floorwork & acroyoga retreat in Bali with a friend (which is yet to happen since covid, 2022 though!!), I started my own website, brand and LLC. And man! Let me tell you how scary that was! Every little thing I dropped to the world I had so much anxiety before announcing it. What if no one wants to take my class? What if it’s not as good as so & so, etc,. We will always be afraid of risk. Risk & fear go hand in hand. But we don’t grow until we take risks. So what if we fail!? We must learn from it and move forward with something better. I always have felt exhilarated every time I chose risk. It makes me feel as if I’m living to my full potential. Like I’m doing something bigger than myself.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always thought of myself as an artist. I knew when I went to college it was going to be for art and that is what I did. I went to the Minneapolis College of Art & Design & received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. It wasn’t long after graduating that a couple friends and I decided to try a pole dancing class. We thought it sounded like a silly thing to do and we loved dancing. Little did I know that I would become instantly addicted. I fell in love. And every year I continue to dance and move I discover more love for it.

Pole dancing was more than just a fun hobby to do every week. Maybe it started that way but it became my passion. I’ve grown so much confidence, appreciation for my body, I’ve embraced my sensual side, and I’ve grown a love for helping others feel the same.

My journey & style has turned every which way. When I first began I was all about learning new tricks and getting to the next big move. It is so satisfying when you work so hard to learn something and then you finally nail it. I was always such a tomboy growing up that the more femme side of pole wasn’t of interest to me. So I created more theatrical & comedic pieces when I first started competing. Another great thing about pole is that it is so open and welcoming to all styles and genres. Whatever you want to bring to the table, you can. It was like I could create and design still but now in a performative & 3 dimensional way instead of a 2 dimensional way on paper.

After I traveled to Australia I found a love for classic stripper style, being more sensual, fluid and having a solid flow through my movement. I found out how much i love wearing and utilizing heels in my movement. Once you start letting go of this idea that women are not allowed to be sexy or its looked down upon, damn, does it feel good to embrace it!

Pole is one of those activities that offer so much opportunity. So much growth in so many different areas. Which, to be fair, can be overwhelming at times. It can be a struggle to figure out where to put your energy. I’ll be focusing on floorwork for example but feel I’m not putting enough work into pole tricks or flexibility or strength. You get in your head about it. But like I tell my students every little work you put in is going towards your progress.

I always stress to my students to appreciate and acknowledge their progress. Every small accomplishment is worth celebrating. There is always going to be things to bum about or get frustrated within a class or a training session but there is always always something to be proud of.

With Rad As Eff and my brand I am most excited about helping people become their favorite person & to feel so dang proud of the things they accomplish whether it’s creating an entire routine and performing on stage or completing a hiit class or reaching a flexibility goal! I started my website & business during the pandemic because studios had closed down and I always felt their was more of a need for online pole resources anyways. Some people do not have a studio nearby or opportunities to train with a group and I want Rad As Eff to be a place where you can feel like you’re a part of a team. A community of support & love. I can’t wait to see where it goes and how it grows.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota so I definitely suggest coming in the summer or fall. The winters here can be rough! Rent kayaks on the Lake of the Isles, go to downtown Stillwater & walk around the little shops, snag yourself some MN Nice Cream (it’s the best and they have vegan options!).

If you love meat, go check out the Food truck Animalous or get a burger at Parlour Bar. Matt’s Bar is also a must. It’s a little whole in the wall bar that makes the BEST Juicy Lucy that has ever existed! And it’s hella cheap!

If you’re a vegan- JSelbys & Trio are absolutely amazing!

ALSO – check out Wrecktangle Pizza! It’s gotta be the best pizza in town!

A super fun bar to check out it Up, Down in Uptown. It’s a really cool arcade bar and it has all the coolest vintage arcade games you can play!

If you’re up for some adventure and hiking:

If you want to stay close to the city check out Minnehaha Falls & Shadow Falls Park.

If you’re up for a longer drive – a must is Banning State Park or Taylors Falls!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Biggest shout out to my parents. I started taking pole dancing classes 10 years ago and at the time it wasn’t very common. I’ve come across many fellow dancers and students who do not have parents who support what they do and I am so grateful to say that mine always have. My Mom has traveled to many of my pole competitions and my Dad was my biggest fan. He would show his friends and co-workers cool pictures and videos of me on the pole. Many people would come back confused at his pride because of THEIR stigmas and he waved their weird questions good bye and always stayed supportive. I’m just so happy I was blessed with such amazing and supportive parents who have believed in me and have never questioned my decisions.

Also a shoutout to every student I have ever had. You all are the ones who have kept me moving and pushing to be a better instructor and coach. I appreciate the trust you all have given me. It makes me so darn happy to see you all grow and become stronger and more appreciative of yourselves. That gives me so much joy.

Website: https://radaseff.com/

Instagram: @the.raddest.abbey

Facebook: Abbey Eff

Image Credits
Cory Wilaby @Arts_of_cory

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.