I have to say, this is the first of the Featured Member articles where I truly felt like I opened the first chapter of a book and it was about way more than I had anticipated! May’s Featured Member, Michelle Duncan, and I have taken quite a few classes together over the last year, but though this email interview, I realize that I don’t know her as well as I should! I actually said out loud to my husband that I felt like she’s a spy, I only know one of her aliases, and I’ve just become privy to her other lives! I’m excited to share with you more about Michelle, who I would now consider a Jack of All Trades.
Originally from Nebraska, Michelle moved to Los Angeles to follow her dream of becoming an actress. She’s studied at various acting studios including Joanne Baron D. W. Brown’s two year conservatory, Playhouse West, The Groundlings, Upright Citizen’s Brigade and more! In addition to her training, “I’ve had the opportunity to shoot music videos where I specialized in weapons and martial arts, along with a multitude of other television and theatre credits to my name.” Prior to moving to LA, she worked as a TV correspondent for the Omaha Buzz 6.20 station. “I used to report on the hottest restaurants, clubs, and special events happening within the city. I’ve traveled the United States with Andeamo Photography as a production assistant, event photographer, and public relations manager.” But wait, there’s more! She is a certified EMT, a sports enthusiast, a dancer, and an accomplished martial artist in the art of Taekwondo.
PHEW. That. Is quite. A resume! So, how did someone who is so talented in so many avenues get started in CrossFit? It began as a desire to pursue a career as a firefighter, alongside her acting career. I get the impression that all of those previously mentioned experiences have now focused in on this new direction. “One of my good friends at Joanne Baron had mentioned how the fire department might be of interest to me. In fact, he gave me the information to check out a meeting for individuals curious about the fire service.” After paying a local fire department a visit, “a new female recruit at Fire Station 86 provided me with the essential details to get me started. She had mentioned taking the written exam while it was still available, passing my Cpat, and acquiring an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license. She strongly recommended the Candidate Advancement Program (CAPs) offered by the LAFD. The program was developed to help recruits get physically fit and accustomed to the rigorous training environment they will experience in the training academy. In fact, Coach Dot specifically trained me for my Cpat test.”
Previous to joining CFTY, Michelle had been attending classes at Crunch Fitness and worked out with the LAFD three days a week. It was the Fire Department that had pushed her to learn pull ups – starting with banded pull ups in her apartment doorway. After struggling her way through 2-3 reps at a time at home, current CFTY Member Nic, had, for months, been suggesting she try CrossFit. Once another female candidate for the fire department had mentioned how much CrossFit had helped, she decided to give it a try. She and Nic didn’t immediately start at Training Yard, but after learning all they could from her previous box, they headed our way to keep learning and improve strength and technique. “Training with Dot, Becca, Eric, and Ted has improved my physical game in ways I never thought possible. I may not be doing RX weights every wod, but with hard work, dedication, and incredible coaching, I am confident I will improve.” She continues, “CFTY is made up of amazing individuals who care and encourage others to be the best versions of themselves. I really wish I didn’t have work on the weekends, so I could ‘play outside the box’ with everybody else. Next year, I look forward to doing the open workouts in the classes without worrying about trivial matters such as how good or bad I’ll be and what other people will think. I feel like each and every day at CFTY our coaches bestow greatness amongst all their students and allow them to flourish on their own.”
Michelle has since attained all of her firefighting credentials and is currently working on a Fire Technology degree at College of the Canyons. She’s also worked as an EMT for West Coast Ambulance getting real life experience, and is currently in the lottery of candidates to be chosen for an oral interview throughout various fire departments in California.
Girl, you’ve already proven that you can do ANYTHING you set your heart to, and your determination to go for it is really inspiring. I, personally, have seen you get SO STRONG, and you’re only getting better. I hope you join us for a Friday Night Lights during The Open so we can all cheer you on even more!