A role model is someone others respect and look to as a good example. They try to make good decisions, put others first and often imitated by those around them. They “think before they act….not act before they think.” They are the people we want our children to be around, whether it is a teacher, coach or family member. Your Health Journal wanted to highlight some special individuals who are good role models and allow them to share their stories here. Enjoy!
1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?
My name is Alissa Musto; I’m 24 years old and currently living my dream, performing music and traveling the world, as a guest entertainer aboard luxury cruise ships. This year, I’ve performed for thousands of people while sailing through Mexico, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii, the French Polynesia, Central America and currently, New Zealand and Australia.
I am also an award-winning singer-songwriter, currently working on a new album of original music. My songs can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon and other music retailers.
2. Who was the person that inspired you as a child to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?
Both of my parents instilled the importance of eating healthy and staying fit from a young age. Growing up, my mother actually worked in the health and fitness industry, and my father, a professional musician, stressed the importance of a healthy lifestyle for looking and feeling your best on stage. They were great role models; we didn’t eat fast food or drink soda growing up and we often did healthy, active activities as a family, like going on bike rides and playing tennis.
3. What did they do to inspire you?
From the time I was young, my parents engrained healthy habits in me and taught me about eating well and maintaining a well-balanced diet. My mother cooked our meals almost every night and being a “picky eater” was never really an option in our household. As a nutritionist, my mother was also up with a lot of food-related research before it was popular or trendy; for most of my childhood, we drank non-dairy milk and ate organically. While in high school, I decided to become vegetarian and my parents supported me 100%, learning how to cook vegan meals and accommodate my lifestyle, while make sure I was still getting proper nutrition. Additionally, my parents were always active and passed on those hobbies to my siblings and I; my dad regularly boxed and played tennis, while my mom coached cross country at our school and taught yoga. We also had a full gym in our basement.
4. How did their lesson change your life?
Having to “un-learn” bad habits later in life is always difficult. Fortunately, because my parents taught me good habits early on, maintaining them was just second nature. While in college, I was able to go to the grocery store and cook simple, healthy meals, while a lot of my friends opted for McDonalds or pizza. It allowed me to sustain a busy schedule of going to school while performing at night and on weekends, and still having the time and energy to exercise and pursue other hobbies. Even today, when I talk to my parents while on the road, they always ask about my eating, exercise regiment, how I’m feeling and whether I’m sleeping enough. Without your health, it is hard to accomplish anything, and I’m grateful for their life lesson.
When I was crowned Miss Massachusetts in 2016 and training for Miss America, I also felt like I already had a solid foundation in health and fitness and was not starting from scratch nor pushing myself to unhealthy extremes, like many competitors often do. Adapting to a stricter exercise and diet regiment was not a complete culture shock; foods like sweet potatoes, quinoa and hard boiled eggs were already staples in my diet, while the workouts were not really that much more intense than the varsity sports practices I was accustomed to.
5. Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?
Absolutely! The entertainment industry is notorious for partying hard and heavy drinking; that lifestyle is also glamorized in a lot of the media and music kids are exposed to today. I try to be a positive role model and lead by example, using my platform as an artist to promote a healthy lifestyle, meat-free eating and my own athletic endeavors on my blog and social media—like recently completing my first half-marathon!
6. What would be your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyles?
My main message to kids today would be that a healthy lifestyle is not really an optional activity, but a prerequisite to accomplishing and sustaining whatever you want to do in life. I’m certainly no expert in health or fitness, but you don’t need to be to lead or promote a healthy life.
Looking back at high school, some of my favorite memories are from the four seasons I spent on the tennis court, serving as varsity captain and making all-state honors my senior year. I’d encourage any kid to find a sport they enjoy and stick with it. It’s a great way to build healthy habits while making friends and having fun.
7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?