From pro figure skater and renowned coach to songstress and master of the mic, Tara Lee Fawcett is certainly no stranger to the spotlight.
Despite the obstacles of her past, which includes overcoming a divorce and an eating disorder, this determined mother-of-three continues to dazzle, entertain and inspire fans, students and friends both on the ice and off — myself included. When she isn’t sporting a pair of skates, you’ll find this Valley gal chillin’ with her family on the couch or rocking one of three popular karaoke show’s here in ‘the Valley.’
Read on to find out more about this inspiring little lady with a heart of gold and discover why she traded in her glamorous gig as one of B.C’s top figure skaters — even competing against Tonya Harding –for diaper duty, cuddles and carpooling.
Tell us about yourself and your family.
Figure skating has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was three-years-old I, begged my parents to let me skate just like my big sister did — they were very reluctant because it’s expensive and hoped I wouldn’t like it. But of course I loved it!
In addition to touring Mexico and Europe as a pro skater, I’ve coached all levels of figure skating — recreational plus competitive ages three to adult — and have even taught power skating for hockey players. Currently, I also earn a living as a part-time karaoke host, which encompasses both my passion for music and performing. It was while I was on the road performing in front of filled stadiums for a European Ice show Holiday On Ice that I discovered karaoke. From that day forward I was hooked.
Last year I married my best friend Greg whom I met at my show …this sounds like Kristyl’s story,lol… and most importantly, I am the proud mom of three half-Mexican beauties Jorge Ana and Margarita. They are my world!
Tell us about your experience as a competitive figure skater.
I started at age three and loved every single min of it. At the age of six, I entered my first competition in the U.S.A — I was against Tonya Harding (her mom was so mean). I continued to compete and skate up to Junior level and placed high enough in my region to go several times to the BC Section level. When I was 15, I won the award for being the most artistic skater in B.C. and I also won the award that same day for the ‘Best Music in the Section.’
My artistic abilities took me all over the western U.S.A. where I won many trophies. The biggest win was from Charlz Shultz at the Snoopy Chalet in Santa Rosa California, where I took the whole competition as the ‘Best Show Skater Competing.’
In skating, we take tests to be able to move into certain competitive levels — the hardest tests are the gold levels and those are the final levels. I have five gold levels in skating for Freeskate ,Competitive Freeskate, Artistic, Skills, Dance and Figures. At 19, I needed to find a real job so I went pro.
What did you love most about your career in that field?
I loved performing in front of stadiums full of people; I loved traveling to amazing cities all over Europe and Mexico; I loved the expensive costumes and all the glamour; I loved my HOI family and I especially loved going from a chorus girl to a star of the show — not easy to do without some type of national world title. However, I did it with hard work, a fearless attitude and talent for show skating.
What was your biggest challenge of being a pro figure skater?
Some of the biggest challenges of being in a pro -ice show is missing home. You are gone for six or eight months at a time — that was way back when there was only snail mail, so any letters from home were cherished. I am sure my Mom got tired of the weird hours she got calls from me.
My biggest trial would be the weigh-ins. We were assigned a specific weight and were checked every two weeks to ensure that were on target with the scale. If not, we were fined out of our paycheck and eventually fired if you did not comply. I was a very muscular young skater, so I weighed in heavy due to my competitive body. Losing weight was a constant struggle for me and I had to resort to some scary tactics to please the company… all of us girls did. I was pretty small already so this one was tough.
In the years I went pro I had to scale back my athletic build and it took a very big tole mentally and physically on me…. I wouldn’t wish that on any young girl.
What advice do you have for moms to help build their child’s sense of self worth?
Make sure they have positive people around them growing up and let them fail because you have to miss the net sometimes in order to figure out how to score. Failure builds character and opens new doors.
Tell us about your current skating gig in Chilliwack.
I just started with the Cheam Skating Club this past fall. I made the switch to this club and have enjoyed being the head instructor with them and overseeing all the club programs.
Would you consider yourself a roll model to the young girls you teach?
I know how the pressures of life can be and how it affects young people’s self esteem, which is why exact my teaching method on avoiding any kind destruction on one’s self worth. I also try to show my skaters they can do anything … running in half-marathons and Spartan races helps give me proof of that! It’s a great tool to show young people anything is possible.
You also have a popular karaoke gig called ‘Taraoke.’ Tell us about that.
It started with a love for singing and a chance encounter with a small Karaoke bar in Mexico city called Melodika 16 years ago — I have been hooked ever since.
Karaoke allowed me to have my showgirl performers job back without skates and no weigh-ins. Being a showgirl and performing in front of a crowd is what I am good at — I am so glad I have this outlet off the ice. Seeing people enjoy the singers and my show is a big payback… your fans are what make you.
How do you juggle being a karaoke host, skating and parenthood without losing your mind?
I thought I already did and still do ! It is tough because I can only give so much to either career while I am raising a family. The hardest part juggling is being away on nights I would like to be home with the kids. Fortunately, my kids are rink rats — they have been raised in the rinks and are always at mom’s day job… the girls skate too so they are there a lot. And thank goodness for grandparents. They’ve helping me be two places at one time for years.
Who is your mom crush?
My Mom! If I had known how challenging this ‘job’ was going to be, I would have thanked her as a teen and not waited til my second was born.My Mom truly is amazing!
Where can our readers find you?
Hosting karaoke night at the Walnut Grove Pub & Bistro in Langley on Friday nights (20470 88 Ave.), at the Fox & Hounds in Aldergrove Saturday nights (26444 32 Ave.), and my new gig at Morgan’s Public House in South Surrey (16051 24 Ave.) Tuesday nights. Find me on Facebook here and Twitter here. For more information on the Cheam Skating Club, please visit www.cheamskating.com