Since winning the all-around gold in the 2008 Olympics, gymnast
Nastia Liukin has appeared on a Wheaties box and two television shows, designed
a line of leotards and hosted her own gymnastics
A Supergirl, indeed.
Now Liukin, 20, is bringing some of that superheroics, spandex
and sparkle to back-to-school fashion. A new clothing
line, Supergirl by Nastia, launches this season at
JCPenney. The clothes, aimed at the 8-to-12-year-old crowd, are
comfy, classy (no super-short skirts or midriff-baring tops here)
and reasonably priced, retailing for $12 to $38.
They're also designed, Liukin says, to empower the girls who
wear them -- maybe to dreams of Olympic gold, maybe just through
the first day of school. The line is available exclusively at
JCPenney, whose Plano, Texas, headquarters are just a few miles
from Liukin's childhood home. (Browse the collection here.)
Liukin was in Chicago Friday promoting the launch, and we caught
up with her to talk about clothes, competition, her "Gossip Girl"
cameo, and whether we can expect to see her in London in 2012.
Want to meet Nastia? She'll be signing autographs and
meeting fans at the JC Penney at the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg
Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m.
What have you been up to since, you know, you fulfilled the
dream of every 5-year-old who's ever put on a leotard?
A lot of different things. [Winning the gold] was such a high
point and I've been trying to keep that feeling going. I took the
year off from competition, but I've been staying busy and
involved in the gymnastics community. I have my own leotard
line, and held my own competition [the Supergirl cup] last spring.
I got to be in some of my favorite shows, like "Gossip Girl," which was really fun and so
completely different from what I'm used to.
I hear this isn't your first venture into fashion. What got
you started and what were some of your influences for this
I've designed every leotard I've ever competed in, so I guess
I've always had passion for it. With this line, I wanted it to be
fashionable and trendy and for girls to feel cute, but there's a
bigger message, too. I want them to feel empowered and inspired
when they're wearing these clothes. My experiences and my
accomplishments all started with a dream -- to go to the Olympics
and win a gold medal -- and I want them to realize that that's how
all big things start, with a dream. I want them to feel like they
can do anything.
The S-shield is such an iconic symbol. I feel like boys have
always had Superman and Batman and all these superheroes, but girls
haven't really had that one superhero to relate to, to look at and
think, 'I'm inspired by this.' That's the idea behind
You've had the opportunity to meet a lot of girls promoting
the line. What's been the best part of the promo tour?
We've had girls from local gyms come out, which is always neat
for me. They're my fan base, the ones that have inspired me my
whole career. There were times when I didn't always believe in
myself, but I knew that they did, so it's great to meet them and
hear what they're doing.
What's next? Can we look forward to seeing you in
I haven't decided yet. I'm a very goal-oriented person and I
like to be able to give 100 percent to whatever I'm doing, and
that's how it was with this clothing line. I have an
gymnastics show in October that I'm getting ready for, and I'll
probably decide about 2012 around then.
What's on your Chicago schedule?
I'm hoping to get to see some of the city. I was up early this
morning for some TV appearances, but hopefully some shopping this
afternoon. And then [Saturday] I'll be in Woodfield signing
autographs and meeting fans, and then I fly out Sunday. A quick
trip, but it's been great so far.
(If her Twitter feed is accurate, looks like she snuck in
that shopping trip...)
Looking for something to do on Saturday that's far, far away
from the Lollapaloozamadness? Head out to the Woodfield Mall in
Schaumburg between 2 and 3:30 p.m. to meet Nastia, then duck into
JCPenney to check out the new clothing line.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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