Being seventeen has its highs and its lows. The highs? Solo dance parties in your bedroom, getting coffee with friends, finding out you have less school work than you thought you did. The lows? Learning how to deal with unsupportive friends and people who try to rain on your parade. Except when you’re Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, you can also add being on top of a mountain and a podium to the list of highs. Everything else stays pretty much the same.
Obviously, Kim is not your average high school student. As a world-class athlete, she’s pretty much the paragon of badassery—and she’s a role model for people all around the world who aspire to reach her level of skill, work ethic and determination. She first learned how to snowboard at age four and began competing at age six. She competes on the halfpipe, which is arguably one of the most exhilarating events to watch (let alone participate in) in all of professional sports.
So, like, bow down. Just a little bit.
In 2014, Kim was too young to compete in the Sochi Olympics, but that didn’t stop her from medaling at the X Games. In fact, in 2016, she became the first person under the age of sixteen to earn three gold medals at the X Games. She and Shaun White are the only two people ever to score a perfect 100 points at the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix. This year, Kim is finally representing Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics —and we couldn’t be more excited to watch her compete.
Ever wonder what goes on in the head of an elite athlete? Well, Her Campus had the chance to speak with Kim about everything from her training schedule and finishing high school to her Instagram aesthetic:
Her Campus: What are you most looking forward to in the 2018 Olympics?
Chloe Kim: I think I’m just really excited to go experience the Olympics. I feel like it’s every athletes dream to represent a country, so I feel very blessed and honored to go and compete for the US. I think it will be an amazing experience.
HC: What does your daily training schedule look like?
Kim: I usually wake up, get some breakfast, get dressed, maybe have a little dance session, listen to music on my Samsung. Then I head up to the mountain and start riding. I usually ride for a few hours, take a break, then ride for a little longer and head home. If I’m feeling extra that day, I might go to the gym, but I haven’t been in awhile.
HC: What do you do in the non-snowy months?
Kim: We usually travel down south, like New Zealand, and we have a couple training sessions there because it’s winter down there. So we definitely are chasing snow, but I like to take a little time off of snowboarding, just to give my body a little break. During those months off, I usually am in the gym. I partially tore my ACL a few years ago, so I’m just making sure it’s all good and my leg stays strong.
HC: As a top-tier athlete, how often do you get to step out and relax and enjoy your social life? When do you do your school work?
Kim: It’s pretty hard to go hang out with friends back home, but most of my friends are snowboarders, so that makes it really easy on my social life. I just snowboard, and then when we’re done, we all hang out and get some food, go bowling, coffee, whatever. It’s not too bad. I think my parents were a little worried because I stopped going to an actual public school when I was thirteen and I started getting homeschooled. I think they were a little concerned, but I met so many amazing friends from snowboarding. I’m living a pretty normal life, just on the mountain.
When it comes to schoolwork, I just get it online. My teachers are pretty flexible. I finished high school early. I did my junior year and senior year last year, and I went through the whole year and didn’t take the summer off. I actually had a meeting with my teachers [Thursday, January 18, 2018] because I thought I had one more elective, but it turns out I’m done. I was kind of expecting to have more school to do, but they were like, ‘You’re done. We don’t know else to tell you. You’re graduating.’ It was definitely pretty surprising, I was pretty hype.
HC: What is it like competing and doing all the incredible tricks that you do? Do you ever get nervous?
Kim: Yeah, I get nervous all the time. I’m always nervous. But I think nerves are good. I kind of freak out when I don’t get nervous. I think I get nervous because I want to do the best that I can and I’m constantly pushing myself. I’m pretty hard on myself, I’m a self-critic. I’ll watch a video and everyone’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, that was great!’ And I’m like, ‘Well, my hand’s in a weird place and I don’t like it. I’m gonna do it again.’ I’m kind of a perfectionist so I get a little freaked out when something’s not going perfectly. I think that’s why I push myself, because I want to make sure everything’s perfect, and I won’t leave until it’s perfect.
HC: As a badass athlete who’s doing big things, how do you handle the people who doubt you and look down on you?
Kim: It’s pretty hard because I want to block them out, but it’s really hard to. It’s pretty impossible because it’s always up in your face, and nowadays with social media it’s pretty easy to see what people say about you. It’s definitely pretty hard, but I always try to stay positive and I have such an amazing group of people around me and I have an amazing team and awesome friends who are always there supporting me, so they make it very easy to just forget about it and move forward. I don’t really think about the hate too much. I’ve learned to disregard it a little better, but there are times when it’s still hard. I think if you get hate, it means you’re going on the right path. I kind of use that as motivation. If they hate me for being a snowboarder, or being who I am, it means I’m doing something right.
HC: Tell me about your Samsung partnership and why you wanted to be a member of Team Galaxy?
Kim: Oh my gosh, I love working with Samsung. I actually did my first shoot with them in New Zealand, and it was really awesome. We went horseback riding and my dad fell off of his horse and it was the funniest thing ever. He was fine. I was a little scared but he got back up and everyone was laughing really hard and I couldn’t stop laughing. So that was awesome, and then they brought us up on helicopters and we went heli-boarding for the first time. Samsung is so fun to work with. They’re always sending me really cool gadgets that I’ve never seen before. I got a virtual reality headset with a 360 camera, so you can film something and send it over to your virtual reality headset and you can basically see everything you just recorded, which I think is so cool. It’s pretty cool. I’m pretty happy working with them.
HC: What are your favorite features on your Samsung Galaxy S8?
Kim: I’m pretty down with Bixby. She’s my homie. It’s easy to access her, just touch the button on the side, and she’s like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ Also, this phone takes amazing photos. My mom’s always like, ‘Chloe, take a picture of this, take a picture of that,’ and I’m like, ‘Mom. My storage.’ We always take hundreds and hundreds of photos and I have a lot of awesome memories on my phone and I can’t wait to make more.
HC: Speaking of which, your Instagram aesthetic is perfect. Which apps do you use to edit your photos?
Kim: I actually don’t edit my photos. Sometimes, if it’s a little blurry, I’ll do it on the Instagram app and brighten it a little, but I haven’t really edited my photos before. I wouldn’t know what to do. My Samsung just takes amazing photos and you don’t really need to do anything. You just take them and then you’re set, you’re good to go.
HC: What is your advice to high school and college students everywhere who have lofty goals like your own?
Kim: Work hard and don’t let the haters get you. ‘Cause they hate—wait what is it, they hate us ‘cause they ain’t us? Just go in with the mindset that you have good people around you supporting you, and just know that those people are more important than those who want to give you a bad day and rain on your parade. So block out the haters, have fun, stay true to yourself, and love what you do.
I know I will definitely be taking Kim’s advice to heart—and we’ll be cheering loudly when we watch her on TV during the 2018 Winter Olympic games. The women’s half-pipe qualifiers begin on Feb. 10 at 11:30 pm EST, and we can’t wait to see her kill it. You go girl!