You don't have to be into figure skating to love the artistry of Elladj Baldé.
In an interview for Narcity's qNa series, the Canadian figure skater who has taken social media by storm with his backflips on the ice, talks skill, inspiration and representation in the sport.
While Baldé competed competitively for Team Canada for over a decade, his appeal transcends the typical audience of that of your traditional figure skater.
The success of these posts perhaps stems from his apparent love of skating and the recurring theme of freedom that Baldé feels.
“It's a sense of freedom that you don't necessarily feel when you're just running or walking." He goes on to say it's “very liberating."
This sense of freedom also factors into his music selection, where “the best music to skate to for me is music that makes me feel something."
“It's a hip-hop song that makes my soul on fire or it's a song that makes me want to move and gives me a sense of freedom."
But his success on the ice has not come from a clear-cut path.
“I didn't grow up with a lot of representation in the sport," says Baldé.
When asked about what it was like growing up as a biracial skater, he says he “learned how to be who I needed to be in order to please judges or Team Canada or Team Quebec."
"It was a long journey of not believing in myself and not truly feeling connected to myself and to what I feel is authentic to me."
But what keeps Baldé going is “inspiring the next generation of skaters and the youth."
"I found my purpose and fulfillment and I encourage everyone to do that."