Millennial Nicole Pinedo first fell in love with sports watching her father play for the Bolivian professional soccer team and soon followed in his cleated footsteps. Now the former athlete, who is an accomplished multidisciplinary artist and entrepreneur, is building community with her “The Future of Sports” venture. Think of this unique pop-up fitness experience as escape-room-meets-playground.
Black Enterprise: How did your passion for sports develop?
Nicole Pinedo: My love for sports began when I was younger. My dad played on the national team that represented Bolivia in the 1994 World Cup. Growing up going to stadiums and watching my dad started my love for soccer and sports really young. I played competitive soccer throughout my entire life.
The Future of Sports is an experiential event that is equal parts art, sports, and entertainment. How is this experiment important for millennials and Gen Z?
I think millennials and the Gen Z demographic are always looking for something different, new, and fresh. I always thought there was a gap between sports, art, and culture and I wanted to build a platform to bridge that gap.
(Photo Credit: Veronica Sequeira)
What are the pros and cons of being a woman in a male-dominated industry?
Pros: I think since there are not that many of us dominating in the athletic industry; we have a bigger opportunity to take over and bring other women along with us. The playing field is bigger in my opinion. Cons: I think we don’t get taken seriously. I constantly run into individuals who don’t believe in me, but it’s part of the game. They don’t believe until you make it happen. They think what you’re doing is “cute” until they know you are a millionaire in the making.
As a former athlete, explain your mission to introduce fitness to the world, especially the African American community, in a non-traditional manner.
Living a healthy lifestyle has changed my life and I want to share that with the world through the lens of art/design and culture. I’ve always been obsessed with making things really visual and with today’s world of social media, it couldn’t be a more perfect time to execute my ideas.
Your last event had 20,000 attendees walk through the door and this year you’ve moved to a bigger location, New York City. What are you expecting in this larger sports market?
I think New York is a culture Mecca, that’s why we selected this city to be the next location. We really wanted to be strategic in choosing our next city. New York is also huge on fitness.
Explain the magnitude of producing such an expansive and multi-tiered project.
I’m still mainly self-funded and independent. It’s difficult. After DC, I got multiple offers from brands and investors but turned them down because they didn’t align with my purpose or mission. So I decided to take out loans and invest some of the money we made last year. Coming to New York has not only been incredibly expensive but a really great challenge for me in every area. I’m new here so it’s not like DC where I know my way around. I’ve had a lot of obstacles finding the right people to work with, got screwed over more than a handful of times, had to end up doing a lot of things myself, but through it all my team and I persevered and made it happen.