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Behind the scenes with CBBC Ice Stars’ Alexia Walker McGrath

Our final CBBC Ice Stars profile this week focuses on figure skater Alexia Walker McGrath. Did you know for instance the 14-year-old listens to Eminem before a competition to get into the mood and everyone in her family in Russia can skate?

Who/what inspired you to step on the ice and how old were you?
My Mother took me to a Christmas Market open air rink when I was nine, I put those blue boots on and stepped on the ice, heard Mariah Carey sing All I Want for Christmas is You and never looked back. After that I asked Santa to get me proper white skates for Christmas.

Does anyone else in your family skate? My Mother who is Russian and family in Russia can skate because it’s part of their PE sessions at school.

Did you complete the Skate UK programme and how did you find it? I completed Skate UK and I loved it from the first moment, during my second week I swapped a baggy pair of joggers for a skating skirt because I wanted to look like a professional skater straight away. I was nine years old when I started Skate UK and it didn’t take me too long to complete it. Every lesson was pure joy and I soon started asking for private lessons too.

What made you decide to join figure skating over speed skating/ice dance etc? First and foremost I am passionate about dancing in general and I absolutely adore music and listen to it all day long. I chose figure because I wanted to be able to express myself through music on that beautiful piece of ice. I have always been into ice dance too and wouldn’t say no to doing it one day but only if an exceptional partner became available. Speed skating is definitely not for me, I could never imagine myself skating in a circle with long blades on... these guys are far too good.

How many hours/days a week do you train at the NIC? I train between 10 to 13 hours on the ice and seven hours off the ice.

Do you have a skating hero you admire? Where do I start? It changes all the time but I am a huge fan of Mao Asada and Daisuke Takahashi.

What was the whole Ice Stars experience like? It was a lot of fun and no hard work at all, I talk a lot anyway so I was only too happy to help. I loved the crew, they were all extremely professional and friendly and they helped to relax us completely. By the end we didn’t even know they were around us.

What has been a highlight from the show? Operation Ouch episode and the Gala.

What is your favourite subject at school and why? I have two; English and History. I love writing and learning all about different cultures.

What is your favourite thing to do when off the ice? Easy – sleep and dance.

Favourite music/band: I have a very diverse music taste ranging from classical to pure rap. I am massively into The Weeknd at the moment; their latest album is on my everyday playlist. I have ‘competition’ music to put me in the mood too, its none other than Eminem himself and I switch between Lose Yourself and I am Phenomenal depending on how competitive I am feeling on that day.

Alexia’s Mum, Anastasia, learnt to skate when she was a schoolgirl in Moscow so it could be said the love for skating is in Alexia’s blood. Anastasia said;

“Ice skating has taken over our lives completely but we wouldn’t change it for the world because skating is Alexia’s happiness and we are all so proud of how far she has come in a relatively short space of time.

“As a parent my proudest moment to date is a tossup between Alexia coming 4th at the British Nationals last year and her being told by Robin Cousins that she has one of the best presentation skills in the country.”

12th October 2015