Chloé Baker is living the fairy tale life – she has a beautiful toddler, a supportive partner, a close-knit family and a successful business.
Growing up in a grounded household, with a family-oriented mother, a life coach and motivational speaker for a father, and a sister who shares her passion for dance, Chloé credits her family for her success. "Without my family, I wouldn't have been able to achieve what I have. My mother has always been so supportive and encouraged me in everything I do. Being a life coach, my father would play motivational tapes on the way to school every day. I lived and breathed that kind of mindset, which gave me the courage to chase my dreams."
Like many professional dancers, Chloé started at a young age. "My mother had always loved dancing and wanted me and my sister to have the opportunities she didn't. I started ballet when I was just a one year old and still wearing a nappy. I did other forms of dance – Irish dancing, modern, tap and so on, but ballet was the one; it was my life."
Whilst Chloé praises many of her teachers, she tells me stories of what can only be described as bullying. Chloé explains that she never had the relationship with dance that she felt deserving of, having always been pushed to the back of the class and feeling like she was constantly trying to prove herself and getting nowhere. Unfortunately, when Chloé was accepted into one of the top dance colleges in London, the pattern didn't change.
"I never expected an easy ride, I always knew it was going to be hard, but I wasn't prepared for how hurtful the comments could be. By one teacher, I was made to repeat, "I, Chloé Baker, am an amateur" in front of the whole class. Of course, I listened and did as she said; she was my elder, I respected her, I just never understood why I was the only one singled out.
"I think the most hurtful comment, though, was being told that 'my mother would be so disappointed in me', especially knowing that my parents were breaking their backs for me to be there. It never made any sense to me, I was getting the highest marks in the class in my ballet assessments, and I tried so unbelievably hard. I realised that that was it; they saw a weakness in me - I wanted it too much. I don't like throwing the word about, but now, as an adult, a mother, and a professional, I look back, and I can see that it was bullying. There was no reason to be treated that way, and I quickly learnt that if I was going to make it, I would have to make it by myself. It made me so determined never to give up, and that I take with me everywhere."
After graduating in 2012, Chloé got her first job with Costa Cruises as a singer and dancer after successfully auditioning amongst hundreds of other professionals. "It was a big deal for me. After everything I'd been through in college, I was one of the first of my peers to be offered a job. It made me learn never to take no for an answer and that I was always capable of this."
After three years with Costa Cruises, it was time for Chloé to chase her dream and head to Paris. "I was invested in France - working in Paris was the ultimate goal. My dad must have driven me to Paris from St Malo at least 15 times! It's a laborious process; after making your way to the audition and standing with 400 other girls, to be told no within 5 minutes is soul-destroying. My legs were long, but just never quite long enough. It's a ruthless world, but I had to be in it; there wasn't another option for me."
After dozens of auditions, Chloé's dream was realised when she began work as a showgirl for Moulin Rouge's 'Paradis Latin' – one of the top Paris cabaret shows. Not only was she was a showgirl in 'Paradis Latin', she was the centre girl, a position you could only ever wish for in the lineup. "I'll never forget the moment the curtains went up on my opening night in Paris. I was standing there, not just as a showgirl, but in the middle at the front of the stage. My family and friends filled the rows; as I caught their eyes, I realised that every single challenge I had faced led me here and that my journey was for a reason."
From here, she would also tour France with Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione. Whilst Chloé's professional life was everything she had hoped for, she was missing something from her personal life. Love."
Chloé beams as she relays the love story between her and Scott. Apart for four years, but never out of contact, it felt like the right time for Chloé to follow her heart. "Scott and I were together when we were younger, but we went our separate ways to pursue our dreams. After my job had finished in Paris, I decided to take some time for myself. We took a trip to Marbella and realised we wanted to be together, so I packed up and followed Scott out to Sydney where he had been living."
Fast-forward five years, and they live in their own property, which Scott is currently renovating into their dream home with their 18-month-old daughter. They both run successful businesses and are currently planning their wedding for July this year. It seems fairy tales do exist.
A leap of faith
Following her move to Sydney and feeling like a small fish in a big pond, Chloé recognised it would be more challenging for her to find her way than she initially thought. "It was different cliques and agencies, and I just wasn't in the loop. I decided I just had to go for it. I had done it before; I would do it again. After a few weeks of finding my feet down under, I was successfully offered a place with Sydney's top agency 'Dargie Entertainment'. I was still dancing in shows in the city, but after being scouted on Bondi Beach, I ended up going down the modelling path - it was a big deal for me as I had never felt good enough to do something like that." After working with different labels, Chloé landed a Job with Seafolly Australia and described receiving that job as 'unbelievable and just beyond amazing'.
Having always wanted to teach, she moved on to the next part of her life - teaching ballet and specialising in baby ballet. Whilst she enjoyed what she was doing, she didn't feel complete. "As amazing as it was working with two-year-olds, I felt like something was missing. It wasn't until I attended a barre class that I realised what wasn't being fulfilled; the desire to work with adults.
"As a professional dancer, I've done every workout under the sun, I've been to every class, and I always felt it was more of a routine rather than something that had a benefit to me, in a physical, mental or even spiritual way. At this barre class, I felt the instructor was invested in her clients and the clients in each other. It didn't feel like a typical class where you stand at the back, don't talk to anyone, and then leave once it's over. I remember thinking, I need to recreate this." This realisation led Chloé to commit to studying and taking multiple exams before becoming a qualified Barre instructor.
In 2019, after three years in Sydney together and much deliberation, the couple decided that Jersey would always be the place they called home, so they headed back to the island to resume their journey together.
Once home, Chloé set to work on her business, Barre B - a dance-based fitness class, incorporating ballet's techniques and postures to create a high intensity yet low impact workout. "I wanted to build an environment that made you feel good. I know that sounds like a cliché, but what is more important than actually feeling good? I wanted a place that felt inclusive, where you could be on your journey but still part of a collective one."
Chloé says that she wanted to create a space where you could feel yourself grow and where the sense of challenge never leaves. She also wanted to take the stigma away from ballet – you don't have to look a certain way or be in a particular shape. "I see women who were once worried about their weight, age or even sense of rhythm, now owning their bodies and insecurities and turning those insecurities into wins. It's not about how good you are; it's about how good you feel. Someone could hold a plank for 3 minutes, someone else 30 seconds, they both win. We cheer each other's wins on, and nobody competes with anybody but themselves."
Does Chloé feel like she's achieved what she set out to do? "Absolutely. I see women having heart-to-hearts at the end of class and arranging meetups or even just hyping each other up on social media, and part of me takes a moment and thinks, I did that, I created this. It's so much more than exercise; it's a lifestyle. We are building a community here. That's what I wanted."
It wasn't without its challenges, though. "At the beginning, it was tough. I had spent all of my money on the business setup and I'd also just found out I was pregnant – what I had initially put down to nerves turned out to be our little girl, Romee. It was an empowering feeling; teaching the first class, knowing I had my little sidekick with me, just gave me even more reason to make it work; I was doing it for someone else now.
"When lockdowns came, everything moved over to Zoom. It wasn't ideal, but we made the best out of a bad situation and managed to keep the sisterhood alive."
"Once you understand that it's about your mind... it is a massive awakening."
Mental Wellness & Chloé Baker Yoga
Chloé had never struggled with mental health issues, and even though she knew it was a serious topic, she had never put much thought into it. "In a selfish way, people only really understand what somebody is going through once they have been in a similar situation or have experienced it for themselves. It wasn't until I found myself in a position not too long ago that I realised just how serious it could be.
"During these times that I found challenging, I learnt so much, and I learnt the hard way, at a detriment to my own inner peace. I realised that what other people say and do is none of my business. We could spend a lifetime trying to work out why people do the things they do, but at the end of the day, how other people act is a reflection of them. I had a duty to protect myself; I was the only one who could help myself. I asked myself many questions and dug deeper, which led me to yoga – it's been my salvation ever since.
"Yoga has helped me immensely. Once you understand that it's about your mind, the physical benefits are just a bonus; it is a massive awakening. I decided to set up Chloé Baker Yoga because If I can provide someone else with the lifeline yoga gave me, that will be worth its weight in gold.
"The classes are for everyone; it's not about headstands or who's the most flexible, it's about going deeper and carving that time for yourself to nurture your mind; this is your time to look after yourself internally."
Classes held at the Dance Studio at Fort Regent
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 6pm
Chloé Baker Yoga
Classes held at the Wellness Centre at Castle Quay