Cami Arboles

Founder of Mind Body Spirit Collective, Cami Arboles, allows herself to flow in life and in movement. Working to empower others to show up for themselves and deepen their relationship with their bodies, Cami unapologetically encourages others to partake in self love and body exploration.

Working in London has been one of a creative renaissance for Cami Arboles, who has left her life in LA to work on projects overseas in the UK and build her growing wellness community that already reaches over 180,000 people on Instagram alone. She beamed, “I am literally loving it here so much. I would move here in a second, it is so amazing. I am having the best time.” With inspiration and opportunity around every corner for Cami, she reiterates how her life right now is beyond what she thought was possible for her. “It kind of feels like I stumbled into this path in a way. My background creatively growing up was in music through singing in opera and in choir and that was really what I loved. That was my background creatively until I found movement as a form of release.”

Cami found her flow in high school, taking her first yoga class as a way to elevate stress and anxiety. From one movement to another, she was led to a circus club, after starting at Yale. “There was a circus club where people trained on aerial silks and aerial hoops and I was like wow that is so cool. I loved yoga, flexibility and getting stronger. I would train everyday, just because I was spending so much time rehearsing music and theatre and opera. I was using movement just for fun. I thought it was such a fun and creative challenge.”

“There was only one studio where you could train circus skills, so I started taking silks and other apparatus classes there, but it was mainly a pole studio. I would walk in everyday and look at the poles, but I was way too scared to try it because I didn’t feel sexy honestly. I didn’t feel very tapped into my sensual side, I didn’t feel confident in that way.”

It wasn’t until her Senior year at college that Cami decided to try pole. After just one class she realised how empowering it was. “I loved the way it made me feel. Finally at the age of 22, I was getting more confident in my body and expressing the more sensual parts of myself. “

As she gained her confidence with pole and was working to complete her degree at Yale, a spring break in March 2020 would change everything. Flying across the country for a few days back to LA, Cami did not realise that would be the last time she would be there. The COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, putting life on hold and leaving Cami locked down having missed the opportunity to perform her final thesis show. “I was so crushed because I had spent the whole part of school studying science, I was a biology major. I then switched pretty late on because I wanted to do theatre and performance studies as a major. I was supposed to perform a show for my thesis. I spent two years researching, writing and getting ready to perform a show that was supposed to happen right after spring break.

The show was cancelled and everything I had switched my major for was cancelled, I was never going to see my friends again.”

After being forced to stay at home and live in her brother’s childhood bedroom, Cami grew more sad and had never been so low. She explained, “The anxiety was crazy. I would just always be crying and I had all this pent up emotion in my body that I wasn’t releasing. I was still teaching my yoga at that time and I kept doing that and helping people. But I had all this energy and no outlet.”

During her time in isolation in 2020, Cami honed her pole skills in her aunt’s empty living room. “I really felt like my life was out of my control. There were so many things that were out of my control. I couldn’t let myself be upset because of that. I couldn’t throw a pity party for myself. I had to surrender and see what was my reality and what I can control. Let me step into a new character, a new version of Cami.”

With a sense of gratitude for her background and for the many years performing and singing, Cami reiterated how that experience now informs how she approaches movement and pole. “Anytime I step into the studio and start a dance, it’s like dropping into a character. It’s about dropping into a story I can tell. It’s not separate at all.”

She said encouragingly, “When I am putting on a show I am wanting someone to walk in feeling one way and walk out the theatre feeling a different way. Same thing when I teach a class, I want to create an experience and a space when you walk in feeling one way and walk out and feeling another way.”

She added passionately, “My philosophy, especially when it comes to teaching, is so largely based on my personal experience. Being able to pole dance changed my life and also changed the way I view myself and my skill set. I know that if I really dedicate myself to something, I can learn it. Nothing is off limits and even when it comes to creativity, if a skill set or space exists, I can have it too. If it doesn’t exist then I have the power to create it.”

Never quite considering herself a dancer, or labelling herself in that particular category Cami admitted that she was frequently rejected by the Yale dance company. She laughed, “It’s funny now because it is literally what I do, but I guess I never personally considered myself going down this path, I stumbled into it, so I really want to let other people know that it is possible too. If you put energy and intention behind something and you enjoyed it, then that will shine through. No skill is off limits.”

With an eagerness to show me her favourite quote by Immanuel Kant, she explained how it relates to her life now.  “Many of us view exercise and movement as a punishment. Exercise shouldn’t be punishment. It should be something that you explore for the sake of exploring.”

Pulling out her phone she read the quote aloud, “What matters is life. Life alone. The continuous infinite process of discovering it, not the discovery itself. This was my phone background for months. I think it’s not necessarily about the discovery. I think with pole, I love the moment where you get the trick, but it’s all the moments leading up to it, the pain, the failed attempts where you fall and laugh at yourself and then try again.”

Having lost so much from the pandemic, Cami reiterated “I didn’t get to the discovery part, at least I had the whole process leading up to it. At least I did get to go to Mexico City on a fellowship and do research. At least I did get to do the whole rehearsal process. I did get to design a set. Did I get to perform it? No, but it’s OK. It shouldn’t necessarily be just about that, it should be about the whole process leading up to it.”

Noting her biggest achievements, Cami emphasises the importance of celebrating your wins no matter how big or small. She beamed, “I think when I got to work with SZA that was probably one of the craziest affirmations of my life. To have one of your favourite artists also resonate with my work and trust me enough to execute her vision is probably one of the best affirmations ever.”

She added, “I also think the smaller things mean a lot too. I will have a moment in the studio and just screenshot it and put it on my story because I like my shape and then another artist somewhere around the world will screenshot that shape I’ve made and save it and then make a painting of it. The next thing I know the painting is up in a gallery somewhere in Paris. That is really crazy to me, because as an artist myself, I am so inspired by scientific forms that have nothing to do with dancing. So when my work in my world can inspire someone else to create something in their world, that is probably one of the coolest things. Things can really have a ripple effect.”

With such a focus on the way in which Cami interacts with herself and practising what she preaches, she reiterated, “I always come back to, your words always create your reality. Even when I was a biology student taking psychology classes and neuroscience classes, there was always this theme that your brain is malleable. It is not this fixed entity.”

She continued passionately, “You do have power over the reality you create for yourself. If I woke up everyday and felt like it was already going to be a losing streak, if I start my day like that, then it is going to create a paved road of negative thoughts. Then everything that happens that is negative will just multiply. I can go that way or decide that I am going to look at the positives of the situation.”

Cami, who isn’t shy about opening up about her mental health taking a toll at college, spoke candidly about how constantly compared herself to others. “Yale was a very high octane environment, I would really have to train myself to not compare myself to others and belittle myself. Everything that I believe about myself will become my reality. Words have power. The things I say to others have power. Everything can be a spell of somesort, for better or for worse. Gratitude is a muscle and I am definitely into creating a positive mental space for myself. It’s so important and it takes work.”

Connecting her mind, body and spirit, Cami has managed to access a world she did not believe was for her. Challenging body norms have also been a focus for the collective. She revealed, “In terms of my body, I know I am not a model size 0. I know a lot of people who exist in my world don’t have a body like mine and that’s OK. All our bodies are super different. I would have liked to see how different moves look on a body like mine. It is honestly pole dancing that helped me view my body as art. Now when I am on the pole I think of myself as a sculpture. I think of myself as renaissance art. I can see myself in a museum thanks to the power that pole gave me. All our bodies are beautiful, they are just different.” 

You can book a class with Cami online here


Arved Colvin-Smith 

Set Designer 

Po Tsun Lin

Make-up Artist 

Lisa Potter-Dixon using Armani Beauty