Tessa Virtue talks music, new tour and life after skating

Watch the video above to learn which concerts Tessa Virtue is looking forward to this summer, as well as what she considers the biggest concert faux-pas.

Tessa Virtue is a woman on the move.

Over the Victoria Day long weekend, I met up with the Olympic figure skater at Hotel X in downtown Toronto, to talk music and fashion in celebration of Budweiser Stage's 25th anniversary.

While Virtue, was on hand to kick off the venue’s summer concert season with AIR MILES Stage Pass, our meeting felt more like I was intruding on a girl’s night out rather than preparing to interview one of the biggest names in figure skating history.

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Inside a hotel suite with perfect view of where Virtue would spend the rest of her night, I’m introduced to her sister Jordan, and manager Michelle who had flown in from Calgary. Dressed in a $55 utility-inspired jumpsuit from Topshop with her hair pulled back into space buns, Virtue buzzed around the room, offering water and talking excitedly about getting to spend the night watching The Strokes in concert.

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“Are you going to come, too?” she asked me, and for a moment I almost say yes before realizing my knowledge of the band extends only to high-profile celebrity relationships of its members (look up Fabrizio Moretti and Drew Barrymore and Kristen Wiig).

As we wait for the OK for the camera and lights to be ready, I ask if Virtue had made the move officially to Toronto.

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She shook her head and explained that home base is still London, Ont. before adding, “I’m really only home about once a month.”

It’s easy to see why teaming up with AIR MILES was a natural fit for Virtue, who will be racking up the miles this fall with her partner Scott Moir and fellow Olympians such as Patrick Chan and Elvis Stojko on the Rock the Rink tour, which will feature live performances by musical guest, Birds of Bellwoods.

Virtue and ice dancing partner Scott Moir at their induction into Canada's Walk of Fame.  (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)
Virtue and ice dancing partner Scott Moir at their induction into Canada's Walk of Fame. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)

“We’ve had the good fortune of performing to live music a few times in our career and it always creates a different dynamic. There’s an energy that goes back-and-forth and it changes,” Virtue said of the innovative tour. “We’ll be crossing the country, performing the same show in 35 cities, but things can be very different depending on the mood with the band. We wanted to bring that entertainment level to the tour.”

Virtue said reinventing the traditional model of ice dancing has been top-of-mind for the producers of the upcoming tour, and something fans will attest is well within Virtue and Moir’s wheelhouse.

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In 2018, the pair wowed audiences and captured two gold medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics with a commanding free dance set to the sultry soundtrack from the 2001 film, “Moulin Rouge.” The routine quickly became a fan favourite, with both Virtue and Moir demonstrating their growth as performers dedicated to pushing the artistic envelope.

“When we were dreaming up this new tour we wanted to do the antithesis to what people may have expected,” she explained. “We wanted to change the formula, get away from the protocol that fans are used to and switching it up with some great Canadian talent.”

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Although still committed to the sport that cemented her status as one of the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history, this next chapter of her career is one she’s happily writing herself.

“I never want to be randomly posing with a product or putting my name to a brand arbitrarily,” Virtue says emphatically.

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Being introduced into the business world and learning the dynamics of market implementation and strategy is something that she revealed she naturally gravitates towards, and which she believes will ultimately help her to navigate the rest of her career with integrity.

“I have this platform that I’ve worked hard for, but now I want to make use of it,” she said. “I want to ensure that I’m sending the right messages and that I’m empowering others, and doing things that feel like they’re in line with my values.”

Image via Getty Images.
Image via Getty Images.

After wrapping our discussion on-camera, we stop to spend a few more talking about the work she does with FitSpirit, an organization which helps young girls build confidence and self-esteem through physical activity. As Virtue fires off statistics related to girls mental health and social media, I can sense that the woman who has inspired her own Barbie isn’t taking the title of “Shero” lightly.

We say goodbye, and while the skating fan in me is trying hard not to fawn over its shining star, I can’t help but commend Virtue for what she’s building for herself off the ice. There’s never been a woman in Canadian figure skating with Virtue’s level of star-power, let alone one half of a pair who can seamlessly separate themselves from their partner and continue to thrive.

I headed back into the hotel lobby, leaving to brave long-weekend traffic back home and ride out what was left of a holiday Monday. That night while on Instagram I come across photos of a smiling Virtue, greeting fans from the AIR MILES Stage Pass airstream trailer, before heading off on her next adventure.

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