Tampa Wharton High School senior Yasmine Gillespie’s senior pictures photographed in Tampa Bay at Mojo Studios (in-studio), Ybor City, and Treasure Island in Tampa Bay.

Location:   In-Studio, Ybor City, and Treasure Island in Tampa Bay

Photographer:  Pat Myers

Hair & Makeup Artist:  Ashley Cantero & Katlyn Shuart

Assistant & Stylist:  Sandi Myers

At the age of three Yasmine Gillespie chose her karate belt over her ballerina slippers – and it’s not hard to see why.  Along with the grace of a dancer and the rhythm of an artist, she also has the fight of a champion and the wisdom of a martial arts master.  She said,

“It taught me discipline, perseverance and confidence. ”

What began as a spark of curiosity in Yasmine, ignited by her father’s interest in the sport, has gradually grown through the years into the fervent passion for martial arts that she has today.  Only a toddler when she tried on her first ‘gi’, a traditional martial arts robe, it doesn’t look like she’ll be taking one off anytime soon.

“It’s a long term sport,” Yasmine said, “Self-defense is something you can do your whole life.”

An aptitude for martial arts, that some might say runs in the family, became apparent as her success inspired her younger brother, Sammy, to try his hand at it as well.  Finding his own success in the sport, with Yasmine acting as his mentor of sorts, it seems very possible that this could be the beginning of a fantastic family legacy.

Competing in her first worldwide tournament, the US Open Martial Arts Championship, at age nine, Yasmine’s year-round schedule quickly transformed into a combination of training, traveling and competing.  A demanding schedule for a full-time student, especially being a leader in many extracurricular activities and an athlete in two high school sports, it’s safe to say that Yasmine earned a black belt in time management as well as karate.  But for all the stress, all-nighters, and endless hours of training at her dojo, it seems to have paid off.

Today, at only age 16, Yasmine can proudly say that she’s not only competed in the US Open several times, successfully earning gold, silver and bronze on separate occasions, but has also earned a spot on Team USA in her most recent 2016 competition.  Yet, Yasmine would argue that martial arts has given her far more than silver and gold.

“There are times you just can’t win.  Yeah, it shuts down your ego, but every year is an experiment.”

A shining example of humility, Yasmine consistently values her resilience, optimism and strength over the medals around her neck.  All three being life lessons she learned as a martial arts student, they aren’t ones she’ll soon forget as she steps into her senior year at Wharton High.

Among the items Kennedy chose to order was one of our Custom Keepsake 12 x 12 Albums.  Check out her album by clicking on the spread below: