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On Tap with ... Isabella Bersani

Sophomore Isabella Bersani has a win under her belt already this season as she and the women’s squash team have jumped out to a perfect start. She recently sat down with The Daily Princetonian to discuss yoga, passports and Foo Fighters tribute bands.

Q: Where are you from, and what is it like there?


A: I’m from Hong Kong. It is like New York but way more condensed, and I would say a little less stressful. Playing squash there is very different from playing squash in the U.S. because in Hong Kong, I would say it’s like a very middle-class to blue-collar sport, whereas here it has a very different image, so playing squash in Hong Kong is really easy and really great. There are a ton of public courts and publicly organized leagues, so you get really good matches that the government just subsidizes, so it was really great for me growing up there in terms of athletics and also really awesome culturally.

Q: If you could be a professional athlete, what sport would you play?

A: Well, probably not squash, because the lifestyle is pretty miserable — you get paid like nothing — even though obviously it would be great to be a professional squash player. I would want to play something on a team, just because I think it’s pretty isolating to play squash and be alone all the time, and at such a high level like that you really have only yourself to blame. Maybe I would play women’s soccer or something, even though I’ve never played in my life.

Q: What are your favorite and least favorite things about squash?

A: My favorite thing about squash is the reverse boast. It’s a very sneaky move that I use way too often. Basically [the ball] hits the side wall and then hits the front wall, instead of hitting the front wall first. So your opponent thinks it’s going to the front wall, but it’s actually going to the side wall, and then it’s going to the other side of the front wall, so then they’re kind of thrown off. When it works you feel really good about yourself because they’re all floppy everywhere, but as a result I think I use that a little too much. My least favorite thing about squash is that this season we have 7:45 a.m. yoga, which is required. We do it with the boys’ team. [Junior] David Hoffman cannot reach past his knees.

Q: Who is the worst yogi?


A: I would say the worst yogi might be David Hoffman. Best yogis are definitely [juniors] Alex Lunt and Nicole Bunyan. The yoga instructor literally reserves spots for them at the front of the room and always says, “Alex, Nicole, come up here to inspire everyone else.” And everyone is just looking at them like hating them.

Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring three things with you, what would you bring?

A: A water bottle to stay hydrated, a Kindle with lots of books on it. Actually, no, a Kindle Fire with lots of books and music on it and water purifying tablets.

Q: Who’s the quirkiest member of your team?

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A: I’m going to have to go with Alex Lunt. When we went to South Africa she brought her Belgian passport and used that to get through immigration because she liked her photo better and didn’t have any visa in it. She was literally quarantined in the Cape Town airport, and then tried to bribe the immigration agent with chocolate. The immigration agent had to call the Belgian embassy, which had to call the U.S. embassy, which then called the Cape Town embassy, and she finally got on the plane at the last minute. And I’m also convinced she’s hoarding my laundry loop because I have none and she has like 15.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?

A: I was scrolling through it through the other day, and I’m embarrassed to say I saw an artist listed as “Foo Fighters tribute band.” I didn’t even know they had a tribute band. That’s pretty embarrassing.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not playing squash?

A: Murray-Dodge. It’s one of the best places on campus.

Q: Would you rather never be able to eat pizza ever again or not be able to tell the difference between a muffin and a baby?

A: I would rather not be able to eat pizza for the rest of my life because I love babies. On my train ride back from my interview today, I was sitting next to two little girls and their parents. They were splitting a bagel and they each had a milk carton and they were both twirling their hair, and if I thought they were muffins I would be incredibly sad.

Q: Are you superstitious at all?

A: I would say I’m a little OCD, so I have a warm-up routine that I have to do every time, and if something goes awry I think, “Wait, does that mean I’m going to lose?” But then I catch myself and I’m like wow, that’s so dumb. Stop thinking that.

Q: Would you rather be able to read minds and be illiterate, or be able to read?

A: Read. I don’t want to read people’s minds; I’m scared.

Q: Would you rather live one 1,000-year life or 10 100-year lives?

A: Of course 10 100-year lives! Then you get little breaks in between. I think the continuity of a 1,000-year life would just be daunting. You wouldn’t do anything.

Q: Would you rather live in a world where huge friendly gummy bears walk around, or live in a world where hoverboards exist?

A: Can the gummy bears touch you or can they talk?

Q: Sure, why not.

A: I don’t want that then. I don’t want them to touch me or talk to me. So hoverboards.

Q: Would you rather have a side soup or a side salad?

A: My brother says that soup is just flavored water and so he refuses to eat it, because he feels like he’s drinking hot, flavored water. Sometimes when I think about that it grosses me out, so I would rather have a side salad.