From a young age she would watch the dancers intently, not just for entertainment, Carlotta Edwards was learning.
She grew up in Queen Charlotte on Haida Gwaii. At only nine years old Carlotta had no idea where figure skating would take her, but her first stop was on the roads and parking lots.
“I fell in love with skating in the Charlottes. My mom bought me roller blades and I would find any concrete area I could and I would just go out and rip around. I loved the movement, the feeling of flying,” she said, 20 years later, sitting at the Prince Rupert rink where it had all started.
Last week, she was back in the area to visit her parents in Port Edward, to say her goodbyes before she departs on the journey of her dreams.
Carlotta Edwards wasn’t your prototypical skater. There was no rink in Haida Gwaii, so she made do with roller blades and watching her favourite skaters dance a world away through her collection of VHS recordings of her favourite skaters. While her love for skating was discovered in Haida Gwaii, her passion was nurtured in Prince Rupert.
“When we moved here [Prince Rupert] we went skating right away and she took to it like a duck to water,” said Peter Edwards, Carlotta’s father.
In January 1999 she entered the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre for the first time and an unfamiliar chill crept up her body. The rink was cold, colder than she had felt before, but that didn’t stop her. The ice was her home.
Her father had bought a $20 pair of used skates. She strapped them on and was transported to the ice of Lausanne, Switzerland alongside her idols, Tara Lepinsky and Michelle Kwan, skating at the famous 1997 world championships.
“When I got on the ice it felt right. I got on the ice and off I went.”
The ice was her second home for those four years, and her coach, Nicole Rumley, was a third parent, guiding her along her journey.
“I have always called her my ‘chosen child’. It’s kind of weird because when she transitioned from being my student to a professional, I thought, well, what do I call you now?” Rumley said.
Greatness, however, comes at a cost, but her family did what they could to keep Carlotta’s dream alive.
“I am super lucky for everything I’ve accomplished. My family was scraping the barrel to pay for my skating. And I can’t say thank you enough for that,” Carlotta said.
In a short four years, she had outgrown the skating program in Rupert and was yearning for more. She left for Prince George, where a bigger skating program and more ice time awaited her.
Carlotta’s mother, Nancy, knew that her daughter was something special and that seeing her go was worth the heartache.
Her progress was quick, and she soon proved to be at the top of her class. After another four years, she was ready for the next chapter.
In May 2006, at just 17 years old she applied to Disney On Ice. By that fall she was starting the tour around the world skating as some of Disney’s most famous princesses, Ariel, Jasmine and many more.
“I think the only reason I got it was because I was so small and could play almost any part,” Carlotta said with a laugh.
Two years later, the team had a new member. His name was Alexander Demetriou. The moment Carlotta saw him she said she didn’t like him, but that didn’t last long.
“I remember thinking I don’t like this guy. He was super cocky and arrogant like this guy has too much confidence, but then a month later we were dating,” she said.
After that, the lines between the fairy tales they were portraying and their lives started to blur. Dating for years, and on a stop in Brazil during their world tour, Demetriou proposed. Ten years later, like their skating, their marriage is as strong as ever.
“We both got on really, really well, we were only 19 when we met and over the years we grew up together. The amount that you learn on the road, how mature you get. We did it all together, our whole lives have been together,” Demetriou said.
They skated across the world together, first with Disney On Ice, then on cruise ships and now on to the biggest figure skating show in Europe.
The show is called Dancing On Ice and it is shot in Britain, Demetriou’s home country.
“It’s mental, everybody has been asking me this, and I can’t put it into words, it’s surreal,” he said over the phone from the U.K. Demetriou has been overseas getting their lives in order before they start shooting the show.
The couple had applied for the show in early January 2018, and the days, weeks and months had gone by, until eventually all hope had been lost.
“It had been months with no response and at that point, I thought okay, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be,” she said.
It wasn’t until July when hope had come crashing through the door, with outstanding timing.
“We were about to do an interview for another job when we got the email.”
The email was from the show’s executive producer. They were in, but they couldn’t tell a soul. In their contract, they agreed they wouldn’t reveal anything to anyone outside of their immediate family, until now.
“I never thought in my wildest dream that the little girl skating around her living room would see her name in lights,” Carlotta said.