In less than six years, Lauren Zelt went from a professional ballerina dancing with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, to the Director of Media Affairs on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Zelt sits down with Mary Katharine Ham to talk about her childhood dedication to dancing, her career-ending injury, and how she found herself in the world of political media.

“Slowly but surely all the other activities in my life fell away in favor for dance,” Zelt said. “While all my other friends were picking out their prom dresses and going to graduation, I was on stage.”

Zelt speaks out about the dark side of the dance community, the pressure, and competition. “People are always looking for way to undermine you and get ahead of you,” she said. “There’s so much competition, and there’s so few jobs, and there’s so few people who actually make it.”

When her ballet career suddenly ended at age 21, Zelt not only had to find a new career path, but a new identity. “I needed to grieve the person that I left behind, and that just takes a long time… I wanted to become a new person and I didn’t want to think about the person that I used to be.”