It’s time to talk about black female representation in fitness with Sonja R. Herbert, founder of Black Girl Pilates…
…and why the fitness industry needs to do better when it comes to supporting and giving Women of Color a seat at the table.
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Links & Resources:
- Episode 94 transcript
- Instagram: Black Girl Pilates & Commando Fitness Collective
- Facebook: Black Girl Pilates, Black Girl Fit & Well, Commando Fitness Collective
- Sonja’s article about black female representation in fitness
Now, let’s meet this week’s guest…
Sonja R. Herbert was first introduced to Pilates in 2006. Considering she was already physically strong from weight training, she figured Pilates would be easy. It turned out to be the most difficult class she’d ever taken.
After fixing her hip pain and continuing with Pilates two times a week, she decided to become a teacher. In 2007, she received her Pilates Mat certification and, later in 2008, she became comprehensively certified on the equipment, both from Core Pilates NYC. She was ready and excited to change lives, especially in her community of Harlem. But she wondered why her Black community members didn’t know much about Pilates and all its benefits.
For five years, she taught two weekly Pilates mat classes attended mainly by Black women. It later dawned on her that although her students had the luxury of having a Black woman as a Pilates teacher, she had rarely met other Black women who taught Pilates.
Sonja was inspired to found Black Girl Pilates (BGPi), a space for Black/Afro Latina women who teach Pilates to share ideas, successes and struggles as instructors and teachers within the business of the method. They also identify and dismantle areas where women of color are left out, i.e. magazines, social media, conferences, trainings etc., and confront those entities regarding the lack of Black women in these spaces.
Currently, the BGPi support group has hundreds of members representing over 6 countries and hosts in-person meet-ups.
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