From Monica Wright To Michonne: On-Screen Black Women Characters Who Gave Us Fitness Goals

March 20, 2018  |  
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You ever watched a movie or TV show and at the end, walked away feeling like you needed to hit the gym ASAP? Some of the strongest heroines in our favorite films and shows literally looked the strongest when we watched them in these projects, and we left our viewing experience inspired to do a few more squats, some longer planks, and additional dumbbell rows to turn our arms into weapons of mass destruction. Or at least just cut like Angela Basset’s in just about every movie…

Check out 12 of our favorite characters who gave us some serious fitness goals.

Love and Basketball


Sanaa Lathan in Love and Basketball 

From her arms to her back, you could tell that Lathan had to not only learn how to ball, but also get in her best shape to play Monica Wright.

Angela Bassett in What’s Love Got to Do With It 

Not only did we memorize lines from this classic film, but we also first became obsessed with Angela Bassett’s arms after her star-making turn as Tina Turner in the acclaimed biopic.

Taraji P. Henson in Empire 

Cookie Lyon was not kidding when she let us know, “This is an a–.” Henson also had to let everyone know her backside was real after people were so surprised at the wealth of junk she had in her trunk.


Jada Pinkett Smith in Gotham 

Jada was definitely about business in her portrayal of no-nonsense nightclub owner Fish Mooney on Fox’s Gotham. She also was about those push-ups or whatever other arm exercises it took to get her ripped and ready for Gotham.

Tisha Campbell-Martin in Martin 

She may have been cracked on a lot because of the size of her head, but Gina Waters missed no time in the gym. That was clear in the classic “Fat Like Dat” episode.

Lupita Nyong’o in Black Panther

All of the women were strong and beautiful in Black Panther, but most were also covered up. Nyong’o, who played an independent spy named Nakia, got to show off her incredible shoulders and deltoids in that amazing casino fight scene.

Halle Berry in Catwoman 

The movie may not have been something you needed to see more than once, but Berry’s body was definitely memorable.

Zoe Saldana in Colombiana

While lean and long, Zoe Saldana’s portrayal of assassin Cataleya still packed a lot of strength. She displayed that in many a fight scene, including while rocking a full scuba suit and letting her arms shine in shots like the one above.


AJ Johnson in Baby Boy 

We’ve never seen as fit of a Black couple on screen as AJ Johnson’s Juanita and Ving Rhames’s crazy Melvin in Baby Boy. After that role, Johnson went on to pack on even more muscle and become a fitness trainer.

Danai Gurira in The Walking Dead 

Before she was Okoye, Gurira played the deadly sword-wielding Michonne in AMC’s The Walking Dead. She still has that role, flexing her lean muscles while taking out a never-ending army of zombies.

Paula Patton in Warcraft 

Paula Patton as an orc? She pulled it off in Warcraft thanks to the muscle she developed following three-hour training sessions for six days a week leading up to filming.

Beyoncé Knowles in Austin Powers in Goldmember 

In her first film role, Beyoncé had us all wanting to do crunches as Foxxy Cleopatra.

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