Pretty Girls Sweat Was A Day Of Fitness, Fashion, And Female Empowerment
Last weekend, 700 young girls, mamas, beauty, fashion, and beverage vendors, gathered at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in Atlanta to celebrate a day of fun and fitness. The fest, filled with a mix of low-to-high intensity fitness routines, contests, live performances, and healthy chatter about workout goals, showed the power of the Pretty Girls Sweat (PGS) movement. Launched by the Founder and CEO of Pretty Girls Sweat (PGS), Aeshia DeVore Branch, and partly inspired by Keri Hilson’s “Pretty Girls Rock” track, the event joined sisters from all walks of life under one roof.
Host and fitness guru Rashan Ali of TV One’s Sister Circle set the mood for the day’s festivities with her energizing opening ceremony. And Hip-Hop yoga guru Jaimee Ratliff kicked off an amazing yoga session, with a follow up from Lauren Powers and Tosha McDade, who had the ladies dripping with an intense strength training boot camp.
Filled with women committed to staying fit and DJ’s on the one-and-two’s, the Pretty Girls Sweat fest drew a host of celebs — coined SWEATlebrities — from Elise Neal, Jeannette Jenkins, Riley Burress, and Lana and Ellen Ector, to Lita Lewis, Syleena Johnson, Bo Talley, Tiffany Evans, and The Glam Twinz. Boxing star Laila Ali was honored at the event, and though she was unable to attend, she sent a Instagram clip to let guests know how supportive she is of the Pretty Girls Sweat initiative.
Premier vendor Indique Hair collaborated with Pretty Girls Sweat to display various sweat-friendly hairstyles at the event. And The Beauty Counter was also in the building promoting their makeup and skincare line, which includes cool products to keep skin hydrated and rejuvenated during workouts.
During the fest, we were able to catch up with SWEATlebrity award recipient Riley Burress and actress Elise Neal who discussed their fitness journey and collaboration with Pretty Girls Sweat! Check out our conversation.
Madamenoire (MN): What inspired you to lose weight and do you have any fitness tips for our readers?
Riley Burruss: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to lose this much weight. I just thought to give weight loss another try when I saw that I was 220 lbs. I knew that I had to do something, so that’s what pushed me, after seeing myself so heavy. A tip – get some good friends who want to work out too, so you can support each other. So, even outside of the gym you have that same mentality because you are around friends who are also going through the same things as you. Motivate each other. Some strategies – I love working out with my trainer. I feel like he helps me maintain the whole ‘going to the gym thing’. If you can get a trainer, I say do that. And with food, if I don’t change my eating habits – working out won’t help me at all. I definitely try to eat healthier and make healthier choices.
MN: Talk to us about your fitness journey – were you always interested in fitness? Or was it something that came along with your acting career?
Elise Neal (EN): I started off in this business as a dancer. I was dancing since the age of six years-old, so fitness has always been a part of my life. Many, many, many years later when I broke the internet, people were like what is she doing to stay fit? I’ve always been one to work out a lot. I’ve always been one who wanted to know what’s next? What is going to change this part of my body? I want all of my sisters to look good, be strong, healthy and powerful.
MN: Do you think fitness coming to the forefront in our community is more of a fad or something that women of color are really starting to grasp?
EN: I hope it is something that is here to stay. Being fit and taking care of yourself does wonders for you. It makes you feel better. It makes your skin better. It makes you feel stronger – all of those things that you need in life. I hope that people embrace it even further.
MN: What’s your approach to food and being fit?
EN: I’m more of a portion control person. I think for anyone who is trying to change their lifestyle – they need to start with portion control. It’s about eating a little less.