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Roz the Diva is Nontraditional in More Ways than One—Here’s Why She Thinks Representation is So Important, On and Off the Pole

In our monthly Meet the Trailblazers profile series, Fitbit seeks to amplify diversity in the world of wellness and fitness by highlighting the voices of POC pioneers at the forefront of these industries — industries that have discredited voices like theirs for too long.

This month we’re highlighting the extraordinary work of Roslyn Mays, aka Roz the Diva. Roz is an unconventional pole athlete, NASM certified trainer and featured Fitbit premium trainer, and body positive influencer. We are happy to share the inspiring conversation we had with her.

Today, Roslyn “Roz the Diva” Mays is known for her pole skills. Not only is she an acclaimed pole athlete, but the Brooklyn powerhouse created Dangerous Curves, the first-ever national competition to spotlight plus-size pole athletes. Her fitness career began when she became passionate about group fitness classes. Roz found her way into pole fitness specifically in her regular gym in 2007 — although at the time her focus was solely on weight loss and the gym as a vehicle for tons of cardio, which she describes as “a classic rookie mistake.”

“When I saw pole fitness on the schedule,” says Roz, “I thought it was something new to try. I remember my first grade vividly – I was really weak, confused and certainly not confident. Despite my failure that night, I’ve never had a better time to fail at anything sporty and fell madly in love.”

Read on to dive into our Q&A with Roz and learn about her refreshingly honest take on just about everything – including the importance of representation in the fitness world.

FITBIT: You’ve made waves in your career as someone who is not only an incredible athlete and skilled coach in her own right, but also with a refreshingly integrative approach to training different body types and non-traditional athletes. Great! Can you share more about what drew you to your incredible work?

ROZ: My fitness career grew out of my love for group fitness classes. I thrive on the energy of other gym rats and strive to create an environment where others can too. I also got interested in teaching because I knew my 90’s and 2000’s playlist was going to be epic and people deserve to groove while they sweat.

What is your favorite thing about what you do?

ROZ: Pole lessons are my favorite part of the sport. What started as a gym class grew into a serious hobby, then a side hustle, and finally a healthy business. Not only can my solopreneurship financially support my life in NYC, but I can also help ordinary people feel like glittery superheroes when they pull off a cool new trick. In the last 12 years, I’ve coached athletes in 33 states and 8 countries.

Why do you think representation is so important?

ROZ: Representation is important because you can’t be what you can’t see. I often wonder how my self-esteem would have developed if I had seen female athletes who looked like me when I was a teenager. I never wanted to be an unconventional athlete; However, as a plus-size woman, avoiding this title is almost impossible. I am happy to use this title to help others feel less lonely.

With so much work to do, how do you prioritize self-care?

RON: I don’t I’m often the last person whose needs I attend to. I need help to change that.

Is there a wellness “trend” that you think is gaining ground?

ROZ: PSYCHOTHERAPY, no doubt! I’m a big advocate for mental health care and I’m happy that it’s being less stigmatized, especially for BIPOC people. My therapist of 15+ years got me through some particularly dark times in my 20s.

And something you’re ready to leave behind?

ROZ: I’m willing that my body weight doesn’t dictate my worth as a person. While I seem confident, I have some size demons to overcome. Solving this problem is still a long and arduous process, but gaining experience is important.

You’ll be launching more content on Fitbit Premium soon – exciting! Can you share what type of content you enjoy recording the most and why?

ROZ: I love the videos when I’m moving at a steady, steady pace because I know others can easily follow along. I want my content to be as accessible as possible to practice virgins.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

ROZ: Hello Beyoncé. Let me know when you’re ready for me to join you on tour. I have a rod, a passport and no children.

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