Portland, OR/Hilo, Hawai’i
Instagram handle: @Hey_Hey_Its_LeiLei
What inspired you to pursue a career in the movement space?
I’ve always loved to dance since I was little. I’ve been taking classes since I was little. I danced hula for over 10years. I stopped when my nā kumu moved away. I got back into movement when I attended Portland Community College and just wanted to be more active.
When did you first hear about Joyn and what made you want to become an instructor with our platform?
I actually was asked by a fellow Joyn instructor, Tyra, to be one of her students in her videos. I went to do the recording and I met Anna who is obviously amazing and we started having this conversation and it kind of went from there.
Have you ever had an experience in the fitness/wellness industry that made you feel excluded?
A couple of years ago, I attended a huge fitness convention. And I was walking around and I noticed not a lot of people look like me, in fact I’d say maybe 2% look like me if that. No one had my shape or close to my shape size. I didn’t see a lot of instructors of color. It just was really depressing. Because I attended the year before and there was tons of diversity but I realize that was because of the formats ( that I am affiliated) that attended, not necessarily the convention.
To the above point, what has been the most rewarding experience you’ve had in the fitness/wellness industry?
I would say the acceptance that I have received throughout my time being a student and as an instructor has been great. I was very fortunate and really blessed to have found instructors who saw that I love to dance and thought that it would be great for me to be an instructor. I felt like these instructors believed me and saw something that I did not see myself. I love to connect with my students and build relationships.
What is it about your discipline dance that you love the most?
Having fun and meeting awesome people. It’s not about getting the moves perfect. The movements will come but it’s really about having fun being in the moment. I want my students to feel like it’s a party or that it’s just friends hanging out and dancing. I think that people get so wrapped up in the motions, that they’re not having fun and they forget to laugh, smile or sing if they choose to.
What is a misconception about fitness that you wish would go away and why?
I think I would like to see it all just be overhauled honestly. I think being in a bigger body does not mean you’re not healthy does not mean you’re not fit does not mean you can’t dance or move. Many times when I first started out I would get the comments “Wow, you are really great for a big girl”. I think it’s “I dance really great!” PERIOD. So I would like to really see the fitness industry really take a different direction when it comes to our bodies and stop with body shaming.
For people who feel intimidated about working out, what is the best way for them to get started?
To start out 5min-7mins or to a song they love and just move even if it is a two step. It’s movement.
Can you tell us about the outfit you’re wearing - why you love it and what role does fashion play in your movement practice?
I love floral and prints. This Nike fit has a pretty turquoise and animal print which is a bonus. The leggings are supportive in the areas I need. Super comfortable. I also love that I have a hula sweatshirt with the same colors. I love bright fun colors! I want to be comfortable so I can dance. Now that I’m dancing at home, I’m not wearing shoes, but when I am back in the studio, my shoes are high tops.
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