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BEAUTY OF LIFE | PART 3: Vanessa

I had the pleasure of speaking with this Beauty and ex-Texan Cheerleader. Today she is a gym coach and a personal trainer. 
She defines beauty for us through her eyes. 
https://www.lotusstudioshtx.com/
https://www.sweat1000.com/studios/usa/
https://www.instagram.com/v_mu_/

Vanessa:
I am a fitness trainer. I teach classes at Sweat 1000 in the Heights. And then I also am a personal trainer. I train the Texans cheerleaders, which is pretty awesome. I was actually a cheerleader for the Texans from 2010 to 2013, so I've been around the organization for a really long time. Back then, I had a strength in me that I didn't even realize that I had until I encountered another tough part of my life. In 2008 I tried out for the team for the first time, didn't make it.

They're going to give me another chance. I'm going to try again. So I came back in 2009, still didn't make it. Finally, in 2010, I tried out, and I made it. So I feel like that portion of life, even though it's something so simple as trying out for a team that you know rejected you and yet still pushing. I knew I had some strength in me then, but I never knew how strong I indeed was or was capable of being. I was a widow. I lost my husband six and a half years ago in May of 2013. He and I were high school sweethearts. We were together since we were 16 years old. And he joined the air force when you were 21 or 22, and he was in the air force for the last few years of his life.

While he was in the air force, that's when I had finally made the cheerleading team. I was busy here in Houston, kind of doing my thing cheering and working, and he was in the air force doing something that he loved. He talked about joining the air force since the day I met him; he said he wanted to be like his grandfather. We got married in July of 2012 in Malibu, California. The beach with the two of us with our immediate families and not even a year later, he passed away. We didn't get to celebrate a year anniversary. And the year that we were married, he was deployed almost the entire time. Although we were married, we were still doing that long-distance, but it was going to be my last year on the team, and this was going to be his last deployment, and then we're going to have a house, build our lives together finally.

May of 2013, he passed away. I had just retired from the Texans the month before in April. I was 26, but that's old in professional cheering. In April of 2013, I retired, and then in May, a month later, he passed away. It was like my world just came crashing down. I was 26. I had no idea who I was, what I was supposed to do. Next year will be seven years since he's passed away, and I feel stronger and more understanding of life in this world now than I ever did before without going through what I did.

Annie:
Dealing with loss is really difficult.

Vanessa:
It's one thing that you never get over it, you just learn to live with it, and you learn that it's now a part of you. I knew very early on that I wasn't going to let it define me. I wasn't going to let people look at me with pity. I knew I wasn't going just to stop living or stop trying to live because even though I was disoriented and I was lost, I knew that there was a reason that I was here or that I am here. I don't know what, I still don't know what it is all the time. I know that I have an idea. I try to send out good energy and happiness and love and all of the good positive emotions.

I see people, and I feel like I always saw people for who they are, but now it's even more profound. You never ever know what anybody's going through. You can never approach somebody with a mentality that, Oh, they look like this. This is how they are. They look like this, so this has to be their reality, they're driving that kind of car, so they have to be... No, no, no, no.
You know nothing. We know nothing. If everybody could sort of approach each other that way and just life in that way, then we would be... It wouldn't be like peace on earth, but it would get a lot closer. It would be a lot better, a lot more connected because no one's better than anybody else. My struggle is not worse than somebody else's.

I have a pretty good life. I may not be where I think I want to be or where I think I should be. I'm 33 I'm going to be 34 next year, I'm not remarried, I don't have kids or anything like that, and that was unheard of. I thought I was going to be a young mom. They say, "Man plans, and God laughs." We each have a choice. What are you going to do every morning you wake up, are you going to sulk and be sad?

And sometimes you do, sometimes you do need that right. You have to have an awareness that this is temporary, and you're going to pull yourself out of it and keep going.

Vanessa:
Every day like it could be your last day ever. You just never know. I think it's crucial to tell the people that you love them. He really has been a guardian angel because there were some stupid things I did soon after he passed away that I probably should have gotten in trouble for. I feel that he has been watching out for me, and I've grown a lot.

I started working out a year before he passed away. I had never worked out my whole life, even though I was on the Texans, I didn't know what a squat was. I didn't know anything. We all look tight.

I train the cheerleaders now, but when I was on the team, we didn't have a trainer, so it was like, "better figure out how to look good."

I would really watch what I ate, but I didn't work out. My final year on the team, a friend of mine who's on the team had joined a gym called "Washington Gym," and she looked amazing. I said, "girl, whatever you're doing, I have to do it." Cause she looked good before, but like she really toned up, and I was sold. Once I joined the gym, I was hooked.

My last year on the team was just like one of those crazy things. It was when I was 26. It was probably like one of the best years of my life. I had just got married. It was my final year on the team. I was voted to go to Pro-Bowl, So I was the one that got voted to go to Hawaii to represent the Texans. I was the cover of the calendar, and I was having a blast. I had my husband love me.

It was like this high, high, high, and then crashed down. After he passed away, I think I went to the gym two days later.

Ever since then, I felt that working out can help with something like this. I thought I could control everything, I was so wrong, but working out gave me some sense of control on something I could make a difference in. You can control what foods you eat. You can control when you go to the gym and how many reps you do. I leaned on that because I felt that there was something that I could still keep together. I knew I was going to go to the gym, and if it was hard, it was just physical. I've worked out consistently I don't have to take two weeks off; it's just become ingrained in me.

Now I have my own studio. It's called Lotus studios.

My friend gave me that name. Lotus flowers grow from the mud and nothing into this beautiful flower. She suggested that to me, and I was like, it's perfect. I do dance, and I do personal training, and I do small group training. I also do audition preparations. If a girl wants to try out for the Rockets or Texans, I can do that because I've been in that industry for so long, I know the ins and outs. I also train men, but mostly it's women. My slogan is, "come as you are." I don't care what you look like when you come here. You're gonna come in, and we can stay positive. There's not going to be, I can't do this, or this sucks, or I'm sad. We're not doing that.

I'm a big believer that you can transform and what you say and what you think flows out. We have to really not only be empathetic with each other, but we have to be aware of what we're thinking and what we're saying. Because that has implications good or bad.

Annie:
What is it that keeps you pushing at the end of the day?

Vanessa:
The fact that I feel like I just can't stop.

I don't really know what it is, and I think it's because I spent time with myself after he passed away. I traveled by myself to a few places. I went to Greece and Rome by myself, and I spent a year not necessarily working. I was like training a couple of people on the side. I quit my job. I was working for my dad at the time, and of course, he understood. At the time, I don't know what I was going to do.

I started working at this place in West Ave called "Q Clothier," creating custom suits and tuxedos for men that I have no desire for, and I did that for a year. Then I started working at an oil and gas company as an executive assistant and receptionist. While I was there, I was there for four years. Great company, great people, but I don't care about oil and gas.

I can't settle. I can't settle, and I can't sit still. I was in this position where I've had to figure something else out. I can't really sit here and keep doing this, so I started inquiring about what the people in the back did, like operations and stuff. Three months later, I was hired as an engineering technician, even though I knew nothing. They like taught me everything that I got my own office. And again, still, I was sitting behind a desk, and I finally got certified for personal training. I started I was still doing any of my workouts and was training people on the side.

I mean girl, I was waking up at 4:30 AM training somebody at five or somebody at six. I'd go to work and trained somebody at lunch downstairs at 12. I taught after work; I mean, I was burnt to the ground.

I went on a trip to Mexico with my boyfriend at the time, and I remember there were these zip-lines where you'd fall into the water, and I was terrified.

I was like, "this looks miserable!"
He was like, "you can do it!"

There was something about his encouragement that made me think, "if I can do this; if I can let go of this bar to fall in the water, I can let go of this security blanket of a corporate job to fulfill what I truly believe is my God's purpose."
Now I've been on my own. I left my job in the corporate world in March of this year. So I've been on my own, training people. I'm teaching at "Sweat 1000" and gaining clients.

It's been a little bit of a struggle when you're working full time and getting a paycheck from an employer every two weeks, and then it's gone. You're like, okay, well, you gotta hustle & push. It's great because that's who I am. I don't sit still. It's the freedom of, "yeah, the beautiful of like I am my boss, and I like to have control of how much I earn or don't earn. I think what I'm doing now full-time feels like I'm on the right path. I feel like I'm in the line of what I'm supposed to.

Annie:
How would you define beauty?

Vanessa:
Oh man. Beauty is in every single person walking around. I don't care if it's outwardly. Everybody has something that's just so unique about themselves.

I really think beauty is empathy. Its vision is how a person looks or sees the world. If they can look out and see happiness, and they see the love, and they can feel empathy, they can feel for the people that are surrounding them. I think that is just beautiful. The spirit is what makes somebody beautiful. There's so much that you can do to contour your face and plastic surgery. If that's what somebody wants to do, more power to them. There's no problem with that, but I think it's essential that we make sure that we find beauty within ourselves. And it's not always easy. You look in the mirror, you're like, my skin or my this or like my hips are like not good enough. We live in this age of social media, and so it's so easy to get caught in that whirlwind of comparison. It takes awareness, and I think if everybody just had that awareness, this would be a more happy place.

Annie:
What would you like to tell someone listening to this?

Vanessa:
You are stunning. Beautiful. Inside and out. You don't need somebody's outward approval to know that you are gorgeous. If you just smile and remember that you are here for a reason, and you have air in your lungs for a reason. You have your hands and your talent and your legs and your eyes and your sight, you're more blessed than so many other people. Don't take the little things for granted because you just never know. You can always find something to be grateful for every single day, no matter how small it is, we can complain about the traffic, but at least you have a car.

Wearing: (She Goes Places Burgandy Dress)


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