Mia Bolden: Inspiring Confidence in Women from All Walks of life
By Blair Castro
Today, if you saw Mia Bolden you would see a successful woman brimming with confidence and looking to help others see their bodies in a more positive light. However, this perspective was not always the case, and to fully understand Bolden’s story, we must look at the moments in her life that made her into the successful, inspiring woman she is now.
Bolden was born in Atlanta but was raised in Pensacola. Always driven, she moved at 18 years to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she completed schooling at Forsyth Tech and took additional business classes to expand her knowledge. Bolden was in the area for about ten years when she found inspiration at the most unlikely of times. Bolden was in something of a rut, weighing around 300 pounds and feeling very discouraged. It was hard for her to stay on track to lose weight when all the traditional methods felt so dull. Bolden began brainstorming various cardio exercise ideas to help her find a more enjoyable way to lose weight. Bolden stumbled upon women’s vertical pole fitness classes and exercise began to click for her. After starting pole fitness, Bolden felt a surge of con dence and positivity regarding her own body. Right away, Bolden knew she wanted to share her experience with other women so that may feel the confidence that she felt. Bolden moved back to her home to try and open her own studio. The road to operating her own successful studio was paved via trial and error; however, in time, she would transform the way many women in Pensacola would see themselves.
Bolden was bartending at 5 Sisters Blues Cafe in Pensacola when she began exploring alternative workout methods and met Rashida, a Zumba instructor, who helped her teach her first classes as they rented out the old Bunny Club. Women signed up quickly, looking for a chance to have fun and let loose, while also losing weight. There was not any body shaming, the classes were full of diversity and it appeared that the women had struck gold: this method of exercise felt like a way for everyone to feel good. After Bolden went to her first yoga class, she then became yoga certified. From that point, she started offering yoga cardio, as their new business would expand to a variety of classes, all which lead to women feeling better about themselves.
When Bolden’s business became six years old, she moved locations and began offering classes at Sanders Beach for about six months until more people started coming in and signing up than anticipated. Later, the women would open their own studio in Ellison Industrial Park. Women continued to ask about the vertical pole fitness class, so Bolden partnered with a new friend in the area, Tina, who would certify her instructors. Tina served as the business manager and promoter of the budding business while also teaching yoga, where she had four students per class. Bolden taught classes and also became certified as a Body Image Coach through ICS, where she aimed to help people discover their passion and purpose. The best part of this entire experience for Bolden was watching as women who felt like they could not do something later realized that they can! Leaving out body-shaming and incorporating diversity had made Bolden’s studio a hit. Women were indeed feeling extremely empowered.
In any workout setting, according to Bolden, it is essential to prove your body can do more than you ever thought possible. While teaching her six weeks courses, Bolden began to find that women started to open up more about their bodies, their past insecurities, their newfound self-confidence and changes that they are making in their life through these classes. Bolden can see women change from the inside out, growing with confidence, and even though 97% of women said that they had never tried a pole class before, by the end of the course, they were all feeling empowered, making friends, feeling good and getting their sexy back!
Women sometimes worry about the stigma that goes along with pole fitness, hence why Bolden wrote her book “No, I’m NOT a Stripper: Pole Fitness and the Ladies Who Love it!” They also worry about embarrassing themselves, fear of the unknown, what their family will think and many other factors. Bolden prides herself on helping women overcome these fears and on the fact that her studio is incredibly diverse with women of all sizes, shapes, races, ages and body types. Bolden believes her students are on a journey, and her very relatable instructors aim to help them in their own progression. The women are always motivating each other, and Mia is proud that there is a strong sisterhood at Beautiful You Studio.
Bolden concedes that opening a vertical pole fitness studio in Pensacola seemed a tad bit too progressive initially to many who live in this more conservative-leaning area. There were those who judged her dream, particularly when she had to go to networking events and talk about her business. She overcame this judgement by focusing on the clients and reminding herself that this business was about them and their journey and not her own feelings at that moment. Bolden’s ultimate goal is to bring empowerment to people, and she encourages others to not be judgmental, to try something new and to love their bodies from the inside out. Bolden believes that if we embrace and love each other and get to know one another to see what our “why’s” are, we will empower our community.
From a very young age, Bolden’s grandmother taught her to be a leader and to always stand up for herself, and those are qualities that she took upon when opening up her studio. From Bolden’s Aunt Percy to her Aunt Jane, having strong women in her life to lean on has helped her. She often thought of her grandmother and aunts when she had to speak in front of a room full of professionals about her new endeavor, maintaining the confidence and stability that she needed as she fought for her vision. When asked about advice for young female entrepreneurs, Bolden expressed the importance of always believing in yourself and the work that is being done for the betterment of the community. She also hopes that the next generation will always keep going- standing with their heads held high. “Reach for the stars and conquer any of your given goals- even when there might be judgement, trials and tribulations,” Bolden says.
There are undoubtedly many more great things to come from Bolden as an empowerment coach and as the owner of a pole fitness studio. Be sure to follow BEAUTIFUL YOU Studios, to possibly even attend one of her classes, and check out her books “No, I’m Not a Stripper: Pole Fitness & the Ladies Who Love It!” and “How to Discover Your Life’s Purpose After 30: What the Fudge am I Here For?” on Amazon.