An Interview With Faye Edwards On Diversity & Inclusion In The Fitness Industry.
I have the pleasure of working with Faye, she truly does live & breathe fitness, I wanted to get her thoughts on Diversity & Inclusion within the industry and share with you. Enjoy!
Tell us a little about yourself Faye,
I started my career in the fitness industry around 8 years ago with my main passion and expertise being in the group exercise field. I have been a group exercise manager for Third Space for the last 3 years alongside fitness presenting both in the UK and internationally and running my own events, masterclasses, projects and concept creating. I am extremely passionate about encouraging individuals to live healthy active lifestyles but most importantly to not get sucked into the pressures of trying to be perfect but to enjoy the journey, take care of both physical and mental well-being and of course have as much fun as humanly possible!
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you? Diversity and inclusion to me means having an open mind and understanding that every individual has the right to feel welcome and included in any environment without passing judgement. Diversity and inclusion is a space where discrimination does not exist and where there is acceptance for all regardless of abilities, race, sexuality, image or status.
Why do you believe this is lacking so much within the fitness industry? I believe that there are many brands and influencers that do represent diversity and demonstrate inclusion however there are some that may not always set a good example. I believe this may come down to the assumptions or expectations of what society wants to see, ‘a perfect flawless image or perfect lives.’ The media in all different industries has often portrayed ‘perfection’ as the norm with airbrushed images, a specific size, shape and height and a ‘marketable’ look. I feel that some brands and influencers don’t always have a wide array of different or realistic representations of ‘everyday people‘ living ‘everyday lives’ and lack authenticity and just effortlessly being truly themselves.
How do you think as an industry we can work towards changing this? Influencers and big brands already have the platform, those who have a big platform and following have more of a responsibility to be a positive influence. I believe that the industry could continue to improve diveristy and inclusion by offering opportunities to all and by breaking the mould of ‘the perfect image’ and promote that fitness is accessible to all and should be represented by all regardless of physical, visual and social differences.
Finally, who would you recommend for the Girl Gang to follow on social media to diversify their feeds? Fitness organisations that have a real sense of community and have had such positive influences on so many peoples lives and provide uplifting group fitness experiences such as Rip Fitness, 3ness and Fight Klub. Celebrity influencers and good friends of mine who have been such positive role models in the fitness industry Davina McCall, Colonol Dame Kelly Holmes and Richard Callender. Fitness duo Lyanne and Sam of StrongHer both positive influences, I love their ethos as they represent strength in a woman! AK Fit club another girl power duo who bring fun to fitness through their skip and gymnastics skills. The list could go on and I feel truly inspired by so many in the industry.
Faye is in the process of planning an event to discuss this topic, watch this space for more information.