Rose the Diva is unconventional in more ways than one—here’s why she thinks so

In our monthly profile series Meet the Trailblazers, Fitbit seeks to increase diversity in the world of wellness and fitness by featuring the voices of POC trailblazers leading these industries—industries that have long discredited voices like theirs.

This month, we’re highlighting the amazing work of Roslyn Mays, aka Roz the Diva. Rose is an unconventional pole athlete, NASM-certified trainer and featured Fitbit Premium trainer, and a body-positive influencer. We are excited to share our inspiring conversation with him.

Today, Roslyn “Rose the Diva” is known for her prowess on the pole. Not only is she an acclaimed pole athlete, the Brooklyn-based powerhouse also created Dangerous Curves, the first national competition to spotlight plus-size pole athletes. Her fitness career began when she was drawn to group fitness classes. Rose found her way into her regular gym routine—specifically pole fitness—in 2007—though at the time, she was only focused on losing weight and was at the gym as a vehicle to do tons of cardio, which she calls “a classic rookie mistake.”

“When I saw that pole fitness classes were on the schedule,” shares Rose, “I thought it was something new to try. I remember my first class vividly—I was really weak, confused, and definitely not confident. Despite my failure that night, Never had a better time than to fail at something athletic and fall completely in love.”

Read on to dive into our Q&A with Roz and learn more about her refreshingly honest take on all things 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 experienced trainer, but with a refreshingly inclusive approach to training a variety of physiques and non-traditional athletes. Amazing! Can you share more about what drew you to incredible work?

Rose: My fitness career was born out of my love affair with group fitness classes. I thrive on the strengths of other gym rats and try to create an environment where others can too. I was also interested in teaching because I knew my 90’s and 2000’s playlists would be epic, and people would sweat it out.

What is your favorite thing about what you are doing?

Rose: My favorite part of the sport is teaching pole. What started as a class at the gym turned into a serious hobby, then a side hustle and finally a healthy business. Not only can my lonesome in NYC support my life financially, but I can help regular people feel like shiny superheroes when they come up with a cool new trick. Over the past twelve years, I have coached athletes in 33 states and 8 countries.

Why, in your view, is representation so important?

Rose: Representation is important because you can’t be what you can’t see. I often wonder how my self-esteem would have developed if, in my teenage years, I had seen female athletes who looked like me. I set out to be an unconventional athlete; However, as a plus size woman, this headline is almost impossible to avoid. I am happy to use this title to help others feel less alone.

With so much on your plate, how do you prioritize self-care?

ROZ: I don’t. I am often the last person whose needs I consider. I need help to change it.

Is there a wellness “trend” that you’re glad to see becoming more popular?

Rose: Psychotherapy, hands down! I am a huge advocate for mental health care and am thrilled to see it become less stigmatized, especially for BIPOC people. My therapist of 15+ years got me through some particularly dark times in my 20s.

And are you ready to put something behind you?

Rose: I’m ready for my body weight to not determine my worth as a person. Despite how confident I appear, I have several size-related demons to work through. Solving this problem is going to be a long and tedious process, but gaining experience is important.

You’re launching more content on Fitbit Premium soon—exciting! Can you share your favorite content to shoot and why?

ROZ: I like videos when I move at an even, steady pace, because I know others can easily follow. I want my content to be as accessible to exercising virgins as possible.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Rose: Hi Beyonce. I know when you will be ready to join me on tour. I have a pole, a passport and no kids.

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