Wassap baby chicken darlings!

I guess this where I talk about me, myself, and I, eh?! Where to even begin. I’ve been on this planet for twenty-nine years and to try and condense MA LIFE into a few paragraphs seems daunting. But alas! We must go forth. Brief highlights include calling 911 and singing the chipmunk song (I was like, four years old, give me a break), playing basketball for seven years, living in France when I was in high school, studying Fine Art at college, adopting a senior dog named Spicy Grandpa, learning to surf, and eventually falling in love with both fitness and social media leading me to this current life that I am living and breathing.

But let’s back up a bit. It’s April, 2015. We’re in a pretty dark period of my life. I was a passionless graphic designer. I had just gotten out of a four year long serious relationship. I was suffering from social anxiety. I had recently left a job that caused me so much stress that I had a bald patch on my head. And I realized that I had literally zero friends. Yeah, not so great. I warned ya that it was a dark time.

I had been following a fitness account on instagram for about a year, a gal named Kayla Itsines, who had a popular workout program called BBG aka Bikini Body Guide. For several months, I had admired the transformation photos of the women she posted, and then one day woke up and said, “wait a sec, why not ME?”. I bought the guide, went to the gym, and started day one, week one of the twelve week guide. I needed something positive and something grounding in my life and years of struggle, and I finally found something that I finally felt excited about.

But BBG quickly proved itself to be much more than just a workout program for me. The same day that I started the guide, I also created an instagram account (@workoutbean at the time) to hold myself accountable. I didn’t tell any friends or family about it at first, but almost instantaneously found so much joy in it. The BBG community was growing quickly back then, and I found myself connecting daily to other women doing the guide. For the first time in years, it felt like I had friends. It felt like I had female connection in my life. And I started to form virtual friendships which, spoiler alert! Became real life friendships. In addition to the friendship, I was staying on track with the workout guide, and it felt amazing to have a physical outlet in my life. And lastly, out of nowhere, I started to gain followers very quickly. I had no intention getting followers, the word “influencer” didn’t even exist back then, but within three months, I had grown to around 10k. So between working on myself through exercise, connecting and creating friendships, and finding passion through social media, this was a huge turning point in my life.

It’s now September 2015, six months after creating my account. I decided to leave my office job as graphic designer and go freelance so that I could have time to truly explore this new passion of mine. I loved fitness, I loved social media, my following was growing- I knew that I could do something with all of these components. I ended up studying relentlessly for and getting my NASM personal training certification, but full disclosure, ended up doing nothing with it. It was also during this time that I, dun! dun! dun! rediscovered SoulCycle. I threw the dramatic dun! dun! dun! in there because my SoulCycle story is indeed a dramatic, long, challenging, transformative, and very important chapter of my of life. I fell in love not just with riding at SoulCycle, but with the idea of becoming a SoulCycle instructor.

You can read about the first half of my SoulCycle journey here if you’d like. To put it somewhat succinctly, over the course of a year, I had to audition twice before I was accepted into the ten week training program, went through the ten week training program in the spring/summer of 2016, failed, and then was told if I wanted to be a SoulCycle instructor, I would have to repeat the entire program again. Cue the heartbreak, embarrassment, and utter disappointment. But, in the Fall of 2016, I picked myself up and I went through the whole process again, and (phew!) in December 2016, I graduated and started teaching in NYC. I ended up teaching for close to a year and a half, but ended up deciding to leave Soul at the end of April 2018. The whole process of going through training and teaching was absolutely life changing for me. I had to face fears on a daily basis, I had to push through physical limitation, and I had to fight non stop self doubt. It was one of the most challenging and defining things I’ve ever done in my life. I ultimately decided to leave because despite it once being my dream, the dream changed. It was no longer something that brought me joy. And I came to terms with the fact that it’s ok to change. If something is no longer working for you, you don’t have to stay there just because you worked really hard to get there.

Whew, gettin’ heavy on ya, aren’t I?! We good? Ya need a sec?! Ok, deep breath. Let’s continue…

Simultaneous with my SoulCycle career, I was still focusing heavily on my Instagram account: growing my following, building my own brand, and starting to make living from partnerships and ambassador programs. I went full time as an Instagram Influencer at the end of April 2018, and this has been my full time career ever since. I’ve had the honor of being a full time ambassador for companies like Adidas, MichelobULTRA, Smarty Pants Vitamins, and European Wax Center, as well as other incredible partnerships with companies like Alex and Ani, Aerie, Chase, Steve Madden, Dove, Fossil, Toyota, Polaroid, Tropicana, and many more.

My instagram account, in a simple sense, is a day to day record of my life. I share about everything, the good and the bad: break ups, career changes, travel, anxiety, style, body image, feminism, fitness, and humor. No topic is off limits, even butt pimples. No joke, I swear that’s everyone’s favorite topic, ha! Back in 2015, my main focus was exercise, but my goal has now expanded to create a space where women can come together to talk about topics that are important to them, a space where others feel seen, heard, and supported. Through my content, I aim to empower women to get out of their comfort zones, feel comfortable in the their own skin, and speak their minds.

As 2018 is coming to a close, and the fresh start of 2019 approaches, I’m looking forward to this new year as a way to expand what I currently do into something bigger. Workshops, events, podcasts, guides… there is so much opportunity that I cannot wait to dive into.

It’s been a wild ride up until now, but there’s so much more in store.

xo Jera


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