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Meet Trailblazer Teniqua Westry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Teniqua Westry.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Born in Decatur, Georgia, I was raised in Stone Mountain, until my early teen years. Upon the divorce of my parents, my mother and I moved to Gwinnett County where I spent my remaining middle school and high school years. After receiving my high school diploma, I attended Brenau University in Gainesville, GA where I graduated Cum Laude, earning a Bachelors of Arts degree in dance with a health science concentration. Unlike many of my peers, I did not have a job lined up after graduation and became discouraged as I felt that I was not living up to the dream that was painted to me from peers, professors, and administration in my college years. Working many part-time jobs and now a full-time job, paying bills, supporting myself, while also working on an MBA, I’ve been allotted opportunities to genuinely think about what it is that I truly want to do. In 2017, my health began to decline from not being as physically active daily as I was in college, and that sparked my desire to want to train.

In March 2018, I signed up for a personal trainer and I loved the change I began to see in my body. This sparked PrettyFitTink. PrettyFitTink is a fitness and nutritional blog that follows my journey to becoming a better me. I post videos of my workouts, recipes, and provide encouraging words to motivate others to take charge of their health and become better versions of themselves. Since, I’ve gotten certified with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as a personal trainer and plan to become a certified nutritionist as well. In November of 2018, I created She Made, Ltd. Co. She Made stems from the Bible verse “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalms 139:14. She Made is an activewear clothing line created for women, by a woman. My goal is to encourage women to be confident in who they are and love their bodies because it was and is wonderfully made. I’ve strategically selected fabrics and created designs keeping every woman in mind. She Made, Ltd. Co will launch this year, 2019. I’ve learned that my passions are health and fitness. I love to encourage others and promote self-love.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road to success has definitely not been easy. I feel that all my struggles have taken part in who I am and how I think, and I am appreciative of them. The one major change in my life was the divorce of my parents. Moving from Dekalb with my family to Gwinnett with my mom was a major thing for me. I had to uproot the life and environment I knew to adapt to a new place and situation. Fall semester I spent in Dekalb and in January, after winter break, I was in Gwinnett. At the time, I did not want to accept it, but that change was probably the best thing to happen for me. In life, there is constant change.

A professor I had in college once told me that change is the only constant and that stuck with me ever since. In the world we live in today, we must be able to accept and adapt to change and be comfortable with being uncomfortable. For women who are just starting their journey, I would say “learn you” and go for it. In “learning you”, think about your passions, your dreams, your desires, the legacy you want to build, who you want to be, etc. Don’t feel that you must have your life laid out by 25. I’m 25 and I don’t. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Be open to change, new experiences, making connections and meeting new people. Remember, there’s only one you. The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to others because their path wasn’t meant for you. Your path is your own and the only competition is yourself. Set at least one goal each day on how you’re going to be better than you were yesterday or how you’re going to make a new or different decision and watch how things change for you. It’s going to be okay. You got this!

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
My background is in dance. I have been dancing since I could walk (let my mama tell it), but I’ve been training since my freshman year in college. Dance is what I am most known for. Currently, I teach. I have visited many studios and dance programs sharing my love of dance, what I’ve learned and teaching master classes. I don’t have a specialty. Of all the genres, I love modern dance the most. The reason being is that I am most confident in it, not that I am the best at it. As a brand, “Teniqua Monique”, I am most proud of the startup. Starting a business or multiple business can be scary and discouraging. Especially, since there are all kinds of businesses in the market offering the same thing as you, but that is the time where you have to think about how you stand out from the rest and the things make your organization different than the rest. I am passionate about what I do.

As a dancer, I have been in the fitness industry and didn’t realize it. In dance, you learn about your body from taking anatomy and kinesiology classes, technique classes, going to rehearsals, and for many of us through injury. So, I bring that knowledge to the table as a personal trainer. I can better understand because I have been through it, in addition to the things I have learned in bodybuilding and studying for my ACE certification. Both of my businesses, PrettyFitTink and She Made Ltd. Co, are both in the start-up phases, but I am proud that I took the first step in incorporating them both to allow me to share my passions with others.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Yes, my family. Having a close-knit family ties into 1000% of the success I’ve had thus far and plan to have in the future. I have one of those families where we all love and support each another. I didn’t realize how important that was until I began to interact with others and learn that every family dynamic is not the same. Whether it be birthdays, graduations, just because, etc. That has transferred into my friendships and relationships with others and because that is what I am accustomed to and have grown up around, it is genuine. I want to thank my family for that as I am very appreciative of it. My family is my heart, pride, and joy.

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