Cool Girls with Tag: New York

Melissa Farley

Name: Melissa Farley
Age: 33
Location: New York City, New York
Occupation: Certified Holistic Weight Loss and Wellness Coach, CHHC, AADP and Image Stylist

Growing up in Wilmington, Delaware, Melissa Farley dealt with low self-esteem and poor body image as a result of judging herself against her size ‘0’ friends. “As young girls, we want to look like our classmates or what we see on TV,” Melissa explains. “We equate being skinny with being beautiful and happy. It’s hard to see that beauty is so much more than that. It’s about being healthy, not being rail thin. It’s about accepting and taking care of yourself, not comparing and despairing.”

After college, Melissa set a goal to become more healthy and learn about proper nutrition. She tweaked her diet and became more active. Fitness quickly became crucial to her daily life. She loved to sweat away her stress, and her morning workouts helped set a positive tone for her day working in the fashion industry. At around that same time, she began to suffer from a stomach illness. That’s when Melissa found the power of a holistic lifestyle.

She decided to forgo conventional medicine, replacing her prescription with natural remedies. “Through holistic nutrition, supplements, and maintaining my new healthy routine, I was able to find some relief. Eventually this whole-body approach led to me getting better. I’d cured myself!” she says. “I’m really glad I chose the alternative because the medication I was originally prescribed was pulled from the market seven years later for causing strokes, heart attacks and blood clots.”

Melissa took her new-found health even further, competing in a fitness competition for the first time. She won second place in the Best Body Division in the International Natural Body and Fitness North East Regional, an all-natural fitness competition. “It was one of the many experiences that helped me to learn how to love my body,” Melissa gushes.

But good health and a renewed sense of self-esteem weren’t enough for her. She wanted to give these gifts to other women who struggled with their weight and body image.

“I wanted a career where I could help women who felt stuck and unhappy,” she explains. “I wanted to inspire women to make changes towards a healthy lifestyle, and to let them know that they have the power to create the life and the body of their dreams. I know first-hand that negative feelings make it hard to feel in control or to make changes on your own.”

Through sessions with her clients, she’s able to guide them towards achieving their goal weight and a healthier way of life, not to mention overhauling their closets if they’d like some help there, too.

“It’s a unique program because it involves an inner and outer body transformation at the end, you learn how to dress for your body type and play up your assets,” Melissa says. Her clients receive custom designed fitness  and nutrition plans, wellness coaching and a style makeover if they choose.  “Most importantly, I don’t want women to feel like their weight controls them or their happiness. They’re in control. That’s a huge message that gets lost too often today.”

And what about New Year’s, a time so often tied to personal growth, aspirations, and that dreaded list of resolutions?

“I personally believe New Year’s resolutions set people up for failure because all too often the list of resolutions is a mile long. It feels daunting and becomes unrealistic,” Melissa says. “I believe every day is your opportunity to take steps towards your goals and make changes in your life. The amazing thing about life is that we have the power to do and change whatever we want at any time. It’s empowering!”

You can check out her website to read more about makeover guidance, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook for loads of healthy lifestyle tips and beauty tricks.

Hope Boykin

Name: Hope Boykin
Age: 39
Location: New York City
Occupation: Choreographer, Dancer, Teacher

Hope Boykin spends her days with grace, both demonstrating it on stage and teaching her students how to best embody it. A New York transplant by way of Durham, North Carolina, Hope is a longtime member of the legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She’s a ballerina and a choreographer with an ardent love of helping others to better express themselves through dance.

Activity has always been important to Hope, so it’s no surprise that her career became a product of movement. “Dance and gymnastics were a part of my life since I was about three years old. My mother has always said that, after taking me to see a performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as a young child, I imitated the movements and danced around the house,” she says. Continue reading Hope Boykin