By Samantha Donat, Zara Terez
In today’s society, women have made a great deal of progress in gender equality. We’re running companies, countries, households, and marathons. And yet, despite all of this amazing progress, we’re starting to realize a whole other type of competition: the kind that subconsciously develops between each other.
Too often, women are unintentionally pitted against one another, constantly trying to one up our peers as we strive for greatness in virtually every aspect of life — at home, at work, in our relationships, even in workout classes. We see this all too often, especially in the fitness industry. Who has the biggest following? Who has the most toned arms? The smallest waist? The biggest paycheck? But at Zara Terez, we wanted to eliminate this new style of ranking one another, and instead, begin linking each other together. Because when we quit competing and begin cheering for one another, wonderful things start happening.
This idea is what inspired our Link Together, Lead Together series of events, and what has inspired the start of a powerful movement, #LinkedNOTRanked, that will not be slowing down any time soon. Our brand’s vision has always encouraged radiating positivity, and we’ve achieved exactly that, and more.
As members of the most dynamic fitness community in the world, we understand the power of group exercise to transform not only our bodies, but our moods, our minds, and our sense of self. #LinkedNotRanked is a movement based in feminist icon Gloria Steinem's vision of a world in which women see each other primarily as allies — linked — rather than as adversaries — ranked.
Zara Terez founders Amanda Schabes and Zara Terez Tisch were first introduced to Natalia Petrzela, one of the masterminds behind intenSati, by way of a mutual friend. Seconds into the meeting, both sides soon realized that they had to combine forces in some way — intenSati’s motivating classes and powerful vision were perfectly aligned with the Zara Terez mission of positivity and togetherness. Through Natalia’s relationships with influential women and fitness instructors, and with recommendations from our own employees and friends, we created an invite list of like-minded women to the first Link Together, Lead Together event in June 2015. The incredible outpouring of support and love that we received showed us that this was not just a one-off event — we had created a movement.
In the hopes of bringing a new meaning to the reason behind what inspires us, our customers, and our students to stay active, we invited leaders of the fitness industry, instructors from all platforms and studios, to come together this month to have an important conversation. With help from the fierce women behind IntenSati, Natalie Petrzela and Patricia Moreno, we reminded ourselves about the importance of supporting one another and finding the “why” in what we do as fitness leaders and influencers every day. We are seeking to change the motivation behind why people, and why we, workout.
And after an empowering workout class lead by our ever-inspiring friend, Stoked360 trainer Kira Stokes, we were all reminded of why we chose to work and lead in this meaningful industry. Because, guess what? Fitting into skinny jeans isn’t nearly as important as the feelings of empowerment and strength that come with loving and embracing our bodies and each other. We all live to sweat, but fitness is about so much more.
The benefits of health and fitness are only further amplified when we have the support of our fellow female leaders. “Women supporting each other is CRUCIAL to the well-being of our communities and ourselves,” Kristen Kinney wrote in a reflective post about the event. And we couldn’t agree more. We’re still tingling with the vibes of love and support that were radiating throughout the room. As leaders in the fitness industry, our words and opinions carry a great impact — and we aim to make that impact a positive one on the lives of women everywhere. We’re here to push ourselves, to push one another, to push our students, to push our customers, to be the best that we can all be.
After toweling off (because if you’ve never taken a Kira Stokes workout… you need to towel off. A lot), Jar Bar NYC, Juice Press, and Eat Pops kept us nourished post-workout while the room buzzed as influencers discussed how NYC’s wellness movement is reaching new heights, and how we each play such an important role in the success of it all. It is thanks to all of these inspiring and influential female leaders that we have been able to come this far. We walked out of the studio feeling revitalized and empowered to bring this vision to others — that success is not found in the failure of others, but rather in the strength within ourselves. Because we are so much stronger when we are linked together. We are all #LinkedNOTRanked and this is JUST the beginning.
Zara Terez is a collaboration between best friends Zara Terez Tisch and Amanda Schabes, who literally make their dreams come true every day by printing their wild imaginations on clothing and accessories that then travel the world on the kind of girls they’d love to hang out with. Made with love in New York City, the Zara Terez original prints are as cool as you are. Zara and Amanda believe in freedom of expression, individuality, and empowerment. Be inspired, live your dreams and never blend in.
(photo credit: Newsday's Bruce Gilbert)