My extremely caring friend, Gesche, recently introduced me to the Somaly Mam Foundation. She became aware of the organization after reading Somaly Mam’s biography, Road of Lost Innocence, recounting the horrors of being sold into sex slavery in Cambodia.
The Somaly Mam Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending modern day slavery and empowering its survivors as part of the solution. The Foundation also runs awareness and advocacy campaigns that shed light on the crime of human trafficking, spotlight its brave survivors of living examples of change, and focus on getting the public and governments involved in the fight to abolish modern day slavery.
Gesche has been committed to supporting the organization here in New York City and recently took a 10-day, 280 mile bike tour across Cambodia to visit the shelters that Somaly Mam has created. Throughout her trip with 20 like-minded individuals, Gesche learned that – in Somaly’s words – “love can make change.” Gesche believes that it is our personal duty to ensure that we ourselves are happy and appreciative of the many blessings we have – and then to take this positive energy and do good with it.
And that she did – in her adventurous style - Gesche hosted a Stiletto Workout Class to spread awareness about Somaly Mam and get her best girlfriends into shape.
The class was held at NDG Fit in Chelsea and taught by Nicole Damaris who founded the boutique women’s fitness studio. Admittedly, because of hip issues, I could not partake in the class in stilettos but did my best to make up for my balance advantage in my sneakers. After a short warm up, we got right into balance and counterbalance work. Lateral leg lifts. Grand battement devant. Passe to back attitude. Parallel passe to turned out passe. It was extremely fast paced. It was extremely tough. Even in flats. And the only respite were the thousands of squats – which we did in every position.
I can see how the workout sculpts and shapes but I found it very dangerous at the speed we were going and I can’t imagine how much more difficult it must have been in heels. It really can’t be very safe for the joints.
That said, I was happy to be there with a group of women dedicated to a cause and taking control of their bodies through this group workout. I am all about positivity and support among women and Gesche gave us an avenue for both.
All in all, I thank my lucky stars for all that I am able to do and for the opportunity to be a strong woman with a network of generous and empowered women in my life.