Pretty Girls Sweat (PGS) is more than just a movement to help teens and young adults get more active; it’s a sisterhood. The organization was founded by Aeshia DeVore Branch in 2011 to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. Branch saw PGS as a way to introduce fitness in a fun and engaging manner.
Since then, the organization has grown to include thousands of members and endorsements from celebrities, such as Keri Hilson, Kelly Rowland, and Skylar Diggins. In addition to spreading their message to high schools and communities across the country, PGS also has teams at over a dozen colleges and universities in a push to get more college-aged women active. University of Buffalo senior Jessica Calderon is one of the ambassadors of the #SweatSisterhood at her school. NYMM had the opportunity to speak to Calderon about the organization and what it means to her.
NYMM: What got you involved with Pretty Girls Sweat?
JC: I became interested in PGS when my fitness journey started as a senior in high school. I realized the health benefits of taking care of [my] body. So, when I found out about PGS on campus, I was inclined to join because it aligned with my personal fitness goals. If I was able to motivate myself into getting fit, I would be glad to help others get fit and make it fun for them.
NYMM: What was the response like on campus?
JC: Overall, the campus response has been really supportive. People have come out and made our Sweat Shows exciting. Not only do we have support from our friends and other students, but we also have relationships with other fitness instructors in the Buffalo area that help us incorporate fun and engaging workouts that are open to students such as Zumba. It’s always a great time and full of energy!
NYMM: How important do you think fitness and healthy eating are to women on college campuses?
JC: It’s important to know what you are eating and what you’re consuming. It’s really important to keep your food balanced and meet your nutrient requirements. The word “healthy” often has a bad connotation that means to eat salads, and of course, no one likes to eat salads. There are various other meals that taste good and offer you nutrients. You always want to challenge yourself to become a better version of yourself, so challenging yourself physically to do something you couldn’t do before, whether it’s using a machine at gym, going for another mile on a run, whatever it is, do it. Not only are you challenging yourself, but working out also produces endorphins, which is why you feel less stressed and great after a workout.
NYMM: What would you say to people who may be interested in joining PGS?
JC: JOIN! We want women to live healthy lives and form healthy habits, whether it is to drink more water, workout more, eat healthier meals, and so forth. Our Sweat Shows are always full of energy and we are welcoming to everyone. Our organization is named Pretty Girls Sweat, but we don’t limit to just women, men are always welcomed as well. No one is restricted from getting a good workout.
Calderon and her fellow officers plan on having more events and Sweat Shows in the upcoming months. PGS operates nationwide, so if you are interested, you can find an existing team to join or start your own!
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