#GirlPower: Strong is Beautiful and Sexy

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I was recently having a conversation about my fitness goals and aspirations. During the conversation, I mentioned that my landmark fitness feat is Oxygen Magazine, not Shape or Self Magazine. Everyone has their own fitness goals, and mine is a combination and balance between strength and power that screams badassery. I have a strong belief that strong is beautiful and sexy. During college, I played on every women's team there was - basketball, volleyball, softball, cross country and track. Plus, I also played club netball (similar to basketball). But what I was and am still most proud of, were my many scholar-athlete awards. I proved that athleticism, beauty, and brains could all live in the same space.

There have been stereotypes about women with big muscles, power and brute strength. As muscles on women aren't seen as beautiful and feminine. But who says that femininity and athleticism have to be mutually exclusive. As proven by my girl power squad, Laila Ali, Serena Williams, and Michelle Carter. And, despite showing the world that strong is beautiful and sexy, their bodies have been the subject of great scrutiny.

A photo posted by Laila Ali (@thereallailaali) on

Known for her pedigree as Muhammad Ali's daughter, and as the Super Middleweight Boxing champ, Laila Ali bestowed on us pure power alongside true beauty. The stellar athlete retired with a 24-0 and 21 KOs record as she defeated some of the best in women's boxing. "Beauty can be so many different things, and each person should create their own definition. I personally feel that being beautiful is a mix of the glow from within, which comes from great health and a positive attitude," Ali told Teen Vogue.

A photo posted by Michelle Carter (@shotdiva) on

Michelle Carter just made history as the first American woman to win a gold medal in the shot put. And, she did it looking fashionably fierce - wearing fake eyelashes and red lipstick.  "I Love Hair, I love makeup, I love fashion, and I love throwing the shot put," Michelle Carter, #TeamUSA gold medalist and professional makeup artist told ESPN. She also happens to have her own makeup line, Shot Diva.

Serena Williams is fierce and intense. And, for two decades, she has dominated her sport. But she has also been making waves off the court by showcasing her female prowess in projects like Beyonce's "Lemonade" video, and on the cover of the September issue of Self Magazine. "I love my body, and would never change anything about it. I'm not asking you to like my body. I'm asking you to let me be me” Williams told Self.

Historically, society has only promoted and defined one body-type as being beautiful. Today, there is now the realization that there is more than one standard of beauty and girl power. As the mother of two girls, I'm a strong supporter of female empowerment, and encourage all to speak up against sexism. And, in a world where gender bias still prevails, I encourage my girls to walk in their own individual truths. I teach them to stand up for who they are, and for what they believe in... To be strong and to look good doing it. Because strong is beautiful and sexy!