Black History Month Interview Series: “Les” Alfred
February is Black History Month, and we want to honor this important month through the celebration and amplification of Black Women changing the game in the wellness space. Meet Les Alfred, the fitness-loving founder of Balanced Black Girl, a podcast and supportive wellness community for women of color. We got the opportunity to learn about Les, her mission, and what Balanced Black Girl is all about!
What drew you to the wellness movement?
I have had an interest in wellness from a young age but began making wellness a priority in my own life during my first corporate internship in college. I realized sitting at a desk for so many hours a day was taking a negative toll on how I felt physically and emotionally, so I began intentionally exercising and paying attention to what I was putting in my body in an effort to feel better, and I’ve been in love with wellness ever since.
What does being a Black Woman in the wellness space mean to you?
Ooh! This is a tricky question. On a personal level, my identity has always been firmly rooted in my Blackness, and I believe my health, as well as the health of my sisters, is just as important as anyone else’s. Our presence in this space shouldn’t be revolutionary — we want to live long, healthy, happy lives just like everyone else. Unfortunately, our society has conditioned us to believe suffering should be our normal, but I don’t believe that should be the case.
What is the most rewarding part about creating a community in the Wellness Space that amplifies the voices and experiences of Black Women?
Some of the messages I’ve gotten from listeners have been incredible. I’ve had women say they hadn’t been to the doctor in years, but were inspired to go after listening to the show. Or women say they’ve never worn sunscreen before but now understand why it’s important and now wear it daily. But the messages that I love the most are the ones where people share that they finally feel understood, or less alone in their experience. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that we are never the only people to experience something, even if it often feels like it. Being able to connect those who have like experiences is beautiful and rewarding.
What are some evolutions/strides in the wellness space that you feel Balanced Black Girl is contributing too?
I am honored to normalize more conversations about health and happiness for and by Black women that don’t revolve around our suffering.
How do you think you have grown personally through the journey of creating this community?
I am definitely still on the journey! I have never seen myself as someone who was particularly good at or had a calling to create community. But I’ve learned that when you have a message others resonate with, community can form organically. I’ve learned how important it is to create space to share our stories, and to be less afraid of doing so myself.
Reflecting on where Balanced Black Girl started and where it is now, what are you most proud of?
Anytime I get a message from a woman who says her life has been impacted, or she is now taking care of herself in ways she hasn’t before, I feel so proud of the platform. Sharing attainable advice to help Black women take care of themselves is my ultimate goal, and I am always so proud when I hear from someone who received that message.
Check her out! Head to https://www.balancedblackgirl.com/ to learn more and witness the amazing community Les has built! We cannot wait to continue to support and learn from Les on her journey to build community and create authentic spaces for women of color!