October's Person of Inspiration - Angelique Miles, "Resilience, Reinvention & Finding M

I have always had a passion for wellness and self-care. I went to dance school as a young girl in Queens, New York, where l learned ballet, tap, modern and African dance up until I was teenager. When I was 10 years old, I refused to eat pork, because I read somewhere it had worms in it. My mother was the best. She would make me alternate meals whenever she made pork for the rest of the family. I didn’t eat pork for 4 years.

Years later, as a student at Hampton University, a young man, who I think was a bodybuilder, rallied a group of freshman girls together and trained us in the student weight room. It was then that I could see the way you could change and shape your body through weightlifting.

Fast forward to my years as a Music Publishing Executive, when I incorporated fitness and wellness into my life by hiring several personal trainers over the years. It was then that I was introduced to my first fitness love, The Lotte Berk Method, a precursor to all barre classes. I had almost every Tae Bo and The Firm DVD ever made. I never met a spa treatment I didn’t like. You name it, I tried it: colonics, Ayurvedic diet, another diet where I only ate green vegetables for two weeks, another diet had me traveling all the way to E. 11th Street for spelt pizza with pesto sauce (tomatoes and wheat were off limits) and soy cheese (vegan wasn’t a thing back then), cranial sacral therapy, acupuncture, Rolfing - almost everything. When I look back at my life and relationship to wellness, it should not be surprising for me to discover that I have an entirely new career in Beauty and Wellness, but it surprises me all the time.

I had a very exciting, illustrious career in the Music Industry. For a long time, I had the Midas touch. I worked at one of the top global music publishing companies, where I signed some of the hottest acts of the 90's. Included in my roster were those considered the Who’s Who List of Top R&B/Hip Hop artists: Missy Elliottt, Timbaland, JUNIOR Mafia, which of course included Lil’ Kim & Cease, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Busta Rhymes, Ghostface Killa, Stevie J, too many more to name. But like everything else in life, nothing ever stays the same. After a while, the business changed to a point where it was unrecognizable to me. I lost my passion for it.

After I was laid off from my last job, I worked independently for a few years, but my heart was no longer in it, so that eventually dried up as well. After doing something for so long, and actually really good at it, I was at a complete loss for what to do next in my career. Doors that used to be wide open, were now shut. Phone calls weren’t returned. I was no longer invited to as many functions. Although I no longer had the passion to work in music, I still was not ready to let go of the money and the perks - great salary, limitless expense account, first class travel. I worked during the music industry’s golden era. Things were very different from how they are now. But besides no longer having the passion for it, 9/11 had occurred, everything went digital, and the country was going into a recession. The jobs just were no longer there, and apparently God had other plans for me.

In the meantime, I got up every day and went to the gym. I even worked part time at a barre studio so I could take free classes. I felt down and out, but I’d be damned if I looked down and out! It was the one thing I could control when everything else was out of my control. I took care of myself on the outside to reassure myself and so that I could feel better on the inside. As the saying goes, “When I look good, I feel good.” Finally, one day when I was at my wit’s end, frustrated with my job situation and life in general, I asked myself, “What would you not mind doing every single day?” The answer came to me immediately - I wanted to work out, practice other forms of wellness and self-care, and make a living doing it.

Later I started CrossFit. I would post my workouts on social media. Instagram was fairly new, so I would also post my workouts on Twitter. A few years later when Class Pass came along, I would take different classes all over the city and post about it. I was never shy about my age. I was in my late 40s, my body was changing, staying in shape was getting more difficult, and I shared my experiences with my followers. My social media following grew from there, and is still growing upwards of 30k.

I am always flattered when I am approached by people who follow my journey, and I always seems to run into them at the most random places: at a train station, a Target in the suburbs, walking down a Harlem street. Most tell me I inspire them. I now know this is my purpose: to inspire. As an Influencer it has been a pleasure meeting with and working with different brands, and now I am even getting modeling gigs. I recently landed a modeling job with Kate Spade for their Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 campaigns - a first for me at the age of 50. So many people thought I’d modeled before I worked in the music industry, but the truth is I worked in finance. I always thought because of my scar (another story for another day) and my skin condition (psoriasis), I could never model. It never even crossed my mind to become a model at my age. So exciting. In addition to that, I speak on panels in both big and small forums, host and/or facilitate fitness workshops, brands send me free stuff (my favorite, lol), and some actually pay me to post. The world of social media is so fascinating. Things just come to me now, and it just feels right. I am doing exactly what I said I wanted to do. It has by no means been easy - some days can be really tough, but I take solace in the fact that I am meeting the people I need to meet, doing the things I want to do, and living in my purpose - every day.

It was at my lowest point that I found my purpose. It doesn’t have to be that way for everyone, but I now know it was a necessary part of my journey. People always ask how I manage to look younger than my 51 years. My favorite answers are “fitness is the fountain of youth” and “I’m not going down without a fight!”. Why did I initially get into wellness? Honestly, vanity, but it has become so much more. Why do I continue? To encourage women not to give up. Don’t give up because you’re 45 and 30 pounds have creeped up on you. Don’t give up because you haven’t lost the baby weight and the baby is 15 years old. Don’t give up because you’ve lost a job, relationship, something or someone you love. Just do something. Small changes go a long way. Before you know it, you’ll be looking good, and feeling even better.

About Angelique

Angelique Miles is a Music Industry Veteran, Fitness & Wellness Expert and Blogger, and a Lifestyle Enthusiast. During her illustrious musical career she signed of the industry's top artists of the 90's.

Angelique discovered her passion in Beauty and Fitness and has appeared on several wellness panels. She currently has a growing presence as a leading social media Influencer.

Angelique is mother to 25 year old Mario and proudly calls Harlem, New York her home.

Facebook: Angelique Miles

Instagram: @angeliquemiles

Twitter: @angeliquemiles

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