When 24-year-old Jada Hudson went to her first pole fitness class last September, she was immediately hooked. But when she tried to seek out like-minded friends online, she couldn't find a community specifically dedicated to curvier women, like herself, who do pole fitness. So she created one.
"When you’re in class with a bunch of other women and they’re half your size, you all learn a new move at the same time," says Hudson. "[When] they just effortlessly hoist themselves up and you’re struggling, it’s kind of discouraging."
So Hudson created Curvy Girls Pole
, both to connect with other plus-sized women who may experience the same insecurities and to showcase examples of those women pulling off some truly impressive pole-fitness moves. Hudson says it gives women the chance to say to themselves, "'She looks just like me, and she can do it, so I know I can do it if I put my mind to it.'"
Hudson says people often conflate pole fitness with stripping, but in these classes, women aren't dancing for anyone but themselves
. And taking the focus off others' perceptions can be a foreign feeling for women who don't fit into society's tiny box of acceptable body sizes. "You gain a huge sense of confidence and self-worth doing pole fitness because you’re forced
to feel sexy," Hudson explains. "And, in a way, you convince yourself that you’re the sexiest person in the goddamn world."
With that comes an appreciation of what your body can do
, not just what it looks like. "Your body does surprise you," says Hudson. "You'll be practicing the same move over and over again, you'll fail over and over again, and then one day your body's just like, 'I got you, babe.'"
Click through to see some incredible images from the Curvy Girls Pole site and Instagram