It has been a long journey to self-love for pole dancing queen Roz "The Diva" Mays, but she has finally arrived at her destination.
The 31-year-old New York City native discovered her love for the pole four years ago when she signed up for a class at her local gym. But being surrounded by smaller women was a source of anxiety for Mays.
“I would go to class, and I was no question about twice the size of most other girls there,” she said. “And I was so sad sometimes because they were allowed to run around in a sports bra and shorts and that’s it, but ‘the rules’ said that I had to keep my shirt on because I couldn’t expose my excess fat.”
It wasn’t until Mays had a physics lightbulb moment (“The reason you run around half-naked is because you need skin to grip the pole. Skin grips metal; fabric does not”) that she found the self-confidence needed to “take it off.” And the rest is history.
“Literally the weight of 27 years was off of my heart thinking that I looked so horrible,” said Mays, who has gone on to found Dangerous Curves, the only plus-sized pole dancing competition in the country. “Since then, you literally have to tell me to keep my clothes on. When I go to regular gym classes, my first instinct is to take off shorts, shoes, pants, shirt, everything, but then I’m like, ‘Wait, I need my sneakers for this class. Can I wear booty shorts? I’m going to wear them anyway.’
So how can you achieve your own “a-ha!” moment when it comes to the self-love department? The answer, Mays says, starts with confidence.
“Sex appeal can’t happen without confidence, and confidence can’t happen without fun,” she said. “Sex appeal and confidence is a byproduct of you just enjoying who you are.”
Mays admits that at time, she still struggles with her own body image, but she has achieved a sort of inner peace since realizing what her body’s actual purpose is. Ladies, take note!
“I’m not here just to look good for men or women,” she said. “That’s not my body’s sole purpose anymore. I’m not going to the gym just to look hot, but now, my perception of beauty and strength and function has completely transformed, and it’s so much richer than it was before I was doing pole.”
Still struggling to locate your inner #BlackGirlMagic? When all else fails, Mays pulls out her secret weapon: She channels her inner Queen Bey.
“Ask yourself, ‘What would Beyonce do?’” Mays said. “Is she going to b——h up, or is she going to put on some glitter and make it happen?”