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Voices From Our Community // Nichelle Hines

Voices From Our Community // Nichelle Hines
Our community exists to empower,
and we don't accomplish anything alone.
Nichelle Hines

Highlighting the voices of our Parker Clay community.
How did you first discover fitness?

N: I grew up as the only girl in the house with three brothers and a coach for a father, so I always played sports. In college, my workouts and sports stopped, and my mom's home cooking was replaced with... anything else. My "Freshman 15" was more like a Freshman 40. I started working as an actor and while in grad school in New York I got cast for a role that I'd have to wear a bikini for. I know society can be vilified for making women make health decisions based on appearance, but for me, the desire to lose weight came from me truly not feeling like myself. It was affecting my health physically, as well as emotionally and spiritually. I got back to the gym hard, and one day a teacher didn't show up for their cycling class – instead of cancelling it, they asked me to teach it. My career was born! Sometimes things in life just call us.

How do you define community & the power of community?

N: Community is the ultimate gift – that we exist in this world together. We all have choices in life and when we acknowledge that we all coexist, that none of us exist without the other, then we can make a conscious choice to work for and bring out the best in each other. It's part of why COVID is so difficult - that community interaction, even on the simplest levels, is what feeds us and what keeps us going. A lot of the power of community resides in the fact that none of us are part of just one – I live and participate in my community in West Hollywood, my community of women of color, and of course, the community of the human race. When we work for all of our communities and embrace the overlap, we can make change for the betterment of all people.

February is Black History Month – many feel that Black History should of course be celebrated all year long, but do you see a benefit to having a month where it's particularly highlighted?

N: I do, I do – I think that the awareness is what matters. Black History Month is not necessarily for Black people, it's an opportunity for me to educate our non-black neighbors about the importance of our culture and history. We have to educate, we have to put topics into the public sphere, and without understanding and education, how can we expect anything to progress? I mean, we as black people couldn't even vote until 1965 and now you can say, "well, that's history, but it's over" – but look at Georgia last month! Restrictive voter ID laws and extra paperwork? It's voter disenfranchisement happening right in front of us. So Black History month is past and present, and it's about educating our non-black brothers and sisters. First about the history and the context of oppression, and then about how it's still happening and how we must all be diligent about the rights of people.

What makes you proud to be part of the Parker Clay community?

N: I love that I'm supporting a brand that is committed to giving back, that builds up communities, and that provides fair wages for fair time. If all of us aren't making it, none of us are making it, and I think Parker Clay represents a business that is committed to helping all of us "make it" wherever possible. That philosophy of #WeGoTogether is embodied by the fact that our community really knows no borders – me carrying this bag is one black woman in America, but to know that it has a ripple effect from California to Ethiopia and back again makes me feel like everything we do contributes to something greater. It's a bag I'm proud to carry.

What's one small way you work to affect positive change every day?

N: In my work as a trainer, I'd like to think I help people change for the better every day! But I also know that I can't help anybody if I'm not putting my own best foot forward. So I try to start each day with mindfulness and meditation, whether I have one minute or twenty. It's just a moment to align yourself with your goals, center your mood and your energy, and set the tone for the day. By providing that support for myself, I can provide it for everyone else that day.

What is one hope you have for the future?
N: There are so many... I truly hope we can all support and respect each other despite our differences. That we can understand that we really are stronger together. We need to think about things like voting through the lens of us, not me. We can't succeed if that success comes at the cost of someone else, and we have to believe that there is room for all of us to succeed. So my hope is that everybody can be granted the room to earn a living wage and pursue their dreams.

Nichelles Favorite Parker Clay:
Note: Nichelle spoke over the phone with our co-founder and Creative Director Brittany Bentley in February 2021. The conversation has been trimmed and edited for print.

Hear more from Nichelle @nichelle

Stay tuned for more interviews and stories coming soon, placing the spotlight on the faces and voices of our worldwide Parker Clay community. Learn more about Parker Clay's Impact here