WHAT WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT ROZ
Posted on 03 April 2017
Roz The Diva. You’ve seen the name. You’ve read the articles. You’ve watched the Buzzfeed feature. You’ve maybe taken the workshops and classes. If you’re plugged into the pole industry or the plus sized fitness community, it’s hard not to recognize this name.
So. What do we know about Roz? We know that she is certified personal trainer and pole instructor who is redefining body image, the traditional fitness experience, and how we view plus sized women and athletes. We know that she was on America’s Got Talent, The Doctors, and has done various features with Buzzfeed, Refinery29, and Shape Magazine. We know that she is loud, proud, and not afraid to tell you how she really feels.
A quick Google Search of Roz’s name yields hundreds, upon hundreds of results of various interviews where you can see her responses to some pretty standard interview questions. I couldn’t bear the thought of having to ask her those same tired questions that she has answered over and over again, so I was pretty blunt with her. “Roz, what DON’T we know about you that you’re willing to share?”
Here are 5 things that most people don’t know about Roz The Diva, in her own words.
1. People think that I am incredibly confident. They think that I embrace my physical shape. They think that I love myself and they think that I love my weight.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
I’ve grown more tolerant of myself over the past few years, but in no way shape or form can I say, “you know what, I love me.” And I recognize that this is disappointing to people because they want to see someone who has overcome the body image issues that, perhaps, they are still facing. They want to know there there IS hope and that there is another side. The hard part is, there is another side, but I’m just not that person. When people tell me “there is no way you can’t not be confident and run around topless or put yourself out there in the way that you do.” But the thing is, that is my comfort zone. My comfort zone is on stage; it’s bold and vibrant beyond belief… that’s not a stretch of the imagination for me to do. What is a stretch of the imagination is for me to do all of that, while ACTUALLY believing that I am beautiful and that I am worthy of a man’s physical affection, and I think people get that twisted a lot. It’s something I’m constantly working on.
2. I thoroughly believe that obesity and excess weight contributes towards health problems (or, at least, has the potential to do so) down the line, but do I think it’s a death sentence? No. If that were the case, I would have been dead three years ago. I’m not trying to downplay the effects that come with being obese at all, but I want people to understand that obesity and weight problems are not automatic killers.
3. I don’t think that people understand how broke I actually am, and how much I am trying to grow my business. And again, just as with the body confidence issue I mentioned earlier, this is a hard pill for people to swallow, myself included.
I speak confidently about myself and my brand, and people see all of the new hustles that I have online (tours, new classes, clothes I wear-- hey Artista!--, photoshoots, etc), but honestly, particularly with the big “meaty” names, 90% of that sh** is unpaid. It’s not “hey Roz, let’s deck you out in the most beautiful outfits possible.” Instead it’s more of “hey, here’s what people sent us. Make it work. And also, can you just go ahead and donate 8 hours of your time? We don’t care if you have to postpone or cancel any private sessions or classes. We just need you for us.”
In about half the cases, it really has been worth it. It’s been worth it to say, “you know what? I need everyone to pause because Buzzfeed needs to me to go ahead and do this photoshoot.” Or because I’m going to shoot this TV segment that will be coming out later this year, and I just need everyone to rock with me and time-out. That’s okay, that’s cool. But it’s disheartening to deal with companies who damn sure have the money to pay and who can afford my rate, and never offer payment. The larger that you are, and the more money that you have and the more followers that you have, the less likely it is that you’ll pay. And that’s cute the first two times. But the third time, you’re like, “is this really all that cute?” And then the fourth and the fifth time, it’s like “punch me in the f**king face, I have to do another photoshoot for free. I have to cancel more classes.” And yes, it might get me 200 or 300 new likes, but honestly I’ve reached a point in my career where likes don’t inspire me. Likes don’t pay my f**king rent.
If you told me that I may get one or two more clients after filming or being a muse for a photographer, cool beans. Not a terribly huge deal, and I’ll definitely take it. But after a while, it’s insulting. It’s insulting when people look at you and they say, “well, listen. We know you’re worth this, but we won’t-- not that we can’t-- but we won’t pay you this. And sometimes people look at me crazy when I turn them down, and I try to do it as graciously as possible. But boo thang-- I’ve been doing this for nine years, and I’ve been teaching for six out of those nine years. And I don’t say that so you can be comfortable with my year-one rate, but so you can instead understand my year-nine rate. After a while, I end up asking myself, “Why should I be a part of this? Why should I give up working to be part of this event? When you stifle my excitement, what’s left?” It’s the smaller, independent production companies, blogs, or other media entities that are very supportive of the hustle.
4. What matters the ABSOLUTE most to me is that you don’t give up the fight. The fight, the struggle, the saga…however you care to word it. I care that you continue to invest in yourself so that you’re able to kick everyone else’s ass. Because at the end of the day, that’s what is really important.
5. I’m drunk. F**k.
Kayra Velez is both a Brand Ambassador and the social media manager for Artista. A few of her other many other titles include Mighty Grip Junior Athlete, pole instructor and performer, and avid volunteer at various pole events. She currently resides in Columbus, Georgia.