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Meet Frances Flores of Shaped By Frances

Today we’d like to introduce you to Frances Flores.

Frances, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in the tropical paradise of Puerto Rico. I feel lucky enough to have been born into a family that in one way or another have dedicated their lives to helping people in the community and have inspired thousands to live a better life.

What my family has and continues to teach me is that we must always stay true to ourselves, discover what we are passionate about, and we should use our talents to help make the world a better place. My story began as a child as I witnessed these things happening around me. I realized that we are put on this earth to use our talents to help and inspire each other no matter where we come from, or what our differences might be.

We left Puerto Rico when I was 13. Our first move was to Albuquerque, New Mexico and then we moved to Florida when I was 17. Moving a lot was definitely one of my biggest challenges growing up. Having to master a second language, meet new friends, get used to new cultures, learn my way around new cities… it wasn’t as exciting as it can sound to some people – especially as a kid. Every time, I had to start over I found myself building walls around me to protect myself. And once I allowed the walls to fade, it was time to move again. At the time it seemed unfair. But as I grew older, I came to appreciate the challenges and changes. In fact, I welcomed them. I believe it has 100% made me the person that I am today. Because you see, after my parents were done moving, I continued to stay on the move myself.

I went to the University of Central Florida and majored in Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in dance. When I got to college, the plan was to finish my Bachelor’s and then go get my Master’s degree. But as time went on, I changed my mind. I wanted to dance and travel the world. I wanted to explore other cultures, meet new people and do it all while following one of my biggest passions seemed like a pretty sweet deal to me. I wanted to entertain big crowds and help them escape from their everyday routines even if it was just at the time they experienced my shows. Making people happy, makes me happy. So, I told my parents that I was going to rush my Bachelor’s so I could start auditioning for dance jobs. I finished my BA in 3 years, and it was one of the best decisions of my life!

After college, I moved to New York City and completed a dance internship at Broadway Dance Center right in the heart of Manhattan. That lead to auditioning, failing, auditioning, and some more failing. I started to question my choices and considered going back to school. I refused to give up though and I’m happy I didn’t.

I landed a couple of contracts at theme parks which lead to me dancing on the production shows for Celebrity Cruise lines for 3 years. I got to meet so many different people from all over the world, made some of the best friends that I have, and explored lots of beautiful places while getting paid for it. What?! I felt very lucky. Though one of the best experiences of my life, living out of a suitcase can get exhausting. Wanting a little bit more stability, I accepted a contract dancing in Arizona for a year, and that’s when my life began to slowly transition into the fitness world.

I love performing. I love being on stage and everything that goes into it: The long rehearsals, the costumes, the makeup, the wigs, the lights, the music. Everything! But with that came a lot of expectations which can create a high level of anxiety. We were expected to maintain a certain weight, required to have our hair a specific color, and of course stay in shape to be able to dance for 4 hours straight sometimes with shows back to back. The list goes on!

When I got to Arizona for my contract, I needed an outlet that brought a bit of balance to my life and helped me ease my anxiety. Yoga became that outlet. I found a studio that turned into my home away from home. I decided to become certified to teach yoga. So, I would teach a couple of classes during the day and then, go dance our 3 shows at night- 6 days a week.

Upon completing my 1-year contract in Arizona, I got offered another contract dancing in Seattle. So myself along with a couple of friends packed up and drove a truck up there. Long story short: the day we arrived we were told the contract was delayed or potentially canceled. I gave Seattle a month, but those grey skies just weren’t for me. So, I packed up my car, leaving everything else that didn’t fit in it behind and drove down to sunny Los Angeles.

I came to LA with no plan. All I had was what was in my car and the savings I had accumulated from my dance contracts. Considering my interests are in the arts and in fitness, I was determined to make LA my home and was excited to start my new life. Never ending visions of palm trees, and sunny blue skies didn’t hurt either…

It took me about a year to decide if I wanted to continue performing or transition fully into the fitness and wellness industry. But as you can see… fitness and wellness won.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s actually been quite a bumpy ride, but oftentimes, the struggles were what ended up guiding me to my next move.

Like I’m sure many of us have experienced, I’ve had a ton of insecurities my entire life. For me, they stemmed from having a poor body image and low self-confidence. Choosing a career as a dancer only made it worse. My body dysmorphia became a constant struggle, which leads to a lot of poor eating habits, working out for the wrong reasons, and eventually morphed into a series of eating disorders. Moving to LA didn’t make that any better. Choosing now a career in fitness, still auditioning but this time for fitness gigs, and trying to make it in an industry that is just as saturated as the performance world wasn’t the easiest task at hand.

During the first 3 years in LA, I felt depressed and very alone. This only highlighted my insecurities and made my condition even worse. I wasn’t healthy mentally, which in turn affected my physical body and permeated into everything else in my life: career, relationships, and overall well-being. It didn’t help that I didn’t have any financial stability. My savings were gone after a year. I had to crash with friends and family for some time. I was making very little money going from gig to gig, or simply teaching a couple of classes per week. After my second-year, things seemed to pick up but then, I lost my job and it was back to square one. I felt like I just couldn’t catch a break: The City of Angels was breaking and testing me!

After months of going from gig to gig again, one of my mentors encouraged me to audition for Equinox. I didn’t feel ready, but I went anyway. And I got the job! All I could teach when I got hired was yoga and barre. I got hired at first to teach one class a week. While it didn’t pay my rent yet, I saw it as the light at the end of the tunnel. This was just the beginning!

And it was. I quickly fell in love with teaching, getting to know my clients, and witnessing the effects my classes had not only on their physical wellness but on their every day health and lifestyle. It was clear to me that I wanted to continue to influence people. It’s really not about getting them to do the perfect push up or hold the perfect down dog. It’s about creating a safe and fun place for my clients to focus on themselves, their health, their well being, and their own personal growth. Creating a safe place for them to just have fun! After 2 years of teaching at Equinox, I got promoted to be the Group Fitness Manager at Beverly Hills, which gave me the opportunity to make health and wellness my full-time career. I wanted to take it even further, so I decided to expand into private training and special events as well. Which inspired me to create Shaped By Frances.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Shaped By Frances – what should we know?
There are quite a few components that makeup what Shaped By Frances is and what it will turn into as we continue to grow. I wanted a one-stop shop for a healthy lifestyle that included more than obsessing over just working out and a healthy diet.

Love, explore, and evolve is our core values. We believe our health and well-being are affected not just by what we eat, or how much we exercise. The quality of our relationships, our jobs, finances, where we live and even our hobbies can have an impact. If one is off balance, then so are we! In turn, it affects our thoughts, words, and actions. All of these components together shape our lives.

Right now, we provide one on one private training in person, or online. Group classes either for special events or at people’s businesses. Coming soon are more pop up events around the city, wellness retreats in fun locations, and online workouts so we’re able to reach a broader audience. This will also give the chance to our current clients to train and maintain their lifestyle when they’re out of town. We’re launching a barre and yoga app this summer, and I’m leading a yoga retreat in the Galapagos this October!

Down the line, we want to provide what I like to call Lifestyle Retreats. My goal is to lead retreats that not only offer yoga and other types of exercise and nutrition classes but retreats that encourage people to simply enhance their lifestyle as a whole. Traveling to local and international locations to explore different cultures, music, food, and different lifestyles. All in the hopes that whoever attends, can take away new ways to improve their life. I believe finding balance in all areas of our life is key for us to stay happy and healthy. So, why not travel and make new friends along the way?

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I believe many factors and qualities contribute to our successes in life. But, I think the most important thing to do is find what makes you happy, what you’re passionate about, and find a way to make it your career. Your own personal movement. I always tell my friends that throughout my life I’ve been able to turn my hobbies into my career. It doesn’t mean my life was all rainbows and butterflies; on the contrary. There have been many challenges along the way, that I’m sure I could’ve avoided by choosing a more conventional approach to life. The hardships became my fuel though, I loved what I was doing so that love for my crafts is what keeps me pushing to continue moving forward no matter what. I found that if my heart wasn’t in it, I would give up.

Success to me is finding what you love to do and making a living out of it. My biggest piece of advice is to use your gifts and talents to enrich not only your own life but people’s lives in one way or another. Stay inspired and fulfilled yourselves so you can motivate others to do the same. Hopefully, that light will continue to sprinkle to the people around you, and they will shine it on the people they come into contact with. At the end of the day, we only get this one messy but pretty awesome life. And, it should be filled with as much love and happiness amongst everyone as possible no matter where we come from. Find what makes you happy and allow that to lead the way to your success.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jesse DeYoung Photography, Samantha Jacoby Photography

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