I first met Roxy a number of years ago when I started training Muay Thai. She was a senior student, already had a few fights under her belt, and generally beat the crap out of me on a daily basis.
In other words, she rocked it even then.
Since then Roxy has evolved into a champion fighter, a dedicated coach, and a beautiful woman. She was the IAMTF Women’s Lightweight champion from 2008-2009 before turning pro. She is a CrossFit coach, personal trainer and nutrition geek. Her latest passion is her new gym, Function 5 Fitness.
Do you think it’s hard for people to see women as both physically strong and beautiful? Why?
I believe that gender differences exist for a reason and women generally have less overall physical strength and aggression. When we see a very physically strong woman, or a weak man for that matter, it defies our innate feelings and people’s first reaction is to hate and make fun of what they don’t understand. It’s not that I don’t think women should be strong… they should, but I don’t think they should try to be men. I find joy in defying stereotypes, lifting heavy weights, fighting in the ring and being an entrepreneur, but I also like to cook, clean and wear dresses. Being strong doesn’t mean I don’t like doors being held open for me, just as I don’t think a guy crying in a movie is a wimp, but not everyone is open minded so I know I’ll get some heat for trying to be both strong and feminine.
What about being seen as beautiful and smart? Do you think women sometimes think they can’t be both?
I think women get confused about this. Women can be both, but they can’t go on dates and put down a man or make him feel insecure and expect to be taken out for a second date. That doesn’t mean women need to dumb themselves down, sometimes it just means shutting my mouth and being a lady, there is nothing wrong with letting guys be dominant as in leading a conversation or doing things for me like carrying a suitcase or fixing a drain – that’s what they love to do, it makes them feel like men and me feel like a woman and it doesn’t make me stupid for allowing that dynamic to occur.
I own my own business, a gym with my boyfriend, which is challenging. At work I make decisions, I argue, I tell people what to do, I teach and am a leader. At home I try to shut that off. I cook, I relax, I try not to be bossy.
I think women get it wrong because they think being smart means you have to be assertive and dominant all the time. That just turns people off. Women can be smart and beautiful and lady-like. They just need to be a hard-ass at work, in the ring, on the field or in the gym and turn that off in their personal life, unless they want to date a shy sensitive guy – but that’s a different story.
Have you ever felt judged for being too pretty or too athletic, by either men or women?
Only on the Internet, mostly by men (LOL), but I don’t let that crap bother me. Anyone can be an Internet hater, but they wouldn’t say mean things to my face. I have gotten some heat for putting an image out there in Muay Thai. I’m good at marketing myself and being flashy is part of that. I don’t go the “sex sells” route, I’m more punk rock than that, but I still get some heat for it. The good thing about my sport is that my fists and shins can do the talking and I can back up my image by winning fights.
I know some guys that are not into athletic women, but there are also some guys that don’t like skinny girls, or dark skinned girls or girls with red hair. There is someone for everyone and I found an awesome man who loves athletic girls with short hair and tattoos. Everything works out if you are comfortable just being who you want to be. It’s a waste of time to go around trying to be something you are not. If girls want to be skinny with no muscles and get osteoporosis that’s fine with me, but chances are those girls won’t come to me for training, they will go to Tracy Anderson!
How do you deal with keeping up your feminine side while being an athlete?
I get pedicures, I let guys open doors for me, I go to the spa, I talk to my girlfriends, I go shopping, and I wear make-up, dresses and heels when I go out on weekends. My weight lifting shoes are grey with pink. I wear a white or pink skirt that flares when I fight Muay Thai.
What is your favorite part of being a woman?
I would say childbirth but I haven’t had that experience yet, so I guess the verdict is still out. So, I’ll go with dresses, heels and make-up. It’s just like when I was a kid and played dress-up. I can be a whole new person with a new outfit and hairstyle.
What is the hardest part about being a woman?
Balancing the gender roles I talked about before. The modern woman has to wear many hats and know when to put them on and take them off. I feel like my days are often juggling acts and I’m not even a mother yet. I’m sure it gets more complicated later, so I’m not complaining.
Do you have any guilty girlie pleasures?
Sometimes I watch a REALLY cheesy romantic drama or comedy alone like Clueless, 17 Again or 27 Dresses. I do this while drinking red wine, laughing out loud and get teary-eyed. That pretty much fills my girl quota for the month. I won’t do this with other women, which is probably makes me less girlie?
Did you ever wish you weren’t a woman?
Never. I’m super happy being me.
Has being female ever held you back in any way? (career, sports, etc)
Maybe in ways I didn’t notice, but I never saw being female as something that was negative. I was raised by a single mother who said I could do whatever I wanted to do. She didn’t think this would be my life and doesn’t approve fully, but she’s happy that I’m happy. If you don’t see obstacles in life there are none.
The only thing that has been challenging as a female in Muay Thai is finding sparring partners and opponents, because there are many more men in the sport. There are far fewer female Muay Thai fighters in the US in particular, which makes it difficult, but that never stopped me from going forward.
How has being female been an advantage? (career, sports, etc)
I’ve made a good career out of specializing in female fitness. I train men too, but the comfortable atmosphere I offer women has been a big selling point in my services and has helped me carve out a niche in the fitness industry that I couldn’t do as a man.
As far as my sport, since the pool of women in Muay Thai is smaller it was easier to get to the top. They are typically only 1 or 2 female fights on a card of 8 or 10, so we stand out. It wasn’t long before I was the main event on cards. More women drop out of Muay Thai because they get married or have babies. Very few of the women that started competing when I did are still active. I had to look to fights with overseas fighters as soon as I turned pro.
If you could go back and give your 12 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would tell myself to not screw around so much in high school and college and get committed to combat sports earlier (I didn’t start seriously training Muay Thai until I was 24). I would also tell me that the horrible feelings of insecurity and life confusion would dissipate by 30. But I think my advice would be useless as I was a stubborn teenager and wouldn’t have listened to a word the older, wiser me said.
For more about Roxy visit her gym website at Function5Fitness.com.