Laugh, dance, sweat, and repeat. That was the unspoken mantra at the Teen Diaries Foundation’s PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT zumba party hosted by talented singer/songwriter Melanie Fiona.Teen girls from all over New York City gathered at The Ailey Extension on Sunday, April 27th to bust a move with the R&B recording artist and learn her fitness secrets.
Fitness instructor Karen Arceneaux turned up the heat with a fast-paced zumba class filled with Latin, hip hop, and R&B hits. 50 young women, including teen model The Cleopatra Lee, were exposed to new dance moves throughout the fun workout.
“We were completely drenched after that sweat session,” says Teen Diaries/Pretty Girls Sweat founder Aeshia DeVore Branch. “Music has a sneaky way of keeping us motivated during exercise.”
Mentors included Model/Dancer Damaris Lewis, Agency For Artists’ CEO Heather Lowery, Grace Culture Marketing’s Tiara Hargrave, and Petals-n-Belles founder Damali Elliott.
Special thanks to brand participants Nike, Uber, SkinnyPop Popcorn, and Kind Bars; event producers Selena Covington and Fanny Torres; and volunteers Carissa Williams, Kaya Proctor, Raven Brewington, Zamara Amankwah, Branda Johnson and Azuré Harris.
Pretty Girls Sweat (PGS), founded by Teen Diaries CEO Aeshia DeVore Branch, is a community-based fitness initiative that caters to teenage girls ages 13-18, and is designed to highlight non-traditional workouts, group activities, and delicious recipes for teens and college students. Get inspired at Instagram.com/PrettyGirlsSweat and PrettyGirlsSweat.com.
For more information and photos from the event, contact:
Aeshia DeVore Branch, Pretty Girls Sweat
Offering a throwback sound to complement her rich, womanly voice, Melanie Fiona is a bright R&B artist from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Born Melanie Hall, the singer grew up in inner-city Toronto to Guayanese parents. Fiona developed a passion for music at an early age, influenced by groups and artists such as the Ronettes and Whitney Houston. Though she has been active as a performer since 2002 — she was a member of the groups X-Quisite and the Renaissance, the latter of which featured Drake — her first recording didn't arrive until 2008. "Somebody Come Get Me," a reggae single issued under the alias Syren Hall on the Black Chiney label, was featured on the Reggae Gold 2008 compilation, and it helped her get signed to Universal Motown. She was the opening act on Kanye West's European tour in 2008, which is notable because she hadn't even released an album at that time. The following year, Fiona released her debut single, "Give It to Me Right," which samples "Time of the Season" by the Zombies. Fiona's melismatic and dynamic vocal propelled the single to the Top 20 on the Canadian Hot 100, in addition to charting on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart. Her debut album, The Bridge, was released in May 2009, and was a Top Five album on the R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart. Its greatest success was the follow-up to "Give It to Me Right," the number one R&B single "It Kills Me." Fiona released her second album, The MF Life, in March 2012.
Teen Diaries Foundation, which was established in 2013 as the philanthropic arm of Teen Diaries LLC, provides hands on and virtual programming for multicultural women (ages 13-22) across the nation. The direct service includes Pretty Girls Sweat fitness events focused on motivating young women to live active lifestyles, participate in organized sports, and support the fight against childhood obesity as well as a mentoring portion dedicated to linking young girls with professional women who work in the entertainment industry. The Pretty Girls Sweat (PGS) Ambassador program gives college students the opportunity to encourage their peers to stay fit by giving them a platform to create and publish inspirational social media content and host on-campus fitness gatherings. In addition, the Teen Reporter Program provides hands on and e-mentoring to high school and college age students interested in pursuing careers in journalism (such as online media, radio, TV, newspaper, and magazines) and annual college scholarships to 10 carefully selected reporters. For more information on how you can empower teen girls through career development and fitness click here.
Since its inception in 2005, The Ailey Extension has fulfilled Mr. Ailey’s life-long commitment of bringing dance to everyone by offering “real classes for real people.” The Extension offers over 80 classes per week in over 25 different dance and fitness techniques for all levels. Over 55,000 people have taken classes at Ailey’s home, New York’s largest building dedicated to dance, where dancers of all levels and walks of life can learn and be inspired – body, mind, and spirit! This fall, The Ailey Extension will hold classes for Teens and Kids form September 8th through December 15th. For more information on how to sign your child up for classes at The Ailey Extension click here.
photo credit: Kaya Proctor + Ajani Brathwaite