Health Is Wealth

How far would you go for a healthy lifestyle? The Weekly meets three women who gave up their corporate careers to make others stronger, fitter and leaner.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

How far would you go for a healthy lifestyle? The Weekly meets three women who gave up their corporate careers to make others stronger, fitter and leaner.

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Tall, lithe and supremely flexible, Celeste looks every inch like a pro pole dancing instructor. She spins effortlessly on the pole and aerial fitness hoop, nailing pose after pose as she does the splits upright – then upside-down.

Still, there was a time when pole dancing was just a hobby for Celeste. Formerly working in the aviation industry as a flight attendant and later, a manager for an aircraft leasing company, pole classes were a way for Celeste to de-stress. Today, she runs the Singapore base for Milan Pole Dance Studio, which was founded in Italy, and is a studio partnerships consultant for fitness community GuavaPass.

How does your business make others healthier?

“Health, in our opinion, goes beyond our physical bodies, but also includes our mental and emotional well-being. Our studios offer a wide range of pole and aerial fitness classes catered for all levels, open to all ages and genders, which are great callisthenic and cardio workouts.

Above all, we create a safe and supportive space where people feel free to express themselves through dance and movement, and build stronger, healthier bodies.”

What motivated you to leave your old day job to start your current role(s)?

“My previous job in corporate aviation was interesting and I had many opportunities to travel, but I was mostly sitting behind a desk. Entertaining was part of the job, so it was harder to make healthier choices for food. Often, I’d be tempted to skip gym visits and go for drinks with clients or colleagues instead. I definitely was much less active, and was not so health-conscious in my choices of diet and social activities.

I started Milan Pole Dance Studio’s Singapore base in 2014 with my business partner Tracy Mak, after we met the founder of the brand, Krystel Arbia, at a pole retreat in the Carribean. Within a year of opening the first studio we saw the difference that pole and aerial fitness made to our clients’ lives physically and emotionally, and we felt inspired to do more for them. So in early 2015, I decided to leave my corporate job to dedicate more time and energy to the studio, and the pole and aerial fitness community. When you’re surrounded by such positive energy, there is definitely much more motivation to commit to a healthy lifestyle – myself included!”

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What is your healthiest habit?

“Ever since I discovered meditation over a year ago, I find it helps me sleep better, be more mindful and also improve overall well-being, just by taking a few short minutes a day. It is an easy habit to build, and doesn’t require too much time, so I encourage everyone to try it. I started with the meditation app Headspace last year, which is great for beginners.”

How can women adopt a healthier lifestyle?

“Start small – you don’t have to train six hours a week to make a shift towards a healthier lifestyle. Take a daily 15-minute walk, or start with one fitness class a week.

Try different activities on a platform such as GuavaPass, find something that you like, and build a simple routine. Also, workout buddies are great, so make friends with people you see in classes!”