Grunty Crush of the Week: Keeley Alvarado on How to be Fierce

Keeley Alvarado Pole

My first introduction to Keeley Alvarado was at the 2014 Dangerous Curves Competition. She competed and won with a sassy, dynamic piece.  I loved her attitude and style, and was happy that she took the crown. The multi-talented Austin, Texas-dweller does photography, works as a customer services representative lead, and teaches pole and heels classes. I caught up with her to chat about her life in pole and defying body size stereotypes.

When did being active start to play a major role in your life, and what benefits have you seen?

I have always loved being active.  In high school I played basketball and swam.  My first year of college I was Texas Crew, but I stopped exercising on a regular basis during my second year in college.  I picked back up again after loosing my job in January 2012, and it all started with pole.  I saw a change in how I saw myself.  I would have never seen myself on stage in a revealing outfit and heels 5 years ago.  Being active again allowed me to find a confidence in myself I never had before. My body can do amazing things and I love it now.  Yes, I want to continue to improve on it, but now I use it to inspire people, and to do amazing things I never thought I could.  I attribute all this change to the form in which I got back into being active, pole changed my life.

How did you get into pole dancing and what was that path like?

I took my first pole class with a friend of mine in September 2011.  She talked me into taking a class with her.  I remember being so shaky and nervous before class.  I was surprised to not feel as awkward as I thought I would, and fell in love with moving my body again.  In January of 2012 I joined a studio and my pole journey began.  I have been hooked ever since, never going longer than a week (unless I was sick) without having that piece of chrome in my hand.

At what point did you transition from pole student to teacher and what has been some of the most rewarding things about your teaching journey?

I knew I wanted to inspire people after my first few competitions.  I received amazing feedback.  The feeling was amazing, and I knew I wanted to share my art with people.  My best friend, main pole instructor, and lead instructor at my studio, Dez Raven, eventually pushed me into getting my certification.  Dez had confidence in me, and it helped me have confidence in my potential teaching/inspiring abilities.  I got XPERT certified last year (February 2014) and stared teaching in March at my home studio, Inner Diva Studios.  I had been wanting to teach for awhile, and help instill a sense of confidence that pole allowed me to feel, to other women. It took a little push, but I couldn’t be happier doing what I do.  Hearing from women that I allowed them to open up, or do things they never thought they were strong enough to do is an amazing feeling.  I feel that the most rewarding moment was being booked for my first private.  People invest a lot of money in you when they book a private.  I feel if someone feels that I’m worth that much of an investment, then they are looking up to me, they see me as something of value.  I never imagined anyone would pay to have an hour alone with me. The fact that they do means people out there respect me and admire my work and that me means the world.

What’s the trick to slaying in heels, especially Pleasers?

Heels, in my opinion, are the most amazing part of poling.  I never thought I would be more comfortable in heels, than bare feet.  Honestly I took to it as a natural.  However, the trick is practice! Anyone can slay in heels if they put enough effort into them and practice.  I used to walk around my apartment for practice.  When  you have heels that hot, you want to wear them all the time! Practice can make anyone a heel savant. Another key to working those heels, get used to using that little dip by your toe, it makes pirouettes so much easier, the shoes are designed for dancing in!  Work that dip and practice. Heels will always be my first true love, just don’t tell my husband!

One concern that many women seem to have about pole dancing and many other forms of fitness in general is that they’re “too big.”  Was this ever an issue for you? How did you get over it?

Before my first pole class I had so many thoughts, my heart was pounding as I walked into class.  I remember Googling what the weight limit was for  the poles were, terrified that I weighed too much.  I thought I was going to be turned away at my first class because I was too big. Of course I wasn’t, and I am forever grateful for that.  I was welcomed with open arms, (thank you Ember!) I was hooked after my first class, and I stuck with it.  I think getting through that first class is how you get over it, you realize you didn’t die, no one was judging you, and most importantly you had a ton of fun.

What are some the most important lessons you’ve learned about yourself throughout your pole journey?

That I’m sexy, even at a bigger size.  That I have the right to feel sexy.  Pole hurts, A LOT, but I can push pass the pain because it is something I love.

What activities do you do to cross train, if anything?

I recently started a bootcamp class that I go to 3 to 4 times at week at 5:30am ugh!  I am also going to be starting private weight/strength training with a trainer.
What’s your diet like and why does it work for you?

My diet is my weak spot.  I do not eat like a should, I drink beer and eat cheese  (yuuummmm queso)!  However, it is something I have been making improvements on.  I have started cooking more at home and eating out less.  I recently did the Whole30, and went 25 (Super Bowl Sunday and all this yumminess had me end 5 days shy of making it a full 30) days with no dairy, no bread, no added sugar, no legumes, no alcohol and minimally process foods.  I felt fantastic while I was on it, it helped me with my relationship with food and I carried over a lot of what I learned.

Please share some advice for plus-size athletes who may be interested in competing, performing and simply exploring a new journey in pole or any fitness activity, but feel apprehensive due to their size and/or body type.

Go for it! I will never forget my first competition, which was also my first solo performance.  I was hooked afterwards.  That feeling when you walk off stage is so amazing.  You may not feel confident or comfortable in your own skin now, but pole will change that!  Also, invest in your pole wear.  I felt like finding clothing that was pole appropriate in plus size was so hard when I first started, and that is when you are feeling most vulnerable and uncomfortable.  I recommend Artista Active Wear for shorts and tops.  They carry up to a 2X, which is something you don’t see with most fitness apparel companies.

What’s next for Miss Dangerous Curves 2014?

I have a lot of pole related things happening this year and I’m so excited.  I am doing photography and modeling in a apparel shoot soon for Artista Active WearFirst. I get to travel to Nashville to watch Miss Pole Dance America.  Being a lover of heels, I am so stoked about the people who will be there performing. I will also be performing with the DC Family at the International Pole Convention in Louisiana in June.  I’m competing in Dallas, Texas in July at the Southwest Aerial Art Championships, and I will be submitting to compete in Miss Texas Pole Star in October.  I’m looking forward to all these awesome performance opportunities, and being able to continue to share my love for pole!

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