When Jordan Lindsay (aka @healthybunhead) was 22 she was cut from fitness instructor training and told "no client would ever want to have a body like yours." Today at 28 she has just taught her 500th group fitness class.
Now you get the chance to find out why Jordan is one of our fave people to know and follow. She's worn Emily Hsu Designs since we first started making leggings, and through the years we've followed her journey from Rockette hopeful to fitness instructor. It hasn't been an easy road, but Jordan's story is inspirational, and her message of love and kindness towards yourself is one we all need.
When and why did you start dancing?
When I was five years old, my mom put me in a combo jazz + ballet class. I actually quit dance after my first year, but rejoined immediately!
Why did you move to NYC?
The dream that led me to move to New York City was becoming a Radio City Rockette. Over the years, I auditioned a total of 15 times! Back in my Rockette Hopeful days, I remember the Rockettes always having "Fun Pant Friday" rehearsals and many of the women I looked up to wore Emily Hsu Designs. When my mom got me my first pair for Christmas in 2014, I felt just like a Rockette. (And those very first leggings have survived hundreds of washes and still look brand new!)
How did you transition from being a dancer to a fitness instructor?
On my Rockette Hopeful journey, I was introduced to a fitness instructor (Bree [Branker] Koegel), who used to be a Rockette. Her classes made me feel special, powerful, confident, and everything I had been missing. Bree was one of the first people that made me feel seen in a city that can be so harsh. She inspired me to want to make others feel valued just the way she had made me feel.
My journey to becoming a fitness instructor was not an easy one. I started pursuing this dream while living in NYC, where the field was very competitive. Once again, I auditioned for my favorite studios multiple times. Eventually I was accepted into the instructor training program at my favorite barre studio. A couple weeks into training, I was cut from the program and told I was unfit to be an instructor because "No client would want to look like you". It was a devastating heartbreak. After that defeat, I dedicated myself to education, becoming a certified Personal Trainer and earning specializations in Women's Fitness & Youth Fitness Education. I trained to become a fitness instructor for four years and built all of my training and philosophies on the idea that every body is a fitness body. Your worth in dance / fitness / life is not determined by the way that you look. My goal is to impart that on all of my clients so that no one feels the way I had to feel.
Are there days that you still struggle with loving your body?
It never ends! It's a daily adventure. I believe that my dance background directly contributed to my body image struggles, and will probably stick with me for the rest of my life. The most helpful discussion for me has been of body neutrality, which is the belief that we can appreciate and love our bodies for what they do, instead of basing our love on how they look. Body positivity puts a certain expectation on people to love their bodies and feel good every single day, which is unrealistic. Body neutrality creates gratitude for the everyday tasks your body can complete without the pressure of having to love it.
The best piece of advice I have is to surround yourself with people that lift you up. You never have to face these thoughts alone. Dealing with body image issues can feel very isolating but I guarantee you're not the only one feeling that way. We are stronger together. Also, diet culture targets your insecurities to profit off of them! Anyone (person, brand, studio, etc.) making you feel less than is not worth your time and energy!
That’s why I love Emily and her story. I love that EHD is a small, woman-owned business. I also love how high rise the leggings are and how well they fit! EHD is my favorite brand to teach fitness in (and I teach 16 classes a week, so I've tested many leggings). The thing I love most of all is how special I feel when wearing this brand. I can't explain it, but everything about this gear just makes me feel like someone special, and I think anyone who has worn EHD would agree!
How did you become an influencer?
I became an "influencer" by accident! I started a secondary Instagram account to keep me accountable on my fitness journey in the very beginning (2013). My transformation was featured by a couple of large publications, which blew up my account. From there I've grown my following slowly. Looking back, that transformation that first grew my account was not a healthy one, and I'm sorry that so many eyes had to look at those weight loss pictures and think that I was a healthy human. Now my mission is to promote health as a feeling and not a look, to find joy in movement, and to make the fitness industry a kinder place.
It sounds cliche, but truly treat other people how you wish to be treated! The energy you give to the world is usually the energy you receive. You teach others how to treat you by showing them respect, kindness, and grace. When in doubt, even and especially when it's difficult, always choose kindness. Choosing kindness is never a mistake.