The WANT Women: Angela Leigh On Stepping Up, Showing Up, and Asking For Help

I am stepping up and showing up for myself. -@pureleighangela Click To Tweet

Before I go all deep n’ WANTy on you, I just want to take a quick two seconds (okay, 75 seconds) to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support, the shares, the love notes, and just straight up good vibes in WANT’s first week of life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you times a zillion times over for sharing it with your friends and fams. and thank you for being so open to this conversation, so ready to build this pragmatic, positive, proactive community. This is only the beginning. My gratitude is THROUGH. THE. ROOF.

I am so stoked to kick off WANT’s spotlight series, aptly titled Woman Against Negative Talk. At least once a month, WANT will introduce you to the kinds of female leaders that make WANT a purpose-project movement, not just a pretty positive blog-site. We’ll be featuring entrepreneurial rockstars, creative minds, fitness pros, wellness warriors, actresses, web masteresses, philanthropicistas – women who put the us in getting-down-to-business, living their purpose in a pragmatic, positive, proactive way.

First up? A feisty kickass woman who in just a few short years has made a name for herself as one of the top pros in the fitness biz: Miss Angela Leigh.

I first met Angela Leigh four years ago at a group fitness training program. It sounds so cliché, but from the second I met her I knew I wanted to be friends with her. Here was this bright, beautiful, chipper girl (with fabulous hair) who to me, the Equinox newbie, just oozed coolness.

But it was way more than that: there was a depth to her that I could not quite pinpoint. As I later found out, we had fought a lot of the same battles – fought for the same things – and yet neither one of us was really letting on to the depths and intricacies that come along with feeling such high highs and low lows.

After some pretty radical self-actualization ninja action, Angela now shines brighter than ever…which didn’t even seem possible.

Angela is the National ETC Manager (Equinox Training Camp) at Equinox Fitness. She tours the country training other instructors how to lead this innovative and highly personal program that is changing the way people think about working out. She’s also a former fitness manager, a current group fitness instructor, and a master trainer for Schwinn – the company responsible for taking indoor cycling to the next-level status it has now. Basically, if you’ve ever taken a group fitness class, chances are your teacher has learned something along the way from Angela. Not enough for ya? Angela’s the mama of Pureleighliving, a personal blog dedicated to fitness and wellness from the inside out.

Angela is all about realness in the wellness industry: that inexplicable quality someone has when there’ no harmful inflated ego involved and everything’s out on the table. No games, no pretenses. Just courageous you-ness. And with her vibrant persona and down-to-earth perspective, she serves as the best example possible for her cause.

WANT Angela.


Name: Angela Leigh

How you’d know me: Pureleighliving, Equinox, my dog Lucy. She has taken over all things social media these days. We are fighting.

What I love about myself: I love that I am learning to love myself everyday. I love that I spent 20+ years in darkness. I am rising up from a shameful place of loathing my body for many, many, many years. I love that I am fearless about sharing my journey because I believe in the power of community. Opening your experiences up to the world allows yourself to heal in return. To love myself I needed to forgive, heal and simplify. I continue to repeat this mantra every day in any applicable situation. I also love that I am a white girl with booty…that is pretty rad.

Opening your experiences up to the world allows yourself to heal in return. -@pureleighalgela Click To Tweet

What is your definition of “positivity?” Positivity is embodying the light. We might “see” the light, but rarely act through light. Seeing is an important step, but “positivity” is a choice, an attitude, and a way of life. Once you embody the light there is a shift. You will notice others say…”you look different,” “what’s changed about you?” and guess what…you do look different and you have changed. You have committed to embracing the attitude of positivity. That sometimes pisses people off because they want to be like that. They want to live in the sunshine. Their time will come – it’s a personal journey.

When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?” Sure do! Three years ago I made a choice to put and end to my eating disorder. I was binging & purging for twelve years. I was sitting on my coach, crying, thinking to myself, is this going to be my life? Am I going to be imprisoned by food, my lack of love of myself and my fear of letting go…? It was an ugly cry. I emailed my coach at the time (who is an angel and love of my life) and shared with him my struggle. We met for coffee the next day, I cried it out some more. He promised to take my hand and help me through the transition. And he did. He will tell you, it was me who did the work – but his support was paramount for my recovery.

I tried the group therapy thing, it did not fly, so I started my personal journey back to loving me. And I am still on it. Some paths are brighter than others and some days are just straight up brutal. The battle against negative self talk combined with a severe eating disorder is horrific. The voices never shut off. I am not kidding: you know how people say you think about sex X many times a day? That’s nothing compared to the constant stress of thinking about what I was going to eat, how I was going to get rid of it, and so forth.

The ability to temper these thoughts and then turn them into loving thoughts is a marathon of the mind. But I am not giving up. I have no desire to go back to the dark side. I am stepping up and showing up for myself. I love that I had the courage to stop the madness and I love that I am still working for my peace of mind. I love that that I am willing to open up to the world in the industry we are in and say, I AM NOT PERFECT! I am a beautiful mess, but this beautiful mess has some rich experiences to draw from and share with everyone to inspire them that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.

How/where negative talk shows up in my life: Anytime I am not present. When I am outside my soul I have given my mind the power to speak for me. When I am in the moment I am in complete control. My journey has taught me to be IN THE MOMENT. The future and past do not define you. What is in front of you now, right now is your opportunity for greatness. Seize it.
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Let’s be real…reading magazines, seeing social media posts about “strong is the new skinny” with a rail thin model as the spokesperson, is not helping any negative self-talk with this white girl with a booty.

What is in front of you right now is your opportunity for greatness. Seize it. -@pureleighangela Click To Tweet

When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually… about my body, not thin enough, teeth not white enough, skin not clear enough. ENOUGH ENOUGH ENOUGH.

When others talk negatively about themselves… I feel it resonates from shaky foundation. Foundation starts with values. If we know our purpose the urge to compare, judge or self-loath passes.

It baffles me that women still… weigh themselves. Stop. Weight fluctuates daily, this is not an indicator of health.

I wish that more women… supported each other. Like for real for real.

The coolest thing about women is… how beautiful we are. We are sensitive, confident and brilliant creatures. We are in prime position to shift how the world views gender roles.
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My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive: Stop. Breathe. Values. Worth. Repeat.

My top female role models: Beyoncé, Oprah, Lisa Wheeler, Lashaun Dale, Kathryn Budig

Men can help women crush their negative talk patterns by… being their equal, loving them in their rawest moments, finding humor in tough situations and showing up. Be present.

Favorite negativity-busting activity: Dancing. Boom. Preferably 90s hip hop, but I will rock just about anything to shake it out.

Fave self-love ritual: Yoga, walking Lucy, watching sunsets, sunrise hikes, journaling.

Favorite feel-good food(s): Peanut Butter & Chocolate ANYTHING.

Favorite movie(s) to watch when I’m feeling down: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. 13 Going on 30, Sweet Home Alabama…hmmmm… looks like I like romantic comedies. Does binge watching Netflix count as a “movie” too? If so….Friends, Will & Grace, Felicity, The Good Wife…

Favorite empowering book(s): The Power of Now, The Power of Less, Eat Pray Love.

My feel-good playlist: I have a monthly “Above the Line” playlist. I put this one when I need to get grounded, present and shake off the negativity. You can listen on Spotify!
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Advice I would give my
…4 year old self: get dirty, your mom will get over it.
…14 year-old self: be the reason someone smiles, choose kindness over cruelty and kiss some cute boys
…24 year old self: be bold, be brave, make big mistake. These are the years to go all in. Your 20s are a warm up for your 30s when shit gets serious and you get to know yourself in a whole new way…

5 Things on my bucket list, bizness or personal:
Buy a home in Seattle
Travel in Europe for an entire season
Deliver a TED Talk
Publish a book
Fall in love

My best tip on self love: Choose you. Every time. Your health and happiness is of the utmost importance. The second you compromise yourself, you land on a slippery slope. Stay clear, be realistic about the journey, and have an open heart with yourself. Forgive yourself for setbacks and forge ahead – self-love is a never-ending relationship. You will ALWAYS be there for yourself.

Choose you. Every time. -@pureleighangela Click To Tweet

When I truly love all of myself… I feel powerful.

Right now, I am most excited about… fresh perspective, new opportunities, coming into my calling, bolstering my talents and sharing them with the universe.

My body is: not who I am.

Three words to describe me: Witty. Loyal. Kind.

Current mantra: Choose. Commit. Celebrate: Choose You. Commit to Yourself. Celebrate Your Life.
Pureleighliving: Be real. Live well. Feel Free.

For more Angela Leigh, visit Say what-up to Anglea on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
All photos by Samantha Jacoby

What piece of advice or part of Angela’s journey resonates with you most?

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  1. Melissa Burton

    Loving this site and the messages you’re giving to women, Katie! I found Angela Leigh on social media after moving to LA from NYC 2.5 years ago and she’s been an inspiration ever since.

    Blogs like this one are what we need more if in the health, fitness and wellness world. Adding to my reader immediately!

    • Katie

      Thank you so much, Melissa! I’m so glad you’re loving WANT as much as I’m loving watching it unfold 🙂

  2. Samantha Attard

    This is fabulous, Katie! Thank you Ashleigh for sharing!

    My favorite part – “Foundation starts with values. If we know our purpose the urge to compare, judge or self-loath passes.”

    So inspiring.

    • Katie

      Thanks, Samantha! Yep, that’s one of my favorite little inspirational bits, too – and such a great reminder for us all.
      Glad you found this, and found WANT!



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