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Sexy or Strong, Pretty or Smart - Does It Have To Be A Choice?

Navigating the world as someone with two seemingly contradictory interests is something I’m getting used to. 

Finding my way in fashion whilst being stronger than your boyfriend is a tricky concept for some folks to comprehend. 

And whilst I try not to give attention to the trolls that give me shit, I sometimes can’t resist pushing back on their bizarre views of the world and of the way they believe women should behave and look. 

I also want to use my platform to advocate for women to be whatever the fuck they want, without judgement. 

I think in order for this to be possible, I’ve got a responsibility to call out these warped opinions and continue to prove it is possible to do both. 

You can be strong and sexy.

You can lift weights at 10am and get your nails done at 12pm.

There should not be one single thing about you that defines your entire existence. 

No one can put you in a box.

I came up in the fitness industry as a powerlifter, but that didn’t stop me from creating my own fashion line.

Creating my own fashion line isn’t stopping me from pursuing a pro boxing career.

Because I refuse to be defined by the path I began on, or let this stop me from trying new things. 

I always find it interesting to sit back and watch people’s reactions to certain photographs and videos of myself, and other strong and capable women if we’ve posted something they perceive to be “sexy”. 

I get mixed opinions… 

Some will state I look good (duh), others will tell me I’m too masculine to be sexy, and some kind folks will tell me they can’t take me seriously as a professional because I post these photos. 

Now, looking too masculine in order to be sexy is an opinion, and people like what they like, so that’s cool. I’m not gonna argue with this point, because it’s personal preference in what they find attractive. 

However, I totally object to being told I cannot (or should not) be taken seriously because I have shown a different side. 

Why is it not possible for people to take somebody seriously when they post a photo in a bikini? Does it invalidate credentials? Do you lose brain cells by posing on the beach? I really don’t think so. 

I’m calling bullshit on the notion that our appearances dictate what people should think of us.

And I’m calling even bigger bullshit on strangers pointing this out because it’s “freedom of speech”. 

This is the reason women are self-conscious. This is why so often we walk into rooms and think everybody’s staring at us. 

It’s not because we think (know) we’re hot AF. 

It’s because we’re wondering “what will they think of me”. 

I’m not saying personal appearance isn’t important, but this old-school notion that you are judged by every person in the room within 10 seconds of entering is outdated and sexist. 

We should all be judged on our merits, our personal skills, our intelligence, our ability to care for others, our openness to others… not our hairstyles and the debate about whether we’re wearing too much or too little makeup. 

I’m in a place where these things don’t bother me in the way they used to. 

But it’s now down to me, and others like me, to stand up for those who feel they do not have a voice. 

To remind everybody they deserve respect, understanding, and the opportunity to present themselves in the way they’d like to be perceived.

These are two sides of me, but they do not define me. 

What I say, the way I treat people and how I show up every day…

This is what defines the real SC.

Strength In Style, 

Stefi Cohen 

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