We are back with our second edition of Career Girl, written by Andrea Samacicia Mullan, President of Victory PR. Career Girl is a regular column that will include everything from interviews with inspiring Hoboken Career Girls, career advice, and lots more. We are so excited to be partnering up with Andrea to bring some new and noteworthy ladies to HG. Today we have a very special and inspiring interview to share with you!
One of the things I enjoy most is chatting with other women about their careers – listening to their stories of inspiration, their motivation, the moments of fear and anxiety they’ve overcome on their journey, and what continues to drive them. Hearing these stories is both fun and empowering, and I’m very excited to bring them to Career Girl and Hoboken Girl readers.
I recently learned that Hoboken is home to Tanya Becker. If her name doesn’t ring a bell, chances are the fitness brand she co-founded will. Tanya and her business partner Jennifer Vaughan Manaavi are the creators of Physique 57, the ballet-inspired workout that incorporates cardio, strength training, stretching and recovery and is largely credited with launching the barre fitness obsession. It is a favorite among hot-bodied celebs including Kelly Ripa, Demi Moore, Zooey Deschanel, Erin Andrews, Chrissy Teigan, and more. In the past seven years it’s truly reached phenomenon status and with five locations around the world, a book, and a series of DVDs, they show no signs of slowing down.
Career Girl: Please share a little bit about yourself with the readers of Hoboken Girl.
Tanya Becker: I grew up in New Jersey but spent the majority of my adult life living in New York City. My love for dance began at an early age. As a child I had a medical condition that required me to wear leg braces. To help improve mobility, my doctor recommended that I take dance lessons and from there I was hooked. At age 18, I moved to NYC to pursue my dreams of becoming a dancer. During a break from performing, I became a fitness instructor at The Lotte Berk Method’s NYC studio. I fell in love with teaching and the seed was planted that would eventually manifest into the company I co-founded seven years ago, Physique 57.
I have two amazing stepsons, ages 13 and 15, adorable 20-month-old twins and a French Bulldog named Cookie. My husband and I love living in Hoboken and we enjoy the family-focused setting.
CG: Did you always view yourself as a career woman?
TB: No, I actually never set out to be a career woman.
Once I discovered what I wanted to do with my life, I went after it with all the gusto and passion I could summon. I never realized I would become a career woman along the way. I’m happy and incredibly grateful that it has led to an amazing career.
CG: What has been the best advice you’ve received in your career?
TB: There are two quotes I find inspiring from Judi Sheppard, founder of Jazzercise.
The first is, “You have to love what you do, it has to be inside you, it has to be in your heart and soul.”
The second one is, “In order to have staying power, you have to be excellent every day of your life.” These quotes sum up the best advice I’ve been give. Jennifer Maanavi, co-founder and CEO of Physique 57, and I never rest on our laurels and we are always looking for ways to improve our company.
CG: You took a major risk coming back to New York to start Physique 57 following to closure of the Lotte Berk Method. How did you arrive at that decision?
TB: Jennifer, a former Lotte Berk client and savvy businesswoman, cold called me [about opening our own studio] following the announcement that the Lotte Berk studio in NYC was closing its doors. I was skeptical. So she hopped on a plane and flew to Michigan where I was living at the time and presented me with her business plan.We shared the same vision and passion for the exercise technique and wanted to bring it to as many women as possible. That was enough for me to decide to take a leap of faith and move back to NYC. My perspective at the time – and still is – if you don’t take risks or feel challenged, there’s no growth.
CG: How did you overcome any fear or insecurity that might have been a hurdle?
TB: I’ve had failures before and knew that getting through each one of them only made me stronger and smarter.
The fear of not trying and settling was greater than the insecurities of possible failure. As Thomas Edison said, “I have never failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
CG: How does Physique 57 continue to differentiate itself in such a competitive field?
TB: Physique 57 is all about delivering an amazing customer experience and maintaining a superior product. Our method not only delivers results quickly, but our classes are incredibly fun, they are always safe, and we have top notch instructors that have to complete one of the toughest training programs in the field in order to teach.
I believe if you focus on quality and what you do best, you will automatically differentiate yourself from your competitors.
CG: What has been the most rewarding aspect of running this business?
TB: Seeing the transformation in the lives of our clients as a result of our technique has been the most rewarding. Not just the amazing physical changes, but the empowerment and self-esteem that fill these women is awe-inspiring. Our tagline is “Sculpting bodies. Changing lives.” To be a part of their daily experience is truly rewarding.
CG: What advice would you give to young women hoping to succeed in the fitness industry? In business in general?
TB: I think the answer is the same for both.
Find what you love to do and do it with passion. Develop your product or service so that it connects on an emotional level with your clients. I think it’s important to know your strengths, talents, and capabilities and, if possible, team up with like-minded people. Surround yourself with talented people, remain teachable, open-minded and never stop striving to improve.
CG: What inspires you?
TB: I am inspired by stories of women who have suffered great adversity and yet, have not yielded. In fact, they have turned their lives into incredible testaments of personal success.
CG: How do you achieve balance in your day-to-day?
TB: Balance is really achieved in the big picture. Some days it is all about my family and other times it is all about Physique 57. I work to make sure that at the end of the week everyone (myself included) has been given quality time.
CG: Who is your role model?
TB: Jenniver Maanavi, my business partner. I learn from her every day. She’s an amazing mother, wife and incredibly intelligent businesswoman. I could not have come this far without her!
CG: What is your favorite part of living in Hoboken?
TB: I love walking the waterfront with my family, and visiting all of the playgrounds. I love Peper and Parlor, Sweet (awesome marshmallow fluff cupcakes), Benny Tudino’s, Sixteen Handles (such a fun place to bring the kids).
…And now I think I need to take a Physique 57 class!
Stay in touch with Tanya Becker and learn more about Physique 57 on Instagram (@physique57), on Facebook, and on Twitter (@physique57).
As always, we’d love to hear from you! Let us know how Tanya has inspired you or if you’ve ever tried Physique 57.
Keep working hard and smiling!