“If you fully believe in it, others will too.”
Back in June, I interviewed Lexy Panterra for a MadameNoire interview. Lexy is the founder of LexTwerkOut, a fitness-based dance class that uses “twerking” moves as the core of each class. (If you don’t know what “twerking” is, google it.)
At the time of the interview Lexy had around 50k followers and had only been in business for a few months.Now, she’s surpassed over 115k followers on Instagram and her business/workout class is on its way to becoming a national “twerking” sensation. The class has had an impressive celebrity clientele including Tiny, Tamar Braxton, Christina Milian, and Mel B.
I thought it would be interesting to revisit this interview and highlight some of the gems of wisdom Lexy shared. In order to experience such great growth within 6 months, she must have been doing something right. I’ve been following her on social media since that interview and the one thing that I can tell you about Lexy is that she is consistent! Each day, you can count on your social media feeds to have twerkout-related content. Lexy has really figured out how to connect with her clients and fans, which is what I think makes the brand very special.
During this interview, I chatted with Lexy Panterra about the vision behind LexTwerkOut and some of the challenges she faces as an entrepreneur, including comments (and assumptions) about her race.
(PS- It’s always fun to go back to some of my earlier work and share it with you all!)
What inspired you to start LexTwerkOut?
Lexy Panterra (LP): I’ve been a dancer and a singer my whole life and I was watching some twerking choreography on YouTube that had six million views. It popped in my head that it would cool to do classes, but to make it more about fitness so that there would be more longevity to the classes. I sat on it for a couple of months and didn’t do anything. New Year’s came around and I told myself to just do it, and from there I had my first class [in late January 2014] and it grew from there.
What’s a LexTwerkOut class like?
LP: We do a 15-minute warm up [that includes stretching and cardio.] For a beginner class, I go through all the moves and teach them. After that, we freestyle to one song and I have the girls show me all the moves they learned. Then we do a “twerk train line” or have a “twerkle” so the girls can show off all the moves they’ve learned. Then, we cool down. For the advanced class, since they already know the moves, we just get into the workout.
How did you go about getting that celebrity clientele and exposure? How have they have been a factor in the growth of your business?
LP: I know Christina Milian. She took the first class that I ever had. She has an amazing following and she posted [about the class] on Instagram. That caught the attention of Karreuche. Then [came] Tiny Harris, which is her friend as well. Next, came Tamar Braxton. They all come right after the other. They build it because they post it, so it goes out to a whole different crowd and their fans. Celebrity exposure is a great factor for any business. Things get out faster if you have celebrities involved because they can reach out to way more people.
What are some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned these past few months about growing a fitness business?
LP: Make sure you get your branding right. Don’t make hasty decisions. Plan ahead. Make sure you write down your income and what you spend. You have to keep track. You can’t learn everything all at once.
LP: I wanted LexTwerkOut to be very commercial. I did not want to target just a certain crowd or ethnicity. I wanted it to be appealing to everyone and every age. Whether you’re young or older, you want to take the class. [So], if I want to be commercial, I make sure my photos are commercial. My YouTube videos aren’t crazy. You have to make sure everything falls into place and that everything fits right and everything is appropriate for what you want your business to look like on the outside.
Have you had any negative feedback from people about you starting a twerking fitness business?
LP: I’ll go up to different ethnic groups or races and people will look at me like, “What? You teach?” Online, I’ll get racist comments on my YouTube videos saying, “Who is this white girl teaching?” Even when it hit the big blogs like World Star Hip Hop people were saying, “Who is this white girl teaching Tiny how to twerk?” People see the videos and think that I’m just white and no one knows that I am Persian. We have some flavor. I am trying to prove all of that wrong and that ethnic or racial groups shouldn’t be a factor [when it comes to dance and fitness].
How do you respond to people who say twerking workouts degrade women?
LP: I don’t feel like they can say anything unless they have actually tried it. I feel like if they’ve tried it, they would love it. It is empowering. Women need to feel more sexy and confident and powerful. Our generation’s problem is that we’re confident on the outside, but when you meet someone, they’re not confident at all. You’ll walk out of my class feeling like , “Oh my gosh! I can do this!” and [some women] never felt that way before. It’s about the way you brand, the way you teach it, and the way you do it. It’s not raunchy. I’m not sure how other twerkout classes are, so that’s why I brand myself as LexTwerkOut. I don’t want to have any connection with others.
What is your top tip for how individuals can grow their business on Instagram?
LP: Keep your content up. Make sure viewers are informed about everything. People scroll through their timeline on Instagram and sometimes don’t see everything. That’s why you have to post things a couple of times, even if you have to post it a couple of times a day. They will eventually see it.
What are your future business goals?
LP: My major plans are to get it certified so LexTwerkOut can become a class that other people can teach in other cities and other countries. I’m also working on an app that you can download and it will show you all the Twerkout moves. I’m working on my own Twerkout music. I want it to be a big brand. We have apparel. I plan on this being the next Zumba. I want to have the class taught in top gyms like 24-Hour Fitness, Crunch, and LA Fitness. I want to have a LexTwerkOut headquarters building. I have some big plans. Maybe even a reality LexTwerkOut show.
What advice would you give to the woman who wants to start a business but has a unconventional idea?
LP: Go for it. Do it. Stay positive. Keep it pushing. People are going to try and knock you down and not be for your movement. If you fully believe in it, other people will believe in it, too.
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