A SERIES BY MISKA SYKORA
This piece was a personal and long awaited one. It started when I was in middle school when I came across a pair of knee high kickass boxing sneakers. They were edgy, sexy, and unlike anything I had seen before. I’ve always been picky about my shoe assortment, my size 9 always seemed to be larger than average at the time and I had avoided buying many of shoes at the expense of looking like I had clown feet. But these, lace-up, comfortable, skin tight shoes seemed to have been my answer. I never bought them of course, it was just too ahead of it’s time and lacked my mom’s approval.
Since that day I had always yearned to join a boxing gym. It took me until I was 24 and my boyfriend at the time coming home with the first month’s paid and a pair of fresh black Adidas boxing shoes to jump in at Team Willis Boxing & Family. I instantly fell in love with the coaches, rough around the edges decor, and sweat stench that could only come from an authentic old school gym. No egos, no air conditioning, and the best workout of your life.
This gym encompassed the vision I had so long ago. I’ve seen several editorials of models wearing heels and lingerie-like gym attire. It’s beautiful and tells it’s own story. But I wanted to approach this from a whole other angle- raw and rough. Like something you’d picture if you walked into at a gym in the 1980’s at the height of cut off sleeves and bodybuilders. Grungy and unglamorized gyms pre Soul Cycle. Back to basics with iron weights, the classics. Before sweat-wick/ dri fit man-made materials it was cotton backed with terry jersey and elastic waistbands.
This was the brink and start of the health phenomenon and it started by lifting at the gym. When we think of some of the most iconic athletes of our time we think Muhammad Ali, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mike Tyson, Magic Johnson, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, to name a few. If you google any one of those names you will find the premise of what inspired this photo shoot’s direction.