We recently met Denise, and right off we knew she was an awesome person, but we didn't know how awesome. Denise is an amazing hard working woman who knows exactly what she wants out of life and we admire the drive in her!
She is a very active woman, she has a great career, she's has an amazing Vlog, gorgeous hair :) and just an all around good person.
Denise Zakiya is EverButter's "Love" of the month!
My name is Denise and I am from Michigan. I love spending time with my family, serving in my church as the Praise & Worship Leader, running long distances and motivating my community to get healthy and fit.
EverButter - What is your occupation?
I am a Senior Healthcare Consultant.
EverButter - We have noticed that you are very invested in your health and fitness. Has this always been the case?
After losing over 25 pounds during the summer of my 10th grade year in high school, I started to motivate the ladies in my church to get fit and eat healthy too. I started teaching aerobics, weight training and health education classes at my church! It was such a wonderful experience. Throughout college and graduate school, my love for health and wellness only became stronger as I enjoyed riding my bike to my classes and taking my love for fitness outdoors with a daily walk. After graduate school, I became a Zumba instructor and also taught boot camp classes. About two years ago, I feel in love with running, joined Black Girls RUN! and trained for a 5K, 10K and then a half-marathon. I wanted to continue to challenge myself, so I signed up to run a marathon!
EverButter - How do you feel about the new uprising in black women returning back to their natural texture?
It's wonderful! I love how we are continuing to discover and accept our true God-given beauty!
EverButter - Did someone or something inspire you to return natural or have you always been?
Although I loved getting my hair permed every 6 weeks, I knew it wasn't good for my hair. After doing a bit of research I realized that I was putting a lot of unnecessary chemicals in my body. So I decided to transition for a year and did a variety of styles from curly to braided to buns. A year later, I chopped the remaining permed ends and haven’t looked back since.
EverButter - It has been said that wearing our hair is not professional. What do you say about that?
Honestly, I thought that way for a long time. In fact, I didn't want to transition because I was concerned about how my hair would be perceived. However, I learned that natural hair can be styled in a variety of beautiful styles that can be very becoming! Typically, I'll wear a curly twist out or a flat twist protective style to the office and I always receive several compliments.
EverButter - Has exercising and hair ever conflicted for you? How? When?
I found it time consuming washing my hair every few days as I was transitioning, since the styles didn't last a long time. But, I didn't let that deter me from exercising, since it is a priority for me.
EverButter - How did running become a part of you?
I was looking for a challenge and something to motivate me. Change is good and my body was getting too comfortable with my normal cardio routine. So, I decided to try Couch to 5K, which is a 9-week running program that teaches you how to run. After I completed that program, I trained for a 10K, half-marathon, then eventually a full marathon! Training was difficult, but also rewarding at the same time. Since then, I have completed my 2nd marathon and am signed up for a third, completed 10 half-marathons and a host of 10Ks and 5Ks. As you can see, I think I have found my soul-mate workout!
EverButter - Here at EverButter we strongly encourage being active and staying fit, and of course we also encourage everyone to be who they are while staying true to themselves, regardless if you want to wear your hair straight or curly. Everyone should be comfortable in the skin they are in. With saying this how has life in the past versus life now changed for you? In regards to hair, health, career, your passion…Has it been difficult to be where you are now, having a great blog, running marathons, church, and of course maintaining the mane? How do you accomplish everything and keep everything balanced?
Over the years, I've learned that life is a gift and we should treasure it. I've become more relaxed and balanced so I can enjoy every moment that God has given to me. Each week, I spend time planning my weekly activities, scheduling my workouts, meal prep, social media, etc. My life is balanced because I know what my priorities are. Sure there are some weeks that are busier than others, but as long as I stay true to myself and my goals, then that's all that really matters.
EverButter - Where can our viewers find you?
I'm on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @DeniseZakiya