By all accounts, Kalyn Chapman James is living a wonderful life. The former Miss Alabama, the first African-American woman to hold the title, is a wife, mother, TV show host, model, fashion blogger and spokesperson for one of South Florida’s most popular performing arts venues.
Health and fitness, she said, are key to her success.
“One of the things that I stress to young women is you should work on developing the whole person; that’s spiritual, that’s intellectual, that’s career wise and it’s also physically,” James shared. “You can achieve much more when you look and feel your best. Fitness is certainly a part of my entire lifestyle.”
That lifestyle includes James’ role as the Corporate Sponsorship Coordinator at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, as well as the host of ‘Arts Loft,’ seen weekly on WPBT-2.
The classically trained dancer incorporates fitness and her love of dance into an exercise class that she’s been teaching for the past four years at the Iron Flower Fitness Studio in Miami’s Upper Eastside community.
“What I’m teaching is a weight bearing Pilates class that focuses on pushing the muscles to fatigue and creating long lean muscles throughout the entire body,” said James, who said that being active has been a part of her life from a very young age because of her dance background.
While being fit is about feeling good about herself, James said that it also has other benefits.
“It promotes a good relationship with my husband, and it also shows my daughters (ages 8 and 12) that this is something that you don’t do when you’re going on a diet or losing weight; this is something you do consistently, to feel good about yourself. And to stay healthy,” said James, who has been with husband and business partner, Rico, for nearly 15 years.
As important as her physical health is, James said that it’s her spiritual health that provides a powerful foundation. “For spirituality, it’s been really more about going within and realizing that you’re the biggest part of the change that you expect in the world.”
When asked if she’s living the “life of her dreams,” James ponders the question for a few seconds before answering.
“I don’t know if I’m living the life of my dreams, but I’m living a great life,” she shared. “When I wake up every day and I can teach fitness classes that are based on dance and I can go to the Arsht Center for Performing Arts, or I host my TV show based on the arts on PBS, I know that I’m doing things about which I’m passionate,” And passion, she said, blurs the line between work and play.
“It makes it not feel so much like work, and makes it more enjoyable. Finding something that you’re passionate about and working in that field is one of the best things that can happen to you.”
Creating a life that revolves around things that you love leads to more happiness and success, James explained. She said that a happy successful life includes a healthy mind, a healthy body and a healthy soul.
To nurture her own soul, she attends Unity on the Bay, a non-denominational spiritual center in Miami, reads books by Iyanla Vanzant or Deepak Chopra, and participates in Oprah’s 21-day meditation challenge.
“I just have to say that I’m living a great life,” James said, “And health and fitness are a major part of that.”