Tell us about yourself – age / family / job / etc

My name is Merelda, 28, born-and-bred Taiwanese and came to South Africa in 2006. I have a BSc and an MSc in Electrical Engineering and I am working as a data scientist. I want to be an entrepreneur and travel the world. I love dogs and I don’t eat them.

When did you join the Vertical Vixen studio and pole dancing?

I did a Groupon pole dancing trial class in October 2015, where I met a girl at that studio who introduced me to VV.

I joined VV and started attending classes regularly from January 2016.

What were your reasons for joining? are they still the same?

My friend wanted to get fit for her wedding and dragged me with her to the Groupon trial. I just finished masters and realised I have too much time on my hand after work, so I said yes.

I also started my first job and finally have money to spend on myself.

Because of the classes / new exercise regime – did you start to make changes to other areas of your life? if so what? (what other benefits have you gained from your classes at Vertical Vixen?)

I never used to exercise for fun and my only reason for exercise before was to lose weight. Because of how dreadful it was for me, I could never sustain the momentum once I see a little bit of result. I hated running, found gym exceptionally boring and the progress in yoga too slow.

Since I began the pole journey, I started going to gym more regularly because I need to build strength for all the pole tricks. I became a lot more confident and active, started mountain climbing, joined various obstacle course races and went on numerous hiking trips. I not only made exercising a habit, but a habit that I really love and am proud of. I’ve essentially unlocked a whole other part of me by falling in love with pole.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of trying pole?

You don’t have to be fit, strong or know how to dance. Pole makes you fit and strong while you have tons of fun (and bruises and pain). Don’t be put-off by the connotations people often associate with pole dancing. We are all just normal girls with a career but with the added good core strength.

Why would you tell someone to join a pole class?

Pole is a whole-body exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and endurance. Not a lot of sports can claim all of that while making you feel sexy. The incremental progress of pole is so easy to measure and the boost of self-confidence when you finally achieve your pole goals is incredibly satisfying. It’s inspiring seeing the other girls in your class progress too! I especially enjoy the creative part of putting together a routine and seeing it come to life.

Anything else you would like to share?

The VV instructors are amazing at ensuring us never get an injury by helping us warm up and build strength for the tricks required for the class. I’m feel so fortunate to have found VV!!

Merelda Wu