Alicia Napoleon Explains Why You Should Never Worry About Intimidating A Man
Girls are commonly complimented for being pretty, or in shape, but they are hardly complimented for being strong, or being able to kick your ass.
Alicia Napoleon is a woman who can do both, and with ease. Alicia is currently ranked as the number two junior middleweight boxer in the US, and number four in the world. When she’s not competing, she’s training fit chicks like Bella Thorne, Britney Spears, and Adriana Lima at Overthrow Boxing Club in NYC, which she co-owns.
And yet, on top of competing as pro-athlete, co-owning a business, and keeping her form in tip-top shape constantly, Alicia still finds time to get in tune with her creative side. Her paintings are currently on display at Gallery 212 in the Wynwood Arts District in Miami.
We talked to this boss bitch about how she came to fame as a boxer, why Wonder Woman is a killer role model, and ignoring the stereotypes.
You started training at age 18, how did you get involved with boxing and when did you decide that you were ready to compete?
I always had an interest in boxing as a young girl. Being told I was unable to participate in certain sports struck a nerve with me. I wanted to be the best, do the best, and overcome any fear that might have tried to get in my way. It was a joy to go through the pain and was something I welcomed because I knew there would be growth at the end.
I always believed that if I had any fears to make sure I put myself in that uncomfortable situation as many times as I could until I overcame that fear. The second I feel fear is when I say I’m ready to fight. If you let fear control you, it will. Fear is a toxic emotion that will grow into a monster and consume you if you don’t face it or fight it. People need to realize they have the power within them to control all their fears rather then it controlling them. I always knew I was built to be an athlete and I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of what I knew I was meant to do.
Do you ever feel that you are subject to certain stereotypes being a female boxer? How do you overcome those stereotypes?
Yes, always, but that’s because people are people and they will always judge. I don’t care what people say or think. The second you care what others think or feel about you is the second you will fall to defeat.
I understand that it’s in human nature to give an opinion. Whether it’s good or bad, it’s in our being to naturally judge. Doesn’t mean it’s right, but it’s unfortunately how society is brainwashed to be. When you have an understanding of how people are it’s easier to deal with it, expect it, and accept it.
I’ve been judged many times on whether I’m gay because I box or [if] I’m a bad fighter because I’m pretty. People always automatically assume that you are a lesbian or you look like a man. That you’re mean, ugly, and stupid, but I am the opposite of all those things.
The one stereotype that bothers me the most is that people will assume that you’re not a good fighter because you’re a woman and that women aren’t built to be good fighters. That it’s too much of a masculine sport and that it’s not a feminine thing to do. I’m all for being feminine and I love being a girly fighter. I know I have natural skill and talent that some people practice for years and still can’t accomplish what I’ve learned and able to deliver in the ring. I was built for greatness and I am an extremely talented fighter and if you don’t know you need to see me fight and then give your opinion on women in the ring.
Many women worry about being “too intimidating” to men, why do you think that this mindset is bull shit?
You shouldn’t worry about what a man thinks, or anyone else for that matter, and revolve your lifestyle around it. If you like boxing and want to use it as a form of fitness then the right man is going to think your cool and sexy and maybe want to join in on a session or watch you do it. If women stay true to themselves and do the things in life that make them happy and healthy and not worry about what people think, they will grow into a strong confident woman and help inspire or influence other women to do the same. Strong is the new sexy. When you do something different, positive, and fun and not worry about what the world will think, you will have a natural sexiness about you that no one could deny. So stop the bullshit and don’t be scared to be yourself. Be intimidating if you need to. If you scare off a man then he wasn’t a man to begin with. Or at least not the man for you.
You’ve been nicknamed “Wonder Woman,” do you see Wonder Woman as a role model? Why or why not?
Yes. I have two nicknames, Wonder Woman and The Empress. Though they’re both equally cool, I can strongly relate to the name Wonder Woman. Everyone who meets me tells me I remind them of her. Not only because we both have long dark hair and strong curvaceous bodies, but because we are both women that stand for the positive things in life. We are women of integrity and dignity. Women that are strong willed and empowered to stand for and fight for what’s right.
What other role models do you have?
I never really had any role models growing up. I was always a little strange in that way…I never wanted to be a copy cat or a fake and I stayed away from idolizing anyone. I was always taught to look to God for all things and I always did and still do. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate and notice some of the things in others that I wanted to achieve my self.
Like, my grandmother and grandfather for instance. My grandmother was always such a strong independent beautiful woman showing love to everyone and never letting a bad day affect her. And my grandfather was a boss! A tough, smart, strong man that wouldn’t take crap from anyone. Though he wasn’t always the nicest, I always admired his strength and fearlessness and wanted that boss-like mentality myself.
I think I got lucky and got the best of both worlds from my grandparents. If I had to pick one celebrity that I looked up to as a child, it would have to be Mariah Carey. I would sing her songs over and over again. She was always so beautiful and had such a gorgeous voice.
When you’re not training, you’re painting. How do both activities go hand in hand? Or how do they complement each other in your life?
Painting is a nice balance to my everyday training. It’s like a detox to cleanse out my mind and the everyday pressures of life. It allows me to use my hands in another creative way and express any pent up emotion on canvas. It’s hard to find the time to do so, but when I do it [it] allows me to unwind and come back to the gym ready to train with a relaxed mind absorbing any new knowledge like a sponge.
You’re co-owner and head trainer at Overthrow Boxing in NYC, what advice do you have as a female entrepreneur?
Being a girl boss is a fun and challenging position. The best advice I have to give to my fellow girl bosses is to own it. Be consistent, decisive, strong, and compassionate when needed, but always remember how hard you worked and how deserving you are of your position. Never let anyone steal your joy and when you see someone that needs a chance in life and reminds you of yourself when you first started, to help them. Also to never lose yourself or let the position go to your head. Always stay humble, but always stay strong and if anyone tells you you’re too bossy, let them know that you’re a leader.
Adriana Lima, Brittney Spears, and Bella Thorne (to name a few) have all trained at Overthrow, what makes boxing an awesome workout? What can a newbie expect if they take a beginner’s class at Overthrow?
Boxing is one of the most addictive sports in the world. It channels that inner animal that we all have. The desire to hit something. To feel empowered, inspired, and unstoppable. Boxing allows you to tap into your inner Hulk. Any newcomers into the sport can expect to be addicted and besides the addiction they can expect a full body workout from head to toe. A lot of people don’t realize how you incorporate your entire body when boxing.
What areas of the body does boxing target and what health benefits does it have?
Boxing targets every part of your body from your core to your legs to your back arms and shoulders. It is the ultimate full body workout. Boxing also gives you both a strength and cardio workout. You will gain strength and increase your stamina. Boxing is good for the heart and lungs and well-being. It helps keep you young.
What other benefits does boxing have? For example, do you find that you can take out your anger at the gym?
The other benefit that boxing has is that it’s the best therapy in the world. You’re not only able to punch out your anger but you are also building good endorphins at the same time. It’s much better to spend your money on a boxing class then a therapy session, in my opinion.
What other exercises do you do to keep your body in tip-top shape as a boxer?
Besides boxing, I train in strength and conditioning. I’ll make sure to get my road work in 5-6 times a week. Road work consist of sprints, long distance running, interval training and hills. My strength training is at least 3 times a week and that consists of lifting weights [and] building up the the muscle on my entire body. Sometimes I’ll incorporate cardio based weight workouts. Lower weight, higher rep, and a sweat to make sure my heart rate is up. That way I’m burning fat [and] building muscle and stamina at the same time.
You’ve said, “I believe that women of all ages and walks of life can achieve their dreams if they only believe in themselves,” what other advice do you have for women pursuing their dreams?
I would tell them to never let go of who they are, what they love, and what they believe in. This world can be a cruel world and there’s always going to be moments in life that they’ll be tested. I would tell them that when the trials in life come and they find themselves in a place where they question who they are or what they’re capable of, not to worry and to embrace the hard times. The lesson is to always hold on to who you are and what is in your heart. And when it’s your time, you will flourish into a butterfly.