Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Dara Hartman

February 8, 2017

Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Dara Hartman

Dara Hartman The Houghton Girl

Meet Dara Hartman below, one of the inspirational women featured in the film, as she speaks candidly to Katharine and her other co-workers and female trainers in the film (Keyla Castillo & Bianca Vesco) and opens up about body image, the life of a trainer and personal goals.

 Dara: "I was one of the initial people who helped DogPound to get up and running, so along with training I’m also in meetings day-to-day. I also try to work out at least 1-2 hours a day. My day starts at 5am and ends usually around 11pm. My head hits the pillow around 11:30 or 12."

Katharine: "What kind of pressure do you feel as a female in the industry?"

Dara: "There are a lot of pressures, especially on my body... there are a lot of beautiful people in the fitness industry, our bodies are constantly on display. I feel like in this industry I want to authentically represent health and wellness and sometimes it’s actually really hard- when it comes to nutrition, when it comes to planning exercises, when it comes to looking my best and to being as strong as I can, be as energized as I can, as positive as I can. I feel like being a woman in this industry is extremely competitive with other women. But I don’t necessarily feel like it’s a male dominant industry, there are plenty of women in this industry. I really love the community, I love experiencing other classes and I love connecting with other instructors, there have been multiple times when I’ve been banned from studios, because who I work for and what company I represent, which is kind of frustrating because we are kind of on the same boat together. We are here to help each other, so sometimes I feel like people forget about that."

Katharine: "Do you think that interferes with how you do your job?"

Dara: "Everything I do I try to do as best as close to perfect as possible, it’s like a pressure to myself when it comes to works-outs and to training clients I want everything to be better just for myself and for the clients. I feel like what we have here at the DogPound is a super positive environment and I feel like it’s completely disconnected from all of that outside New York fitness scene. I mean we are family, like literally a family. My boyfriend is the CEO, Keyla’s husband is a partner, Bianca’s boyfriend is also one of the founders, so we have like this camaraderie which is amazing. I feel like it creates a really amazing work environment, but I feel like my personal pressures can sometimes get in the way, especially cause I’m extremely hard on myself, so it can kind of stand in the way of giving my best."

Dara Hartman The Houghton Girl

Katharine: "What kind of personal pressures do you put on yourself?"

Dara: "It’s a really hard question so let me start from a physical aspect- physically I’m very fatigued most of the time and being part of a start-up there is no time. I mean with our schedules there is no time to rest and you also own a business too so you know what is it like to put everything you have in this one thing, it’s like your baby you know...

"So what stands in the way sometimes is that I wanna try to disconnect myself from work but my work also consumes my entire life which I actually like... With that fatigue it’s hard to organize the day and feel accomplished at the end of the day if I'm not getting enough rest, if I’m not getting enough nutrition... I mean I wanna stay as organized as possible, as healthy as possible, as fit as possible and the client comes first you know what I mean? It’s really hard to schedule time for yourself and if I do schedule time for myself I feel pressure sometimes internally, like it’s wrong. We all are here working as hard as we can, trying to make this company grow so that can be something that is really tough you know... Even when it comes to my own time to exercise like I feel like it’s really hard for me to disconnect from work and actually feel focused without people coming in and talking and me running late because I’m coming from a meeting with my clients and so it’s things like that. It’s difficult to reach my own personal goals right now but it’s life..."

Katharine: "What goals do you set for yourself?"

Dara: "Haha, I don't these goals are obtainable, thats the issue!"

Keyla: "Don't say that!"

Dara: "I wanna feel good in the morning, I don’t remember the last time I woke up and felt like oh, I’m ready to wake up... like every day I peel myself off the pillow. Being a trainer we push ourselves physically so hard, when it comes to exercising and working on our own fitness, every day waking out of the bed is actually physically hard for me. I'm extremely sore, so sometimes just the act of getting up from the bed is hard, physically, because I’m so tired, and my body’s so sore."

Katharine: "Where is the light at the end of the tunnel, like what gets you going what makes you get up every day?"

Dara: "I work with a man I love and I’m building something with him, and I see myself with him for the rest of my life so like right there is the incentive to do the best I possibly can. When it comes to physically, I would like to have time to treat my body and live the way I’m trying to inspire others to live. When it comes to physical injuries I don’t have time to rest and recover. I suffer from a pretty uncomfortable vocal injury, which is coming from a singing background, so I literally have lost all ability to sing, which is hard but even if I couldn’t sing in the beginning, speaking actually can be sometimes painful and difficult... and working in this huge loud gym and constantly working these long hours can just be physically tolling on our bodies."

Katharine: "I think your one of the most loving and sensitive people I know, you give so much of yourself..."

Dara: "Yeah, literally I’m so sensitive that sometimes it can inhibit my work, I can walk in the room and can feel, I can feel what everybody’s feeling. I walk into a room and I know this person’s upset, this person’s hurt, I can tell what’s going on now from working in fitness, whether someone’s suffering from an injury, I can watch them move you know emotionally. I mean it’s something I’ve always been able to kind of feel my whole life and being really sensitive is an amazing quality when it comes to working with people, you know... helping people, sometimes these people are so much more important to me in the moment, you know, I feel like it can inhibit my work ethic, being extremely sensitive. Especially working with the people I’m closest to- working with the man I love, working with some of my closest friends, I feel like it can really like wear me down."

Katharine: "Do you think it hurts your self-esteem?"

Dara: "100%. Yeah. Sometimes especially after working with such beautiful beautiful women, beautiful beautiful men... I’m training some of the top models in the world you know? I feel extremely confident in my body and feel confident in my skin, it’s more just inner self- confidence not about my body but just about who I am and how I deal with things internally, when it comes to being so sensitive..."

"But no one would ever see that and that’s the point. That’s the thing, people think we live these glamorous life styles and train these models and it’s like we work our asses off, but the grind is not glamorous, people think you wake up every day and you have everything you need but it doesn’t work that way. You have to put in that work and it’s the work we’re putting in. And we love everyone very much but we forget that have to live ourselves sometimes. We don’t have time for that."

 Katharine: "Define self-confidence."

Dara: "Being able to truly feel and be anything you want. And I definitely feel like training physically is giving me a lot of self-confidence with my body and what I can physically achieve. I think what’s important is to surround yourself with people who really uplift you and also not being too hard on yourself. It’s really hard to do."

Katharine: "What does this project mean to you and why did you decided to be a part of it?"

Dara: "I love being part of something that is body positive and people positive. I really admire being part of this project, because you’re embracing all different types of women who all come from different backgrounds, who have different stories, who have different figures and different shapes and you're creating something for us to wear and creating a platform for us to convey messages- that is really beautiful."

Dara Hartman The Houghton Girl