Boxing has the stereotype of being a male-dominated space. It’s aggressive, super physical and intense. Shadowbox is quite literally punching through this misconception. The cult company has a high number of female leaders. Enter super cool Shadowbox creative director, Annah Kessler. Annah does it all—she helps run the company, maintains a busy life, and of course, boxes like a total boss! We sat down with Annah to discuss the misconceptions about her industry and why she loves boxing so much.
What’s it like to be a woman in boxing? Empowering? Scary?
Annah Kessler: It’s whatever you tell yourself it’s going to be. If you walk into a boxing space full of fear, you’ll be scared. If you walk into a boxing space with confidence and curiosity, you’ll leave feeling empowered. One of my favorite things about boxing is that it’s humbling to everyone - you’ll never have it mastered. There’s always more to learn and ways to improve, no matter your age, experience or gender.
What’s the biggest misconception about boxing?
AK: That you have to already be an athlete or a jock to do it. At Shadowbox, we’ve created a space where literally anybody can put a pair of boxing gloves on and give it a go, without any judgment or expectations of your performance. I think a lot of people are surprised at how fun it is to try something new, no matter how “good” they are at it their first time. Another big misconception is that boxing is all about fighting, competition & athletic performance. Boxing can serve you in so many ways, way beyond the just obvious physical benefits. It’s extremely meditative and stress-relieving, it’s confidence boosting and it’s good for improving your brain function (focus & multi-tasking specifically).
Tell us about female empowerment at Shadowbox!
AK: As a female leader, I feel it’s my duty to empower EVERYBODY at Shadowbox. I think it’s important to not just focus solely on women, there’s a wide spectrum between ‘woman’ and ‘power male’. We’re consciously gender neutral in everything we do. We’re all about not prescribing what you need to look like or who you need to be - come to us however you are and we’ll be in your corner.
Favorite workout move for the summer?
AK: Honestly, walking/biking/running instead of taking the subway or ubering. My favorite thing to do is put a podcast on and walk everywhere, plus you discover new parts of the city that you may never find otherwise!
What’s your favorite place in New York for a post- box healthy meal?
AK: Love a post-boxing Sweetgreen or HuKitchen, but if I’m being realistic, it’s usually an RX bar and a ton of water.
What’s one piece of advice you have for women who want to get into boxing?
AK: I’d definitely recommend grabbing a friend to try it out with you. If you can’t find someone to take a class with you, DM one of our Instructors on Instagram and introduce yourself. They’re all super welcoming, would love to hear from you and will help you through any worries or fears you have about trying out boxing.