A CORK city businesswoman has launched a series of podcasts to build a tribe that’s bold and badass.
Sian Horn, who runs Elite Pilates, wants to create a community that women feel they belong to — and she feels the best way to do that is to get women talking honestly about themselves.
Sian, originally from the UK, says that it was through telling her own story two years ago that she became empowered and now she wants to help others.
She’s shared her story with WOW! previously but to those unfamiliar, she and her now husband Lee, spent nine years trying to start a family, without success.
Sian had seven miscarriages and after using an egg donor became pregnant, only to discover at her 13.5 week scan that her baby had fatal foetal abnormalities. She travelled to the UK to terminate, which naturally was not an easy decision to make.
“It was through sharing my story two years ago that I changed my perspective. I’m no longer holding ‘luggage’ in my person — it made me feel quite free.
“I understood very quickly that I wasn’t alone and that made me feel empowered, very supported and a much more positive person,” said the 47-year-old.
Sian, a former dancer, runs pilates studios in Donnybrook and the Kingsley Hotel, where she also teaches every day.
She’s also recently set up her own business BeBelle, a range of high-end leisure wear.
“But as we were doing our marketing and focus groups, we realised that people wanted to feel like they belonged to something. So, as well as it being about what they were wearing, it was about how we could make people feel and that’s where the idea for the podcast came from,” said Sian.
She says Cork has ‘amazingly interesting women’ and so far, for her podcast, she’s chatted with the likes of chef Lily Higgins, designer, Deirdre Corcoran, and business- woman Ciara Crossan who runs Wedding Dates.
“Life to me is all about stories; all of these women are inspiring to me for different reasons. It was about taking them out of their working environments and getting them to talk more about themselves,” she said.
So far, she’s featured all Cork women but she plans to take it out of the Rebel County going forward.
Sian, who thrives on being busy, has also recently started ‘Sunday Socials’ in Brown Thomas Cork and Limerick where she teaches a pilates class and afterwards hosts a brunch — an opportunity for more talking!
“And to move more,” she said, which is something she feels strongly about in whatever form.
“It’s all about getting the ethos of BeBelle out there which is about being empowered, positive, bold, supported and bad ass,” she said.
As part of that, she recently ran a BeBelle ‘Happiness’ event which attracted more than 100 women.
“I spoke about decluttering and giving yourself space to think.
“Before I spoke about my own experience it felt like my ‘secret’, but by releasing it, it took it out of my head and gave me space for so much more.
“I also spoke about things like decluttering negative friends and about being aware of only having so much energy in your body and who you spend that on.”
There are plans for a further ‘Happiness’ event as well as a ‘Walk and Talk’ series of events, which is exactly as the name suggests.
And she plans to evolve the podcasts to podcast parties: “That’s where we’ll have three people we’ve already chatted to come back in and chew the fat over wine and cheese in a group session where the public can submit questions.
“Right now it’s about creating our community and we’ll launch the clothes line next year. At the moment it’s about making people feel good, that’s really important,” said Sian who has just sold her studio in Carrigtwohill to concentrate on this element of her business.
“Something had to give; I love interviewing people and making people feel good and I want to give it all my time.”
She also really encourages women to learn to feel comfortable in their skin — and if they struggle, to talk to someone about it.
“That’s what community is about,” she insists.
Fluctuating between a size 18-20, Sian, who has never been under a size 16 in her adult life, says she’s very comfortable in her body.
“I have the opposite of body dysmorphia. I see myself as active, encouraging and happy and that’s the end goal for me... I am who I am and I’m comfortable with it.
“But you have to be careful how you speak to yourself, if 70% of your thoughts are positive then sooner or later it will become habit. It’s all about doing what makes you happy.”
Sian is also an active member of Network Cork and says she’s really fortunate she moved to a county that ‘took me in’.
“But I really do feel that we need to talk more — there’s always a reason that we end up where we’re at.”
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