Dannielle Goulet

I AM ALFA because of my innate perseverance. Tough is not taught and being pushed down has only made me rise higher. I, like coal under pressure, strive to be a diamond.

Photography by: Ali Sohrab

Hair, Makeup, Tan: Shannon Payne

Venue: Olympians Gym

I first became conscious of weight in high school. Since I was a little girl I was always active. Being in a military family we moved around a lot. We were a strict household that placed a high value on discipline and achieving our best. I learned the value of hard work at a very young age. I was in horseback riding and gymnastics, always striving to be my best whether in my extracurricular activities or school.

When I was 8 my father went off to fight in the Gulf War. I watched my mom struggle as basically a single mom raising my baby sister and I while my dad went to go fight for our country. After returning from the Gulf War my father’s work took him to various locations. My mother worked multiple jobs all the while raising me and my sister, getting me to my after-school activities and always pushing me to be the best version of myself.

In junior high school my activities changed, I got out of gymnastics and horseback riding and shifted focus to band, (playing the saxophone), theatre and my part-time job at Dairy Queen. I never had really thought about my relationship to food having always been active and having the metabolism of a young child. I always had been a picky eater, I didn’t like vegetables and with my part-time job working at Dairy Queen my diet was horrible and I started packing on the pounds. I began to hate my body, being self-conscious of the added weight and society’s expectations on what an ideal body should look like. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.

In grade 9 my parents' relationship was beginning to deteriorate and my mom started her own fitness journey. I think she found it empowering and something to focus on while dealing with the stress at home. While I was struggling with my own body issues I saw her taking charge of her body and doing something to better herself in both body and mind. By grade ten my parents relationship ended. My dad was away in Afghanistan fighting again in another war. Under all of the stress my mom finally broke and began partying, what started as the occasional partying eventually turned into drug addiction. From 18-21 I became my sister’s legal guardian and felt the weight of that responsibility while my heart broke watching my mom spiral.

While struggling with all of this I was also trying to figure out who I was in this world. I had some fun and made some bad decisions as all people in their early twenties do. I struggled with trying to find my purpose in life. I started to experiment with new foods discovering that I liked vegetables and things other than fast food. I lost the weight starting to feel better in my own skin but was still searching for direction in my life. I worked multiple jobs always needing to work hard as that was instilled in me at a very young age but none of them felt fulfilling to my soul.

Feeling like I needed some direction I decided to open a business. I finally decided