Marili Mejias
31 years old
zumba instructor at Brick Bodies
You've been performing since you were in ninth grade. How did you first get into dance?
I was always into Janet and Michael Jackson. I feel like they taught everyone in the world how to dance. I would tape their videos and learn all the routines, dance on the street, show all my friends. I was self-taught until I was 24, but to be fair, I come from a musical, artistic Puerto Rican family, so I grew up with Latin music. It was pretty natural for me.
What was your proudest moment as an intructor?
I have a horrible memory, so it took me so long to get my certification for the American Fitness Association of America. When I finally got it, I felt very proud and accomplished, like a true fitness professional.
gym/fitness activity
Dancing is definitely No. 1, and I also like weightlifting.
healthy snack
Water is my first choice, but I also really love banana, watermelon and pineapple. Fruits are great.
unhealthy snack
Mozzarella sticks
artist to listen to for motivation
Anything with a good beat! I like a lot of salsa or Brazilian music — they're heavy with the drums. Fast drums, I think, is what gets my adrenaline pumping.
dance move
Anything that rolls or snakes the hips from side to side, like a snaking movement, almost like a belly dancer. We do a lot of hip isolation in my classes, anything like that really gets me going.
Client Love
“She definitely has her own style in classes. It's the Zumba thing, with a little of herself in it, too. They're always a lot of fun and she always has a positive attitude when she's teaching. One hour of her class makes people's days better. Guaranteed.”
- Stephanie Furst, 23, Kingsville
How would you describe what makes you or your technique successful?
I think it's because I come off as a friend and not as an instructor. I'm very goofy, I do a lot of facial expressions. Plus, I have a dance background.