People 14 March 2018
From a less than ideal childhood to the ring of the WWE to the world of designing “athleisure" fashion for her Celestial Bodiez line, Celeste Bonin is a woman who makes things happen – no matter what those things are; how they might come up; and how hard it might be to make them happen.
Hailing from Houston, Texas, Bonin will quickly tell anyone who asks that, “No, I don't have a southern accent and, yes, y'all is a word." She now lives in South Florida where, she says, “I live my life in yoga pants and tank tops and I'm not sorry."
Bonin says growing up she was an angel. “A dirty, bug collecting, jorts-wearing angel. I was a tomboy to the core. Once I was able to articulate it, I swore off dresses. I played sports, climbed trees, and refused to let my mom touch my hair. I was, am, and forever will be, the most accident-prone person I know. Yet, I've never broken a bone. EVER (unless you count the nose. Never did see any of those doorknobs coming…or the iron…) I attribute it to all the milk I drank. Oh, yea, and my brick shithouse genetics."
She describes her childhood as dysfunctional. But asks, “Isn't everyone's?" Her father was in and out of her life and her mother raised her and her brother on her own. “She even taught us how to read before we started kindergarten. I was the smart-ass writing in cursive when the other kids were still writing backward “N's." Little idiots."
Bonin says they grew up poor but her mom made sure they didn't really know they were poor until they were old enough to understand what that meant. “I started working at 14 and have never stopped. She says that having a lot of responsibilities, like contributing to the household income, really forced her to grow up quickly and, she adds, “Tt most certainly taught me the value of a dollar."
Celeste Bonin loved wrestling when she was a kid. “For some reason, I was a huge Vader fan. I didn't really start watching again until my early twenties. Seeing the women that were a part of the show really lit a fire inside of me. I was always super athletic and never really had a problem making an ass of myself. I have this really interesting quality about me where I set my sights on something and will literally do whatever it takes to get there. Some call it ballsy. Some call it stupid. Hey, if you never try, you'll never know."
Like many other things in Bonin's life, becoming a part of the WWE had a heck of a lot to do with serendipity.
“I had the opportunity to try out in 2010 through a friend that had previously been a part of the developmental program (basically the minor leagues of WWE). Hardest. Week. Ever. They really put you through the ringer and test your mental and physical fortitude during a tryout. It's a very physically demanding and a cut-throat industry. It's definitely not for the faint of heart. That being said, I loved every second of it. Even the shitty parts. Maybe I didn't love those parts while I was enduring them but hindsight is 20/20. It is so necessary to endure those tough moments to truly grow as a performer, as a professional, and most importantly as a person."
Being a part of WWE afforded Bonin all sorts of opportunities for traveling the world to performing in front of thousands in sold-out arenas and on live TV. “There's nothing else like it. It taught me a lot about myself and gave me the confidence and the 'Fuck it, let's do it' attitude that I have now."
Bonin describes herself as a chaotic, determined freight-train. And what would friends say? “Stupid. Fucking. Asshole. Just kidding. Maybe they would say, resilient, indecent, and headstrong." All joking aside, she has made some tough decisions throughout her life. “I passed up a soccer scholarship opportunity to stay close to home and help with some family hardships. I was bitter at first but it ended up leading me down an amazing path. I started with a few community college classes and then eventually chose to study fine arts with the ultimate goal of a career in special effects make-up and/or set design. I never finished school. I had the opportunity to try out for WWE mid-semester and I just never looked back."
How all of this leads her to the world of fashion is a whole other story. If you ask Bonin if fashion's always been her thing, she'll tell you yes… and no. “I've always put my own flair or style on current trends. I love shopping at resale shops and secondhand places. You really find so many gems. Most importantly, I'm an advocate of comfort over everything. You never know when you'll need to roundhouse kick someone in the face. You know, vigilantly crime fighting."
As for her own personal style, Bonin calls it “hobo-esque, flamboyant military, flannel grunge-chic. This is actually the inspiration behind my new line coming out under Celestial Bodiez. It's comfortable, flattering activewear with a very 'Steam Punk' vibe."
Designing a clothing line was not exactly at the top of her to-do list. But when the idea for Celestial Bodiez came to her, she couldn't help but run with it. “The original concept of #Bootyscrunch (the signature seam in all of my garments), was actually something that originated in my WWE days. My seamstress would sew a ruching in the butt seam of all of my wrestling outfits to create a more flattering fit. I took the idea and ran with it. No one was doing this in athletic wear. I've always known I would do some epic shit in my life but I never envisioned myself as a clothing designer. Well, I guess I never pictured myself as a professional wrestler either. Life is so funny."
Of course, Bonin hopes that her clothing line will be more than, well, just a clothing line. When a woman puts on something from Celestial Bodiez, she wants them to look in the mirror and say, “Fuck yea." "I want them to love the way they look and I want them to be comfortable above all else. When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you are capable of so much."
"I want them to love the way they look and I want them to be comfortable above all else. When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you are capable of so much." -Celeste Bonin
When Bonin thinks about the future, she says the one thing she knows for sure is that she's going to be doing exactly what she's doing right now for as long as she can. “I want Celestial Bodiez to continue growing and to be a big player in the athleisure industry. My goal is not only to continue putting out high-quality athletic apparel but to also build a culture that women want to be a part of. I want to be a voice and use my company and my platform to share my experience as a young executive woman. If I can do it, you sure as fuck can too!"
Although Bonin has thrown herself into the designing world full time, that hasn't kept her out of the ring completely. “I also have been spending more and more time back in the wrestling ring. It's really just a therapeutic thing for me (even though it kicks my ass). After a really rough 2017, which included a nasty divorce, I've realized that I owe it to myself to take some time to do things I love, things that inspire me and ignite passion inside of me."
Above all else, Bonin says she lives by the “Oh Shit Method" and imagines many women could benefit by following the same code. “This is the head on; leap before you look; figure it out as you go manner in which I live my life. Life is too short to wait to try new things; start a business; change careers, etcetera. In fact, if you wait until you're 'ready,' you'll never actually feel ready. No one's ever really ready. You figure it out as you go. If you fail, you fail. Failure teaches you. Failure is growth."
3 Min Read
I think we can all agree that we are living in unprecedented times, and many of us are experiencing challenges in both our personal and professional lives. But it is important to remember that often, challenging moments present opportunities for change. Right now, companies and individuals are using this time to rethink how they conduct their business, the resources critical to their success, and how they go about their daily activities. And what we are seeing is that more and more people, especially women, are taking control of their lives by starting their own businesses.
While it is estimated that the number of women-owned businesses is one-quarter to one-third of all enterprises worldwide, there are still many women who aspire to make entrepreneurship a reality. A new Herbalife Nutrition survey conducted by OnePoll of 9,000 women across 15 countries, including 2,000 women in the U.S., found that globally, 72% of women want to open their own business. Of those, 50% don't yet have a business and 22% have one but would like to open another.
Women want to have more control over their future, but they are committed to helping future generations by being a role model for younger women; 80% believe this is a strong motivating factor.
The second annual survey, which explores women and entrepreneurship globally, revealed the overwhelming challenges women experience in the traditional workplace compared to their male colleagues. In fact, more than 60% of women said they would like to start a business due to unfair treatment in previous job roles. Of the women surveyed, 7 in 10 believe that women must work harder to have the same opportunities as men in the workforce. Results also revealed that 43% of women have delayed having children because they thought it would negatively affect their career, and 25% said they had faced pregnancy discrimination. 42% believe they've been unfairly overlooked for a raise or promotion because of their gender — and of those, the average respondents had it happen three separate times. These are a few of the challenges that have been a catalyst for the surge in entrepreneurship among women.
The irony is that startups founded and cofounded by women performed better than their men counterparts: on average women-owned firms generated 10% higher cumulative revenue over five years, compared with men.
With the barriers and negative experiences women cited in the workforce, it is not surprising that across the globe, the top motivation for starting a business is to run it themselves (61%). Women want to have more control over their future, but they are committed to helping future generations by being a role model for younger women; 80% believe this is a strong motivating factor.
But the women surveyed don't expect entrepreneurship to be smooth sailing: one-third of women with plans for entrepreneurship are "very worried" about their business — or future business — failing in the next five years. The top three challenges when starting a business center around finances — earning enough money to offset costs, having enough budget to grow, and financing their business. And when it comes to financing, women face stark disparities in the capital they often need to fund their business. Boston Consulting Group found that women entrepreneurs averaged $935,000 in investments, which is less than half the average of $2.1 million invested in companies founded by men entrepreneurs. The irony is that startups founded and cofounded by women performed better than their men counterparts: on average women-owned firms generated 10% higher cumulative revenue over five years, compared with men.
Women entrepreneurs create a source of income for themselves and their families. They are a vital part of our world's economic engine that society needs to support with flexible opportunities, mentorship, and access to capital. Herbalife Nutrition is proud that more than half of our independent distributors worldwide are women who set up their businesses and decide when and where they work and do so on their terms. We need to invest in women entrepreneurs, not only to help one generation, but to offer role models for the next.