Ever been told you were too pretty to do something? Too pretty to be a scientist. Too pretty to skateboard. Or maybe you were told, “you don’t look like a teacher/accountant/mathematician.” Well CEO and former boxer Cary Williams was told one too many times she was “too pretty to fight”. And so she decided to do something about it. Read on for her inspirational story.
Elena Carpi: What made you get into boxing in the first place?
Cary Williams: I met a guy in high school who was a boxer and I remember him saying there were no boxing gyms around where the average person could train. If you didn’t want to be a fighter, no coach would work with you. I decided to open the first boxing gym where anyone could go and learn the true fundamentals of boxing and get a great workout from it.
Prime Time Boxing & Fitness opened in 1998, long before the boxing and fitness craze. I guess I was pretty good at business because I grossed over 100K the first year! To me, that was A LOT of money. We were so busy that the head coach needed me to start helping as a trainer. I learned how to be a trainer, then I became a boxer. I thought it was hypocritical of me to train others in the sport never having stepped into the ring. You see, my story is backwards: I opened a gym, became a coach and then became a fighter.
EC: What was the experience of fighting like?
CW: The experience of fighting is like nothing I have ever done! It is like stepping into a gladiator stadium. Once you’re in there, there’s no turning back. It’s like being inside of a movie and everything around you is in slow motion. Your adrenaline, if you have learned how to control it, slows everything down so you can react quickly. Amazing!
EC: Why did you hang up your gloves?
CW: I was trying to grow my business while fighting and it was hard to do both. I had employees, and I needed to worry more about everyone as a whole. Aside from that, women were not allowed to box in the Olympics at the time and that is what I really wanted to do.
EC: It sounds like you are a good leader. What is the most rewarding part of coaching?
CW: The most rewarding part of coaching is seeing someone’s face light up when something finally clicks! It takes a long time to learn this sport properly and those small moments mean so much.
EC: What’s the biggest challenge?
CW: My personal challenge with coaching is that I want everyone to get it right and wholeheartedly respect the sport and the process. I have to realize that boxing is not for everyone.
EC: What tips can you give to someone who wants to become a successful boxer?
CW: Be patient, be dedicated and enjoy the process.
EC: Awesome. So you’ve got a lot going on in your life right now! What projects are you most excited about?
CW: Currently my passion, my purpose in life, is the Too Pretty brand. It can be used to reach a lot of girls and women who need to be heard and who need to know that someone hears them!
To spread the message I am on two television shows that aired in January. One is Billion Dollar Buyer on CNBC and the other is Fit to Fat to Fit on Lifetime.
EC: Tell me about Too Pretty. What’s the story behind it, and what do you do?
CW: Too Pretty is a unique brand created for girls and women who are tough enough to “play hard” while still embracing their femininity. The history of Too Pretty? I was told on numerous occasions that I was too pretty to be a fighter. Which meant they thought I was not capable. The word pretty is used so often and is a word that little girls hear constantly growing up. Pretty can have many meanings, but my idea of the word is “feminine.”
So, after my time in the boxing ring I decided to create a brand that would resonate with girls and women who were hearing the same things. My work with young women got recognized by The California Legislature along with Brandi Chastain and several other women in sports, for my contribution and impact on girls’ sports. Now, the brand has caught the eyes of other young girls and women who are doing “non-traditional” activities. The Too Pretty brand has a goal: to empower young girls and women and to encourage them to believe that they can do anything they set their mind to; even stuff that boys do!
EC: What message would you like to give to young women?
CW: I have worked with hundreds of young girls teaching them boxing, but the biggest lessons they have learned from me are that they can be strong, smart and successful without sacrificing their femininity.