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20 Questions with Nairobi Diaries Star and Fitness Guru: Marjolein Blokland

1. Why Did You Pick The Career Path That You Did?

Fitness changed my life for the better and I wanted to pass my experience and knowledge onto other people. Nutrition and exercise has to be part of everyday life in order for one to function to their full potential. The desire to be my own boss and have a physically challenging lifestyle also drove me into this career path, enjoying a flexible schedule and challenges of being in charge of my own income.

2. What should every woman try at least once in her life?

Challenge those that tell her something can’t be done

3. What is on your bookshelf?

Cooking books, encyclopaedias and comics

4. What item in your closet do you wear the most?

Tank tops and shorts

5. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m deeply afraid of insects

6. What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

That the mind controls the body

7. What is your beauty secret?

Lots of water, vitamin supplements, exercise and good food

 

8. What’s the biggest personal change you’ve ever made?

Believing in my physical and mental abilities

9. What motivates you to improve yourself?

The reflection in the mirror motivates me. Making new goals based on my

current position in life. Growth is fun and fulfilling

10. What are some struggles you faced in your life that came about because of your gender?

Being a woman in a male-dominated industry in Kenya isn’t easy. One learns to either stand their ground or risk being walked all over. From being seen as physically weak to being objectified.

11. Who and What are some of your Influences?

Oprah , Jim Carrey, Richard Branson, Wangari Mathaai. Their unrelenting drive to achieve what they believe in and live life according to their terms   

12. Do You Wish You Could have Done Things Differently if given the Chance?

I wouldn’t have done anything different if given a chance. My mistakes and missed opportunities taught me lessons in life that shaped my character.

13. What and Who Inspires You?

My parents inspire and me to work hard and be a better version of myself everyday.

14. What Do You Count As Your Greatest Achievement?

Overcoming negativity in myself and around me. Never use to believe in my own abilities and always sought out an easier route, but I realised that easy doesn’t build anything and that challenges build character and success. Same applies to my career. The minute I accepted challenges, that’s when my business started growing.

15. How have you overcome these struggles and/or insecurities?

Changing my mindset, lifestyle and the people I associate myself with.

16. In your experience, what do you think are some of the prevalent issues women face in everyday life, professionally?  

It’s changing, but in some societies there are still people who think women belong in the kitchen. Men are more “suited” for the corporate world or for manual-labour intensive work due to women being perceived as weak.

17. What Do You Think Needs to be Done to Address These Issues?

Women need to stand their ground and work hard and live life according to their terms. Eventually men will come to terms with this and realise the advantages of empowering women.

18. What Would You Tell another Young Woman who wants to go down the same path that you have chosen?

To realise that impossible is a state of mind

19. What do you do to give back to your community?

I believe in promoting local businesses and try to buy locally produced items as much as possible. Volunteering once a month at a local pet adoption centre, the KSPCA.

20. If you could tell young women one thing, what would it be?

Follow your dreams regardless of who/what gets in your way