By: CHERI LEAVY
Photo by: VANCE LEAVY
Family: Olivia (daughter) Hometown before here: Athens School: University of Georgia, BFA ’97 Occupation: Personal trainer, certified Pilates trainer, artist What brought you to the Golden Isles? I lost my husband in June 2016. The following Christmas, a great friend offered us her home on SSI to come down and rest. While we were down, we walked into Pilates Loft, where I learned the owner was hiring. Marie Artman and I struck up a conversation and she offered for me to move down and teach Pilates with her. That was an amazing opportunity and I have enjoyed working with Marie and all my sweet “people.” Recently, I started training at Live Oak Fitness, run by Chris Busby and Charlie Young. I’m having a lot of fun and I’m getting to use my posture and alignment skills in wider spectrum of exercise. The guys I work with are very fun and silly, but all very good at what they do. It has not been easy to move 5.5 hours from my family, by any means, but it has truly been an amazing experience. Name a surprise discovery about the area: We vacationed on St. Simons every summer of my childhood during the ‘70s and ‘80s. In the beginning after moving here, I was shocked at how much this little island has grown since those days. I don’t remember there being hardly any houses on East Beach back then! Favorite landmark in the Golden Isles: I think my favorite thing is coming over the causeway. Every time I come over it takes my breath away. I remember being mesmerized by the beauty even as a child. To me, it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Describe a hobby you enjoy away from work: My favorite thing in the whole world is running barefoot on the beach. I like to think I’m on a deserted island and I have no choice but to run barefoot. It’s quite freeing. My little girl and I really like going out to eat together all over the island. We love Sal’s, Sandcastle, Certified, Porch and Frederica Café. And, we love to watch the Dawgs at Mellow Mushroom. A local you admire: There have been so many special and amazing people who have supported Olivia and me. So many people have reached out and helped out. It has been remarkable. But, if I had to name one person, I think Jane Holmes is a local I truly admire. For one, she is a big Bulldog, so she’s got that going for her. She has a giving heart and she has always opened her doors to Olivia and me and treated us like family from Day One. Health and fitness tips for 2020: Oh Lord, are you sure you want to ask me that? Eat clean. Watch your sugar intake. Drink lots of water. Try to be active at least 30 minutes a day. If you sit at a desk for work, take lots of breaks to move around. Make exercise fun. Get outdoors, try new activities, join a gym and be with people you enjoy being with. Get plenty of rest and sleep. And, of course, watch your posture! I am a Pilates instructor, after all.