Ivy Knight is the founder of the popular page and brand Girls Who Powerlift. Knight started the page as a way to highlight women powerlifters of all levels, celebrating the strength of newcomers and elite athletes alike. In a short time, her following has grown bigger than booties on #peachgang day and in the process she has given a voice to a once overlooked community of strong ass women. Her once small idea has given information, support, and most of all pride to women all around the world. Ivy Knight's story, which you will now get a peak into, is the epitome of what it truly means to Uplift and Lift Heavy.
1. We always see videos of other women but who is Girls Who Powerlift?
My name is Ivy Knight. I am 30 years old. I started powerlifting about 2 years ago.
I live in South Florida. I got my degree as a paralegal and soon realized that I hated it and I wanted something more. I wanted to be able to help and encourage people to be the best version of themselves. I’ve been married for almost 10 years to my best friend and biggest fan. We have a pitbull named Diamond and she’s our sunshine.
2. What inspired you to create the page?
I created the @girlswhopowerlift on a whim. My husband and I were talking about lifting and the fact there weren’t very many pages dedicated to women and the inspo pages out there only highlighted the elite lifters, which wasn’t something that I could relate to at the time. And then we realized that Girls Who Powerlift hadn’t been used as a handle so I made the page.
3. Did you expect the brand to grow as largely as it has?
Honestly, not at all. I’m one of those people that is constantly questioning everything I do so I was very hesitant to put myself out there for further scrutiny… I still get nervous. The support that I’ve gotten from perfect strangers has been really overwhelming and sometimes hard to believe. I have to pinch myself to remind myself that it’s all real and it makes me want to work extra hard because I don’t want to disappoint everyone.
4. What is your ultimate goal with the brand?
My ultimate goal is to take this show on the road. One of the things that I love that’s come out of this is the community. I believe that people are mostly good and GWPL has restored my faith in humanity. Whenever I post a photo or a video the amount of love and support that person gets is so awesome. And it’s 90% positive. There are the few trolls that just want the attention, but I’m quick to block and delete. Friendships have been formed from the page, even for myself. So I want to take that off social media and into real life. I want to bring people together, all in the name of powerlifting!
5. What fueled your passion behind the motto Uplift and Lift Heavy?
Again, the amount of support that I’ve received in conjunction with the support that every post gets made me remember why I fell in love with the sport. At a meet, regardless of what team you represent, what weight class you're in, who you are, everyone cheers for you and everyone is supportive and kind, which is so unheard of with any other competitive sport. Uplift and Lift Heavy is about lifting each other up through powerlifting.
6. Why is it important for you to share information and create a community of girls who powerlift?
It’s important for me share information because, while GWPL is not the only blog out there doing it, somehow people always have questions and want to learn so why not put it out there. The more you know the more you grow, as cliche as that sounds. And it’s important to create this community because I wish I had one sooner. And I really can’t take credit for that. The community was always there, they just needed a platform. I want to be able to tell girls like me, who may not fit in or who may be shy or have confidence issues, that there is a place for you. Powerlifting has given me so much confidence and I wish that I was introduced to it sooner. And I know the support that I’ve received from GWPL would help so many girls out there not fall into bad eating habits because of depression or loneliness.
7. How has this journey with GWPL affected your powerlifting training?
Prior to starting GWPL I hadn't considered doing a meet. I was just powerlifting for funsies and never really thought about myself doing it competitively, but these ladies have helped me to see that on the platform it really is me against me and honestly, I compete for the followers. Every time I train, I have a little voice in the back of my mind telling me I can't disappoint these wonderful women. So it's given my training purpose and made me want to train harder and harder.
8. How has this community of powerlifting women changed your view on the topic of body image?
That's such an interesting question. I think that it's easy for us to look at other woman and see them for their strength regardless of their body type but when you look in the mirror, at least for me all you see is your imperfections. I've always been open about my weight and wanting to change it, but the GWPL community has made me realize that I'm good enough the way that I am and for who I am. I still have personal goal but I don't put myself down or judge myself like I used to. Because everyone is so accepting of me, I'm learning to accept myself too. Im still a work in progress but I think I'm leaps ahead from where I was and I have the community to thank.
9. If you could speak to a whole generation of women about lifting or life in general, what would you say?
Wow, this is a biggie! I think I would encourage women to find their happiness. I think so many women put their happiness into making other things or people, like their spouses or kids or their house happy that they forget that they need to happy with themselves. It’s like when you’re on a plane and the flight attendant explains that in case of an emergency, you should put your oxygen mask on first and then help others around you.
You can’t help others until you're content with who you are as a person. And I think that takes self reflection. Being brutally honest with yourself and deciding what you want to change or who you want to become. But only you can do that. You can’t change for other people because you’ll never truly be happy until you make those for decisions for yourself.