(AllHipHop Features) Leaders and bosses come in many different forms. Holly “Lil Bear” Lawson has experienced greatness first hand as a Top 5 Welterweight contender, but now she uses her experiences to help a star-studded clientele take their talents to new heights as a celebrity trainer. Holly’s uncanny motivational techniques have helped actors such as Rosamund Pike (“Die Another Day”, “Girl Gone, A Untied Kingdom”), Alexandra Shipp (“X-Men: Apocalypse” “Straight Outta Compton”), Sophie Turner (“Game of Thrones, X-Men Apocalypse”), Eddie Cahill (“Under The Dome”, “CSI:NY”), and Aimee Carrero (“Elena if Avalor”, “Young and Hungry”, “The Last Witch Hunter”). She has also trained artistic eccentrics like Grammy-winning superstar Lorde, producer Brook D’Leau and Hip-Hop artist Murs. Even AllHipHop’s own Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur has sought out Lil’ Bear’s expertise. “I’ve fought my whole life, both in the ring and outside. My training philosophy is helping people become the best versions of themselves, physically, emotionally and spiritually,” says Lawson.
She has been featured on mainstream outlets like E! Online, Elle UK, Yahoo.com, Variety, W Magazine, Healthista.com, Self.com, Daily Mail (The UK’s largest paper) and more. Continually challenging herself, Holly is a Bellator MMA fighter and a California Golden Gloves Champion. “Holly works harder than most of the male world champions I see. She has always brought a welcome light, along with her talent to Wildcard. We are all big fans of her both professionally and personally,” says Freddie Roach, Hall of Fame Boxing Trainer. Holly “Lil Bear” Lawson is an entrepreneur of another sort. She moves between Hip-Hop, Hollywood, combat sports and celebrity, all seeking remarkable metamorphosis in their physiques.
AllHipHop: Explain what you’re job entails:
Holly Lawson: A lot of telling people they can’t eat donuts for breakfast and make their fitness goals! I am side eying Aimee Carrero and Alexandra Shipp right now. In all seriousness, technically I am a trainer, although my role in a lot of peoples lives tends to fall more into a life coach capacity, so my job changes daily.
I am in the final stages of a training platform that’ll be available via an app as well as online, so there’s a lot of energy going into that. I’ve also got a boxing and Hip-Hop podcast I am launching with Glasses Malone next month and I’ve been working on commentating in boxing (which is my first love and a huge part of everything I do).
AllHipHop: What’s the most enjoyable part of the job and your duties:
Holly Lawson: My jobs – plural – keep me bouncing between worlds, so I get to experience and work in different environments, with different people. I’m not sure I have finished finding my calling, but I do know I am super grateful for the space and opportunity to work with the people I work with. I would definitely say that getting to work with my clients daily is one of my biggest blessings.
AllHipHop: What is the hardest part:
Holly Lawson: I am a professional boxer and there was a point I reached with it, that I realized that boxing wasn’t taking me where I needed to go in order to keep growing as a human being. So I had to put boxing to the side for a bit, while I fully embraced all the other opportunities that were being offered to me. What is interesting about that, is that when I chose to stop chasing it, boxing came back into my life on its own accord. You know that saying “if you love something let it go, if it comes back to you, it was meant for you”? It’s usually applied to relationships between people but I believe it fully applies to a person and their purpose too.
AllHipHop: What advice can you offer people that want to be where you are or aspire to make it in the business?
Holly Lawson: ALWAYS be authentically yourself. So much of what people do today is based on them trying to gain social media followers or achieve some false sense of accomplishment with likes and attention. What I have learned being within “Hollywood”, is that those people are going to come and go, without so much as a blink from the people who really make decisions about the business that matters. Everyone is out here lying about who they are and what they do, all of a sudden everyone is an “actor” or a “trainer” or a “fighter”, and they think because they dress the part and post pics of themselves posing, that they are convincing people that they’re legitimate. That can only fool people so long, eventually you’re going to have to put up or shut up. The way to avoid any of that is to just always be honest about who you are, what you are good at and what type of person you are.
I’ve found that by establishing a reputation, first within boxing then within training and entertainment, for being authentic, has served me really well. People always know what they’re getting with me and that has been passed via personal referrals, so my circle has expanded for sure, but when I meet someone they already know who I am, what I am about and when they get to know me better, they will discover more depth to my abilities and interests, but they’ll always know who I am at my core and the things that I stand for.
AllHipHop: Can you describe a moment of adversity personal or in your career?
Holly Lawson: Geez…When isn’t there going to be adversity in life? That’s always there, it changes from day to day but there’s always something. Whenever you’re an entrepreneur and work for yourself, there’s the freelance struggle: do I have enough work this month to do A/B/C/D? Am I so busy I don’t have time to breathe by myself for an hour? How do I trademark something? Am I working fast enough on that other project?
Training is interesting because while most of my clients train with me year round, I have a few who live abroad so I see them when they are in LA or they come to work with me to get ready for a certain project etc. So my work days change from week to week, juggling different people/projects/personalities is certainly something I have had to learn to adjust to quickly.
I had a moment last year, in which I looked around and realized that I was investing time/energy into some people (both clients professionally and people in my personal life), who weren’t offering me any growth/energy/learning experiences in return, I made a decision from then on, that I would only work with people I like as human beings, who I feel good about spending so much time and energy on. I definitely let go of some clients (and some money) and some friends, which was a little tough for a bit, but I have found myself being happier than I have ever been. I honestly love everyone I work with and I have been meeting people in my personal life that are nothing short of amazing. Cutting the dead weight hurt a bit, but it was worth it.
AllHipHop: What keeps you from giving up working within a male dominated industry
Holly Lawson: I’ve almost always worked in male dominated fields. Boxing is basically all men running everything, I’ve managed rappers many years ago, it’s all the same. Personally, I am comfortable working with men. They are up front about who they see as competition and you can tell right away if they see you as a threat.
I never saw it as something that would make me want to quit, I just always saw it as a reason to prove them wrong.
AllHipHop: Who inspired you to become a leader or boss
Holly Lawson: I’ve always wanted to make changes in the world, everything I do is coming from that place. Any act of leadership has always been because I knew someone needed to stand up for whatever was right and create an avenue that wasn’t there.
How do you balance work and personal life?
Holly Lawson: That’s a really tough equation when you are an entrepreneur. I’m still learning how to create boundaries and define time that belongs only to me. I try to carve out time in my schedule to dedicate solely to my personal growth. I have always been a voracious reader, so making time to read is one of my biggest rewards I can give myself.
AllHipHop: What do you do for fun?
Holly Lawson: I love going to boxing matches, art galleries and museums, book stores, lectures, anything that feeds my brain and helps me grow is good. Alternately, I love going to the movies. It’s the whole experience of the theatre that I love, I think it’s because I grew up really poor with a single mom, in a small town in Canada. We had one theatre in the town, it would play one movie, sometimes for a week or two at a time. Because we didn’t have much money, going to the movie theatre was a big deal and we didn’t get to do it very often. It’s now something I love to do to relax. It’s also often work, checking out how people look, how prepared they are for roles etc. I love seeing my team up there, nothing more rewarding than seeing months of hard work pay off on the big screen.
AllHipHop: Final words?
Holly Lawson: Success is all relative and happiness is purely personal but the second you stop chasing either and start living to make change for others who aren’t as fortunate as you, will be the exact moment both of former will come to you. I promise……#notallheroeswearcapes.