Written By: Delaney Rodriguez
Photography By: @Karlogomez
Traveling around the country with an old army bag in one hand and a quilted bag in the other sounds like a scene from a John Steinbeck novel; a tale of a wanderer you would read in a book. It sounds unmanageable to most, but that is the life of Quiana Welch, a fitness fanatic who has been on the move since eight-years-old.
She’s been a volleyball player, a gymnast, and a Cross-Fit star. She’s lived in Detroit, Georgia, Florida, Dallas, Florida again, New York, California, Hawaii, New York again, and now in the Reno/Sparks area of Nevada. Yet, for someone with such a call for movement, she has a grounded soul. This may come from a challenging childhood in which she had to learn to take care of herself.
Growing up, Quiana had a hard time fitting in because of her dark skin and muscular build. She describes herself as “naturally darker and my love for being in the sun made me dark as night. And my hair wouldn’t grow when I was a kid, so with my build and no hair, everyone thought I was a little boy; my mom had to start putting me in ‘girlier’ clothes so people got that I was a girl.”
“Even among other black kids, I felt like I never fit in. When I was at boarding school, I was one of about five black kids but they were all lighter than me and they seemed to have this attitude that they were better than me because of that. It was hard. I would research skin bleaching or wear lighter makeup. I also always hated my arms; I would wear long or three-quarter length sleeves because my arms were bigger than the other girls and it would make me uncomfortable when people looked at them or made comments. I was self-conscious about these things I couldn’t control.”
With seemingly-constant moves, it would be easy to feel lonely and start buying into the things other kids thought about her. Quiana’s saving grace was her mom.
“My mom’s my best friend. She would always tell me ‘your dark skin is beautiful’ and I just believed her. She had leukemia when I was in seventh grade and it was really hard to see her go through that. But she’s kickin’ now.”
Like many of us, she also found solace in writing, “I kept journals growing up. If I felt down, I would write about it and then just leave it there.”
Following Quiana on Instagram (@chuckiewelch), you see a picture of confidence, strength, and pure joy. It’s clear that she has found her place in the Crossfit community.
“I’ve been an athlete all my life.” Quiana explained that she played sports and was a gymnast growing up, “but my first time in a gym wasn’t until about 2010 or 2011 in New York.
I tried bikini modeling for a little bit until I was told I was ‘too big.’
When I found Crossfit, I didn’t even start training right away. Then I met the creator in Tribeca in 2014 and I’ve been a part of it ever since.”
Currently, Quiana is a coach at Black Iron in Nevada. She describes it as “a good time with an all-girl squad.”
Beyond being a fitness coach and leader, Quiana wants to be “a positive influence on the world.”
“Having gone through these issues myself, I just want people to be aware and accepting of themselves.
Whatever your ‘issues’ are (overweight, thigh dimples, dark skin), just accept yourself. I like to give myself a day to feel my emotion after something rocks me and then get back to living my life.”