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Actress Noree Victoria of the Rickey Smiley Show on Why Her Health is Her Advantage in the Industry



Noree Victore - The Rickey Smiley Show

Actress Noree Victoria is no stranger to the TV screen. In addition to her current role as Simone on The Rickey Smiley Show, she has also played roles on The Game and Single Ladies. But being an entertainer isn’t her only passion. She is an advocate for fitness and health, particularly the health of Black women. Noree’s philosophy is simple – “fitness is a lifestyle, not a choice.” It is just as important to her as showing up to her job and knowing her lines. Black Fitness Today chatted with the multi-talented, intelligent and insightful Noree on just how important health and fitness is to her and why we can all benefit from a healthy body and mind.


Noree Victoria


BFT: You developed a passion for the arts at a young age. What do you love about being an actress?


NV: I absolutely love that every time I walk onto a set, I can pick up right where I left off ‘playing’ as a child. Although film and television are very much a business, and I work very hard within it, I adore that I never have to abandon my imagination. That is so valuable to me as a creative person, and it makes me SO very happy.


BFT: Have you experienced any pressure to adhere to certain standards and look a certain way?


NV: Absolutely. I regularly receive roles with descriptions that specifically ask for “extremely fit” and “lean” actors, or refer to “an amazing body”. When you’re constantly reminded that that’s what productions want, it becomes impossible to ignore your own body image within the context of that. But for me, it’s more motivation than pressure. My own vision of how I’d like to be, along with those not-so-subtle reminders, will make you think twice before you put certain things into your body, or let your regimen slip.


Noree Victoria


BFT: What’s it like being on the cast of the Rickey Smiley Show?


NV: SO much fun! Everyone, from cast, to crew, to our office staff is “in on the joke.” We work hard, and play just as hard. It’s important to work with people you genuinely like AND LOVE when you’re on a set from sun up to sun up.


BFT: Growing up in Baltimore, were healthy habits passed on to you as a young girl or did you learn more as an adult?


NV: Unfortunately, like many metropolitan neighborhoods in America, fast food restaurants, corner stores, and all-fried-everything was the norm. It wasn’t until well after I left home,that I started to put a lot of thought and emphasis into what I actually ate. I honestly thought that as long as I was thin, that I could eat whatever I wanted. It wasn’t until I had a blood sugar scare after college (and luckily it was simply a scare), that I made an effort to eat for quality of life, and not for sensory satisfaction. I still have my guilty pleasures in moderation, but there are things that I used to eat nearly every day, and when I think back on them now, I can’t even call most of those things food.


BFT: How often do you exercise during the week? What are your go-to workouts?


NV: I exercise every day, even if it’s just a 20-30 minute yoga sequence in the morning and a quick march around the house in ankle-weights. But at least 3 times a week; I definitely get a full workout going. I like to switch things up so that neither my mind, nor body, gets bored or comfortable. And the beauty about working out, is that it’s FREE! People tell me all the time that they wish they could get started, but can’t afford a trainer or gym membership. While I’ve had wonderful trainers, have utilized gyms, and currently belong to a great yoga studio, when I get busy, my saving grace is YOUTUBE! I find everything from yoga videos, to Pilates workouts, to ab, glute, and leg workouts – even fun cardio routines. There’s something out there for everybody, you just have to find what suits you and let your motivation come from within. With the technology we have today, and all the fitness apps available, there really is no excuse to not be active in some way.


BFT: What impact has your dedication to healthy living had on friends, family or people you work with?


NV: I know that I’ve turned quite a few people onto yoga and meditation, which feels so good. I’ve also gotten a few people to just start MOVING, even if they don’t go all the way ‘hard’ with it. I’m like, hey, spread the love! My mom also tells me that I inspire her to be better and exercise more. I’m SO passionate about what’s in food, what we feed kids, and especially the health of Black women. 4 out of 5 of us are obese. That’s a CDC stat. A ridiculous stat. I’d like to help change that. I’d like to change our reputation as sedentary group of people.


BFT: How does living a healthy lifestyle affect your career?


NV: On set, the hours are long, and many times, the work is physically demanding. Off set, the hours are hectic, and the work is mentally demanding. If your body and mind aren’t healthy, if your immune system isn’t strong, the entertainment industry can eat you alive. You hear about so many entertainers succumbing to exhaustion, and while over-exertion can’t always be avoided, the impact can be lessened by how you treat yourself overall. I’d like to think that by staying physically strong and fit, I’ve given myself a great advantage in this business– one of the few things in entertainment that I, WE, can absolutely control with no uncertainty.


Noree Victoria


BFT: How do you balance your schedule(s) with maintaining healthy habits?


NV: I consider living a healthy lifestyle just as much a part of my job as showing up and knowing my lines. I schedule and adhere to my workouts as if they’re mandatory meetings, because for me, they are. Sometimes it bugs me a bit when people might view that part of my life as an option, or think that I should be able to stop or postpone what I’m doing for a phone call or an outing. In our society, it’s unfortunate that health is looked upon as something you can always put off until later.


BFT: What are your favorite foods/meals?


NV: I’m a FANATIC for authentic Indian and Mexican cuisine when I’m feeling like a full lunch or dinner — homemade guacamole from fresh avocados, veggie samosas, chicken tikka masala… And while I usually just have a chocolate protein shake for breakfast, I’ll never stop loving the occasional waffle or pancake. I also eat tomatoes like apples, that’s one of my favorite snacks.


BFT: You earned a Master’s degree in Information Technology with a 4.0! Very impressive! Many of us however, know all about the importance of pursuing education, but still may feel a tug in another direction. How important do you think it is to pursue your dreams?


NV: Thank you! And why not do both?! I’m of the firm belief that dreams and education can, and do, go hand in hand. I wouldn’t trade any of my life experiences for the world, because I’m passionate about all of them. The key is passion. If one thing moves the needle for you, GO there. If it’s something else, go THERE. It’s never too late to pursue anything you’re interested in learning about or doing; and changing your mind or focus doesn’t equate to failure. I have a new epiphany every year about something I’d like to learn or pursue. Last year I learned how to surf in surfing school. Next year I’d like to learn fluent French. I simply enjoy the pursuit of knowledge and happiness, and luckily for me, the more diverse my academic and cultural experiences, the more depth and richness I’m able to bring to the characters I get an opportunity to play!


BFT: How can the BFT community find out more about you?


NV: (and I DO speak back, by the way!)

Twitter: @noreevictoria
Instagram: @noree_victoria

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Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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Celebrity Interviews

Future NFL Hall-of-Famer Edgerrin James Talks Running 500 Miles in 365 Days



edgerrin james, fitness

No matter what he does, Edgerrin James knows how to lead. During his time in the NFL, James averaged 4.2 yards per carry and is one of the all-time leaders in career rushing yards. Although retired, these days, the future Hall-of-Famer also rushes toward opportunities to give back. A beloved member of the University of Miami community, James contributed the largest-ever donation of any former athlete that has ever attended. He is also the founder of the Edgerrin James Foundation and the Edgerrin James Youth Football Skills Camp.

Black Fitness Today caught up with James to learn about his recent decision to embark on a 500-mile journey this past year, and what set him apart in his training as a professional athlete.

Why did you decide to embark on your 500-mile journey across the country? What has the journey taught you?

I always like to challenge myself. Running is something I’ve always hated doing, so that made it pretty interesting! This experience has really pushed me because there’s no reward at the end of the [500-mile journey] except the fact that I did it and I was consistent. There were many times I didn’t feel like running, but once I agreed to do it, I knew I had to accomplish it.

Tell us more about your partnership with Adidas.

The Adidas partnership was good for many reasons. They provided some nice uniforms for my youth football team from top to bottom. That’s more important than anything — to lace a team of inner-city kids with custom uniforms meant a lot to me and the kids. Another reason is the relationship with the University of Miami; that’s my school and I rep the gear faithfully. So it’s only right I locked in with Adidas. I’m glad the deal worked out and look forward to building on that relationship.

edgerrin james, fitness, black fitness today

You mentioned that you’ve always hated running. Did that have any impact on you while playing football in terms of how you approached your training?

Basketball was my go to sport. It is fun and exciting  and also gets you in shape. I used playing ball as my running to get in shape.

What was your favorite off-season training routine?

I’ve always liked the late-night sessions in the off-season. I would train before going to the club or after leaving the club — sounds unusual but it was the best for me. I didn’t drink and was well-rested before I would go out. My training was always very quiet with no distractions. During the day I would go to the University of Miami and get it in with the younger guys in the hot sun.

In addition to your 500-mile journey, how else do you stay in shape these days?

I always work out three to four times a week. Nothing hard, but I consistently get some type of work in.

What role does nutrition play in your everyday life? What are some of your favorite healthy foods and foods you can’t live without?

I don’t worry too much about what I eat. I just make sure I maintain a certain weight and follow up any heavy eating with a nice workout to make sure I’m back on track.

edgerrin james, black fitness today, edgerring james camp

Via Naples News Daily

Many people know you for your accomplishments on the football field, but many don’t know that you are also passionate about giving back. What are some of your initiatives? Why is philanthropy so important to you?

My purpose is to empower my people and all people that share stories similar to mine. Too many times, you see other cultures having success and wonder why not us. It’s up to us to look out for us and when you see examples, it makes it really real to the younger generation. It also gives them realistic goals to chase without making the excuses. I’m just trying to be an example that’s tried and true without any excuses. Just hard work and determination…

What advice do you have to young men who are looking to follow in your footsteps?

Learn as much as you can and just become a good example for the next generation, understand how this world works, and play the game of life to win!

What is the legacy you want to leave behind?

The legacy I want to leave behind is that I did things the right way and never tried to be anyone else except myself, that I showed people you don’t have to conform or be something you’re not to be successful, and just put in the right work and let everything else work itself out.

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Carmelita Jeter Talks Personal Connection To Breast Cancer and Her Fight For a Cure



carmelita jeter, carmelita "the jet" jeter, olympian, fastest woman alive

There’s still no faster woman alive than Carmelita Jeter. We will always remember her amazing achievements on the track as a world record holder with three Olympic medals. You may even remember her signature pink cleats she wore during some of her races. But the story behind them reveals an inspiring journey. In 2012, while training for the Olympic games, Jeter’s aunt — Brenda Washington — lost her battle with breast cancer. However, Jeter found new strength and turned tragedy into triumph. From partnering with NIKE to nonprofits, Jeter has become an outspoken advocate for breast cancer awareness and is dedicated to using her platform to fight for a cure!

In 2012 as you prepped for the London Olympics, your aunt, Brenda Washington, passed from breast cancer. And much like you did, people have to find the strength to pick themselves up, go to work and continue living after tragedy. How were you able to find that strength?

I was able to find the strength to keep going from my family, my coaches and my agent. At the time, I questioned my faith a lot. I just couldn’t understand why God would take her away from me. But I concluded that if my cousin Lachondra (her daughter) was able to be strong, I could not be weaker than her, for her sake.

What’s the best advice you can offer for supporting family members who are battling breast cancer?

The best advice I can give is to stay very close and experience moments with each other, even if it is just a small gathering at a relative’s house where everyone brings a dish. Also, never be afraid to speak about the person that is sick or has passed away. You have to keep their spirit alive.

You’ve partnered with various non-profit organizations to raise breast cancer awareness. Tell us a little bit about some of your partnerships including “The Pink Jet” with PINTRILL.

I partnered with Pintrill who made a Hot Pink Jet and a bracelet made from MyIntent with the words, “Mind over body,” inscribed. I’ve been the ambassador for Susan G. Komen’s Circle of PromiseInitiative that was based on African-American women getting tested more frequently.

In what ways did your aunt’s battle with breast cancer impact you on and off the track?

My aunt Brenda Washington’s battle made a huge impact on the track for me. Nike, my sponsor, made me my very own hot pink signature spikes in her honor. Every time I lined up to compete, I ran for her.

carmelita jeter, carmelita "the jet" jeter, olympian, fastest woman alive

What advice would you give to African-Americans in the fight against breast cancer?

The advice I would give African-Americans would be to not give up, and remember to stay a unit.

What are some tips that you can offer in helping with early detection and decreasing the rate of diagnoses?

My major tip would be to stop thinking African-Americans don’t get breast cancer. Also, stop thinking that you have to be over 45 to get diagnosed with the disease. We need to be more educated on the topic and we need to stop being afraid to go to the doctor. Go to the doctor and get checked up regularly!

Keep up with Jeter’s work in the community and dedication to fighting for a cure!
Instagram: jetg5
Twitter: carmelitajeter
Facebook: carmelitajeter

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Celebrity Interviews

WNBA Legend Lisa Leslie Talks Hall of Fame Inductions and Healthy Partnership with Boston Market



Lisa Leslie, WNBA, women's basketball, boston market

Lisa Leslie became not only the most recognized player in the WNBA, but changed the face of women’s sports. As a two-time champion, three-time WNBA MVP, four-time Olympic Gold Medalist and eight-time all-star it should come as no surprise that Lisa is being inducted into both the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on June 13th and September 11, 2015 respectfully. As a wife, mother, Olympic athlete, model, author, speaker, and businesswoman, Leslie is a true leader and pioneer. But part of her success and ability to be Superwoman is through smart choices and taking care of her health. Recently, she teamed up with Boston Market in celebration of National Rotisserie Chicken Day, June 2nd – to celebrate the healthier cooking method. Read our interview with Lisa as she discusses her upcoming hall of fame inductions, teaming up with Boston Market, and a list of her favorite healthy rotisserie chicken recipes.

BFT: Things have changed since 1985 when Boston Market first opened its doors, the obesity epidemic being one. As a spokesperson for Boston Market why did you feel it was necessary to join in promoting healthier eating?

LL: Absolutely. I feel like we are in a time where we can no longer accept the bad food that is bombarding our community. Boston Market is definitely taking a stand with the new brand promise, All Good. The fact that you can find fresh, never frozen chicken with no added steroids or hormones makes Boston Market a frequent stop for me. As a working mom, I understand the importance of healthy food and trying to make healthy choices for my family. The Boston Market Rotisserie Chicken is not only yummy by itself but can also be used to make a variety of other meals, salads, tacos and enchiladas.

BFT: We were surprised to learn that Boston Market offers more than 150 meals 550 calories and under! When you’re on the go what is your favorite menu option at Boston Market?

LL: My favorite is breast of chicken with a wing, the green beans, sautéed spinach, which is only available at select stores, and yams. I try to load up on vegetables.

 BFT: What are some of your favorite Rotisserie Chicken dishes and recipes?

LL: I love to use Boston Market rotisserie chicken in many different kinds of recipes. First, it is great by itself with some healthy sides. Then I can use the leftovers for additional meals, like Chicken Wraps and a great Waldorf Salad.

BFT: As a pioneer of the WNBA, how does it feel to know that you are being formally inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in less than two weeks, June 13, 2015 in Knoxville, TN?

I am really humbled and excited to be a part of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It took a lot of hard work but I did not get here alone. I had so much support from teammates, coaches and family. It seems unfair that only I get an award.

BFT: This September you will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, “the highest honor in Basketball.” Many players dream to one day be in your position. What type of work, training, dedication, support etc., did it take to get you to this point?

It takes an abnormal amount of focus and dedication to your craft; it takes about 10,000 hours of repetition to become good at anything. I had a great support system as well, from my mother to my family to the coaches and teammates I played with throughout the years.

BFT: When you think back on your career and your many accomplishments, what are you most proud of?

LL: It is hard to choose one thing: I am proud of being a mom. I am proud of being a wife and businesswoman. I am proud of my basketball career and philanthropic work.

BFT: What do you want people to take away from what you were able to accomplish during your career?

LL: I would love to be known as a person who really gave her all in everything she did, as a wife, mom, athlete, captain, teammate, businesswoman. Along the way, I have met some wonderful people. I have helped people and received so much in return. I am just thankful for the journey.


Here are the recipes:

Chicken Lettuce Wraps


1 whole Boston Market Rotisserie Chicken, picked and diced in small pieces

2 tablespoons canola oil

8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup carrots, diced in small pieces

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup roasted peanuts chopped in half

1 head Greenleaf or Iceberg lettuce, separated into whole leaves

1 – 8 oz. pouch or 1 cup of your favorite Hoisin Sauce


Heat oil over high heat in large frying pan or wok

Add chicken, all vegetables and half of the peanuts, stir fry for two minutes

Add 3/4 pouch of Asian sauce, bring to a simmer, add green onions and remaining peanuts

Scoop the mixture into a lettuce leaf cup

Drizzle the remaining sauce on top

Waldorf Chicken Salad


1 Boston Market Rotisserie chicken, picked and diced

½ cup apples diced

½ cup celery diced

¼ cup grapes cut in thirds

¼ cup walnuts chopped

1/3 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a bowl, chill and serve on bread, croissant or on a bed of lettuce. Serves five to six.


This recipe calls for one whole Boston Market Rotisserie chicken but if you want all white meat buy two whole chickens and use dark meat in another recipe.

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Karen Civil, Live Civil, Black Fitness Today




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