AUDRA Anusionwu was too caught up in the rapture of love with her then-fiance to worry about those pesky little pounds that seemed to slowly creep up on her body. The Philadelphia resident knew that at some point her 5-et-5 frame was carrying close to 200 pounds. "I knew I was overweight and I never showed the pictures from my 2012 engagement in Italy and Nigeria," she confessed.The 38-year-old social worker had always found comfort in food. "When I didn't feel good about myself, I ate," she said.
Given the multiple traumas she faced in her childhood, it's easy to understand why she might find solace in food. Audra has ridden a rough road to become who she is today.
She was conceived in violence, and her poor, addicted, young birth mother was unable to care for her.
Growing up in Philadelphia's so-called Badlands made her life particularly rough. At age 12, she was brutally stabbed by a 12-year-old student at Wanamaker Middle School. The knife not only punctured her lung, it left her with a thick, vertical, surgical scar down the center of her torso.
"I have a scar," she said smiling, "but I am not scarred."
Either despite or because of her journey, she is extraordinarily resilient, compassionate and intelligent.
Her counselor at William Penn High School supported and believed in her, which largely inspired Audra to major in social work at Lincoln University, where she received her undergraduate degree.
Once she got serious about her health and fitness, others took notice of her transformation and requested her help. Now inspired to help others in a new arena, she began a new career as a personal trainer and is currently pursuing certification.
"God prepared me for this, and it's not just physical but spiritual as well," she said. "I believe God has given me this platform. . . . My personal testimony and my 15 years in human services allows me to minister and share."
Always looking for new mountains to climb, this year she took her fitness game up another notch by participating in several fitness-physique competitions.
"I wanted to do something that would make me come correct . . . you know, the discipline and daily training . . . but I never wanted to wear a two piece . . . have everybody starring at my scar." she explained.
Though initially reluctant, with a little coaching, coaxing and body makeup, she freed herself from the past and stepped proudly and boldly onto the stage this summer.
Again inspired, this year she created Beauty, Fit and Strong, and endeavors to create a lasting legacy that can be passed on for generations to come.
Undoubtedly, in addition to fitness coaching, Audra will successfully touch lives with her strength, courage and wisdom.