Striking Beauties may sound like College Hill's newest salon, but in fact it is nothing like a day at the spa. This all-female boxing gym — which opened at 189 Angell St. at the end of October — offers classes in boxing and yoga to women of all ages and experience levels.
The gym is owned by Dena Paolino and four-time world champion boxer Jaime "The Hurricane" Clampitt, who together run another gym of the same name in North Attleboro, Mass. Paolino said she started the business because she felt women lacked opportunities to take up the sport. Most boxing gyms cater exclusively to males, and, aside from her gyms, there are only two other boxing gyms exclusively for women in the United States, Paolino said.
The turnout at the first Striking Beauties location has been strong, attracting women from as far away as New York, Paolino said.
Paolino, a native of Rhode Island, was encouraged by the success of the first gym to open a second location in her home state, she said.
The gym is geared towards both fitness and competition, both the casual and the serious boxer. Paolino said she recommends the sport for women because it is "stress-relieving" and the "number one calorie-burning exercise." She called boxing "a lot of fun" and billed it as an opportunity to meet new people.
The gym will also offer hot yoga classes by this Wednesday, Paolino said.
She hopes to attract customers from Brown with a student discount and touted the benefits of boxing for young women, she said. "The knowledge that you can take care of yourself" makes boxing empowering, Paolino said.
Evgeni Tzvetkov, a boxing instructor, called the sport "physically and mentally demanding."
"It keeps you honest with yourself," he said.
Paolino said mothers of teenage students at the North Attleboro location have remarked to her that the classes have built confidence among their daughters, some of whom have been the victims of bullying.
Lorie George, another Striking Beauties instructor, said, "Everything you learn here, you can use to defend yourself on the street."
She encouraged Brown students to communicate their timing needs and said the gym would tailor its schedule to accommodate demand.