With over 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube and many videos with 5+ million views, fitness expert, founder of Pink Dragon, and new mom, Holly Dolke, has not only used exercise and wellness to gain her infamous “Holly Dolke abs,” but she has transformed the lives of her millions of followers around the world physically, mentally and emotionally. Awakening everyone’s inner dragon through her fitness program PINK DRAGON, Holly implements three key principles around the right nutrition, daily movement, and having a strong mindset. She teaches members how to evolve their view of exercise from dreading it to loving it. In a social media world catered to toxic diet culture, Holly helps her community respect food as fuel rather than a chore. Her mission is to reignite people’s confidence in themselves, love the body they live in, and build each other up to achieve their dreams.
Holly’s three key principles create the basis of every program and product she offers such as a 3-Day Detox, 30-Day Meal Plan, and her e-book Sweet Treats. She believes that the most important part for people during their health and fitness journey is to recognize their starting point. She created a short quiz that leads visitors to specific recommendations based on their circumstances and goals they want to achieve.
Growing up in Kent County, England, Holly found her passion for fitness while attending college. As a fashion marketing major, she spent her days sitting at a desk – studying, completing assignments,
having little to no exercise and her eating habits were far from healthy. After not getting the results she desired from a standard gym setting, she took her health and fitness into her own hands and own home (as many of us have this year, too) she started a YouTube channel – which was on-trend in the UK, (especially in food and fitness) and began her home workout videos. Being an introvert, working out from the comfort of her home was the best space and she never expected to gain the following she was building. In mid-2019, her channel took off in a way she never expected with spikes in views and subscribers recognizing her for her flat stomach abs and indoor walking in place videos.
While pregnant, Holly continued her workout routine videos on YouTube but with a few modifications. Thinking ahead, she created several videos that were posted (pre-bump) so that her viewers could participate in a 30-day home workout challenge. On September 29th, 2020, she welcomed a baby girl into the world. A force to be reckoned with, Holly is already planning her 2021 releases including a highlight anticipated line of products and app.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Holly to discuss her journey in the industry and here’s what went down:
Can you tell us more about yourself? How did you get started in the industry?
I’m from the UK, but I now live in Lisbon, Portugal. I recently became a first-time mother, to a little baby girl, called Eva, who is currently 4 weeks old. I’m known for my YouTube channel, which I started consistently working on 2 years ago, that focuses on home workouts using bodyweight only exercises.
I got into fitness when I was at university a few years back because of low self-confidence in myself. I felt like I had no time to exercise and was just glued to my desk, eating junk food all the time to cope with the stress of exams and essays.
I noticed a year into uni, I couldn’t fit into my clothes like I used to and I began to feel pretty low about myself. So, I decided to do something about it at Christmas, and began walking, then jogging, then running, and then experimenting with different methods. I began to see changes and see a huge improvement in my confidence! And that is how my fitness journey began!
How did you develop an interest in fitness and what drove you to pursue that passion onto social media?
One day, when I came back home from the University, I realized how much weight I’ve put on and how much my confidence has really dropped. When I could afford to, I decided to join the gym, and I even had a 1 on 1 session with a personal trainer. Unfortunately, I ended up even bigger than when I started because every exercise the trainer made me do, involved weights. I decided to quit the gym and start looking for the answers by myself. I went through fitness forums, joined all the Facebook groups out there, read all the nutrition books I could get my hands on. After a lot of trial and error, I found what worked for me and my body and that’s when I fell in love with fitness. I developed a workout program for myself – one that actually worked using my body weight. After seeing the effect it had on my friends and family who were struggling with weight and staying consistent with their workouts, I knew I had to share it with as many people as possible. That is when I started my YouTube channel.
What do you like most about being an influencer?
I love inspiring people to feel better about themselves, to be healthier, look better, and be more successful in whatever they put their minds into. I love seeing them grow and change. The feeling I get after seeing them fall back in love with their body melts my heart. Being an influencer is not a one-way street, I learn so much from my followers every day. I absolutely love my community of strong women who are there to help each other grow!
In what way has social media changed your life?
It has enabled me to start my business. Without social media, I’m not sure I would be where I am, because YouTube enabled me to show my workout method and gain trust in joining me in my programs.
What are some of the difficulties of being in the industry?
People expect you to be perfect and It’s almost like they don’t see you as a human at times. When I got pregnant, I had to shift my content completely, which was really challenging and now that I am in the postpartum stage, there is pressure to “bounce back” quickly, but also criticism if I bounce back too quickly as it is not relatable.
How does your thought process differ when creating content for Instagram versus content for YouTube?
I think they are very different – YouTube is my core focus and a place where you cannot hide – it’s raw, which I love! Instagram is fun and creative, but it’s not a true reflection of my personality.
On YouTube, I share the big picture. Whether that’s a workout, what I eat in a day, or a sit-down video. On Instagram, I share snippets of my life, daily activities that help me to be more successful, organized, etc. People who really want to get to know me are following me on YouTube.
If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
Ah, that is a hard question to answer! I think I am quite down to earth and quiet, so I would probably go with someone like Amanda Seyfried.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
Right now, my plans for my career are to continue to grow my business as much as possible, through developing new products and workout programs. I really want to help as many women as possible and now that I have Eva, I want to work extra hard to be a successful businesswoman and a mom.
The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:
Last good movie I’ve seen: The Gentlemen.
What do you consider beautiful and why? Confidence. There is nothing more beautiful than someone being confident in their own skin as they project a certain glow that is infectious.
What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? I haven’t been to Japan yet – I’m hoping maybe in 2021 or 2022 I can.
Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” Start a charity to do something with the elderly, but I do not know where to start or know exactly what to do.
What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? My nose. I broke it years ago, and it always bothered me. But now I see it as a part of me and I wouldn’t change it.