Sandra is the owner of BE YOU 4 LIFE Apparel. She is a mother of two, wife, sister and daughter with a passion for physical fitness. Sandra is a Female Figure Competitor, Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Certified Spin Instructor, Marathoner, and Duathlete.
In the 1980s, Sandra and her family immigrated to the United States. As a child, she lived in Paris and moved to the United States at the age of 6. She speaks three languages (French, Haitian-Creole, and English). As a Haitian-American immigrant, she remembers dealing with rejection as a child, as she and her sister were often teased for being different. On one occasion, she recalls being spat on, and was often called derogatory names based on her ethnicity and color. As a result of these early childhood experiences, Sandra suffered from low self-esteem. However, she remembers the refuge she and her sister found in sports and church.
Running was one of the things that helped heal the scars impacting her feelings of self-worth and acceptance. She and her sister became known as the “fast sisters”, which helped them develop a sense of belonging. She learned at an early age that sports could help children bond and develop a broader sense of community that transcended race, socioeconomic status, and stereotypes. Sandra excelled in track and field, where she believed the playing field was leveled because it didn’t matter how you looked or where you were from, all that mattered was stepping on the starting line ready to give it your all.
In addition to her passion for running, Sandra also found singing in the choir to be very therapeutic. She found refuge in her faith. The unfair treatment she experienced over those early years helped her shape a strong commitment to her faith, the need for diversity, and the need to empower others to love themselves.
Sandra graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a undergraduate degree in Sociology, and graduated from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, with a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration: Social Policy. Sandra was committed to using her education, training, and the love of sports and fitness as a way to forward her career.
After the birth of her second child, Sandra decided to participate in an office fitness challenge to run a half marathon. Sandra later admitted she didn’t know a half marathon was 13.1 miles (which she discovered the day of the race), nor did she have a clue about how to train. During that time, her idea of a long run was anything over a half mile. She trained on her own by running a few minutes every day after work until she built the stamina to run one hour non-stop. Her goal was to run 3-5 miles each day, though she never ran more than 4 miles. The day of the race, she was nervous, but she knew (hoped) she wouldn't die. The goal was to keep running and hopefully not be the last person to cross the finish line. After the race, her husband told her their daughter Sania was worried when she saw so many people cross the finish line, but still didn’t see mommy. Sanai said, “Mother got lost. We need to find her”. At that moment, after almost three hours, the family saw her turn the corner as she headed for the finish line. She recalls being in so much pain that she thought she was going to collapse, though her best memory was that she FINISHED! Her kids were proud of her, but more importantly, she was proud of herself. Motivated by completing her first half marathon, Sandra has now completed 16 marathons, 20+ half marathons, 2 ultra marathons and several duathlon races.
When asked, Sandra says there are three words that defines who she is. She calls them her F-Factors: Faith, Family, and Fitness. Through her faith, family, and fitness, Sandra has found her voice and hopes to inspire others to find their voices through self-love and positive affirmation. This was her impetus for creating the BEYOU4LIFE Apparel line.
Her company slogan is: BE YOU - Like No Other. Dream, Love, Inspire yourself to be your best YOU.
Her clothes are designed with bold colors and positive messages of inspiration and encouragement for everyone, regardless of shape, size, or race.
BEYOU4LIFE Apparel helps you dress for every step of your fitness journey.