Birmingham wife (to L.J. Coates) and mother (to Nadia, age 7 and Zion, age 5) Jessica Coates works as a Human Resources Coordinator at Startley General Contractors and promotes personal fitness as a Zumba instructor, all while looking fabulous.
On her personal style and beauty essentials: I like conservative, feminine clothes that last. I’m not into trends. And I can’t live without Dove soap and my mascara.
Her worst fashion moment: I don’t know what possessed me to wear a ponytail on the top of my head fanned out [during junior high]. I would roll my ponytail every night, and the next morning take the [pink sponge rollers] out. I might have a side bang or a swooped bang and I was on! It was dreadful.
Do’s and Dont’s? If you’re [not feeling confident], DO have an arched brow, clean, manicured nails and a nice gloss. There’s something about being polished that can help how you feel about your outfit.
DON’T settle for any trend or outfit that you aren’t comfortable with. I don’t care who comes out with what, the Kardashians or Beyonce. If Jessica’s not comfortable, Jessica’s not wearing it.
On her advocacy work: I became a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for Jefferson County in 2004. We’re the eyes and ears of family court; we interview everyone in any type of child abuse or neglect case and attend hearings. It’s strictly voluntary; we’re only concerned with the best interests of the child. It’s been an eye-opening experience. We definitely need more people giving kids a voice.
[As the mother of] a special needs child I dove head-first into researching all I could [about her son’s condition]. We are lacking a lot of resources here. I [work] with Children’s Rehab Services [and] I sit on the board of Mission Hugs, which raises money to send special needs kids to the two facilities [which provide care to special needs children] until they can start school.
Zion’s disease [Infantile Neuroaxanal Dystrophy] is so rare – there are only 12 known cases – that I have to stay on top of the research. A lot of parents don’t have the tools and the resources, don’t get second opinions and don’t fight for things just because they are told ‘No’ the first time.
What motivates her? If I am not well, I will not be able to work, be able be a good mom or wife. It’s important that I look good, feel good and am good overall.
I’m motivated to keep on doing what I have to do because there are innocent little people in my life that I’m responsible for. On my worst day, my son – who cannot talk or walk- will laugh and it [reminds me] that I have so much to live for. That he still has a smile on his face motivates me to take it one day at a time.
On how she got involved: My [YMCA] boot camp teacher asked “Have you ever thought about teaching anything at the gym?” She really opened my mind to think about doing it. Out of all the programs I went to, I was happiest at Zumba. It captured my attention because it was new and different. I love doing do it; I’m passionate about it. Once I started teaching at the Y downtown, I knew it was something I should have been doing all along.
The most surprising thing she’s learned: No matter the age, the gender, the sex, the race, everybody is consumed with their outer body. From men, to little elderly ladies to college girls with perfect bodies…we all share that.
SCDD recently caught one of Jessica’s high energy Zumba classes at the downtown YWCA, where the focus was about having fun and breaking a sweat at one’s own pace. The participants had so much fun, they forgot they were actually exercising! Jessica is currently teaching Zumba every Thursday at 6 PM at the Veranda Building/Park Place Apartments. Want to ditch the work out and join the party? For more information, click here.
Images courtesy of Jessica Coates