“How about Princess of Abs?” asks Santia to her mother. Her mother responds, “Why be a princess when you could be a queen?” Santia Deck, also known as, Queen of Abs shared with us how she established her brand, became a positive influencer and entrepreneur, and her passion for women and youth empowerment.
Santia Deck has always been an athlete, and always been committed to her health and fitness since she was younger. She ran track and field growing up and eventually established herself as a fitness brand and influencer. However, for Santia, the beginning of her journey looks a bit different than other influencers; the launch of her social media presence started out as a challenge.
“The only reason I got on Instagram was because my friend challenged me and was like ‘Hey, I bet I could get more followers than you.’ And if I’m challenged, I want to win” Santia says. She began to post normal pictures on Instagram like selfies, but then started posting videos of her track and field workouts. She posted what she did before practice, in the gym, and track meet which increased her following. People made comments about how fast she was and how great her abs were, and she ended up having about 30K followers by her graduation from college.
From there, Santia’s mom helped her develop her brand Queen of Abs and start her fitness talk show and fitness DVD. She even launched her own clothing line and supplement line and also went on tour for doing fitness and training camps. For Santia, the people she had in her corner and her hard work helped build the Queen of Abs brand from the ground up. “I was lucky that I had a good team around me.” “I had a lot of people that believed in what I was doing. And so that’s kind of how my brand developed. Just building it.” She kept her followers engaged by being consistent–posting 3-4 times a day—having celebrities share her content, and connecting with other influencers. “I worked hard to get my followers.”
And with all that hard work, Santia now has over 300K loyal followers.
Since Santia was already an athlete, she was able to start out with a great foundation for her clientele as a certified fitness trainer. “As an athlete, other people respect your opinion. People were like ‘Hey, what do you do, how do you get so cut, what do you eat?’” Santia became certified as a sophomore in college and only gained more after the launch of her brand. For Santia, the most fulfilling part about being a fitness trainer is hearing the testimonials of those who she trains. Some of her clients have told her that she has changed their life. Whether because they avoided surgery, avoided having to take medications, or because parents were able to go outside and play with their kids. “That’s what I do it for, to motivate and inspire people to be the best version of themselves.”
Santia’s journey to becoming a full-time entrepreneur began with a choice she made her senior year of college. She had the choice of going to National’s and getting a ring for Track and Field or creating her fitness DVD to begin her entrepreneurship. With the discouraging words from her unsupportive coach, that was all the drive Santia needed to decide that instead of winning at National’s for him, she would choose herself and become the boss of her own brand of something she was passionate about. “I wake up every day happy and thankful to God that I get to do what I do every day.”
Not to say that entrepreneurship isn’t hard work. Santia believes being an entrepreneur is much more work than working a corporate job, because “when it’s something of your own, you are putting in extra blood, sweat, and tears.” But she doesn’t mind putting in the work because it is her own. She wants to make sure that she is doing the work now, so her future kids and their kids “won’t know struggle.”
Santia not only knows Track and Field, but she also plays rugby and has played Flag Football. After getting injured after college, Santia had to let go of track and field, but she discovered a love for a new sport. One day she was messaged on Facebook about trying out for a flag football team. She made the team and fell in love with the sport. In addition to flag football, she was introduced to the sport of rugby, which she had never even thought about. But after playing she immediately fell in love. “Surprisingly, I love it more than football, and that says a lot because I really love football.” For Santia, rugby has given her experiences that she never even thought of until she started playing. “You get to see the world. I’ve been to so many different countries that I probably never would have went to if I didn’t play rugby. “I have a lot of fans in other countries. It’s been insane the amount of love I’ve gotten from the sport.”
Fitness and athleticism are not all to Santia, but she also has a published book entitled The Struggle that tells the story of a young boy who is abused at home by his parents, but his dreams are to go to the NFL. Santia began writing at a young age and saw writing as an outlet. “Writing was my passion when I was younger. I have, like, a million notebooks of me just writing stories.” Santia recalls when she was about 9 or 10 years old, she wrote a story in class about a homeless boy with detailed description. Her teacher was concerned about the darkness of her writings and called Santia’s mother to see if everything was okay at home. Santia’s mother expressed that, this was just how she wrote. Getting inspiration from the author, Edgar Allan Poe, Santia “always wrote to make people feel some type of emotion.”
She wrote The Struggle in high school and got it published in college, and it was loosely based on childhood friends who experienced similar trauma. “I wanted to spread awareness about child abuse because that’s a thing that people don’t like talking about. So that’s why I wrote the book.” Santia also says that we can look forward to a sequel for her book, coming in the future.
Santia hopes that in the future of her career, she can expand her business internationally and become a household name as a speaker, writer, and influencer. She is passionate about women and youth empowerment and wishes to inspire and motivate others through her work. “Women playing football was not even a thought in people’s minds years ago, and now I’m doing it.” She also is happy to break barriers within the sport of rugby as a black female player, since this sport is dominated by white males.
Santia wants to inspire other black women and girls to become entrepreneurs and influencers and wants to show, “Hey black girls y’all can chase your dreams too. It’s possible. We have a lot going against us. We’re females and we’re African American, but if you’re motivated enough and you’re determined enough you can do whatever you want to do.”
With a great team behind her and a vision in mind, Santia’s future is looking bold as she continues to be “a positive light in the darkness.”