Married about ten years ago, fitness trainer and mother of three, Fabiana Ferrarini had just had her second child after first mothering at 17 and surviving a previous abusive relationship. She worked to build a life for her family and overcome the difficult circumstances she had emerged from, but she was unfulfilled. Fabiana struggled with postpartum depression and felt that she needed something to work towards. At that point, she began a fitness journey that not only changed her life dramatically, but also the lives of thousands of women across the country.
In 2020, less than a year after the birth of her third child and shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, Fabiana started a home fitness program for women she called Queen Warriors. It was inspired by a phrase that had motivated her for years. For a small monthly subscription fee, she offered live online fitness classes three evenings a week. She started the program from her bedroom with only a fraction of the women tune in today. Over the course of a year, she managed to build a community of 20,000 people with over 1,000 women in each meeting and a company that now has 40 employees.
We sat down with Fabiana to talk about her career in fitness, the Queen Warriors community, motherhood, and her Latino upbringing. She is without a doubt one of the most inspiring, sincere, and humble boss moms we have ever met.
Fabiana, 32, was born in New Jersey to Honduran parents and grew up in Honduras until her family moved to Philadelphia when she was around six years old. She didn’t speak English and was absolutely unfamiliar with American culture. She recalls being bullied and teased about her accent and clothes.
“I literally came to the US like a stranger. I didn’t feel any attachment. I didn’t speak English, I wasn’t hip to the culture, ”she tells HipLatina. “It was hard.” She eventually learned English through the ESL program in school. Fabiana recognized early on the sacrifices her parents made for their three children, and this attitude has inspired her ever since.
“One thing that always stood out about my parents was that they knew what was best for us – my sister, my brother, and I – so they sacrificed. I saw the victim that they had to leave their families behind just because all of my aunts, my uncles, my cousins from both sides were in Honduras, ”she says. “Growing up, that was something we had to see from my parents …[they would say] “You have to work hard. You know nothing is ever passed on. We came here for the “American Dream” you know, I think it’s always been a big thing in Latino culture – leaving your country behind and coming here. It was always very, very powerful. I had to make it work. “
Fabiana became pregnant while she was still in high school, amid a physically and verbally abusive relationship. She tried to understand how her life had ended, especially since she had grown up with both parents in a strong household. Your answer would come much later.
“I felt like I had to deliver for my parents. I had to graduate. I always had to stay on top of myself, ”she explains. “I wanted to be able to turn around and take care of them happily, and that was my way of thanking them.” So she kept pushing forward and eventually met her now husband Matthew Ferrarini as she made her way through college as a single mom.
She and Matt had their first child together in 2011, which made her a mother of two in her early 20s. She felt that her life was going in the right direction, but she struggled with postpartum depression for the second time. Fabiana found that she was not fully healed from her past trauma and eventually turned to fitness to help her beyond the physical aspects. “I didn’t feel 100 percent strong and emotionally healthy, so I came up with the term ‘Queen Warrior’ because I thought, ‘I want a queen’s heart and a warrior’s mentality,’ she said. “I want to be able to develop into a strong woman, right, who knows that she is blessed, who knows that she is beautiful, and that doesn’t have to depend on anyone. I knew this ‘Queen Warrior’ mentality was what I needed to recover from my brokenness and the dark days. “
Not long after that, she started an Instagram page sharing her personal story as well as her fitness journey. By 2015, she had achieved influencer status and gained the attention of a wider audience. That year she became Oxygen magazine’s first Latina cover model. “When I started my journey, there was no one I could relate to in the fitness industry. There was no like it, Latina, fat, curvy. You know, I wasn’t trying to be a bodybuilder, I just wanted to feel good. “She believes that from then on she realized that her increasing influence in the fitness world and her past circumstances placed her in a unique position to serve other women.
“And so I thought,” I want to help women realize that they are more than just physical, that trust does not come from their looks, but from within, “she says.” I wanted to start working with other women, and I would say that it wasn’t so much about the physical, but that we needed this healing from within. And so it was for me. This is where I have to be. “
By the time the pandemic broke out in early 2020, the seeds for Queen Warriors had been planted for some time. When Fabiana realized that, like many mothers, she would be home indefinitely with three children, she knew she would need something to support them. Still in shape after giving birth to her then five-month-old daughter, she turned back to fitness and her “Queen Warrior” mentality.
“I thought ‘you know what? This is my moment to be me and to give the world what I have always wanted. “And in the midst of a global health crisis, at home with three children, she decided to offer a virtual fitness program aimed at other women like her. “I really felt in my heart that this is what God wanted me to do … this was going to be like my healing moment,” she admits until she started doing the live virtual sessions that she was with chat with participants about comments. Nobody knew her whole story.
Since then, Fabiana has appeared month after month every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening to accompany a group of sometimes almost 2,000 women in a 30-45-minute workout that starts and ends with empowering affirmations and that she observed every month More and more women are joining the community and experiencing not only physical but also emotional changes. “I never expected Queen Warriors to be this big, but I knew it would be powerful in the sense that it would really help women,” she says. And with that success, she has expanded Queen Warriors to cover various aspects of a woman’s self-care needs, from mental health, nutrition and mindset coaching to fashion and beauty. But one of the most incredible aspects of the program is the women’s community that it has created.
There is a dedicated, private Queen Warriors group on Facebook that members can join. She is hailed as one of the most supportive, encouraging, and empowering communities of women on the internet. Not only that, but while all women are greeted and celebrated, it is a community made up largely of Latinas, women of color, and mothers. The fact that it was created by an Afro-Latina mom makes it even more unique in the world of fitness and wellbeing, which is largely dominated by white women. “I have a special place in my heart for my black and brown community,” she says, noting the lack of accessible health, fitness and nutrition education in minority communities. “Nobody really took the opportunity to educate themselves, have fun and meet them where they are,” she says.
“I feel like I am able to meet myself through my life experience [them] where you are. I know what it feels like to be a single mom. I know what it feels like to make sure your son has diapers. I know what it feels like to go to college and go home and breastfeed your child. I know what a struggle feels like as a mother, as a woman and also as a young woman, and so I feel that I am in the right place to make a difference, ”explains Fabiana. “It is really a powerful journey for me in a sense to be able to raise women.”
“I now have something to share with my children to testify that if you believe in what you want to achieve and hold on to it, no matter how many times it feels like you can do it, you can do it.” says Fabiana. And for any mom out there who isn’t sure she’s able to begin her own journey to a stronger, better, and fitter self – emotionally, mentally, and physically – Fabiana wants you to know, “It is Time to stop us from being our own roadblocks and being righteous. Give in, show up, and find something that resonates with you. “