Grazia meets the su­per-fit founder of ClassPass to learn more about her plans for global dom­i­na­tion

Grazia Middle East - - 10 HOT STORIES -

WHEN PAYAL KADAKIA WAS SIT­TING at her of­fice desk in New York City, frus­trat­edly search­ing for a suit­able dance class to at­tend on her lunch break, an idea hit her. In­stead of aim­lessly scrolling through dif­fer­ent web­sites try­ing to find a class at the right time, in close prox­im­ity and taught by a rep­utable trainer, 27-year-old Payal mused on the pos­si­bil­ity of build­ing a one-stop des­ti­na­tion plat­form for all these classes to be show­cased in.

That was eight years ago, and now ClassPass is the lead­ing mem­ber­ship to the world’s largest fit­ness net­work. “I have to pinch my­self some­times,” Payal ad­mits to Grazia, while del­i­cately sip­ping hot cof­fee in an up­mar­ket Dubai ho­tel. “But I be­lieve ClassPass tapped into a hu­man be­hav­iour change at the right time. Peo­ple were crav­ing this way of work­ing out and this way of dis­cov­er­ing fit­ness and stay­ing ac­tive. On a hu­man level, ev­ery­one wants to be cu­ri­ous and to dis­cover. As kids we all do it – and we’re en­cour­aged by our par­ents to be in­volved in as many ac­tiv­i­ties

as pos­si­ble – so why do we have to stop as adults? ClassPass is a play­ground for adults.”

Let’s back­track to the mo­ment that made it all hap­pen: the de­sire to at­tend a dance class. Has she al­ways been so ded­i­cated to ex­er­cise? “I never con­sid­ered my­self a fit­ness per­son,” Payal replies. “I’m small, pe­tite and thought I didn’t be­long in the fit­ness world. I danced as a way of hold­ing on to my In­dian her­itage, as I was born and raised in the States but my par­ents em­i­grated from In­dia to Amer­ica.”

“I was fight­ing to keep dance in my life, even with a full-time job. Many of my friends had given up on their loves, like sport and mu­sic, and I don’t be­lieve in a life like that. So I thought to my­self, what if I can build the tech­nol­ogy that’s go­ing to get ev­ery­one back into these amaz­ing pas­sions,” Payal con­tin­ues.

ClassPass pro­vides ac­cess to yoga, barre, mar­tial arts, Pi­lates, box­ing and in­door cy­cling classes. Which cities are next on the grow­ing brand’s hit-list? “Asia has a lot more po­ten­tial – we’ve just launched in Hong Kong and Bangkok – and Kuwait and Saudi are goals for us too.”

There can be lit­tle dis­pute that Payal is one in­spi­ra­tional lady.

Her ad­vice for bud­ding fe­male en­trepreneurs? “Be driven by pur­pose. I’m not driven by fame or money, I just be­lieve in what

I’m do­ing. Start some­thing you’re will­ing to go to the grave with, be­cause it takes years. Fel­low fe­males should start some­thing that could make a real change in the world.” We couldn’t have put it bet­ter our­selves.

The app means stay­ing ac­tive has never been eas­ier

Payal has fallen in love with barre since launch­ing ClassPass

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