My Other Life: Salma Headley-Blythe, Zumba Instructor

Nail tech Salma Headley-Blythe brings her love of dance to her job as a Zumba instructor.

When nail tech Salma Headley-Blythe was looking for a part-time second job, she had difficulty finding one flexible enough to balance with doing nails and caring for her children. Headley-Blythe, who is based in Milton Keynes, England, shared her dilemma with a dance instructor friend, who suggested she train to become a Zumba instructor. “I jumped at the opportunity, although I was slightly apprehensive,” she says. “I am quite reserved and would have to jump around and shout at women!” Despite her worries, the job turned out to be a good fit. “I have always loved dancing, though I was not professionally trained,” she says. “I loved the music that Zumba brought to the class. That’s what got me going — the world music and routines.”

After being trained in the routines and how to run a class, taking charge for the first time was nerve-wracking. “My legs wobbled and I was very nervous to start with,” says Headley-Blythe. Now, after eight years of experience as an instructor, she teaches three classes a week at various locations in her area, focusing on Zumba in the mornings and on occasional evenings, and working as a mobile nail technician during the day and on weekends. “I keep it part-time and simple,” she explains. “I don’t want to work in a salon or in a busy environment anymore. Now I like to take my time.” She appreciates the ability to make her own schedule. “I don’t do more than I can handle,” she says. “Being self-employed you control everything, including your time and work schedule around the family.”

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