Angelique Miles, 56: From Music Executive To Fitness Enthusiast

You may know Angelique Miles as the music industry titan who signed artists like Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim, and Busta Rhymes, launching them into global powerhouses. At the height of her music career, Angelique lived lavishly – rubbing elbows with the rich and famous and jet-setting around the world.

Then, in the early 2000s, the economy took a massive hit, and the music business was no exception.  The rise of digital music changed the landscape, and as the industry evolved, so did its leadership.  With a high-profile music career in the rearview mirror, Angelique found herself in her 40s, navigating an unexpected path of self-discovery and reinvention. 

Looking inward and taking the reigns where she could, Angelique turned to fitness to improve her mental and physical health.  It was a path she could control, and it felt good, even powerful, giving her body and mind the attention and care they deserved.  Her passion for self-care led her to a new life as a fitness and health enthusiast long before social media had flourished, and by the time social platforms took off, she found herself sporting a new title as a wellness influencer. Now, she is aptly known as the woman “redefining ageless beauty.”

Q: Who were you before becoming a Wellness Influencer on social media?

A: Before all of this, in the 90s and early 2000s, I was in music publishing at Warner Chappell Music. I had signed artists like Missy Elliott, Timbaland, and Busta Rymes. No one really retires from the music industry, and I was devastated when it happened, but in retrospect, I now know it’s because I was supposed to be doing what I’m doing now.

Q: Do you ever feel like you miss the music industry?

A: I don’t miss it – not one bit! Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, and I was young, but it was stressful.  I didn’t know how stressful it was until I was away from it all.  In the years before 9/11, being in the music industry was very glamorous with these big expense accounts. I was in LA several times a year and had a lot of freedom, although not like what I have now. Despite my autonomy in my music career, I still had to answer to someone.

I had terrific experiences, though.  I did meet Michael Jackson, and Puffy (P. Diddy) and L.A. Reid would take my ex-husband and me on vacation with them, so that part was nice. I can’t say I miss that either, though.  It was a lot to be around that environment. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t miss it until a couple of years ago at an event I attended.  Missy Elliott became the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  That’s when it hit full circle for me because besides her winning the award, I realized how much I didn’t miss being in the music world.

Q: Have you always been into fitness?

A: I always dabbled in fitness and wellness for various reasons. I have a skin condition called psoriasis, so I was always trying to heal myself. I tried veganism, other diets, and all kinds of things. However, because I was so thin, I used to work out to shape my body, and at 5’9” and 130lbs. I just wanted to feel better about myself.  When I turned 40, I went for a regular physical and weighed 153 lbs. I had never been more than 145 lbs. Initially, I was happy I had gained weight, and I called my mother, who said, “That’s how it starts.”  Six months later, I returned to the doctor and was 160 lbs. That’s when it hit me, and I said, “I’m not going out like this – this has to stop!”

I started CrossFit because I knew I had to do something aggressive, which got me into fitness on another level.  I was not a runner, yet the classes would have me running 2 miles and doing 50 kettlebells. I was doing insane workouts, and I was like, “Someone needs to know I did this today.” I would post my workouts on Twitter, and when Instagram came along, I started posting things there.

Q: How did you feel about inspiring others and not allowing age to define their perspective on fitness?

A: It was crazy because a lot of people were saying to me, “I didn’t even think this was possible. I mean, we are going through menopause, and it’s just ‘how it is.’” And I was like, “No, it’s not ‘how it is.’” At the time, I had lost my job in the music industry, and I couldn’t get back in because the recession was happening.  I was in a down-and-out place, and I worked out because it gave me something to do, a purpose, and even though I felt down and out, I didn’t want to look the part. I felt very depressed then because I went from having a lot of money to practically nothing. During that time, everything about my life changed – my lifestyle, my connections, where I used to go, and what I used to do.  Working out became my respite.

I had a comment recently where a guy said, “Don’t believe this. This costs a lot of money.” I said, “Excuse me, I started this when I didn’t have a dime.” I was like, “Ladies, don’t listen to this guy. He doesn’t understand.” 

Q: How do you feel the image of being 56 has changed over the last 20 years?

A: I think it’s changed because I’m not the only one taking charge of their fitness and wellness. You know, not to downplay my mother because my mother is beautiful and healthy. However, I’m not my mother at 56. I think more women my age are independent, not that my mother wasn’t. They are more independent, running businesses, currently in or having had high-profile and executive positions, and are not giving up. Especially with how social media opens up many people’s eyes, like, “Wow, this is possible.”

Q: Do you have a daily workout routine, or what is your system?

Every day I wake up, put on my workout clothes, and do my little meditation; fortunately, I have a gym in my building, so I go downstairs and get on the treadmill. I’m doing cardio every morning, and I increased my strength training to 4 days a week, going to a new gym that opened right across the street from me – which is crazy. I’m like, “Look at how God works.” I also do Pilates twice a week.

Q: What motivates you to get up every morning and continue your fitness routine, especially on days when it’s hard to find that momentum?

A: Honestly, I get that question a lot. And it’s not motivation; it’s discipline. Many mornings I wake up and don’t want to go downstairs to work out, but I still get up and do it. It is my job, but I also enjoy and love doing it. It’s automatic for me now, but I do things that help. I have my workout clothes ready the night before, all hung up and ready to be put on. I make sure I have cute gym clothes that I feel great wearing. I have to walk past them right when I wake up, reminding me that I need to work out. Some days you won’t be motivated, and it all comes down to discipline.

Q: About your cute gym outfits, what are your favorite brands?

A: I buy my workout clothes, so I don’t work with any brands in particular. I like the Upside, and I like Arrow and several others. I’ll wear workout clothes all day. I’ll do my workout and then put other workout clothes on right after.

Q: Do you teach fitness classes, or would you ever be interested in doing that?

A: I get asked that question a lot. I don’t teach classes. I’m an expert on what works for me, but I don’t consider myself an instructor. I am also frequently asked if I would get into personal training. It’s not something I’m interested in because, as a personal trainer, you are on other people’s time, and my time is my time. So, for example, if I need to change my schedule today, I can do so without worrying about anyone else’s. During the pandemic, when the gyms were closed, I did many of Tracy Anderson’s online classes. I like those.

Q: For someone starting their fitness journey in their 50s, what would you recommend as the first three steps?

A: Fitness training starts with a mental commitment. You have to decide to commit and be consistent; there is no starting and stopping.  My introduction was taking classes like CrossFit. For someone else, it may be joining a gym, taking classes, or finding a Pilates studio that works best. Anything that makes the workout part of your schedule where you have to show up is key. I can do cardio on my own, but if I have an appointment with a personal trainer, I will follow through with it.  However, before I could afford a personal trainer, I did classes.

That and nutrition, instead of saying diet, because diet means sacrifice. But it’s not a sacrifice; it’s a choice. It’s like saying, I’m sacrificing eating French fries, and it’s going, “No, I’m making a choice not to eat fries.” So you have to put it in perspective: Do you want the burger, or do you want to be fit? Do you want the pizza, or do you want to fit into your bikini? It’s as simple as that.

Q: How do you manage your nutrition?

A: I had egg whites this morning, and sometimes I’ll add a piece of toast. It’ll be ground chicken, some sweet potato, greens, and vegetables for lunch, and for dinner, it’s usually fish and some vegetables. For a snack, it would be fruit or some sort of protein, preferably. These are examples of what I’m eating when I’m being mindful. I live in New York City, so going out to dinner with friends is inevitable. When I’m eating out, I try to stick to fish and vegetables and water or unsweetened iced tea.

Q: Do you drink alcohol? If so, how do you manage that with your nutrition?

A: I don’t normally drink a lot, usually just two drinks. If I do drink, it’ll be tequila on the rocks.

Q: Do you have specific music you listen to for working out?

A: If I’m doing the Peloton, I love that they have their playlist, so I don’t have to worry about the music side. I don’t get bored because the Peloton instructors talk and share stories too. When I work out with my trainers, they have their playlists.

Q: What do you think is vital to having a healthy lifestyle?

A: Putting yourself first. It’s like the saying, “You can’t take care of anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself first.” Being healthy and taking care of yourself is the way to love yourself. In other words, love yourself.

Disclaimer: This interview has been edited and condensed.

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Shannah

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