Iffah Suhaila spent the last seven years immersed in her work as a marketing professional - working with clients ranging from corporate to start-up organisations in technology, FMCG, automobile and government industries to acquire leads and increase their brand visibility. With work leaving her drained and unhealthy, Iffah decided to seek balance by making fitness and health a priority. Over the past year, Iffah made time in her hectic schedule to go to the gym, but later gravitated to pole-dancing as her form of fitness. Iffah talks about finding body confidence and liberation through pole, the positive energy she receives from the all-female crew, and how she started pole despite coming from a conservative community. 

Iffah Suhailah Marketing Professional International Womens Day for GOYA As Intended

I started pole in July 2020 and its challenging yet fulfilling nature has made it so addictive. Pole made me realise that our body is a wonderful creation and I’m always amazed by what I can push myself to do. Whenever I am able to execute and nail a trick, especially if it is a more advanced move, I would usually go “Did I just do that?” or “Is that me?” in surprise.

Pole also gave me a lot of self- confidence. Pole dancing is definitely sexy but people are not aware of the physical demand that pole requires even for the simplest of tricks such as the fireman spin. It’s a full-body workout that combines strength, cardio and flexibility. Prior to pole I was insecure about my body, but as I built my strength up, I noticed how strong my body became and I feel like I’m in the best shape ever! 

The confidence in movement from pole transcended into every part of my daily life. Now when it comes to dressing up for work: I seek comfort when choosing material or fit! Comfort is especially key when you spend three-quarter  of a typical day at work. 

 Iffah Suhailah Marketing Professional International Womens Day for GOYA As Intended

It’s a misconception that a female-dominated environment would always be catty and negative. The pole community surprised me by how supportive and encouraging the ladies were, and I even made friends from there! 

During practices, it’s not uncommon to see girls hype each other up and empower each other. We help each other out while doing tricks because doing tricks on a pole isn’t easy and we understand the challenges and pain that comes with it. We always remind each other that it’s ok if you don’t get it the first time and to always try again the next time and never give up. 

They also remind me of how far I progressed and remind me not to be too hard on myself. And whenever one of us nails a trick or gets a trick right or simply improves from the previous time, we always cheer and celebrate even if it’s a small progress! 

Iffah Suhailah Marketing Professional International Womens Day for GOYA As Intended

I feel truly fortunate to have a family who can be fully supportive of what I do, especially in my community where women are only expected to be modest and demure. On the day that I signed up for pole, I brought my mom along as I wanted to be open with her and reassure her that pole was more than what it appeared. Pole wasn’t just sexy dancing, but also another avenue for women to stay fit and active within a safe space. 

As I was signing up, my mom expressed to me how lucky women are these days to have such activities being offered and she would have also done the same if this wasn’t a taboo back in her era. 

I feel very blessed to have my mother as a strong woman figure in my life. My mother had been the sole breadwinner of the family as my dad had an early retirement. She always made sure we had food on the table and shelter above our heads. She has taught me loads of lessons but these two lessons are something I live by:

- Always be kind but never be afraid to speak up if you are untreated fairly.

- Be responsible for your own well-being and not be dependable to others.


This series is part of our International Women's Day piece where we catch up with amazing GOYA women to share about their career stories, challenges and advice for anyone developing their careers.
In the month of March, we have also joined hands with local NGO SEVA SEED that aims to empower young women from underprivileged countries. Checkout with code IWD21SEVASEED, and GOYA will donate 3 reusable sanitary pads to women in underprivileged countries. On top of the donation, you will also receive 10% off all GOYA apparel this month.
Iffah Suhailah Marketing Professional International Womens Day for GOYA As Intended