Oxylent Influencer- Shaka Smith
Actor and Host
Lives in: United States
Shaka Smith is an actor and host from Miami. A Princeton graduate, upon arriving in Los Angeles he landed several roles as a fitness model and began competing in fitness competitions. He won several awards and as a vegan became a leading fitness model in the industry, sponsored by Garden of Life.
As an actor, he booked small roles in Disney’s Pair of Kings, short films and several commercials. In 2015, Shaka, also an attorney began hosting a legal news show, Justice Is Served on the Black Hollywood Live Channel on the AfterbuzzTV Network. He continued to pursue his love for fitness by also hosting Fit Club, a weekly show aimed at full inclusion of health and fitness amongst minority communities.
Shaka also has a passion for worthy causes and supports many charities. He sits on the board for charity, Project Save Our Surf, devoted to cleaning our oceans and providing clean drinking water to communities around the world in need.
What’s your name?
What type of athlete are you?
I currently compete in the Men’s Physique division of bodybuilding with the National Physique Committee organization.
How long have you been training for?
I began training for physique competitions in 2011. Formerly, I was an NCAA swimmer and water polo player so continuing to be active in a new way was a natural transition
What do you like about training?
What I love about training is it is in your control. So much of life is not in our control but the work you put in to be healthy, in or out of the gym is 100% you.
What motivates you?
I am motivated by sharing with others. I mean this in all aspects of life but particularly I’ve found the more I’ve learned about fitness and nutrition and simply lived in accordance with what I preach, I’ve been able to share more with others. The impact I’ve seen with those that have changed habits because of a word I said or something I did has been profound and humbling.
What discourages you?
I am discouraged by seeing people act against their own interest, especially when it comes to health. It is always tough to have people ask for advice, give it, and have them not even try to take it. However, I’ve learned to not take this personally. So many times we have to hear something over and over until it sticks. Now I do my best to meet people where they’re at.
What is your fondest memory playing this sport?
My fondest memory was competing in my first show. I had no idea what I was doing. I was perfectly happy preparing to take the stage but I began to look around and all I saw were competitors in better shape, better prepared, just better overall and I began to panic. Another competitor who just observed my worry, came over and said to me “comparison is the thief of joy” – instantly the pressure was lifted. Something about those words and the moment I heard them clicked. I took the stage confidently and I am proud to say I won my division in that show. Just goes to show you, so much of what we see as adversity is just in our heads.
What has been your biggest obstacle/challenge?
As a child, I was diagnosed with severe Hemophilia, a rare condition where my blood does not clot. I was told I wouldn’t be able to play sports and my physical activity had to be limited and closely monitored. I was told I could reach my 20s and have difficulty walking or running. I don’t know if it was dogged determination or the hubris of youth but I rejected these potential outcomes and played sports. I managed my condition as best as I could and went on to run track, play soccer, and even swim and play water polo at the collegiate level. Refusing to be limited by such a daunting obstacle so early in life really informed how I have tackled setbacks ever since. There is still no cure currently, but there is great treatment and I have been able to manage my condition and pursue my athletic goals at the highest levels.
If you weren’t an athlete, what would you be doing right now?
I’ve never been able to confine myself to one discipline. I am also an attorney – it was very important to me from an early age to learn the law, know my rights and help others in their pursuit of justice. I am also an actor and host. I finished a couple films this past year that will be premiering at various film festivals in 2018 and I host a weekly health and wellness podcast available on ITunes and YouTube called Fit Club.
If you could play for any professional team, who would you play for?
Miami Dolphins. Miami is my hometown and boy have we needed help for quite some time now. At this point, it can’t hurt. Put me in the game coach!
Do you have a ‘life motto’?
It is always better to hear a ‘no’ from someone else than to hear it from yourself. Growing up, there were many times, I would not apply for something because I thought, they’ll never pick me. I remember my mom telling me over and over, apply and let them tell you no, but don’t tell yourself no before you even give yourself the opportunity. I don’t let opportunities go easily anymore and its paid off ever since. Thanks mom!
What advice do you give your fans?
Listen, discern, study and apply. In this social media age we have advice coming at us from so many different sources on every topic imaginable. It can be overwhelming and ironically lead us to do nothing at all. The danger is also in listening blindly and doing something that doesn’t work for you. So I say listen to what I have to say, discern if its right for you, study if you have any doubts and finally apply. Taking action is the last and hardest step, but once you’ve done the work, it’s the most gratifying, as well.