In the last four years, Amy Hopkins has revolutionised how Women’s Health functions as a magazine and media outlet, and as a brand in general. Amy Codrington sat down with Hopkins to discuss her passion for connecting with people, which has been evident in all the work she has done, both personally and as the Women’s Health Managing Editor.
Apart from her role as the managing editor, her other responsibilities include signing off on magazines editions and ensuring that all ads and editorials work together. Amy also runs the Women’s Health social media pages.
She explains that social media platforms are “a great way to get people to connect, in a way that we weren’t able to connect before.” And as an engaging person, this is her ultimate goal. To connect and bring people together.
Her position at Women’s Health is centred on health and fitness and bringing women together in these spaces. Amy’s love of fitness and what she refers to as “holistic wellness” has inspired her team to set themselves a wellness challenge each year. Holistic wellness includes “everything that forms a part of what your wellness would be”, including mental and physical health, nutrition and sleep. This year, for their winter edition, Matt Masson photographed the Women’s Health staff members and spoke about working with Amy, saying “[she] is one of the most enigmatic people I’ve ever worked with.” Amy’s energy is inexplicable, and Masson explains that the process of working with her and her team on their individual fitness goals was inspiring. In her own words, “if you can just help people find their passion for fitness, everything else that’s a great side effect comes along with it.”
As well as encouraging her staff, Amy inspires her wider community. Health and fitness are two of her passions, but to encourage people to be active, and to enjoy it, is more important to her. Last winter she realised that many of her friends simply stopped running “because it’s too cold, or it’s dark or it’s too dangerous to run early in the morning” so she decided to create a running group. #HoppyRunClub still meets, every Thursday at 6.30am at the Vida in Greenpoint, to run together. And Vida sponsors free coffees for everyone who gets involved.
Instagram has been a platform Amy has utilised to build a community of likeminded people, both as an individual and for the Women’s Health brand. She’s created an organic community bursting with positivity and centred around finding happiness through health and fitness.
“We do a lot of work with local fitness women,” Amy explains when talking about the work she does empowering South African women. A huge aspect of this includes the events that Women’s Health hosts, and which Amy organises. Their most popular event is called Fit Night Out and is hosted in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Thousands of women show up for what Amy jokes is “like a rock concert of fitness.” Essentially there are five or six different workouts throughout the event and it’s a fun way for women to “come together, sweat, have a good time and love their bodies.” For Amy, the events are less about the sport or being the fittest one there, but more about creating communities of women who support one another and learn to love their bodies and their health journeys.
Even more fun are Women’s Health’s pop-up events such as Secret Sweats. They integrate anticipation, excitement and fitness all into one event. Without ruining the fun, Amy explains that you have to sign up for this event, choosing your date and intensity level, without knowing what exactly you’ll be doing.
“And then just before the event you find out, ‘Oh, it’s yoga at MyUtopia’ or ‘It’s a rooftop hip hop class’. You know, it can be anything!“
For people who are new to fitness these events might seem intimidating, but Amy insists that they’re made for everyone. And for everyone to have fun!
As well as event hosting for their readers, and members of the Women’s Health community, Amy is responsible for liaising and working with big brands to host events and marketing for all parties. “It’s all about getting all parties involved, happy. Finding that synergy that works for everyone in a creative way!”
Recently, on Friday 4thOctober, Amy worked with Castle Free to host an event celebrating the launch of their reality TV series, Becoming Imbokodo. The show follows the South African women’s rugby team around the country as they search for the next big rugby star. But more than adding to their team, this initiative creates opportunities and jobs for women in sport, where previously there had been none. Amy comments that the show’s title is particularly poignant as the phrase Imbokodo, meaning ‘If you strike a woman, you strike a rock’, “doubles down on that resilience that women have”. By putting the spotlight on women in sport, Women’s Health are empowering women, giving them the publicity and recognition they deserve, while also encouraging women to get involved, to support one another and to celebrate the achievements that follow.
“We really just want to showcase how talented our female athletes in this country are!”
Amy is an inspirational woman. She is inspiring; she is a team player; she is an advocate of other women. And all in all, she wants everyone to learn about health and fitness so they can “build healthier bodies for life.” She has been involved in work with big brands, and has worked with individual people, up and coming in the media and journalism industry, facilitating internships through Media24, and coaching the younger writers on her team.