Kat Novoa provides wellness boutique studio Babes of Wellness for women of Los Angeles
In 2018, South Los Angeles resident Kat Novoa founded Babes of Wellness, the first Latina-owned wellness boutique studio based in Los Angeles. By offering a variety of exercise programs and reserving time for meditation, Novoa has made the attempt to address the mental health crisis in her community.
Kat Novoa grew up in a large Mexican family and was born and raised in South Central, a predominantly Hispanic and Black neighborhood that includes Crenshaw, Compton, and Watts. She grew up witnessing domestic violence and drug usage, but was aware that no one ever brought any attention to it. After sharing her personal experience in a blog post in 2017, she became determined to alter that with Babes of Wellness.
“It stirred up something inside of me to want to do something about all the messages I was receiving. I got invited to speak at a shelter in Long Beach,” said Novoa. “I went in with the goal of sharing my story to inspire and give them hope but left feeling touched by their stories of survival. That is the night I decided to become an advocate.”
The advocacy work of Kat Novoa at women’s shelters introduced her to the struggles that survivors of domestic abuse face in reestablishing their lives and prioritizing self-care. The path of her own personal healing taught her the importance of releasing negative energy from the body through physical movement. She felt obligated to share this knowledge in order to help others.
Babes of Wellness is a safe haven that gives women in the South Los Angeles community the opportunity to build and improve physical strength while aiding emotional trauma. Novoa has noticed an upsurge in the number of persons in her neighborhood seeking mental health treatment at her wellness boutique studio. She herself has struggled through depression after the loss of her father during the pandemic.
“It was Christmas Day. I just wanted to connect with him, like no one else mattered to me. I had always been Daddy’s girl. I never thought I’d lose him so young,” Novoa said. “That day, I had a couple of ways that I wanted to try. I’m actually a really bad swimmer, I don’t know how to swim. So the first thing that came to mind was going to the beach because no one would notice me. I would just float away.” Luckily, a lifeguard spotted her and was able to save her life.
According to the CDC, the suicide rate among Latinas climbed by 40% between 2019 and 2020, rising from 1.5 to 2.1 per 100,000 people. Novoa empowers her community by giving South Los Angeles Latinx women and survivors something to rely on, the Babes of Wellness boutique studio. In a mental health conversation with Yahoo News, she stated the following about Babes of Wellness: “It’s a place where women are encouraged to seek help, to seek therapy, to hang out with friends, to share amongst each other. We hold space for each other.”