Charlie Dark and Sanchia Legister on creativity and community
We sat down with the power couple and lululemon ambassadors to discuss their initiatives Run Dem Crew and Yogahood LDN
Wednesday 3 May 2023 By Chloe Lawrance
It's not often you meet a couple who are quite so passionate about their work – or indeed, each other – as lululemon ambassadors Charlie Dark and Sanchia Legister. But within minutes of meeting the pair, it’s easy to see the drive and commitment behind where they are today. Dark is one of London’s most successful DJs and founder of Run Dem Crew, a running collective that focuses as much on bringing people together as it does on clocking in miles. Self-described ‘people person’ Legister, is founder of Yogahood LDN, a movement with the intent of bringing more diversity to what all-too-often remains an exclusive practice.
Creativity and community-building drives everything they do – including training for the recent London marathon. Here, the pair share how they bring those values to life, whether lacing up their running shoes or hitting the mat.
What does creativity mean to you?
Legister: ‘I’m a daydreamer, so my creative life has always been an essential outlet. Creativity is a very personal thing and a rich part of my inner life. It means putting myself out there, but I’ve always wanted to live in that space. When I’m teaching yoga, I try to put myself into a place of vulnerability because I feel so passionate about what I’m doing and I try to share that through how I deliver my classes to people.'
What was the inspiration for Yogahood LDN?
Legister: ‘I’d go to yoga studios or try to follow an online class at home and realise there was nobody that looked like me. Not only in terms of race, but body shape, body type. There was one look: very slim, very athletic – you know, the stereotype of what “wellness” looks like. I just thought that was really weird. I thought, “If I’m complaining about this, surely other people are?” So I decided to offer yoga the way that I wanted to receive it and see who wanted to come.
‘It turns out that’s quite a lot of people. Sometimes it feels like there's a veil between you and your teacher, which I don’t like. I don’t position myself as some kind of guru, I’m trying to demystify some of that side of wellness culture. And I’m not afraid to weave real-life stuff into my classes, like the Black Lives Matter movement. I really feel that yoga is this beautiful practice where we can speak on things, call them out and show up a little bit better on our mats.’
Tell us a little bit about Run Dem Crew.
Dark: ‘What makes Run Dem so special and unique is that, yes, people come together to run, but what brings us together is a sense of community and friendship. People leave their ego at the door and help each other reach full potential. Some of the most amazing parties I've ever played have included lots of different types of people in one space and I’ve always tried to curate Run Dem like that.
‘I started Run Dem because of my own experience working in the music industry. It can be a hard industry to survive in and my mental health was poor at the time. I was also working with a lot of young people feeling displaced by gentrification and creatives who felt tribeless.
‘We’ve created a community that allows the freedom to move not because you’re playing in a team or training for a race, but because it's actually just quite fun to run down Oxford Street with 20 of your mates. I always tell people: “Listen, we're not in the running game; we're in the inspiration game.”’
Why is community so important to you?
Dark: ‘Culturally, it's something that’s been instilled in us from an early age, so by the time I arrived at running and Sanchia at yoga, we both knew that community would be at the heart of it. It’s how we’re able to reach people. It’s never been just a buzzword for us. Run Dem isn’t about Charlie Dark; Yogahood isn’t about Sanchia Legister. It’s about the people who show up. It’s only as good as the people in those communities.’
You both recently completed the London Marathon. How was training?
Legister: ‘It was a bit of a rocky road for me because I had to take a whole month off due to illness. Mentally, that was quite hard because I was looking at my training schedule – which was telling me what I should be doing – but I had to listen to my body because if I didn’t, I’d be paying for it down the line.’
Dark: ‘We’ve been in this game now for a long time now, and with the support of the community anything is possible. Undertaking the marathon is not as daunting anymore because you know there's a whole family of people who will do whatever they can to make that possible. That’s ultimately what gets you over the finish line.’
As lululemon ambassadors, what are your training go-tos?
Dark: ‘The Fast and Free Shorts. They don’t interfere with my performance in any way. In fact, I almost don’t notice them when I’m wearing them.’
Legister: ‘The Run Times Bra has been a game-changer. I can either wear the straps over my shoulders or crossbody depending on the kind of mileage I’m doing.’