Konajilo Luseni Barrasso, 28
Public relations account supervisor, New York
By her mid-20s, Kona still carried the 15 extra pounds she'd gained in college. Bored by the treadmill, she Googled "dance classes"—and salsa sites covered the screen. "I thought, ‘Wow, this is different. This is sexy,'" she says. Kona nervously showed up at a local class, sure she'd be the only African-American woman in a room full of Latinos, and that she wouldn't be able to do the steps. But the room was filled with all kinds of people, "and everyone messed up just like I did." Kona was hooked, becoming so eager for the slide and step that she began coming to the 2-hour class twice a week. "The music's in my head, so even at work I move a little bit more, I bounce, I have a spring in my step. My office friends call me Little Salsa Girl."
The classes upped her social cha-cha-cha, too: Her fellow dancers share her passion, and they get together outside of class once or twice a month to practice. With each spicy move, Kona's work and home stresses sashay away. And she looks good. Not only has she lost 20 pounds—"I don't need French fries for a high, I'm high on salsa"—but she now celebrates her curvy body. "Even my husband sees a new spark in me. When I'm dancing, I feel like the sexiest woman alive."