In a lawsuit against Equinox Gym in New York City, Robyn Europe, a former professional figure competitor, was awarded $11,250,000. Europe was a personal trainer at the upscale Manhattan gym and claimed her firing was because of racial discrimination and not because of her repeated tardiness, as the gym claimed. In the civil trial, the mostly white jury concluded that Europe, 39, who is African American, was subjected to a hostile work environment and unlawfully fired because of both her gender and race. Europe testified that a manager frequently made vulgar comments about Black women’s bodies, diverted personal training clients away from employees of color, and regularly harassed staff with offensive language. Equinox, which calls itself a “luxury fitness club,” plans to appeal the decision.


Robyn Europe competed in numerous amateur figure contests (including several drug-tested shows) between 2008 and 2013 while also being a straight-edge punk rocker. She won her class in the prestigious Eastern USA twice and finished third in her class at the (drug-tested) 2013 Team Universe. In 2014, Europe competed in two IFBB Pro League figure contests, including the New York Pro, but did not place in either. She has not competed since then.

Robyn Europe Equinox
Robyn Europe, 2014 New York Pro / Per Bernal

In a 2014 interview, Robyn Europe said:

I don’t know that changing my body has changed my life. It’s more like changing my life changed my body. I had to decide the sort of person I wanted to be and portray before I could do anything with my body. I have never been able to do anything in moderation and I have never been quiet and complacent. When I accepted those as positive qualities,  I was able to make decisions about the direction in which I  wanted my life to go. I wanted to be a strong, powerful, self-sufficient woman. That meant being mentally strong and driven, but also physically strong and fit. I can’t really feel powerful if every time I cook someone else has to open the jar.