Ohio University

Graduate student Stefana Avara ranked in the top 28 TikTok fitness influencers in Business Insider

Published: April 30, 2021 Author: Bri Schoepf

Stefana Avara, a fellow in Ohio University’s Master of Sports Administration and Master of Business Administration Dual Degree (MBA/MSA), is dedicated to her roles as a fitness influencer and personal trainer. Her outstanding growth, hard work, and dedication were recognized by Business Insider, an American financial and business news website, who ranked her as #25 in their article “Meet 28 of the most popular fitness influencers on TikTok.” 

Avara’s TikTok profile is focused on body positivity, and features a variety of workouts, helping women find their strength through fitness. She also serves as a mentor to young women around the world who seek advice about staying healthy and confident. 

“I wanted to find an outlet where I could share the workouts that make me feel good and strong,” Avara explained. “As my platforms began to grow, I would get DMs from young girls asking me how they can lose weight, which made me feel bad that they have to grow up seeing perfectly posed and edited bodies on social media all the time. I started posting body positive content so that the women who follow me could see that you can work out every day and still have tummy rolls.” 

In addition to being a student and fitness influencer, Avara is also a personal trainer and business owner. Through her business, Defining Active LLC, she works with more than 200 online clients each month and creates workout guides that help women reach their physical and mental goals. She also offers general fitness and wellness guides, selling more than 900 copies in over 23 different countries. 

“I took a course at Ping my freshman year that prepared participants for the ACE Personal Training exam, and fell in love with the idea of helping people understand fitness as a holistic journey, not just focused on weight loss,” Avara said. “I took on my first clients in May 2020. At that time, I had 11,000 followers and 20 clients. This month, I have more than 500,000 followers and I average 200 personal training clients each month.” 

Avara’s impressive following has given her the opportunity to work with popular brands, including Body Armor, Daily Harvest, Kiehls, 1stPhorm, and Bumble. This month, she will be working with Neutrogena for their “Skin Fit” product line.

Stefana Avara

For the past two and a half years, Avara has been in the process of expanding her business even further as she prepares to launch Defining Active this summer, an affordable activewear line focused on flattering all body types. 

“I’m excited to launch unique, personalized designs that compliment all body types and skin tones, and to have a broad range of influencers promoting Defining Active, including all races, body types, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community,” Avara said. “This industry frequently lacks inclusion, and I am honored and excited to have influencers on my team who can help support this community.” 

Avara earned her Bachelor of Sport Management degree from Ohio University in 2020, and plans to graduate from the MBA/MSA dual program in 2023. She credits much of her growth, success, and business knowledge to the coursework and faculty at OHIO. She explained that she is appreciative of the skills she learned during her Quantitative Business Analysis courses because spreadsheets and organization are an essential part of her business and managing clients. 

“The College of Business helped me develop professional communication skills that I use to negotiate brand deals, establish sponsored partnerships, and communicate with my clients. My undergraduate instructors taught me the importance of making thoughtful decisions rather than acting on temporary feelings,” Avara explained. “I never planned my influencer journey, but I am so excited about its growth.” 

Avara is also grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and receive support from Matt Cacciato, the executive director of Ohio University’s AECOM Center for Sports Administration. While working as his assistant over the past year to complete her fellowship, Cacciato has supported her throughout her business journey and challenged her to grow professionally. Cacciato is just as thankful for Avara and her hard work, as he explained that she has been a tremendous asset to the center.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Stefana since last spring, as she is truly a seasoned professional with proven capabilities,” Cacciato said. “We were able to give her entire projects with confidence and she delivered admirably on our Stand Up & Cheer virtual 5K and FanMug social media campaign. Most importantly, Stefana’s kindness and poise were invaluable during these chaotic times, and her humility belies her personal success. I am so proud of her successes so far, and am excited to see what she continues to accomplish throughout the rest of her time at OHIO and beyond.” 

Check out Avara’s fitness content on Instagram and TikTok! 
Handle: @defining.fitness