Not to be confused with a typical Saturday night on Las Olas Boulevard, Hot Girl Walk is coming to downtown Fort Lauderdale on Thursday.
A trend that has been blowing up on TikTok, Hot Girl Walk is about exercise and the mental-health and self-esteem benefits that come from simply taking a long ramble on foot.
The movement has prompted events this summer from New York to Los Angeles, with coverage in the New York Times, Fox News and Elle magazine.
Organized by 20-something Fort Lauderdale social-media influencers Sam McGraw and Shelly Teal, the local Hot Girl Walk begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, at Salt7 Fort Lauderdale, the hip restaurant and cocktail bar at 500 E Las Olas Blvd. that faces the New River. Participation is free and open to all.
Because this is Fort Lauderdale, the walk will include an all-night happy hour at Salt7 for those with a pink Hot Girl Walk bracelet, and there will be swag bags.
One goal of the event, McGraw says, is “helping local women find like-minded potential friends, while creating a safe environment for them to explore their community.”
McGraw and Teal are both recent transplants to Fort Lauderdale. McGraw, a Massachusetts native, is the influencer manager for Lantana-based Image Skincare with more than 287,000 followers on TikTok and Instagram. Teal, from Connecticut, works in social-media marketing.
The walk won’t follow any predetermined route, and McGraw expects some participants to break off into small groups to follow their own paths. The plan is to have everyone walk for an hour and meet back at Salt7.
“Wear whatever you’d like, but we are encouraging workout gear and sneakers since it is hot out and we will try to have a good-paced walk,” McGraw says.
With its freestyle good vibes and no-cost simplicity, Hot Girl Walk has been celebrated for democratizing workout culture.
All Hot Girl Walk inventor Mia Lind wanted to do was get some exercise during pandemic lockdown when the University of Southern California student discovered “the meditative element that comes with going on a long walk,” as she told the Huffington Post.
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“I also felt that walking had a strong stigma as not being a valid form of exercise, so I gave ‘walking’ some rebranding as a Hot Girl Walk,” she said.
While she would go on to chronicle the weight loss she experienced through walking, in her original viral TikTok video Lind said the most valuable difference between a Hot Girl Walk and a typical saunter through the neighborhood is mindset.
“You’re only allowed to think about three things on the Hot Girl Walk: Things you’re grateful for, your goals and how you’re going to achieve them, and how hot you are,” Lind said.
McGraw says the social-media buzz is palpable for Fort Lauderdale’s Hot Girl Walk, and more than 100 women have expressed interest.
“I feel like everyone coming is going to have a different reason as to why they are there. Some for the cool swag bags, some for the exercise, some for the drinks, some for friends, some for professional networking. The opportunities are endless!” she says.