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Bella: a journey from Rock to Zumba

PHUKET: If you’re familiar with Thirapan ‘Bella’ Narongkool, you will likely know her in one of two guises: as the former PR for the Hard Rock Cafe in Patong, or the present-day uber fit Zumba instructor.

By Jody Houton

Wednesday 16 October 2013, 02:38PM

Although not mutually exclusive lifestyles, Bella explains that when she was at Hard Rock Cafe, where she would spend most evenings, she did not really have the time to exercise.

“After Hard Rock I started going to the gym a lot more and discovered Zumba, and after a few classes I realised that this is what I want to do, so I then took steps to become a registered Zumba instructor.”

“They don’t often do Zumba courses in Thailand, usually only in Europe and America, so when they came to Bangkok I jumped at the chance.”

Now Bella dances, jumps, spins and gyrates whenever she gets the chance, but in a healthy way, and is eager to get as many people joining her as possible.

This is quite a typical attitude for members of the Zumba community, which is very much a way of life for instructors and members.

It’s also a vocation that could theoretically take her around the world, to anywhere where there is a registered Zumba school. There are currently around 14 million members in more than 180 countries.

“Now that I am registered I get sent a CD every month or so with new routines to learn.”

Now the former onion ring-eating, headbanging MC leads Zumba classes across the island, and although the majority of her students are women and children, she believes it has something to offer for everyone.

Laguna Golf Phuket

“Many guys think it’s not for them, that it’s dancing therefore ‘just for women’, but we use some real hardcore Spanish hip-hop, so it’s good for them too.

“It’s great to dance with people, lose weight and have fun. It’s good if a man can dance,” Bella adds with a smile.

The new, healthier Bella has also taken to doing mini-marathons of late, having completed the Starwood Mini Marathon in Phuket last month, with the aim of doing her first full marathon next year.

“Most people don't care too much about workouts or they’re too lazy. So I really hope they will change their life by seeing me as an inspiration.”

Indeed she is an inspiration, she works full time in the marketing department at a Phuket hotel and is currently studying to get her MBA at the Ramkamheang University of Thailand in General Management.

Her Facebook page – Bellaworkouts – has a growing number of fans who log on to view her latest photos, complete with inspirational quotes and from this month, her monthly Youtube videos.

Her aim is simple, “I'd like to maintain my beautiful body, and be healthy and motivate other people to have a beautiful body and be healthy as well.”

Watch Bella's video here



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