‘One day I just woke up and I was like, I want a future, I want a family and I need a change.’
Stiz Santosa, Freeport
“I was actually born and raised in the boroughs, and then I moved to Long Island. I am a first generation American, and my parents were born in Indonesia. They had to work a lot because they had to support the family. I was put in pretty dangerous situations (at no fault of my parents) where I was basically emotionally abused, which caused a lot of traumas as well.
“Before that I was always a happy, very active kid. However due to the abuse, I went to drinking and drugs growing up. I went in and out of jail three times. I think it was partly due to just being lost and not having a goal and self-confidence in myself — just past trauma. One day I just woke up and I was like, I want a future. I want a family, and I need a change.
I wanted to make a name for myself and have my own business.
“I was an athlete all my life. I swam and I competed in New York City street-handball. I lost touch with sports due to that trauma, which I didn’t realize until later on when I had numerous amounts of therapy. Due to the therapy, I healed and that’s where I am now. I got my personal training certification, and I became super business-oriented and goal-oriented. I just surrounded myself with amazing people — people that I looked up to professionally, financially, and I just learned a lot from them. I think that is how and why my business has grown and so fast.
“I just knew that sports were something that I naturally was good at. I wanted to make a name for myself and have my own business. I was tired of working for others. Stiz Santosa is my brand. I am an independent personal trainer as well as a brand ambassador. I am a firm believer that you need to find out what you are great at and just excel at that and money will come to you. That is basically what I did. Now I just help others with their fitness. But it is not just physical. It’s also emotional and mental because when I shared my story of what happened to me and my journey along the way, a lot of people gravitated towards that. I am just happy that I can help people.”
Interviewed by Victoria Bell