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love, me

From blocking the people that try to tear you down, to avoiding smoking cigarettes which can damage nearly every part of your body. If you could go back and give yourself advice, what would you say?

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rob black and white background
you will find your confidence

Rob K.

LGBT PROFESSIONAL STRONGMAN
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Light fills a dark space as the metal door is raised by Rob pulling on a chain. Somber instrumental music plays. ON SCREEN TEXT: IF I COULD GO BACK... ON SCREEN TEXT: BY ROB K. - PROFESSIONAL STRONGMAN PROUD MEMBER OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY ROB: The first time I came to this gym... Rob lifts his duffel bag off of his shoulders and over his head. ROB: I was just an insecure kid. ON SCREEN TEXT: I was just an insecure kid Young Rob walks from a dark hallway into the dimly lit gym. A man punches a punching bag. ROB: If I could go back, I'd tell myself, "that confidence you envy, that'll be yours." ON SCREEN TEXT: confidence WILL be yours Rob closes a locker door in a hallway filled with boxing gloves hanging on the wall. ROB: It's gonna take a lot of work. It's gonna be really hard at times. Young Rob looks in the mirror and removes the hood from his head. ROB: But soon, you'll be able to just look at yourself... Rob wears a sleeveless shirt and looks in the mirror. ROB: And like what you see. Rob crosses his arms and stretches. ROB: You'll discover loving yourself is not weakness. Rob exhales and reaches down to lift a bar with a lot of weight. ON SCREEN TEXT: loving yourself is not weakness Young Rob reaches down and lifts a metal bar that doesn't hold any weight. ROB: And failure is actually the beginning. Young Rob lifts the bar to his chin, then drops it. Young Rob reaches down to lift the bar again. ROB: You're strong, man. Rob lifts a huge bar and raises it over his head. ROB: Relentless. ON SCREEN TEXT: Relentless ROB: You were always willing to put in work. Young Rob lowers the bar from over his head. Rob bends over and breathes heavily. ROB: You will drop those toxic thoughts that held you back. Young Rob drops the metal bar and exhales. Young Rob lifts a dumbbell and curls it. ROB: You will strengthen your body Quick shots show young Rob doing different workouts and lifting different weights. ROB: And protect it from anything that's gonna cause damage, including smoking. ON SCREEN TEXT: Protect it from anything that can cause damage, including smoking ROB: That toxic will never get in your way. Rob and young Rob face each other, both wearing sleeveless red shirts and breathe deeply, in unison. ROB: And you will learn... Rob lifts a huge weight over his head at a competition. A judge raises his hand, before signaling for Rob to drop the weight. ROB: Could have never been measured by iron. ON SCREEN TEXT: Love, Rob The screen is covered by streaks of blue paint. The This Free Life logo appears, along with white text. ON SCREEN TEXT: This Free Life ON SCREEN TEXT: FREEDOM TO BE, TOBACCO-FREE. ON SCREEN TEXT: VISIT US @ThisFreeLife ANNOUNCER: This Free Life, freedom to be, tobacco-free.

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Love Me Interview - Rob Rob takes a deep breath as soft music plays. Text appears below. ON SCREEN TEXT: BY ROB K. - PROFESSIONAL STRONGMAN PROUD MEMBER OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY ROB: Coming out and being the only openly gay professional strongman in the world has kind of led me to be... A person dabs a cloth on Rob's face as he stands in front of a wall listing various fights. In a gym, a woman films Rob lifting a duffel bag off his shoulders and over his head. Rob addresses the camera. ROB: This person for other members of the LGBT community. In the gym, the woman films Rob as he stretches. ROB: I have countless messages on social media... A monitor shows Rob stretching his right arm. ROB: Just from people saying I gave them the courage to come out to their families... Rob continues speaking to the camera. ROB: Or help them realize being gay is totally fine and normal and they shouldn't be afraid of what they're feeling. The woman films Rob as he lifts a huge round stone onto his shoulder. The camerawoman films Rob taking a deep breath. Rob continues speaking to the camera. ROB: I was presenting myself as this strong, heterosexual male, and kind of pushing all those feelings to the back of my emotions... The camerawoman films Rob outside in front of a mural reading "The Yard." Rob poses against a white brick wall with his hands behind his head. ROB: And finally coming out and now, being engaged, it's really shown me... Rob continues speaking to the camera. ROB: What real happiness and true love actually is, and it's an absolutely amazing feeling. Rob lifts a huge weight over his head at a competition. A judge raises his hand, before signaling for Rob to drop the weight. ROB: I think living tobacco-free is a huge reason to why I am at the level of strongman I am today. Rob pulls a truck using a harness and rope. Rob continues speaking to the camera. ROB: Living a lifestyle that is about being strong and being healthy... In a log press event, Rob lifts an enormous weight over his head. ROB: You know, I don't think I would be able to be a good role model if I was over on the sides, smoking tobacco, when I'm trying to preach strength and health to everyone else. At a competition, Rob dead-lifts a barbell. A judge drops his hand, and Rob releases the weight. Then Rob completes another dead lift. The screen is covered by green paint streaks, and the logo for This Free Life, text details, and social media icons appear. ON SCREEN TEXT: This Free Life FREEDOM TO BE, TOBACCO-FREE. VISIT US @ThisFreeLife ANNOUNCER: This Free Life: freedom to be, tobacco-free.

Rob Interview

Find out what goes into being the only openly gay strongman in the world.

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you will find your freedom

Chloe L.

LGBT SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMER
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At an indoor pool, Chloe wears a swim cap, and her face is streaked with water. She gazes into the camera as uplifting instrumental music plays. ON SCREEN TEXT: IF I COULD GO BACK... BY CHLOE L. - SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMER PROUD MEMBER OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY CHLOE: If I could go back... A young Chloe sits at the edge of an indoor pool, her legs drawn to her chest. ON SCREEN TEXT: I would tell myself CHLOE: I would tell myself... Young Chloe struggles to complete a pushup. CHLOE: Even at your weakest... Now, Chloe's strong arms sport tattoos, and she easily does two clap pushups. CHLOE: You will find your strength. Young Chloe lies at the edge of the water, her hands behind her head. Her eyes close. CHLOE: The pressure will lighten. Synchronized swimmers take off underwater, with Chloe in the lead. CHLOE: And everything will soon feel in sync. Upside down underwater, the swimmers move in unison as they turn with pointed legs. Young Chloe gazes down at the water. CHLOE: Take a breath. Chloe swims to the bottom of the pool, then gracefully bends toward the surface. ON SCREEN TEXT: Listen to your body CHLOE: Listen to your body. It will inspire others. With outstretched arms, the synchronized swimmers surface. Young Chloe does sit-ups. CHLOE: So take care of it. ON SCREEN TEXT: Protect it from the damage smoking can cause CHLOE: Protect it from the damage smoking can cause. Now, Chloe sits with her feet dangling in the pool. CHLOE: Keep it safe from anything toxic that threatens the progress you've made. Young Chloe gazes out at the pool as synchronized swimmers float on their backs and kick. Chloe and her team spin upside down and kick their legs. CHLOE: And remember... Underwater, Young Chloe tucks her legs to her chest. CHLOE: Taking a breath was never about giving up. The view is upside down, so that Chloe, as she swims in a vertical position, appears to be walking on the surface of the water. ON SCREEN TEXT: find your freedom to be CHLOE: It was about finding your freedom to be. Young Chloe swims upward, and then present-day Chloe breaks the surface of the water. She takes off her goggles. ON SCREEN TEXT: Love, Chloe The screen is covered by green paint streak, and the logo for This Free Life, text details, and social media icons appear. ON SCREEN TEXT: This Free Life FREEDOM TO BE, TOBACCO-FREE. VISIT US @ThisFreeLife ANNOUNCER: This Free Life: freedom to be, tobacco-free.

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Love Me Interview - Chloe A monitor shows footage of Chloe floating on her back in an indoor swimming pool. Light instrumental music plays. Text appears below. ON SCREEN TEXT: BY CHLOE L. - SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMER PROUD MEMBER OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY CHLOE: People are always asking me, like, what's--what it is. On a monitor, synchronized swimmers kick their legs. CHLOE: Like, it looks so easy, and I'm like, you know the sprinter in the Olympics? They have to sprint a hundred meters, sprint for, like, nine seconds? Wearing a towel around her neck, Chloe addresses the camera. CHLOE: Well, imagine doing that without breathing. That's what it is. In matching swimsuits, goggles, and swim caps, women dive into the pool. CHLOE: I got into synchronized swimming 'cause my mom did some when she was younger as well. On the monitor, a girl swims underwater. CHLOE: So yeah, started around grade three, grade four until almost the end of my high school. Chloe continues speaking to the camera. A woman dives into the pool. CHLOE: After that, I decided I was done 'cause it's a judged sport, and I was over it. From above, a camera follows the diver as she swims. A close-up shows the tattoos on Chloe's forearm, including a broken column and two women kissing. CHLOE: I was not identifying as much to, like, the prettiness. A close-up of Chloe's arm shows a tattoo of a muscular person weightlifting above a tattoo of barbed wire. With her arms resting on the lip of the pool, Chloe grins. CHLOE: I don't know if I wanted to be seen different, but I just wanted to be looking different... Chloe continues speaking to the camera. CHLOE: A certain way I wanted to look. On the monitor, Chloe stands in front of a wall of trophies. The monitor shows a woman underwater. Chloe continues speaking to the camera. CHLOE: I do not see how a synchronized swimmer could even begin to smoke. The water of the huge pool ripples slightly. At the side of the pool, girls in matching swimsuits talk and stretch. CHLOE: I've never wanted to come close to tobacco, 'cause I saw my mom struggle so much with it. The girls float in the pool. Chloe continues speaking to the camera. CHLOE: That, like, struggle she was going through and the addiction she was going through always kind of pushed me away from it. The monitor shows an upside-down underwater view, so that Chloe, as she swims in a vertical position, appears to be walking on the surface of the water. The screen is covered by green paint streaks, and the logo for This Free Life, text details, and social media icons appear. ON SCREEN TEXT: This Free Life FREEDOM TO BE, TOBACCO-FREE. VISIT US @ThisFreeLife ANNOUNCER: This Free Life: freedom to be, tobacco-free.

Chloe Interview

Learn more about what it takes for Chloe to excel underwater.

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you will find your courage

Kentrell C.

LGBT MAJORETTE DANCER
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Kentrell walk in front of a wall of windows. Light streams in through the windows. Somber instrumental music plays. ON SCREEN TEXT: I WOULD HAVE TOLD MYSELF... ON SCREEN TEXT: BY KENTRELL C. - MAJORETTE DANCER PROUD MEMBER OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY Kentrell walks across a crosswalk with a group of people. His eyes are closed. KENTRELL (softly): And five, six, seven, eight. When I think back... A younger Kentrell walks through a living room and sits down on a couch. He practices choreography using his hands. White text appears on screen. KENTRELL: I would tell myself there will be pain that I cannot save you from. ON SCREEN TEXT: There will be pain Kentrell stands in the living room and stretches his arms above his head. Present day Kentrell sits in a chair in a warmly lit room with his eyes closed. KENTRELL: People will have a hard time letting you be the person you were meant to be, but never miss a step. Kentrell walks down an alley away from the camera. Kentrell dances in the alley. ON SCREEN TEXT: Never miss a step KENTRELL: You will learn that standing out is extraordinary. ON SCREEN TEXT: Extraordinary Kentrell walks down a sidewalk at night with three other people. All four of them wear tight black and gold body suits. Kentrell and his group join hands and ring around a group of people on the sidewalk while they dance. KENTRELL: You will be seen, your courage felt. ON SCREEN TEXT: Courage Young Kentrell dances in a kitchen. KENTRELL: And while I can't stop others from trying to hurt you... Kentrell and his dance group walk down the sidewalk at night. Young Kentrell walks away from the camera in the kitchen while removing his jacket. Kentrell spins and swings his hair in the city at night. KENTRELL: You will learn to never harm yourself. ON SCREEN TEXT: Never harm yourself Young Kentrell stands with his eyes closed in the brightly lit kitchen. KENTRELL: Never letting something like smoking damage nearly every part of your body. ON SCREEN TEXT: Never letting smoking damage nearly every part of your body Kentrell and his group dance together on the sidewalk at night. Kentrell the other dancers walk in unison down the alley. The group dances in the city at night. KENTRELL: Because you will block that toxic and let love in. Kentrell looks into the camera while dancing. ON SCREEN TEXT: Let love in Kentrell raises his arms and dances in the living room. KENTRELL: And soon, you'll trade that living room light for the limelight. Young Kentrell stands in the living room and looks out the window. Kentrell and his group of dancers dance in unison on the sidewalk. ON SCREEN TEXT: Love, Kentrell KENTRELL: You'll see. The screen is covered by yellow paint streaks. The This Free Life logo appears, along with black text. ON SCREEN TEXT: This Free Life ON SCREEN TEXT: FREEDOM TO BE, TOBACCO-FREE. ON SCREEN TEXT: VISIT US @ThisFreeLife ANNOUNCER: This Free Life. Freedom to be, tobacco-free.

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Love Me Interview - Kentrell Kentrell sits in a chair in a warmly lit room while uplifting music plays. Text appears below. ON SCREEN TEXT: BY KENTRELL C. - MAJORETTE DANCER PROUD MEMBER OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY KENTRELL: It was nowhere in black and white that boys can't be a part of the dance teams. Wearing a sequined gold and black bodysuit, Kentrell dances. KENTRELL: It's just always looked down upon. Silhouetted against the bright window, Kentrell sways gracefully. KENTRELL: Where I'm from, boys aren't really allowed to participate in this style of dance. Kentrell addresses the camera. Behind him, several trophies stand on the mantelpiece. KENTRELL: So we had to literally rebel against the school system. The music swells. Outside in an alley, in matching bodysuits, Kentrell leads three dancers in a routine. In slow motion, Kentrell and the dancers perform on a sidewalk in a city at night. Kentrell continues speaking to the camera. KENTRELL: Dancing now makes me feel like I have so much power. Outside, Kentrell and the dancers move in unison. KENTRELL: You know, you can say 12 million things about me negative, but as long as I know that I can dance and I have a talent, that doesn't even matter to me. At night, the sequins on the dancers' bodysuits sparkle as they move. Kentrell continues speaking to the camera. KENTRELL: I just feel free when I dance. Like, dancing is just everything. Kentrell spins and swings his hair in the city at night. In the bright living room, Kentrell raises his arms and dances. KENTRELL: Dance demands a lot from my body, and I'm not trying to damage it by smoking tobacco. In slow motion, Kentrell gazes into the camera. KENTRELL: To be held down? That's definitely not okay with me. The screen is covered by yellow paint streaks, and the logo for This Free Life, text details, and social media icons appear. ON SCREEN TEXT: This Free Life FREEDOM TO BE, TOBACCO-FREE. VISIT US @ThisFreeLife ANNOUNCER: This Free Life: freedom to be, tobacco-free.

Kentrell Interview

Find out how Kentrell embraced his passion for expressing himself with dance.

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you will find yourself again

Lila J.

LGBT POET
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Lila walks on the sidewalk past a dark sheet draped over a fence. Somber instrumental music plays. ON SCREEN TEXT: A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF... ON SCREEN TEXT: BY LILA J. - SPOKEN WORD POET PROUD MEMBER OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY A close-up shot shows Lila turning the pages of a journal. ON SCREEN TEXT: LILA: Little Lila... Dear little Lila, When she says she don't want you, And you're the most broken and lost. You will find a way Lila stands in front of a fence in a city. LILA: When she says she don't want you... ON SCREEN TEXT: She don't want you LILA: And you're feeling at your lowest... Young Lila lays on a couch and fiddles with stickers on the wood panel walls. LILA: Most broken and lost, you will find a way. Young Lila sits up and stands up from the couch. LILA: You will find a way. ON SCREEN TEXT: You will find a way Young Lila looks out the window. LILA: Safe from the dark places and the troubles that chase you. Lila looks up from the journal. LILA: You will find a way. Close-up shot of the journal on her lap. LILA: Where you will learn your sexuality is not a curse. Lila walks down the sidewalk towards the camera. LILA: Where negative thoughts won't cloud your mind. Lila opens a door into the living room and walks in. LILA: Where nothing will hurt your spirit... ON SCREEN TEXT: Where nothing will hurt your spirit... Young Lila walks down the sidewalk, carrying the journal. LILA: Or your body. ON SCREEN TEXT: or YOUR BODY Lila sits on the couch in the living room and holds the journal. LILA: Yours to protect and anything toxic, you'll reject. ON SCREEN TEXT: Toxic, you'll reject Young Lila walks down the sidewalk in front of a fence. LILA: Including cigarettes that can damage nearly every part of your body. ON SCREEN TEXT: Cigarettes can damage nearly every part of your body Lila walks down the sidewalk in front of a fence in the opposite direction as Young Lila. Young Lila looks up at a brick building. LILA: Little Lila... Young Lila looks to the right. Light streams through small perforated holes. LILA: You have found your voice... Lila stands with her eyes closed. LILA: And you are already on your way home. A page of the journal is shown. ON SCREEN TEXT: Dear little Lila, Young Lila looks into the camera. ON SCREEN TEXT: Love, Lila The screen is covered by pink paint streaks. The This Free Life logo appears, along with white text. ON SCREEN TEXT: This Free Life ON SCREEN TEXT: FREEDOM TO BE, TOBACCO-FREE. ON SCREEN TEXT: VISIT US @ThisFreeLife ANNOUNCER: This Free Life, freedom to be tobacco-free.

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Love Me Interview - Lila Outside, Lila gazes into the distance as somber instrumental music plays. Text appears below. ON SCREEN TEXT: BY LILA J. - SPOKEN WORD POET PROUD MEMBER OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY Light streams through small perforated holes. LILA: When I was younger, I wasn't really talkative. Sitting on a couch in a living room, Lila addresses the camera. LILA: I didn't have a voice. I didn't know how it sounds. A close-up shot shows Lila turning the pages of a journal. LILA: It took me a long time to really step into my being. A girl's hand fiddles with stickers on wood panel walls. LILA: It took everything for me to finally step into my own voice and be comfortable with speaking. Now, Lila walks through the wood-paneled room carrying a journal. Lila continues speaking to the camera. LILA: I'm a spoken-word artist. I got into spoken-word poetry actually on accident. Hands hold a clapperboard and clap the stick shut. Small text appears on the slate. Behind the clapperboard, Lila gazes into the camera. ON SCREEN TEXT: PROD. LOVE, ME LILA: I used to just write as a child. I went through a lot, and it was just my outlet to relieve stress and really express myself. Lila walks confidently down the street. LILA: For me, I don't want to use tobacco because I love myself too much to use tobacco. Lila continues speaking to the camera. LILA: I know the harm it could do to my body. In slow motion, Lila rises to her feet and walks away. LILA: And using tobacco would definitely create, like, a shorter lifespan for myself. I can't benefit anyone if I'm not here long enough to do so. The screen is covered by pink paint streaks, and the logo for This Free Life, text details, and social media icons appear. ON SCREEN TEXT: This Free Life FREEDOM TO BE, TOBACCO-FREE. VISIT US @ThisFreeLife ANNOUNCER: This Free Life: freedom to be, tobacco-free.

Lila Interview

Listen to how spoken word poetry gave Lila a voice for her expression.