Make new friends and boost your mental health with Charlotte’s Hot Girl Walk group

Make new friends and boost your mental health with Charlotte’s Hot Girl Walk Group

Photo courtesy of Lilian Kennedy

Lilian Kennedy talks the talk and literally walks the walk. She is the founder of CLT Hot Girl Walkan Instagram account and social group aimed at connecting women in Charlotte through monthly group walks.

“I’ve been here six years, but all the friendships I’ve made are hard work,” Kennedy, a transplant recipient from New York City, told me recently in a phone interview.

Rollback: Without a physical office to go to during the pandemic, Kennedy struggled to maintain friendships. She knew the same must be true for others, especially newcomers to Charlotte.

  • So she decided to create a social group that promotes both mental health and networking.
  • In August 2022, Charlotte Hot Girl Walk, or CLTHGW, was born.

Lilian Kennedy, founder of CLTHGW. Photo courtesy of Lilian Kennedy

Why is this important: An HGW aims to combine the mental/physical benefits of walking with the social benefits of doing it with others – all with the goal of connecting those seeking community in Charlotte.

The context: The Hot Girl Walk, invented by Mia Lind on ICT Tachas quickly become a popular form of exercise, especially among Gen Z and millennials.

  • An HGW usually consists of a 3-4 mile walk, with a few the essential – consider a playlist and headphones (if you’re going solo), a water bottle, a workout set, and a safe environment.
  • As Lind explained in a TIC Tac, everyone should think of three things at an HGW :Wwhat you’re grateful for, your goals (and how you’ll achieve them), and how sexy you are (which is basically Gen Z talking about body positivity and self-acceptance).

Make no mistake: a real hot girl walk is a feeling, not a look.

Enlarge: Kennedy capitalized on that feeling to create CLTHGW, which she describes as “a simple exercise with potential benefits for mental and physical health — all while making new friends.”

Attendance has steadily increased since the group’s first march in August, which had just eight participants.

  • In September, this participation quadrupled.
  • The October march saw nearly 50 women.

But Kennedy says that when it comes to her goal for the group, the numbers are irrelevant. “My goal was just to help other women, who are alone here, meet other women, and that happened at every event.”

Hot girl on foot

Participated in the group walk in October, which started at Outdoor Voices in the South End. Photo courtesy of Lilian Kennedy

The big picture: Roughly 120 people moving to Charlotte every day, Laura Barrero of Axios written in may. And, as Laura pointed out, there are several resources in Charlotte for people looking to build new relationships.

Zoom out: Local businesses have taken notice of the group’s success. At the march in September, Outside Voices brought free goodies and Hi-Wire Brewing covered the tab for beer after the ride.

  • “I love that there’s some kind of food and drink so the women can continue to mingle and get to know each other,” she said.

Who it is for: Anyone living in Charlotte who wants to make more friends. And as Kennedy reminded me, despite its name, CLTHGW is gender neutral – everyone is welcome. It also encourages individuals to bring friends and expand their network.

And after: While Kennedy acknowledges that the group’s name is strategic from a marketing perspective, she intends to take CLTHGW beyond the march. She has already started.

  • Last Saturday, CLTHGW partnered with personal training franchise, Send Me a Trainer, for a free yoga class, hosted at Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee in LoSo, which provided their yard and discounted coffee.

For now, Kennedy says most events will take place in the South End, given the convenient stretch of the Rail Trail.


The October CLTHGW Yoga Class at Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

[Go deeper: 15 stops along the Charlotte Rail Trail and 3 sample itineraries to explore]

How to register: The answer is quite simple: just show up. But to keep up to date with all the happenings, you’ll want to follow the band’s Instagram page: @clt_hotgirls.

The November Walk is currently scheduled for Thursday, November 3 at 7 p.m. The group will meet outside Outdoor Voices in the South End before beginning a brisk 1.5 mile walk on the Rail Trail. The meeting will end with a drink at Suffolk Punch.

  • Kennedy also plans to hold smaller private events, like cryotherapy at The Invigory.
  • But these, she says, will be reserved on a “first to DM, first served” basis.

The bottom line: CLTHGW aims to appeal to anyone looking to add more movement and friends into their life – whether they’re a longtime local or a Charlotte transplant.

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