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DC fitness studio founder ignites firestorm, criticizes Ivanka Trump for using alias for class


Anne Mahlum is the founder of the nonprofit Back on My Feet and the founder and owner of [solidcore].
Sarah L. Voisin | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Anne Mahlum is the founder of the nonprofit Back on My Feet and the founder and owner of [solidcore].

It started with: "What you do when you find out Ivanka Trump just took [solidcore] but used an alias to sign up for class?"

Then the Facebook post from the founder of the DC-area boutique fitness studio, Anne Mahlum, took on a life of its own. Mahlum answered her own question with, "You reach out and ask for a meeting," but continued with a paragraph about how Ivanka's father "is threatening the rights of many of my beloved clients."

The reaction was a firestorm of responses that included calling for a boycott of [solidcore], which has 13 DC metro area locations, as well as studios in Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Minnesota, according to its website. Tweeters accused Mahlum of infringing on her client's right to privacy. Others called her "biased and hypocritical," while some posted stories of Ivanka's charity work. The criticism outweighed the support.

A few hours later Mahlum posted a follow-up statement to the press, saying, "I am extremely proud of the inclusive community at [solidcore] that respects everyone's age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or otherwise, and it is my key priority to protect that community. As I said in my Facebook post, I do not know Ivanka, but I welcome the opportunity to open up the communication channels, and I hope she takes me up on my offer."

By morning, Mahlum's Facebook page showed only posts dating back to 2013. The original posts are gone, and so far Mahlum has not responded to requests for comment; nor has Ivanka Trump, whom we contacted through her representatives.

Ivanka Trump
Raymond Hall | GC Images | Getty Images
Ivanka Trump

Ironically, the Pilates-inspired workout gained quick notoriety when it became a favorite of former first lady Michelle Obama. Obama, according to sources, did not use an alias to sign up for the class, but did have a group of workout friends whom she alerted when she wanted to attend. [solidcore] classes are small, so that way the class would be mostly made up of people she knew. The former first lady and the current first daughter now live around the corner from each other, and just down Wisconsin Avenue from a [solidcore] studio.

About a year ago, Mahlum raised between $1 million and $2 million from David Grissen, an executive with Marriott International, according to the Washington Business Journal. Mahlum said she hopes to open 50 studios this year alone.