Belfast Telegraph

Madonna opens first gym in Mexico

Madonna has opened her first gym in Mexico City - before teaching an exercise class to a few lucky members.

The Queen of Pop cut the ribbon on Hard Candy Fitness, then taught a dance class for 20 hand-picked members with music by Paul Oakenfold, the DJ who opened her last tour.

Madonna chose to name the centre after her last album - which she says in fitness parlance is the perfect combination of "hard body" and "eye candy".

"It's a sexy name that gives you the opportunity to have fun and to build strength as far as the imagination will allow," the singer, dancer, actress, children's author and clothing designer said.

The star says she decided on Mexico City because it was a stop on last year's Sticky & Sweet tour, which grossed 408 million dollars, second only to the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour. She said she liked the energy of the people.

"Our plan is to use Mexico as a place to fine-tune our brand and then expand it to other countries and, in the long term, develop a global brand that includes the US."

Madonna said at the opening that she also chose the country because she loves its culture, food, art and architecture and that she didn't worry about Mexico's wave of drug-related violence when deciding where to open the gym.

"A lot of places I go are dangerous, like Tel Aviv or Rio (de Janeiro), but that never stops me from going there and putting on a show. I have good security. I don't worry about that," she said surrounded by three burly bodyguards. Dozens of police officers and security guards were outside to keep some 300 screaming fans at bay.

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