Gayest & GreatestHealth & WellnessLifestyle

Gayest & Greatest 2018: Health and Beauty

At 58, fitness guru Shana Ross shows no signs of letting up.

Best Female Personal Trainer: Shana Ross

Shana Ross may be 58, but she certainly doesn’t look it. That’s because she practices what she preaches: exercise and a healthy diet, along with a positive outlook on life. But that wasn’t always the case.

“I grew up in East Texas, where if your food wasn’t fried and your potatoes weren’t mashed with whole milk and butter and covered in cream gravy, then bless your heart, your mother didn’t know how to cook,” she recalls. Even though she had always been active in sports as a kid, as she aged she knew she had to change her lifestyle if she wanted to stay in shape. So she got serious about it.

In 1997, she served as executive director of the nonprofit wellness center Body Positive, for people with HIV/AIDS. Two years later, she received her certification in personal fitness training before opening her own studio, Shana Ross Fitness, in 2007. 

“I wanted to work with people with chronic illnesses and menopausal women—the kind of people who were intimidated by the gym scene where people were more interested in showing off their latest athletic wear than in getting healthy,” she says. 

Center co-owner and trainer Mary Beth Reuter is also Ross’s life partner. They were married in 2013, “although we’ve been together for 31 years,” Ross says. The couple lives in The Heights with their two dogs, just seven blocks from the fitness center. 

In September 2011, the couple began training a group of women to climb Africa’s 19,341-foot Mount Kilimanjaro. One of those women had been diagnosed for a second time with ovarian cancer. 

“We made it,” Ross says of the six-day trek. “We made it to the top.” The woman with cancer, longtime friend and client Becky Pope, died a year-and-a-half later. “But she died knowing she had made it to the top that day,” Ross says. You can read more about this amazing journey at 

Ross and Reuter are active hikers who are now training another group of friends for an April hike through Big Bend. 

“I want to keep being active for as long as I can,” she says. “And it all starts with being healthy and strong. It makes anything possible.”

Marene Gustin

Best Chiropractor

Matt Arnold
Finalist: Fernando Franco, Sherman Yeager

Best Cosmetic Skin Care Center

The Skin Renewal Center
Finalists: Nuveau Plastic Surgery and Medical Aesthetics, Skin Renaissance

Best Cosmetic Surgeon

Forrest S. Roth
Finalists: Cara Downey, Angela Sturm

Best Day Spa

Alira Boutique Spa & Salon
Finalist: Vida & Health Day Spa

Best Female Aesthetic Physician

Angela Sturm
Finalist: Angel Puryear

Best Male Aesthetic Physician

Patrick McNamara
Finalists: Herb De Souza, Russell Kridel

Best Female Dentist

Cynthia Corral
Finalists: Carol Price, Dianna Wilde

Best Male Dentist

Bruce Smith
Finalists: Sam Carrell, Marcus De Guzman, Cory Logan, Randy Mitchmore

Best Female Eye Doctor

Michelle Hung, Christine Tyler (tie)
Finalist: Juliet Farmer

Best Male Eye Doctor

Scott Sawyer, Stewart Zuckerbrod (tie)
Finalists: Paul Lovero, Charlie Nguyen

Best Female Hair Stylist

Celina Gonzalez
Finalist: Patty Gooch

Best Male Hair Stylist

Joel Quiñones
Finalists: Reza Nouri, Anthony Skoogie, Christian Vanya

Best Female Massage Therapist

The Amazing Rose
Finalist: Danielle Sampey

Best Male Massage Therapist

Ryan Fugate
Finalists: John Aaron Villareal, Tom Zeppelin

Best Psychiatrist

Daniel Garza
Finalist: Barry Gritz 

Best Male Mental-Health Therapist/Psychologist

Denis “Woodja” Flanigan 

Best Female Mental-Health Therapist

Denise O’Doherty
Finalist: Blythe Twosisters

Best Male Mental-Health Therapist

Ty David Lerman
Finalists: Tony Aucoin, Robert Snellgrove

Best Female Physician

M. Sandra Scurria
Finalists: Julia Kovacs, Jennifer Meyers

Best Male Physician

Gordon Crofoot
Finalists: Octavio Barrios, Donnie Harvey, Shannon Schrader

Best Physical Therapist

Roy Rivera Jr.

Best Female Personal Trainer

Shana Ross
Finalist: Danielle Sampey

Best Male Personal Trainer

Dwayne Cookson
Finalists: David Muniz, Michael Shallis

Best Fertility Clinic

Aspire Fertility
Finalist: Houston Fertility Institute

Best Gym/Place to Work Out

Skyline CrossFit
Finalists: Club Houston, FIT Athletic Club, Vortex Gym

Best Pharmacy

Avita Pharmacy
Finalists: Kroger Montrose, Legacy Community Health, Southside Pharmacy, Walgreens

Best Tanning Salon

Darque Tan
Finalists: Glo Sun Spa-Houston, TanSpire Spray Tan Experts

Best Tattoo Parlor

Electric Chair
Finalists: 713 Tattoo Parlour, American Dragon Tattoo, Red Shores Tattoo Co.

Best Urgent- or Emergency-Care Center

SignatureCare Emergency Center
Finalists: Elite Care 24-Hour Emergency, MedSpring Urgent Care, River Oaks Emergency Room–A Village Emergency Center

Favorite Hydrating IV Spa

Vitality IV Studio 

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and, among others.
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