Behind The Shoot: Helenia “Coffy” Bragg

Coffy had a rough start in life—until she discovered a transformative nonprofit program.

Photos by Bruce Buckley

Helenia “Coffy” Bragg spent a cumulative total of 20 years in prison during her life. After discovering the nonprofit Back on My Feet (BoMF) last year, she found her reason to rise early and run: to reclaim her life and head toward fresh beginnings, not away from the police like she used to. Her positive energy and drive to recreate herself inspired Team WR to celebrate her—and her first 5K last year!—on our cover.

“My face hurts because I’m smiling so much. It’s like I’m having a stroke!” —Coffy, because she’s the best

Motivational Factor

When photographer Bruce Buckley couldn’t get the right angle, Coffy pumped up the confidence. “It’s good! We got this, we got this!” she exclaimed, clapping her hands together. Bonus: She barely slept the night before due to nerves!

“I could get used to modeling!” —Coffy to the crew

Early Morning Coffy

It was extremely hot during the photo shoot in Alexandria, Va.—getting into the 100s! We started hair and makeup at 6 a.m.

Filter It

In between shots, Coffy, BoMF member services manager Jolee, makeup artist Kris and BoMF chapter director Grace were taking animal ear selfies and LOLing.

“You want my power pose? Power pose!” —Coffy to the photographer

Groovin’ And Shootin’

Bruce played “Flashlight” by Parliament, and Coffy was dancing up a storm and had the crew rolling—then following suit with their own dance moves.


Helenia Bragg Thanks Running For Getting Her Back On Her Feet

CEO Katy Sherratt Explains What Back On My Feet Is All About