The IFBB Bikini division is constantly evolving. It seems like the hardest thing to do is repeat as champion in this division. This will be the fourth year of the Bikini International and, if history repeats itself, we’ll see a fourth woman crowned the champ. Nicole Nagrani won the inaugural show and has since put competing on hold to continue her studies. Sonia Gonzalez took top honors at the second contest and has since been away from the stage as a mom. India Paulino is coming back to defend her title but, as we saw by her fifth place finish at the Olympia, she’s not guaranteed the top spot.
The 2014 Bikini International is really any woman’s show, and you’re more likely to get struck by lightning than predict the top 10 in exact order. Even so, I'll lay out my early predictions after we take a look at the entire field.
Noy might be the “master” of this group, but she proves that age is merely a number for many women. She won her first pro show at the 2013 Sacramento, the introduction of the Masters Bikini division. She finished fifth in the open portion of the contest, proving she can hang with the young bucks. Noy certainly doesn’t look different from her fellow competitors and will more than hold her own on this stage. She was 15th here last year, and I look for her to be in the mix for the top 10 this time around. She’s improved her stage presence and is more confident than ever when she competes.
Stacey had a great 2013 season and will look to continue it once again this year. She finished in the top three in each of the five shows she entered and leaped into the top spots at the Olympia, where she finished in third. She had her first win of her pro career at the 2013 Muscle Contest and seems to have found a look the judges like. This will be her first time competing at the Bikini International. Look for her to be in the hunt for the win. She’ll be in shape and if she wears a red bikini, the color will go great with her dark hair.
Jennifer tends to fare better at smaller shows than big ones like the Arnold and Olympia. She was 15th at the 2013 Olympia and finished in seventh at the Bikini International last year. The seventh place finish was her highest finish in Columbus, and this will be her fourth time competing at this event. She was ninth in 2011 and 12th in 2012. Jennifer is coming off a win at the 2012 Ft. Lauderdale Cup and will look to carry that momentum into Columbus. Jennifer has a beauty pageant, southern belle vibe going for her. She has a permanent smile on her face and, when she presents, you almost expect the cordial pageant wave to go with her big hair.
Juliana didn’t compete in 2013, but she decided to come back and give the bikini division another go. She has one of the most athletic physiques in the division, and it can work for or against her depending on who she is compared to. When she is conditioned, she can hang with the best. She’s not the curviest woman in the group, but her tight, toned physique combined with her confidence helps her finish in the mix. Personally, I’m drawn to her physique because it is on the more athletic side. She’s currently an NBA cheerleader for the Atlanta Hawks and has a background in swimming, which is evident in her look. She’s been as high as second and as low as 14th in the pros.
Marget isn’t a familiar name to most in the USA, but she’ll make her presence known in Columbus. She won the 2013 World Championships, which granted her IFBB Pro status. She is Iceland’s first IFBB Pro. She’s a black belt who has taken numerous top spots in Tae Kwon Do tournaments. She was fourth at the 2012 Arnold Amateur Bikini but has only competed in a handful of shows. This will be her IFBB Pro debut. She has a great look and, although she’ll have her work cut out for her against this lineup, she’ll turn more than a few heads no matter where she finishes. I like her look and she could be the one to shake things up.
Ashley is coming off a great 2013 season. She could be the first competitor to win the Arnold amateur and pro show. She won the Arnold Amateur in 2012 and finished 10th at Bikini International, her second show as a pro. The 10th place finish was the lowest she’s finished. Since then, she has yet to place lower than second. She’s riding a winning streak of three shows in a row and is the reigning Bikini Olympia champ. She has an athletic physique and always comes in tight and toned. She doesn’t have the muscle maturity some of the other competitors, but it doesn’t seem to hurt her in the placings. I’d be shocked if she’s not in the first callout being compared for the win.
This will be Courtney’s first appearance at the Bikini International, and she could be a contender for the top spots. This is only her second year competing as a pro and, at the age of 20, she’s the youngest competitor. She has two pro victories already and is coming off a seventh place finish at the Olympia. She has long, lean muscles and is one of the taller competitors in the show. Courtney just needs time to fill out her frame and add some muscle maturity. If she comes in a bit fuller, especially in her arms, she’ll be in the mix for the top six. She continues to improve her stage presence and it’s definitely helped her move up the ranks.
Amanda is no stranger to the winner’s circle. However, while she’s been there nine times before, she has yet to finish higher than fifth at a big show. Amanda finished sixth at this show in 2011 and matched that placing at the 2013 Olympia. She’s full of energy and takes the stage with confidence. When she does her individual poses, I tend to cringe and say to myself, "What are you doing?" She tends to cock one leg out and pose unlike anyone else in the show. I find it kind of distracting, and it takes away from her physique. She has a great backside, and she’s quite proud of the rump she’s built. If she ditches the awkward individual posing, I think she’ll move up.
Janet burst onto the NPC scene in 2013 and will look to make her presence known in the pro ranks. She’s won every class she’s entered, and the only time she didn’t win the overall was at the 2013 Ft. Lauderdale Cup. Janet was the 2013 Overall NPC Nationals champion and has undeniably good looks. If she looks familiar, it’s because she has a strikingly similar look to her sister, IFBB Pro Monique Ricardo (formerly Monique Minton). Janet is one of the taller competitors in the line-up and will shake things up in the top spots. I’d like to see her come in a bit fuller than Nationals and not look too thin in her upper body.
Nathalia has won the Olympia. The only title that still eludes her is the Arnold. She’s come oh-so-close numerous times and is considered a veteran of the division at this point. She’s never finished outside of the top five as a pro, and she’s proven to be one of the most consistent competitors. She wasn’t at her best at the 2013 Olympia, but she still finished in fourth. She was the runner-up at the Bikini International last year and is hungry for a win this time around. Nathalia exudes sexiness without being over the top, and her biggest challenge is keeping her Brazilian booty in check. Look for Nathalia to be on top of her game and to be a contender for the top spot.
Jessica has been competing in the IFBB since 2006. She's consistently been a top-10 contender. She competed in figure before making the switch to bikini. Last year, Jessica finished fifth at this show and will look to match and improve upon that this year. She’s one of the only blondes in the lineup and, if she can bring her lower half in tight, she could be in the top spots this year.
Justine has positioned herself as a leading lady in the division, and this is the fourth time she’s been invited to the Arnold. She missed 2012 due to an injury and withdrew from the show in 2013. She was eighth in the 2011 Bikini International and is coming off an eighth place finish at the 2013 Olympia. Justine has built one of the best booties in the division and continues to improve her stage presence. I like the look she brings to the stage and would have her in the mix for the top six.
India is back to defend her title and will have her work cut out for her to repeat as the champ. She’s never finished out of the top six as a pro and is coming off a fifth place finish at the 2013 Olympia. She poses with sass that most of the other competitors couldn’t pull off, but she manages to make it part of her personality—wearing a yellow suit and nearly popping her hip out of place when she does her individual poses. She tends to have long eye lashes and over-the-top makeup, but her placement really depends on the conditioning of her backside.
Yeshaira is coming off her best competitive year and is still riding high with her runner-up Olympia finish. She won two pro shows in 2013 and is a top contender in every show she enters. Yeshaira is one of the few competitors who can present in a cute manner and, with the blink of an eye, turn on the sex appeal. She’s a natural on stage and presents herself with class and confidence. She reminds every woman that you can be a mother and have a rock-hard body. If she brings a tight booty to the stage, look for her to be in the mix for the top three once again. She was fourth at this show last year, and I look for her to at least match that again.
Anna is beautiful enough to be a model, but she’s still finding her way in the IFBB Pro Bikini division. She’s been out of the top 10 in each of the shows she’s entered, but she has a memorable look with short blonde hair. She’s one of the taller competitors and will need to bring a tighter backside, especially in her glutes and hamstrings. This will be some of the hardest competition she’s faced to date, and she will need to be at her best in order to be in the hunt.
This will be Anna’s second trip to the Bikini International. She was 11th at this contest last year and has a good chance of moving into the top 10 this time around. She finished the 2013 season with a win at the Nordic Pro and a runner-up finish at the Prague Pro. She has a bit more muscle than some of the other competitors, but she carries it well. She continues to improve her stage presence, which could make the difference on where she finishes this time around.
TOP 10 PREDICTIONS
Predicting the top spots for this division in order is like herding cats. That said, if everyone is on point, here’s how I’d like to see it go down. Will I be right? Probably not, but that's half the fun. If you think you can call the top six in exact order, make your predictions in the comments below!
- Nathalia Melo
- Ashley Kaltwasser
- Yeshaira Robles
- Stacey Alexander
- Justine Munro
- Juliana Daniell
- Janet Layug
- Amanda Latona
- Courtney King
- Jessica Mone