Bikini International Interview: Shelsea Montes.

Bodybuilding.com sat down with this pint-sized bikini competitor and Team Bodybuilding.com member as she prepares for the Arnold weekend. She might be small, but she brings the bikini swagger in a big way.

Bikini International Interview: Shelsea Montes

Shelsea Nicole Montes (aka Seashell)

Born In: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Grew Up In: I am from a military family, so growing up took place where ever the Army decided my dad should be stationed. Luckily, I got the chance to be in places like Germany, Puerto Rico, Colorado, and, lastly, Texas.

Currently Resides In: Austin, Texas.

View Shelsea Montes' Contest History Here.

Q: What's your heritage/background?

A: Proudly Puerto Rican!

Q: Were you a hyper kid growing up?

A: Yup, and I still am! As I grew up, I found that I like being thought of as the girl with a lot of positive energy.

Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Olympia.
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Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Olympia.
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Q: When did you break out of your shell or were you never in one?

A: I was never in one. I grew up in a very traditional Puerto Rican family.

And by traditional I don't mean conservative, I mean LOUD and CRAZY. Being in this environment full of love, laughter, and happiness encouraged me to be outgoing, positive, happy, confident ... me!

Q: Did you play sports or cheerlead in high school?

A: I was the starting center on my high school basketball team ... SIKE! I guess that's not really funny if you didn't know how tiny I am.

I did really well as a dancer throughout high school and my favorite style was hip-hop. I also ran cross-country but never broke any records.

Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Olympia. Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Olympia.
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Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Olympia.
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Q: College--you go or take a pass?

A: Instead of following the rest of the pack to college, I chose to follow my entrepreneurial spirit and start my own business. The first step was to attend cosmetology school.

Next, I worked at some of the salons that I admired.

Lastly, I jumped ship and started my own business. I've been running it successfully--while juggling training and newlywed life--for a year now. Yay, me!

Q: How did you get into doing hair and makeup and lashes?

A: It all started with the typical slumber parties and makeovers. Once I decided to make it a career, I began researching trends within the industry.

Four years ago, eyelash extensions were only for the elite and celebrities. I got a hunch that this was not just a bubble, so I followed my instinct and got trained in the art of ciliary beautification (yes, I just made that term up).

I love what I do, especially hearing my clients talk about how beautiful my work makes them feel.

Q: What did you want to be when you were a girl?

A: A singer, gymnast, fitness model, "beautician"-I always dreamed of so much.

I'm only 24 and have already accomplished so much of my list, so I guess there's only one thing to do.

Time for a new list!

Q: How did you get into competing in Bikini?

A: I competed in pageants in high school and after so many, my interests slowly gravitated to fitness.

Growing up, my father idolized legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sergio Oliva. This interested rubbed off on me, and one day I was approached by a trainer who suggested I consider competing.

Fitness meets pageants ... it was love at first sight!

Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions. Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions.
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Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions.
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Q: You were the first IFBB Bikini Pro when you won the NPC JR USA. Do you use that when are trying to get into a club?

A: If by "club" you mean the local 24 Hour or Gold's, then yes. They often let me bypass the check in counter and roll in VIP! [Laughs]

Q: What's the most fun about being an IFBB Pro?

A: Perks like free entry fees, sponsorships, and the chance to win prizes are great, but what I find most rewarding is the support from all the fans.

It's so great to know that there are thousands of people out there that are in my corner rooting for me.

Q: What's the scoop with the meal place that cooks all your food for you?

A: My husband owns a restaurant called Simply Fit Meals. They make fresh, tasty, calorie-specific pre-packaged meals.

For those of us that are on very specific diets, they even cook bulk orders of stuff like orange roughy and sweet potato. I never cook anymore. I'm so spoiled!

Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Pittsburgh Pro Figure & Bikini. Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Pittsburgh Pro Figure & Bikini.
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Shelsea Montes At The 2010 Pittsburgh Pro Figure & Bikini.
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Q: Some people may not know but you got married and kept it quiet. You're not very good at being quiet, so how hard was that for you and why did you keep it on the DL?

A: When my hubby and I met, we just knew. It started with jokes of getting married (you know the ones that you say because you're too chicken to really say it) and one evening while on a picnic date, he surprised me and asked me to be his best friend, his partner, and his wife forever.

A few days later, after a perfect morning run, we decided to make it official. At first we were both afraid to tell our parents because even though they are hip, they are still Latin. This also kept us from telling our friends since even one slip could have set off the parental alarm.

From that point, hubby went through the more traditional process of asking for my hand in marriage. However, everyone was very surprised when an evening engagement celebration turned into a three-month anniversary party!

I am so blessed that my whole family loves him and that I am so loved by his. As much as I love my fans and industry friends, this was just a private and personal time for Seashell and I wanted to absorb every moment together with my hubby.

Q: How did you and Mr. Seashell meet?

A: We met at his restaurant. His business partner's sister is a client of mine and she connected us because she thought it would be a good relationship (at the time I ran a small fitness bootcamp).

I initially met with his business partner, but hubby quickly found a way to join the meeting. Afterwards, he told me that he had to annoy his partner until he finally gave up my contact info. Text messages led to a date and after the first one we just knew.

Q: Okay, so for those of us who do have to cook: What's a tip you'd give to someone who asks about making their chicken taste better?

A: Dip it into a fondue pot ... ha-ha, kidding ... but that actually sounds so good right now!

I like to use spices such as cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and blends like Mrs. Dash salt free seasoning.

Q: Are you a good cook?

A: Healthy stuff, yes, but if you're talking about traditional Puerto Rican food ... nope.

Q: How did your team up with Adela and start working out with her?

A: My first time meeting with her was during a posing lesson. We instantly clicked since she was raised in Puerto Rico (PR fo' life! Woot woot!).

Her accomplishments speak for themselves and I knew that if I wanted to be the best, I had to train with the best. She is such a great trainer and even better friend!

Adela Garcia At The 2010 Olympia. Adela Garcia At The 2010 Olympia.
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Adela Garcia At The 2010 Olympia.
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Q: If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you want with you?

A: My husband. We would definitely be the Latin version of the Blue Lagoon couple!

Q: Do you think you'd work out if you were stranded on the island?

A: Of course! Who wants to be fat in a coconut bikini!

Q: What's your week/workout/days look like?

A: Cardio every morning 6 days a week:

Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Shoulders/Legs with Chica
Wednesday: Biceps/Triceps
Thursday: Back/Legs with Chica
Friday: Full-body HIIT circuit, my favorite.

I love anything HIIT!

Q: How much cardio are you doing a day?

A: I feel like I live on cardio equipment currently! Two times a day.

Q: What types of cardio do you feel have helped you improve?

A: Most definitely running, I absolutely love it! I love running races with my husband.

Shelsea Montes At The 2010 New York Pro Bodybuilding & Bikini Championships. Shelsea Montes At The 2010 New York Pro Bodybuilding & Bikini Championships.
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Shelsea Montes At The 2010 New York Pro Bodybuilding & Bikini Championships.
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Q: Any areas you've been working on since the Olympia?

A: The fans will just have to wait and see!

Q: What's the key to being comfortable on stage in heels and a bikini?

A: Confidence. Confidence in the hard work you've put in. Confidence in the dedication you've demonstrated. Confidence in the person you've worked so hard to become.

Q: Who inspires you?

A: So many special people in my life! My mom because she works hard and doesn't complain, is a great wife to my dad (29 years now!), and she is so proud of me no matter what I do in life.

Also my husband because he is so ambitious, determined, and he is the one person that is always by my side to keep me going.

Q: What supplements are you taking?

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Q: What would be the one supplement you couldn't live without?

A: My thermo definitely saves my life. Helps me get a good run in!

Q: What's your goal for the Bikini International?

A: Number one!

Q: Any tips for people attending the Arnold Expo for the first time?

A: Drink lots of water and don't eat too many protein bars!

Q: Where can people find out more about you?

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