About two years ago, I was a 20 year old young woman with no idea of what I wanted to do for a living. The only thing I did know, was that I loved working out, and reading fitness magazines. I really started to admire the way fitness models sculpted their bodies, and one fitness model in particular. I decided that one day I wanted to be a professional fitness model just like her.
How I Got Started...
That year I went with one of my friends to the Arnold Classic, to meet my fitness model idol. I was elated when I finally got to meet her. I told her how much I admired her, and that one day I wanted to be a fitness model "just like you". She smiled and was very nice, and told me that if I sent her pictures, she would forward them to a professional fitness photographer. Then she gave me her address, and I was on cloud nine.
I went home, and worked out even harder with a photoshoot scheduled with a local photographer coming up, to take pictures to send to my fitness idol. I shot the pictures, and with all the hope in the world, sent them to the address she gave me. Two weeks later, I was absolutely crushed when the letter came back to me, saying "No Such Address ." I thought to myself, maybe it was an accident and I wrote the wrong thing, surely my idol would not give me a fake address, and if so, why? The next appearance I saw her at, I told her what happened, she gave me another different address, and the exact same thing , "No such address." It was then that I realized how competitive, and catty some women in the fitness industry could be.
I made a conscious decision then and there, that if I was blessed enough to ever become nearly as successful as my former fitness idol was, that I would do everything in my power to help anyone who wanted to get into the industry.
I took a proactive approach, and did tons of research to find out myself who the pro fitness photographers were. I sent the same pictures that came back to me "No Such Address" into the first published fitness photographer I found. He called me the very next week, and flew me out to shoot. Two months later, those pictures were published on the COVER and in a 30 page spread of just me in the December 2002 issue of Muscular Development magazine.
In The Last Years...
It was so surreal, I still don't believe it. Since then, in the past one year, I have been blessed enough to be on three covers of Muscular Development Magazine, and to have also been featured in spreads in Musclemag, Fitness Beauties, Weekly World News, Muscular Development and an upcoming issue of American Curves.
A couple of the covers that I have been on.
I was hired last year to work a booth at the very same event I was a fan at, the Arnold Classic. Muscular Development magazine hired me to represent their booth at this year's Olympia, and I got to work with one of my other fitness idol's, who did not disappoint me in any way. This model is now one of my closest friends, Brandy Dahl.
All of this happening in just one year's time has taught me so much. There are people in the fitness industry who are competitive, bitchy, and downright mean. There are also, however, people live up to and who exceed the meaning of a true role model. I have met so many wonderful people, and I am looking forward to a long career in what I think is one of the most fabulous jobs in the world.
Oh, and did I mention that three months ago, I got an email that reminded me so much of what I said to the girl that gave me a fake address. The girl who emailed me, named Jennifer, said she was trying to lose weight and wanted to become a fitness model. She said she looked up to me as her fitness idol.
I emailed her back, got her phone number, and called her personally. I gave her a bunch of tips, and then we hung up. Three months later, I heard back from her, and she has lost over 20 pounds, and is on her way to attaining the figure she is working so hard for. I know that one day, I will see her in a fitness magazine showing off her hard work. Jennifer has helped me keep my promise to myself, and to make a positive difference in the life of another. To me, that is the true meaning of what being a fitness model is all about.