BB.com: Hey Melissa thanks for talking with us... so you ready? Let's get started. First, let's get the 411 on you for all those guys out there. You know; your measurements, height, weight, and all that good stuff.
Mel: Hi! Thank you so much for getting with me!
Weight: (contest) 133-136lbs.
Chest: 40" DD
BB.com: How did you get started in the fitness industry?
Mel: I got started in the fitness industry close to ten years ago. I joined a gym in my hometown named the Body Elite Fitness Center. Where I come from, that's where all the real bodybuilders train. Anyway, I tinkered around for six to seven years, staying fit the whole while, but did not start seriously training for bodybuilding until around three years ago.
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BB.com: What direction are you planing for a career in fitness?
Mel: I plan on bringing a new, healthier, more feminine appearance to the bodybuilding stage. I am all about being powerful and muscular, but under no circumstances will I forfeit any femininity. I'd like to be a role model for women, who in the past were afraid to lift weights... in fear of compromising their femininity. I'm here to tell you - it doesn't have to be that way!
BB.com: What shows have you done?
Mel: I did one show when I was seventeen years old, in my hometown; it was a very small show with only two competitors. I won the show, only because I was in the better out of shape condition, lol! It was a last minute thing. Ten years later (last November); I entered the John Sherman classic in Houston, Texas. I competed in the light-heavy open division, in which I emerged victorious! ;o)
BB.com: Awesome! What future plans do you have for competition?
BB.com: How do you diet for competition? Do you have any special tricks?
Mel: I diet for my competitions by starting out early... say 16 weeks. I up my calories so much at the beginning, that slowly, as I reduce them, my body recognizes the deficit and fat start's falling off. I still keep my calories high enough that I won't lose any muscle, even towards the end.
No special tricks; really just common sense. It works so well that I don't even start doing cardio until 3-4 weeks out. I also do not de-carb. I'm still eating rice and yams the day before the show.
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BB.com: Does your training change when getting prepped for competition or stay the same?
Mel: No, my training stays exactly the same. I don't lose any muscle during my dieting phase. So I don't get weaker. I train for intensity... whether that's light with reps or heavy with fewer reps. Your body cannot read the poundage's on the plates and machines it only responds to stress. Whether it takes 20 reps or 3 reps... intensity can be had either way.
BB.com: I've noticed you've done some figure. Do you like more figure comp or bodybuilding?
Mel: I haven't done any figure shows. I've only done the John Sherman Classic in Houston, TX (a national qualifier), which I won the light-heavy open class.
BB.com: My bad... saw you in a bathing suite picture with a sash, was wondering if it was a figure show. OK, enough with the boring stuff. Let's depress the guys reading this. Are you seeing anyone?
Mel: I'm nothing to get upset over! But yes, I'm married. I've been with my husband since I was 16 years old, and we've been married for close to 3 years now. Altogether, we've been together for around 11 years. He completes me and I couldn't be happier!
BB.com: Trust me they're crying right now. OK, then what do find attractive in a guy?
Mel: What I find attractive in men is security in who they are and most of all... a lack of ego. I am so totally turned off by a man who spends more time in the mirror and talking about himself than he spends just enjoying life. If you're a man, be a man, and be humble about it. Don't try to convince everyone, mostly yourself, that you may be one.
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BB.com: Now some political stuff. How do you feel about the 20% memo? Kinda hard to tell if someone has dropped 20% of there muscle, Hugh?
Mel: I couldn't be happier about it. It's about time. I think the problem started when people were having trouble telling the female competitors from the males. I mean... lets be completely honest when one cannot honestly tell the difference between a female bodybuilder and a male bodybuilder, except for a set of implants and some lipstick there is a problem.
The general public, as well as other male and female athletes in our sport more than likely did not want to look at some of these girls anymore. There were rumors about certain female bodybuilding shows getting axed due to lack of interest, etc.
When is the last time a female bodybuilder was on the cover a major muscle magazine? Female bodybuilders are slowly becoming un-marketable. Why do you think that is? There may be a few covers I missed, but you get my point. Anyway, I don't think a female should get on stage with more circulating androgens than the average male has. If that's the case then it truly isn't fair that they are allowed to compete against women who want to body-build and compete, but at the same time remain feminine.
It's about money. People not wanting to see things as they are equals no money. That's why there has been talk of not having a Ms. O this year. People wanting to see the women equals cash in, it's pretty obvious what the problem is and what has to be done.
Don't get me wrong, I admire anyone who has the discipline and commitment to train as hard as we do and diet, etc. I'm not knocking that. I just didn't like the old judging criteria that basically all but dictated that I would have to sound like James Earl Jones and shave my traps before I got on stage if I expected to place, let alone win.
And not all of the top women in our sport do I find unattractive, not by a long shot! There are plenty of gorgeous women still out there today. Even winning shows, that I find beautiful. Just to name a few, and in no particular order are: Colette Nelson, Chris Roth, Joanna Thomas, Yaxeni Oriquen, Lenda Murray, Lisa Auckland, and the list goes on.
These women weren't in every case, the hardest or biggest in their classes, but they were just the best all around package a lot of the time, hence their high placing's. All in all I think the women were in some cases beginning to look unhealthy and unnatural. I think this new guideline will turn out more interest in the sport as well as healthier, more marketable athletes.
BB.com: Whew! Just remember Mel, girls where considered big and manly back when Rachel McLish was competing. Now, Melissa, tell us some of the things you like to do outside of bodybuilding?
Mel: Well, outside of bodybuilding my life is pretty simple. I like shopping, going to movies and out to eat, lying out at the beach, and just spending quiet time at home.
BB.com: Can you describe yourself for us?
Mel: Wow, that's a tricky one! I am really more down to earth than others would imagine. I am much more approachable than people would think. I like having nice conversations and I am a very generous person.
I love animals, keep to myself pretty much, and enjoy life no matter what obstacles may present them selves. I live life on my own terms, and in general, I am a happy-go-lucky person.
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BB.com: Do you have any modeling aspirations?
Mel: Modeling aspirations? Yes. I'd like what everyone likes, really. I'd like to see my name in lights and be vulgarly rich! Seriously, I'd like to be considered for print ads, supplement company endorsements, gym apparel and gear ads, etc. I'd like to be seen in magazines and on magazine covers one day.
I haven't, in a long time seen any female bodybuilders on the cover of a single muscle magazine. I see figure and fitness models on them a lot, which is great, hey, those gals train their butts off and they're absolutely beautiful. My hats off to them.
What gets frustrating is when I see gals on covers and in layouts in muscle magazines that obviously have never stepped foot in a gym, gals that don't even train, that all they have going for them is a pretty face, a great plastic surgeon, and bulimia! You see where I'm going with this. Anyway, back to the point. I, with the package that I present, would like to change the way everyone views female bodybuilders and put us gals back on some magazine covers and in some layouts!
BB.com: Give us some of the benefits you've found from competing?
Mel: Well, this won't take long... I've only stepped on stage twice in my life! The first time was nearly eleven years ago! My second show was the 2005 John Sherman Classic. The benefits I got from competing were many. I think that being backstage with all the competitors gave me a sense of "belonging".
I felt like we were all one big family having a good time. I think that my presentation will benefit this year from having practiced the year before, and I think my confidence onstage will show through, having overcome my stage fright last year.
Lastly, I wouldn't exactly describe this as a "benefit", but it did make me feel really good. When I got off stage, put my sweatpants back on, and went into the lobby with my trophy... I had a bunch of kids and even a few adults come up to me for pics and autographs!!! It gave me such a feeling of accomplishment. It made me feel like I was "somebody", so to speak.
Heck, I was getting autographs and pics from people I've admired for years at the big expos, etc., and here I had a few people coming up to ME! It just felt really good to be a part of something that inspires others.
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BB.com: Thanks for taking the time Buff Doll. You are "great" and hope all goes well for you at the Jr's and USA. Good luck with all your contest prep.
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