Fitness Modeling: To Be Nude Or Not To Be Nude?

Have you been wondering how to get started in the fitness world? Brenda Kelly has put together this for you! Find out how to get where you want to be. Learn the secrets of what it is really like!

Below is an exchange that happened during the auditions for the Ironman Magazine Swimsuit Issue Shoot. A new and beautiful fitness model, Angela was being considered for one of the 9 coveted positions. The shoot is for the magazine and a video is shot at the same time for "The making of the Ironman Swimsuit Issue." It is very sexy and popular. It is also "R" rated with nudity. There are two -- three spots available for non-topless models of which I already had one.

That meant there were possibly two more and I knew Michael had already booked Lena Johannesen for one of the other ones. Chances were slim if she would not want to be one of the models that were nude for the video shoot. The magazine of course does not print any nude or topless photos for distribution; the "R" rated video would be for sale separately. This left Angela to make a decision. She expressed her confusion to Michael Neveux, owner and head photographer. He thought I might be of help sorting out her desires. Angela e-mailed me and here is a very detailed account of our correspondence.

Angela did not ultimately get to shoot with Ironman for this particular Swimsuit Issue. The good news is she ended up getting a beautiful feature in the December 2002 issue as female hardbody #2. This issue is amazingly the one I (Brenda Kelly) and my girlfriends, Kat Meyers are on the first girl/girl cover for Ironman. The other hardbody feature is none other than popular Pro Fitness athlete, Kelly Ryan. She is in VERY good company. Her photoshoot with Michael is stunning for all to see.

The even better news is, Angela and I met at the Olympia and we have a new friendship based on mutual respect and common interests and goals. Anyone can see for himself or herself what a wonderful fitness model she already is.

Dear Brenda,

My name is Angela I am 31 years old from NJ and I started competing in the NPC Figure Division last year, so far I have been doing very well. I competed 4 times and I was first place in all of the competitions. Right now I am getting ready for the Team Universe competition in NY.

The reason why I am sending you this e-mail is because I admire you very much and I visit your web site often for information. I went to LA for a photo shoot with Michael Neveux last week. I had a great time, he is a wonderful person, I think the pictures are going to be beautiful. He asked me to be part of the swimsuit edition and video, of course I was really exited about the idea.

Brenda, I just want a little advice from you, since you have been in the business for a long time, at this point of my career as a model I am not sure if doing a nude video will bring negative or positive things to my life. I do have a website with nude pictures, some of them were taken by Bill Dobbins which are very artistic and beautiful. My goal is to be a successful fitness model and to be on the cover of a magazine.

Brenda please respond to this e-mail with some advise I am a little confused at this point. I really want the publicity that Ironman Magazine will give me but I am not sure about the video. Here is a picture of me so you know who I am. Thank you! And good look in your new upcoming projects.



I have been thinking about your question on your decision. To know all of your modeling/fitness/acting goals are very important. A means to the end of your goals may not be the most important reasons for your decisions but they should come into play. We both have heard the stories of people doing anything to get ahead only to lose themselves in the process.

My own personal decisions are for reasons that would only be my own. You need to find out what your own will be through mental process. I am acting and going out for mainstream advertising jobs. Both Disney and ESPN2 will not work with me as an unknown if I have an adult website or nude images available to the public. (They wave this for celebrities) This closes doors for me. I also want major endorsement contracts with some big companies. If they research "Brenda Kelly," it must equal the image they are confident in promoting without controversy questionable ethics that come with appearing in the adult industry. Happily, my name retains great credibility.

I have been lucky to continually be promoted even though I do not work in the adult industry or do topless work. Lots of work comes up that can put a model into the adult world. I am not talking body art type physique photos such as Bill Dobbins'. Some of the things that create a business are involved with your goals too. You can get the start of a fan base for a pay site, you can get more nude work, you can get your name out there, you can get great pics for yourself, you can have a fun experience, you can get a lot of things. What do you want to happen? Only you can answer this.

You have done nude modeling so you know what that feels like. If I were you I would sit and visualize the shoot and take it all the way down the road mentally. How do you feel while you are at the shoot in your mind? Visualize the set ups, crew and location outside. If this makes you uncomfortable, you should see if you could find out your deep reasons of why. Visualize the reactions of your friends and family when this comes out.

See what that feels like. Are you excited and/or proud? Are you ashamed? Are you not affected? Will it depend on everyone else's reaction as to whether or not this is OK? Are you secure in your own celebration of your nude image to share with the public for sale? Answer these questions and you will have the beginnings of the right answer for you.

Michael also told me they would consider using you as one of the non-nude models. There are only three spots for this so you are taking a chance since there are more spots open in the nude shoot days. (I am one, so there are two more spots left.) You would be giving up a sure spot for a maybe. You need to be OK with this and be ready to be happy with your choice. Do not do anything that you don't want to do. It always ends up with negativity attached to it.

There. I hope you can make sense of this enough to let it help. You are a beautiful girl. Be the girl you choose and know the reasons why. Let me know what happens.

Brenda Kelly

Dear Brenda,

I really appreciate all the information & thoughtful insight that your e-mail gave me. I just recently began modeling (as a by product of being a figure competitor) and am caught in the confusion of getting recognition and publicity -- as you said the positive of some photos verse the negative weight of other types of photos. I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed working with Bill as well as loved the outcome of the photo shoot.

Somewhere between then and there I have been skirting the more wild side of modeling (maxim, topless, & some nudes) of which I didn't mind but in retro think it was an outcome of capturing public attention in a more rapid fashion. For some modeling assignments it of course worked to my benefit but as I go forward I feel that this is not the course that I want to peruse.

Of course my height and figure doesn't allow me the opportunities for certain forms of modeling, those types predominately found here on the east coast... so I know my modeling is limited to more straight fitness and more sexy maxim shots.

I also feel that there is some less of recognition for figure athletes as opposed to female body builders or fitness athletes. This was another reason I decided to look for other avenues for publicly -- my website (of which I will tone down a bit). As I read your e-mail I began to separate "real" modeling opportunities gained via the website as opposed to those gained through competition of having a fit body. Of which the latter won. So I realized that I am selling myself short on my natural ability to gain positive recognition through fitness. As I am sure you are so very proud of your body, I am too. All the hard work, going to the gym day after day, dieting constantly... I love to show it off, but in a positive light.

For some time I have been dealing with "odd" feelings of right verses wrong, closing one door in fear of never being let in again. Or by turning down this or that never being asked again. I have some valued friends in the business who I have listened too but never felt an impact as I did in reading your e-mail. When last I spoke to Michael, I expressed my confusion and he suggested that I send you an e-mail, explain my situation, listen to what you will say, make a decision and then get back to him.

In my modeling career I have never been more impressed and felt so "famous" and rewarded as I did when I shot with Michael. That was a definite dream come true. These are the feelings I want to feel. Being rewarded for my work in the gym, my dedication and commitment to being the best I can be. Tomorrow I will call Michael and tell him that I will like to be considered for one of the non-nude models in the swimsuit addition keeping my fingers crossed that the photos we took a couple weeks ago are the best pictures he has ever taken or seen.

On Saturday I compete in the NPC Team Universe Figure Competition - and hoping I come in 1st place...And from there, well only time will tell. I hope that what I have written makes sense to you.

Brenda thank you for your e-mail, I don't think that I can express my appreciation for your thoughts and words. I admire you very much and it's always nice to listen to what your role model has to say! Maybe one day I can thank you in person.