A driving passion to be the sport's top female competitor has kept the popular Dayana Cadeau training and competing in bodybuilding for over 14 years. After winning the Quebec City Bodybuilding Championships in 1992 - her first ever show - Dayana set about improving her physique to a level where she would be helping to set the standard for up and coming female competitors the world over.
She realized this aim in 2004 with a lightweight Ms. Olympia win. Since then, Dayana has refocused her training to bring a more feminine, yet still very muscular physique to whichever stage she chooses to grace. At the 2005 Ms. Olympia, and 2006 Ms. International, Dayana placed 3rd and 2nd respectively amongst line-ups featuring some of the most massive female competitors ever seen.
In keeping with the new criteria for streamlined mass and femininity, Dayana felt she should have done better at both these shows. Indeed, her physique conveyed beauty, grace and cutting-edge muscle at its very best.
What possibly separates Dayana from her competition is her insistence on beauty over extreme muscle size. She feels a women's beauty should also be reflected in her physique. Dayana has this beauty according to many.
Photographer extraordinaire Bill Dobbins, who knows a thing or two about the female physique in its muscular sense, says she is one of the most impressive he has seen: "I've been more and more impressed with Dayana Cadeau. Dayana has the most sensuous and voluptuous physique in bodybuilding, as well as one of the most beautiful faces," says Bill.
"She has such tremendous 'Flex Wheeler' type fullness to her muscles that people tend to think she is much bigger than she is." What Dayana now hopes to do is continue the trend of beautiful muscular fullness for which she has become famous, and win another Ms. Olympia title. This might just be her year to do it.
[ Q ] Hi Dayana. What got you started in bodybuilding and what has been your greatest moment in the sport to date?
I've been competing for a while (since 1992), and I never seem to stop. I love competing, and especially seeing my body changing every time - it's like creating a work of art. The greatest moment in my life in bodybuilding was when I turned pro in 1997. I won the Canadian show in Toronto.
[ Q ] Where are you from originally and where did you grow up?
I was born in Haiti, but I grew up in Canada. At seven we moved to Quebec City; so I speak Creole from Haiti, French and English; my mother was a teacher so she did make sure that I kept speaking my languages.
[ Q ] I hear your surname has a special meaning for you. What is this?
My name is Dayana Cadeau. Cadeau means "Gift" in French and that's why my e-mail address is bodygift. I have the body and I'm a gift for bodybuilding!
[ Q ] What is it about bodybuilding you like most?
To tell you the truth, I didn't like women's bodybuilding physiques before I start competing. I didn't find them attractive or pretty. I had a friend in Quebec who was a personal trainer at the gym I was at, so he asked me to come and see a bodybuilding show with him - so I could see what these physiques really looked like; I said yes, why not!
When I saw those women, I was surprised to see some of them could be pretty, even if they had big muscles. See; being pretty and having muscles was, I thought, unattainable before watching those girls. When I saw Cory Everson I found her to be very beautiful - not too big, but a nice figure.
That's when I decided I could do it as well: having muscles and staying pretty was my goal. Since I've been competing I have never changed my image. This means staying beautiful and maintaining a nice figure, because I think if I can bring back the kind of physique that Cory Everson presented it will change women's bodybuilding.
Besides, there is Lenda Murray, who did a great job for eight years in a row - what a woman. I have a lot of admiration for her and would like to follow her example!
[ Q ] How do you improve from one show to the next?
Since I've been competing and everything I'm doing for a show, it's important for me to improve myself all the time. The body is like art and you can always make it look better and better. That's why I keep coming back every year. I always train harder each time to make the improvements.
The Body Is Like Art.
You Can Always Make It Look Better.
[ Q ] What are your strong points?
I'm blessed to have a physique like this; my muscles are round and I have nice proportions and symmetry (with a perfect V-taper), and good definition all the time.
My legs are my strong point, but my weakness was my abs and biceps; I had to work my upper body very hard to make my symmetry better because of my big legs. So what I did is make my back wider and work on my biceps because my triceps are huge, honestly.
[ Q ] What is your training strategy?
Every time I'm training I'm not thinking of gaining more muscles. I only want to gain if it is to correct something to improve overall balance. I work on my physique for quality. Like I said before - my body - it's an artwork given by God.
I always make sure to compete in top shape with deeper definition all the time. But the most important thing for me is to keep my beauty as well - looking good all the time is important to me.
[ Q ] What is important for you when preparing for a show?
In 2001 I won Miss International lightweight. I won twice also in 2004, plus the Ms. Olympia in 2004. Well I decided to be a lightweight at this point and trained to stay at lightweight. I just went slow on the hard training and did a lot of cardio because I gained muscle very easily.
It's a blessing, but sometimes I wish I didn't have to work that hard to be a lightweight. I'm naturally built of lean mass, which like I say is a gift from God; the thing with me is it's that I can be a lightweight, middleweight or heavyweight.
Now there is no more weight class, to be honest with you I feel free to workout hard and not to worry about my weight, but of course I do make sure to stay at 135-137 pound in contest shape at 5'4".
[ Q ] How long does it take you to get into top shape?
When I'm competing I cut back on everything that is not part of my diet at least two months out. It takes me two months to get ripples because I'm careful off-season.
[ Q ] Did you feel confident going into your last show? How did you feel about the outcome?
Last year when I trained for the Ms. Olympia 2005, I felt confident and ready. The rules did change, as they were asking for an aesthetic look, not too big, not that hard. I was sure I won based on this - I had everything. It was only one class, but I ended up in 3rd place when everybody thought I should have won - even Lenda Murray thought I should have won.
They gave it to Yaxeni who was 175lbs and Iris placed 2nd. She was much bigger than me, but nobody understood the decision, even myself. I was shocked. This didn't leave me mad; I thought the fact that I'm prettier than them and also smaller would help me to win, but I was wrong, so I trained harder for the Ms. International.
Click Image To Enlarge.
2006 Ms. International:
Iris Kyle (1st), Dayana Cadeau (2nd), Yaxeni Oriquen (3rd).
I came in sharper while maintaining my beauty, but again they gave it to Iris. Nothing against those girls, but it's hard to understand when they were asking for a certain look right.
[ Q ] What look did you want to present at this year's Ms. International?
What I did for the Ms. International this year is to come in fuller. It looks better on me, and the judges said they liked the nice proportions I have so I brought this as well.
I will start training for the Olympia this year, and I want to win because I have everything to replace Lenda Murray, and I'm prettier. I will represent the sport as a beautiful woman with muscles, showing that you can have muscles while being pretty.
Dayana's Pro Contest History:
- 1997: 10th place, Jan Tana Classic
- 1998: 3rd place, Jan Tana Classic
- 1998: 11th place, Ms. Olympia
- 1999: 10th place, Arnold Classic
- 1999: 6th place, Pro Women's Extravaganza
- 2000: 2nd in lightweight, Jan Tana Classic
- 2001: Ms. International lightweight winner
- 2001: 3rd place, Ms. Olympia lightweight
- 2002: 2nd place, Ms. International lightweight
- 2002: 5th place, Ms. Olympia heavyweight
- 2003: 4th Ms. International lightweight
- 2003: Jan Tana Classic middleweight winner
- 2003: 2nd place, Ms. Olympia lightweight
- 2004: Ms. International lightweight winner
- 2004: Ms. Olympia lightweight winner
- 2005: 3rd place, Ms. Olympia
- 2006: 2nd place, Ms. International
[ Q ] What are your best qualities, and what do you want to achieve as a bodybuilder?
I don't give up, ever - I'm a fighter and a good one of course, so my goal is to be the next Ms. Olympia for awhile. I have worked hard, and I'm a good example for female bodybuilders. These girls have changed compared to years back - all they think about is being bigger and more muscular, but that's not the beauty of the sport.
[ Q ] So what is your advice to an aspiring female competitor?
My advice to them is to keep working hard on their physiques and to treat their body like art, and stay pretty, so people can see that WOW those women have muscles but they are beautiful as well.
That's why Bill Dobbins kept using me as an example for women's bodybuilding; being sexy, sensual and pretty with nice muscle. When people see me in the street they love my physique and find me attractive - both men and women. That's why I won't change my image!
[ Q ] What do you do besides bodybuilding?
Besides bodybuilding David, I was an aesthetician in Canada. I owned my own spa for over four years and I'm still doing this work. I have always been in the beauty industry, and right now I'm thinking about opening a new spa in Florida. I have lived there for over five years now.
Right now, I have my two web sites I'm taking care of. I also do personal training, plus I'm into acting. I've been taking acting school and I will become an actress in July this summer. So I'm thinking about moving to California to have more work.
I'm like anybody else David; I do ordinary stuff also. I also love doing hot yoga. I've been doing yoga for over two and a half years. It helps me to stay relaxed, and lessens my stress levels. Also here is my little secret: it's good for the muscles, as it makes them look good - my training is much better since I've been doing yoga - I'm very flexible for a body builder.
With yoga you can stay lean off-season and look at your best all the time, plus I eat healthy during the week, but have a cheat day on the weekend.
| Writers Note:
An aesthetician is a qualified skin care specialist trained to administer beauty treatments for the skin.
[ Q ] How long would you like to continue bodybuilding?
Regarding bodybuilding, I still want to compete until I get very busy with my acting. I don't really know how long I will compete for. I'm 40 years old but still look good.
[ Q ] Just to finish Dayana, tell the readers something about yourself that not many people know.
I'm a very easy-going person. Also I'm seeing somebody right now, but I've been married before a long time ago. I am a very calm and quiet person. When I'm home not travelling, I love to read and listen to romantic music. Sometimes I go to a nice dinner and a movie with friends.
I'm a very honest person - sometimes too honest. What you see is what you get. I can be sensitive; one thing I need to learn is to slow down. I can be very demanding and hard on myself, and sometimes to other people. I'm much better now with that one thing.
I'm stronger as a person than people think. Yes they know I can take care of myself, but it's not everyone who can fool me. I learned from past experiences to trust people very little - especially men. I had some bad experiences in my life with men. I love men, but in learning from my mistakes, I have found they can't fool me anymore. I'm smarter and wiser now.
"Lately, I've been more and more impressed with Dayana Cadeau. Dayana has the most sensuous and voluptuous physique in bodybuilding, as well as one of the most beautiful faces. The only problem I've had is getting my photos of Dayana published in magazines.
"She has such tremendous "Flex Wheeler" type fullness to her muscles that people tend to think she is much bigger than she is, which tends to turn off publishers and art directors. However, at the 2003 Ms. Olympia Dayana was only 127 pounds, if you can believe it. So although she is getting the kind of recognition she deserves from the judges, I think she's still a bit "too good" for the publications."