It’s been four days since the NPC Natural Western USA in Mesa, AZ, and I’m still having a hard time believing what happened – I’m the Bikini Class F champion! I have this big trophy (affectionately referred to as Bertha) sitting next to me as I write this, so there’s proof that it wasn’t a dream, but it still feels like one! Here’s what happened:
Friday 3/9/12: I did my last cardio session early in the morning, sent photos of my posing to my coaches for any last-minute changes, and packed my stuff. Packing for a competition is a major production because there are a million things to remember, including your food (very important!), makeup products, hair products, suit, heels, jewelry, registration paperwork, etc. I had a checklist that I looked over obsessively because I was terrified of forgetting something.
I drove to Phoenix and went straight to a nail salon to get my nails done (presentation onstage is very important – even little things like nails). Next I went to the check-in location for all competitors and got my first coat of spray tan. I waited in line for about 45 minutes to check in. I purchased my National Physique Committee (NPC) card, which every competitor must purchase annually. They measured my height to put me in the correct height class.
There turned out to be WAY more bikini competitors than they’d expected – I think it was around 100 of us! Thus there ended up being seven height classes, “A” through “G”. I am 5’7 and 1/8” so I was put in Class F. I was up against 14 girls in my class.
I checked into my hotel and relaxed with my sister, hoping to get lots of sleep because the next day would be a long one.
Saturday 3/10/12: I woke up at 5 AM because I was so excited about the day, and started doing my makeup. My sister did my hair (and it looked fabulous, thanks Julie!). I left the hotel and drove to the Mesa Arts Center, which is a cool venue. We had our morning meeting with all the competitors, then lined up to get our competitor numbers, which you safety-pin to your suit (I was #277). Then I got in ANOTHER LINE (there’s a lot of waiting around during competitions) for my second coat of spray tan.
I had lots of time to kill because the bikini competitors were dead last in the prejudging lineup. They went through the bodybuilding men and women, the men’s physique, the figure girls, and all the other divisions before finally getting to bikini. (For those of you unfamiliar with these shows, prejudging is where the majority of the actual judging occurs. At the night show they just announce the winners). While I waited, I practiced my posing over and over and over by myself. I wanted my routine to look confident yet graceful. When I finally went onstage, I felt good about it. I looked each judge in the eye (there were 9 of them) and smiled until my cheeks quivered.
After prejudging I met my sister for lunch at a sushi restaurant (I ate some lettuce with my own dressing I carried in my purse). This meant going out in public looking like an alien, which is rather entertaining. You get some confused stares! Then I took a nap in my car for half an hour before returning to the Arts Center for our next competitor meeting at 4:30 PM. The night show was set to begin at 6 PM, but I knew I wouldn’t step onstage until 8:30 or 9 PM, so I spent some time hanging out with my sister, mom, dad and aunt. It was SO nice to see them! I also had some other wonderful friends attend, and their support meant the world to me.
So now we get to the exciting part! The people working backstage announced, “If your name is highlighted on this list, you’re in the top 5 finalists in your class.” So I peeked at the list – and my name was highlighted! My heart was pounding. Finally it was time for Bikini Class F to step onstage. They announced the 5th place trophy winner … and it wasn’t me. I thought, “Oh cool, I got fourth place! That is awesome!” But then they announced 4th place, and again, it wasn’t me. At this point I’m freaking out inside. When they announced that I was the first place winner, I was shocked and felt tears start to develop. Fortunately they whisked us offstage before I could make a total fool of myself!
Since I won my class, I had to go BACK onstage to be judged AGAIN against all the other first-place winners of classes A, B, C, D, E, and G. So there I was standing onstage against some truly beautiful women competing for the overall title. It was just crazy. I didn’t win the overall, but I don’t feel so bad because the woman who won has been competing since 2007! She looked awesome and deserved it.
Since I won first place in my class, I am now qualified to attend a national level competition. At these competitions (there are only six happening in 2012 for bikini), you have the ability to earn your IFBB Pro Card, which is a huge feat for any competitor. So my next goal is to do just that!
Overall it was an incredible, wonderful weekend and I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. I am so grateful for all the people who helped me get there, including my coaches at Team Bombshell, who texted/emailed me all day on Friday and Saturday helping me feel totally ready. I compete again this upcoming weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, which is an even bigger event I believe… so we’ll see how it goes! I’ll keep you guys posted 🙂