I don’t have the typical inspirational story of how I got into bodybuilding; I wanted nothing to do with it. I was attending City College (CCNY) where they were holding their very first bodybuilding competition. They didn’t have enough women participants so my friend Lyndon Brown took it upon himself to start recruiting some. He approached me about participating in the competition and explained what would be expected of me. I was listening up until the point where he said two-piece bathing suit. LOL! I told him under no circumstances would I get up in front of my peers in a two-piece bathing suit! No! I didn’t know anything about bodybuilding anyway, nor was I interested in becoming one! Lyndon would not be put off. He tried so hard to convince me to do the show. I was on the CCNY women’s basketball and track teams, so I was already in decent shape…plus, I did have more than the average amount of muscle for a young woman. So, as far as he was concerned, the only thing I had to do was diet for a couple of weeks and I’d be fine. He had a point. I was always muscular, even as a child in Junior High School (JHS). If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me to “make a bicep” I would have been able to put myself through college! LOL! Lyndon persisted. He eventually wore down my resolve and I agreed to do the show.
I was taught the 7 mandatory poses and told to put a routine together to music. I got the mandatories down, and the routine I decided I would wing onstage. It went over quite well, which was not necessarily a good thing, because it set a precedent for all the routines to follow……and there were some pretty good ones! LOL! I had to start making them up ahead of time once I turned pro, because it counts toward your score on this level. There went what little free time I had! Competition day I was so nervous that I wore shades on stage so I wouldn’t see anyone in the crowd, and I demanded they dim the house lights for the same reason. I placed second in the heavyweight class and began thinking to myself that I could really do this! I mean, I would never be a world-class track star; it was way too competitive for my level of skill, whether I ran for the US or for Jamaica, W.I. There was no WNBA at the time, so there really wasn’t anything to aspire to in basketball. Not that I was world-class anyway….not even close! But I would have worked harder, and maybe….? But, this bodybuilding thing……hmmmmm……I felt I could really be good at it. So I picked up my first weight after having competed for the first time. Yes, I actually started competing before I started lifting! Here is where my journey began…..
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies and have two brothers and one sister. My parents migrated to Jamaica, Queens when I was 2 1/2 years old. So, yes, I moved from Jamaica to Jamaica! LOL! I was always a very active child, not wanting to make potholders in Girl Scouts, but rather go outside and play stick ball, basketball and sprint against the boys. I have always been into sports: participating in competitive high school (HS) and college track & field, and playing junior high school (JHS), HS and college basketball. I recall my father taking me, my sister and younger brother to play in the church basketball league, and instantly, I was hooked! My brother was a natural, but my sister and I needed more work. Even my sister was a little better than I was. I remember we lost a game 56 – 1!!! Yes, I think we were novices and they were WNBA all-stars! LOL! Well, that’s the story I’m tellin’ and I’m stickin’ to it! LOL! I studied classical piano for 10 years, performing in numerous concerts as a young girl. I filled in at church, and often played for a few of our gospel group engagements. In junior high school and high school, I joined the chorus. I have been singing for as long as I can remember, singing in the junior, senior, and gospel choirs at church at various stages of my youth; however, due to vocal inactivity, I’m not as good as I used to be. I joined the HS chorus as a sophomore. My teacher saw a gift in me and decided to sign me up to audition for New York State Voice. They were only accepting 300 students from various New York high schools, out of thousands that auditioned. I was selected with a score of 99 out of 100. I lost a point on sight reading, where they give you a song to sing that you’ve never seen before and you have to sing it as though you’ve been singing it for years! I was able to sing the tune that they gave me, but changed the key at some point in my interpretation, so they deducted a point. It was the first time I traveled and was left alone by my parents. We had to spend the weekend rehearsing all the classical pieces we were going to perform in the concert/recording that was to take place on Sunday. It was an awesome experience! While in high school, our church choir competed in, and won the 3rd annual McDonald’s Gospelfest, which awarded you the opportunity to perform in two concerts at the famed Apollo Theater with such greats as Shirley Caeser, The Williams Brothers, The Jenkin’s Brothers, and many more. I saw Debra Harry in the audience during a few of the qualifying rounds, and Melba Moore backstage as we were dressing and preparing to go on. I was good enough to perform 1 1/2 leads for both scheduled performances (1/2 due to the fact that it was a song that required 5 different leads at varying parts of the song). I was so excited!
After high school I attended to City College where I studied physical education, and LaGuardia, where I studied physical therapy. I have been practicing physical therapy for 15 years, spending the last 9 years working for a reputable institution, specializing in sports medicine and rehabilitation. I also have experience in geriatric and pediatric physical therapy. I regularly give seminars in health, fitness, and training for a wide variety of individuals: staff, students, professors, artists, dancers, martial artists, and more. I enjoy what I do because it gives me an avenue to help others. I’ve always been competitive, so bodybuilding provides me with an avenue for that. Both physical therapy and bodybuilding have afforded me the luxury of meeting a wide variety of people, which I consider a blessing.
I have been competing for 18 years and turned pro at the 2000 NPC Nationals in New York. I am best known for my symmetry, muscularity (specifically my arms) and for my entertainment value. My routines are to die for! I have gained so much notoriety in this department that 8X Mr. Olympia contracted me to do his routine for the past two years. This year, flexonline went so far as to state that his routine “was arguably the best routine ever seen on an Olympa stage.” I do music arrangements, voice-overs, choreography, training, and contest preparation for regional, national and professional bodybuilders. I am also a regional judge. I would like to win the Ms. Olympia title. It is what we are all striving to accomplish. I would like to be instrumental in educating and enlightening society about what we as female bodybuilders go through and the reason for choosing this lifestyle. There has definitely been a change in the tide over the last few years; athletic women are celebrated more now than they have been in the past. People have a better appreciation for what it takes to be a female athlete, and more importantly, a competitive, world-class female athlete. In the future, I see myself settling down with my best friend (I know you’re out there somewhere!) having children and being proactive in the sport of bodybuilding. I will continue to help other athletes with their music arrangements, choreography, mandatory’s, injuries, etc., it’s what I enjoy doing. I want to be instrumental in helping women’s bodybuilding regain the respect it so rightfully deserves.