Location: Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N High St., Columbus, OH 43215
This is my first year attending the Arnold Sports Festival. I heard horror stories of the lack of close parking, and the number of people who attend (over 200,000). I decided to park and walk. No issues. On Friday I stayed in the free area and on Saturday I bought a ticket for the Expo ($20).
I encountered several people of color competing and performing. Here is the order in which I talked to them.
Tell me about what you do.
I’m a Christian hip hop man. I love to be able to put this out for the family. There is a lot of music out there that isn’t positive.
How long have you been doing this? Where do we buy your music?
I wrote my first song when I was 14. I attended a Christian camp and learned the basics of Christian hip hop from my mentor. I have been writing ever since then. I went national about five years ago. I have been performing throughout the city and across the states. I am the four-time Ohio hip hop award winner for best holy hip hop artist in Cleveland in the Ohio hip hop conference.
You can buy my music anywhere digital, i.e. iTunes, spotify, etc.
Advice for the next generation?
I talked to Solana Lewis (63 Kg IPF Junior World Champion). It is remarkable that a 138.6-pound young lady can squat 358 pounds, bench press 182 pounds and dead lift 420 pounds.
I talked to Amateur Strongwoman competitors Shanice Harriston, Monica Johnson, and Alisha Oden.
How long have you been a fitness model?
I’m not a fitness model per say. I don’t compete or train for fitness competitions. Sad to say; but, unless I know I am going to be painted (I usually know a month in advance) that is the only time that I am serious about training.
What got you involved with body paint modeling?
I was comfortable in my skin and felt like I was expressing a living piece of art work. The 3D aspect mesmerized an inner tingling sensation that was quickly addictive! I was able to create my own art fantasy with two other female artists. Artistically.
What advice would you give a young person who wants to do what you are doing (model for body paint)?
Be comfortable in your own skin. Know that the viewer will typically appreciate and gaze 75% of the time over the artists transformational designs in admiration versus 25% of the time of your body/scape of the self/personal flaws (you) see of yourself. Body self-confidence is 75% and the other 25% is gained from the admiration from the viewers.
Sidebar: I bumped into Dyon briefly in the hall on Friday. He was “done” up and on his way somewhere. He gave me his contact information. I stopped by the body paint area several times during the competition (Saturday). Each time, Dyon was on display! I will include pictures of the process in a future article. Dyon is FULL of personality. After a while, I had to be creative to get pictures of him because whenever he saw me, he was making faces or sticking out his tongue (full of personality).
Sidebar: This is what is great about the Arnold. In the hall, I walked up to the following ladies and they allowed me to take their picture and Sammica Cash agreed to an interview.
How long have you been working out?
Since 1998. I have been competing since 2014. I became an IFBB (International Federation of Body Builders) Pro in women’s physique. In 2017, I went pro on my 46th birthday. I will be 48 this year.
Clearly you can’t eat everything you want to eat. Tell me the sacrifices you must make to look like this.
Clearly… This is off season; so, I’m not in stage ready condition. I can eat whatever I want right now. I still don’t eat bad because I try to practice a healthy lifestyle whether I am competing or not. When I am getting ready for a show, I can’t have any pizza, pasta, fruits or dairy products.
Well, tell me what you can have it seems like you have listed just about everything most people eat.
I eat a lot of fish. If you eat meat, it needs to be lean meat. My beef of choice is bison. I eat a lot of ground bison and ground turkey. My vegetables of choice are asparagus and spinach.
How long do you just eat fish and vegetables?
You might prep for 20 weeks. 20 weeks without alcohol would be the biggest thing for me. I like to drink. 20 weeks without tequila, that is the sacrifice right there. I can go without the pasta, and I can go without the spaghetti; but, that alcohol, that’s rough on me.
How many competitions do you do in a year?
I usually do two competitions a year. I haven’t picked a competition yet this year. I have been giving my body a rest. The body goes through a lot due to the deprivation of carbs. Getting ready for a show involves a lot of water manipulation and different things that you must do to get dry on stage.
Ok are you the competitors that do the poses?
We do a routine in women’s physique.
Are there many women of color that participate in Women’s physique?
Much more than when I first started. We kick cuss word and take names now. We command the stage. When I went pro in 2017 at the North American Championship, there was me and another black lady. We went one two the whole night. To be honest, it is more difficult for us as far as diet is concerned. I’m not racist but white girls have been eating salad all their lives. We have been eating corn bread and beans. Many times, we would get beat in the kitchen (meaning having a disadvantage due to diet). When you begin to understand the importance of our diet and want to live a healthier lifestyle, you incorporate that. When you are a champion, you don’t want to lose. You must win in the kitchen too.
Is there a weight limit?
Not in women’s physique. When you go pro, it’s everybody competing against everybody. In the amateur level it goes by height and sometimes by age. When I step on the stage at 47 years old, many times I am competing against younger girls.
Clearly, you are some type of body builder, tell me what you do.
Last night, I did the biggest competition in the world, which is the Arnold classic. I lost by one point. I am very happy with the achievement that I have made. That is not what the fans wanted; but, I still give respect to the champion.
Is there a weight class?
There is no weight class in classic. You get measured by height. I am 5’10”, my weight limit is 215 pounds. A shorter guy has a lower weight limit. All the guys were different heights; but, they were the best in the world.
How long have you been doing this, and what is your advice for someone else who wants to do what you are doing?
I have been doing it for two years. It is about taking your time and polishing your look.
My take on the Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: A Splash of Color:
Seeing people passionately pursuing what they love is inspiring. It was clear all are dedicated and committed or else they would not have been invited to perform/compete at the Arnold Sports Festival. I observed a spark when each person explained their event or what they do. Watching the performance/competition is great; but, the connections/interactions are priceless.