The Ruthless Report 17: WPD to the O—In Their Own Words, Part 1

The Ruthless Report 17:  WPD to the O—In Their Own Words, Part 1

It’s Showdown time. As in the very Julianamalfirst Olympia Women’s Physique Showdown, which is happening in Las Vegas next weekend along with all the rest of the Big O festivities. Much has been said, speculated about—grumbled about—what this new division, lying somewhere between figure and women’s bodybuilding, is supposed to be, what the competitors are supposed to look like and, naturally, what the judges are looking for. Too much actually—it was time to ask the women what they think.

I put a few questions about all of the above to seven top Olympia hopefuls, and they (mostly) weren’t shy. First up: Juliana Malacarne, Patricia Mello, Sabrina Taylor and Tycie Coppett.



Juliana Malacarne

Touted as the girl most likely to fit the women’s physique ideal, back before the competitions even started, Juliana started in Brazil as a fitness competitor. She was the national and South American champion twice in fitness and then in 2005 repeated those titles in figure, earning her pro card with an overall at the IFBB World Amateur Championships. Her final leap to WPD was, she said, “the chance to win in a division where my body fits perfect!" She won the New York Pro in 2012 and ’13.

Who among the female bodybuilders, fitness, figure competitors, etc., past or present has inspired you?
My first and foremost influence was Arnold. I was nine years old when I fall in love with the long blond hair and muscular Conan the Barbarian! When I started to compete, my inspiration was Monica Brant—she’s an icon!

Define "feminine muscle." What's your favorite thing about being a "chick with muscle"?
Feminine muscles in my opinion: You talk like a woman, you act like a woman, you think like a woman, you look like a woman, you get compliments from a lot of women, but you lift as heavy as a man can do.

Where do you think the line is between WPD and women's bodybuilding? Between WPD and figure?
I prefer to skip this one.
What's your favorite look for your physique—how much size, how much conditioning?
My favorite look for me was in 2012. I was about the same weight but less conditioned.
What do you think the WPD judges are looking for?
Something different than a bodybuilder or a figure competitor.

How are you planning to come in at the Olympia, relative to your previous contests?
I’m planning to come at my best for what I think physique stands for because it’s the Olympia and I want to win.

Are you getting a lot of advice from others about how you should look? How do you handle that? What's one thing you wish people would stop telling you?
I am not getting a lot of advice from people. I don’t ask, I don’t go to forums, I have not much of an idea about what people say about me, unless they write on my Facebook or Instagram pages. I do listen to the very few people that I truly believe.
A noticeable number of the top competitors are Brazilian. Is there some "Brazilian factor" or South American thing that gives a female competitor an edge, or is that just an urban myth?
I believe, yes. Brazilian woman, in general, are thicker on the bottom and thinner on the top. Americans are bigger breasts, chest and smaller hips; of course that is not a rule, but from my experience of living in both countries and traveling the whole of South America [it is very common]. It seems like in physique we are allowed to have more size in the legs, and that is positive for us!

Seriously, though, there's so much talk about how the first Olympia Women's Physique Challenge being definitive for the sport. Your thoughts on that?
I’ve heard that, and I believe that who they pick is the ideal.



Patricia Melloparmell

Patricia hit the pro ranks in figure in 2008. By 2010, although she’d qualified for in the Olympia twice, she realized that “my body doesn’t reflect the beauty in that class.” Before WPD came along, she said, “I was thinking about retiring.” She won the Los Angeles Grand Prix and the Europa Show of Champions this season.

Who inspired you?
At the beginning of my career, in 2002, I had some photos on my refrigerator door, such as Lenda Murray, Monica Brant and Cory Everson.

Your thoughts on "feminine muscle" and being a "chick with muscle"?
I believe that femininity is a conditional factor—some girls are naturally more feminine than others; some need some elements, accessories to make femininity more visible. "Feminine muscle" is determined by the person and how the body is represented. When I think of a [traditional] feminine body, there is a picture in my mind: some beautiful small girl wearing a bikini running on the beach with no worries and her glutes are shaking (with cellulite).

Where are the lines drawn?
This question is perhaps the most complicated because with all that has been said here, we still have some subjectivity, which can be misleading. So I prefer to think that WPD line is the middle way between bodybuilder and figure.

What's your favorite look for your physique?
I am a very visual person, so since I heard about the WPD class, I just had an image in my mind: Cory Everson. I believe her body, beauty, symmetry are exactly everything that best represents this class.

What do you think the judges are looking for?
Balance, symmetry, definition, beauty and femininity. I believe IFBB wants to expand the sport, looking to bring a larger number of competitors, inspire more people to have a healthier life. It realized there was a considerable number of people that would like to compete, who – for one reason or another – do not fit into bodybuilding, figure or bikini. I am personally very happy because I was among those people.

How are you planning to come in at the Olympia?
I've competed in five shows, with three wins and two second places. I like to challenge myself, and my biggest challenge is to be better than in my last show. Of course, I have a few tweaks and improvements to do in my body, but basically it’s the same vision, and – as I said – Cory Everson has inspired me a lot.

How do you handle advice from others? What's one thing you wish people would stop telling you?
Undoubtedly, people who like my work in some way—friends, etc.—want to participate and give their opinion. I think that's great. I like listening to people, especially in Gold's Gym in Venice, where I am very fortunate to train. There is not any question or comment that bothers me. I feel happy for people to demonstrate some interest about my career, diet, and training.

Obviously I need to put a filter by the end of my prep. Adjustments are considered with my trainer, Charles Glass, and the last word is always his. My chiropractor, Dr. Carmine Gangemi, also has helped me a lot with an old lesion in my hips.

The "Brazilian factor," real or urban myth?
In my opinion, an urban myth. It's naive for any competitor to think a category has been created to favor a group of people.

Will the decision at the Olympia be definitive for the sport?
Undoubtedly. This is the first Physique Olympia ever, and we'll really know what the judges want to see for next year. We will be placed alongside the best athletes this season, I particularly feel honored and so excited.



SabriSabrinatayna Taylor

Sabrina started in fitness, but after an injury and military obligations took her away from the competition stage, the former Marine came back in figure, quarter-turning for 1 1/2 seasons. What brought her to WPD? “Destiny!” she said. She won the Titans Grand Prix last fall to earn her ticket to the O.

Who inspired you?
Saryn Muldrow and Rachel McLish; then Susie Curry.

Your thoughts on "feminine muscle" and being a "chick with muscle"?
Feminine muscle is a woman with curves, with visible muscle absent of the striations and dryness we associate with bodybuilders. Yes, there are woman bodybuilders but what they have achieved I don't refer to as "feminine muscle." They are women with a lot of muscle, which is what that category requires. Being a chick with muscle is sexy and empowering. My favorite thing about it is training and being able to move weight.

Where are the lines drawn?
Drawing a line between divisions should be as simple as reading the IFBB/NPC rules, regulations and guidelines. I see WPD staying away from deep striations, especially in glutes, not pushing competitors into the size game, keeping the focus on symmetry. Bodybuilders come in larger, thicker, dry and with striated bodyparts. Figure is softer, but muscularity would still be seen on these competitors.
What's your favorite look for your physique?
I'm a work in progress, but the look coming into the Olympia is definitely my favorite. Not looking to come in overly conditioned. Symmetry I think is key—small waist; nice, round delts; muscular back; and, of course, we're women, so glutes definitely are important.

What do you think the judges are looking for?
I'm hoping I'm what the judges are looking for—a balance between what we've seen from West to East Coast.

How are you planning to come in at the Olympia?
Well, my first one was straight after my figure days, so I was smaller. At the show I won, I had the time to train to come in with the muscle I had before I started in figure. For the Olympia, I've had the time to put on just enough to balance my whole physique out. I don’t want to get any bigger; that's not the look I like for me. I want to stay in what I feel is feminine muscle category. I see this division prospering if we keep it achievable and desirable for woman to say, "I want to look like that."
How do you handle advice from others? What's one thing you wish people would stop telling you?
Actually, I'm hardly getting any advice from others. I wish people would stop telling me who they would like to see win [laughs]. They're not saying my name. [Laughs] Darn it!  I enjoy people, so encounters can always have a positive effect.
The "Brazilian factor," real or urban myth?
Aye, the Brazilians!  Pues tu sabes Latina soy!  Hey, I am Latin, too, so maybe the Spaniard is coming to break the myth. 

Will the decision at the Olympia be definitive for the sport?
I believe the 2013 Showdown for WPD will roll the carpet out in the direction this division will take. I don't see it replacing another division, it is a new category with new criteria, and very soon we will see the future of what it is to become.


Tycie Coppett

Transitioning to women’s physique from figure was the “logical choice” for Tycie Coppett, whose critique at Team Universe in 2011 was that she carried a bit too much muscle for the division. The suggestion was, she should consider women’s physique. So far, so good.

Who inspired you?
Without a doubt, I have been and am continually inspired by Lenda Murray. She is incomparable! Her contribution to the sport is legendary. I am so grateful for her kindness towards me and the golden nuggets of wisdom she’s shared with me along my journey.

Your thoughts on "feminine muscle" and being a "chick with muscle"?
The criterion for WP written by the NPC/IFBB provides an excellent definition of “feminine muscle.” The phrases, “athletic and aesthetically pleasing physique,” “smooth and healthy appearance,” “balanced development” and “symmetrical balance” each describe feminine muscle. In my words, feminine muscle is an impressive ability to carry a lot muscle without sacrificing the grace, beauty and poise that comes with femininity. It is supple, possesses a natural beauty to its flow and is aesthetically pleasing.
My favorite thing about being a chick with muscle is being a chick with muscle! I love muscles! Many people equate women with muscles to strength and discipline, both of which describe me well.

Where are the lines drawn?
The delineation between figure, WPD and bodybuilding should be obvious and dependent upon muscle density, size and conditioning. There should be a noticeable distinction in muscular development from figure to WP to bodybuilding. An example can be made based on the level of conditioning of the legs and glutes of competitors. For example, figure women should display toned and shapely legs and glutes, with little separation; WP should display nice lines, with clear separation in quads, hamstrings and glutes; and bodybuilding should be characterized by the highest level of conditioning, such as shredded legs and striated glutes.

What's your favorite look for your physique?
My favorite look is a shapely, athletic and symmetrical look. Even though I have put on muscle over the years, I love the fact that people still ask me if I run track! Some even ask if I am a dancer. I love the size I am now. I prefer nice lines, full muscle bellies and suppleness as my favorite look for conditioning.

What do you think the judges are looking for?
The easy answer is, they will know it when they see it. I think they’ve seen a variation of what they are looking for in the chosen winners of past competitions. I believe they are looking for a balance between muscle, conditioning, beauty, symmetry, femininity and athleticism; however, it’s not until Ms. Physique Olympia is crowned that we all will know exactly what the judges are looking for.

How are you planning to come in at the Olympia?
With each competition I’ve gotten progressively better this year. I still have not seen my best. I simply plan to bring a tighter, more polished package to the Olympia.

How do you handle advice from others? What's one thing you wish people would stop telling you?
I don’t take advice from very many people regarding how I should look. Everyone has an opinion, and listening to them all would drive me crazy and create unnecessary anxiety. The one thing I wish people would stop telling me is, “You’re perfect. Don’t get any bigger.”

The "Brazilian factor," real or urban myth?
I love my Brazilian competitors! Aren’t they awesome? The beauty and grace they each bring to the stage cannot be compared! Public opinion has given the Brazilian phenomena momentum, which is totally cool! However, at a closer glance, Mello, Malacarne, and Nascimento are each quite different when it comes to size, shape, conditioning and muscularity. I don’t necessarily think there is a certain “something” that has given them an edge. They just all happen to be Brazilian and are vying for the Olympia title this year.

Will the decision at the Olympia be definitive for the sport?
There are 16 women competing in the inaugural Women’s Physique Olympia Showdown who are each amazing representations of WP. I believe the buzz around the division is due to the variety of physiques we have seen rewarded in this. This is an exciting time, and I am thrilled! The crowning of the first Women’s Physique Olympia will without a doubt send a long-awaited message and set precedents for years to come.

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