EVENING GOWN GAINZ! WITH IPL PRO SUNNY MILLER
INTERVIEW BY BEN YOSEF | MICHAEL BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
At 47 years young (and a mother of five) Sunny Miller decided to enter the world of Physique Competition. In 2017 she would step on stage for the very first time, choosing the 2017 2nd Annual IPL California Championship on May 20th in Rancho Cordova, CA.
Miller was one of the most prolific athletes to hit the IPL Cali stage. She presented one of the most impressive physiques of the show with full, round, muscularity. Good conditioning, and a style of presentation that was an inspiring blend of elegant maturity and timeless youthfulness.
In Cali, the Evening Gown division was STACKED. Included were Novice, Masters 50+, Masters 40+, and Open. And in Cali, one woman OWNED this division. Sunny Miller. After Winning her IPL PRO CARD in Bikini Masters, and Open, Sunny Miller reemerged in Evening Gown. An overflow of adjectives can be used to describe what Sunny presented on the Evening Gown stage in California. Elegant… Regal… Stunning… Radiant… to list a few.
From her choice of gown (a double-slitted black number which received perfect 10’s across the judging panel) to her amazing physique, to her superb posing and presentation, Sunny Miller brought the IPL Evening Gown division to new heights. Needless to say, Miller clenched 1st place in Masters 40+ and IPL MASTERS PRO CARD, and Open 1st place and IPL OPEN PRO CARD.
Shout out to Elly Niezen, who was the best we have seen her on the IPL stage, and who also presented a fantastic look, which earned her 1st place in Evening Gown Masters 50+. This win landed her in the Masters Overall, where she then presented quite a challenge to Sunny. But in the end, it was Miller for the Overall title.
BEN YOSEF: Congrats on all of your success on the IPL Evening Gown stage! You are really bringing the heat it that division! [laughs] How are you feeling about all this?
“…THERE COMES A TIME TO BRING IT, IF YOU’RE GONNA BRING IT. [LAUGHS]”
SUNNY MILLER: [laughs] Well, there comes a time to bring it, if you’re gonna bring it. [laughs] The Evening Gown division allows us to really sprinkle some of our own flavors (I.e., physique, classy, sexy, sultry, style of gown and with a smile). It can also be that, “This Is My Fight Song” redemption revamp woman, empowered life moment. I like that IPL offers this category.
BEN: Nice! Well said. You splashed onto the IPL stage for the first time at the California Championship back in May. You were very impressive in the Bikini division earlier in the day where you won your IPL Pro Cards in Open and Masters. Congrats again, by the way!
But when you came out in that black Gown for the Evening Gown division, the audience’s collective jaw dropped. Did you know you would have that kind of impact?
“ALL I KNEW WAS THAT I WANTED TO GET THE ATTENTION OF THE JUDGES. [LAUGHS] I’M GLAD THAT DRESS FOUND ME.” [LAUGHS]
SUNNY: Thank you very much, Sir. I had absolutely zero concept of what was about to happen or how the reaction of the audience was going to be. All I knew was that I wanted to get the attention of the judges. [laughs] I’m glad that dress found me. [laughs]
BEN: You are a Pro in both Bikini and Evening Gown. Is there anything you do differently with regards to training for each?
“I’VE HAD STRONG LEGS, QUADS, SINCE HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL DAYS.”
SUNNY: Yes, I believe I may incorporate more exercises that help to elongate and promote lean muscle (yoga, Pilates, Barre). Then my weight training is always 5 days a week. That’s just life. And 2-3 times a week I may do the classes. My fitness goals have always been to stay strong, lean and fast, to be fit and flexible whether in a dress or a bikini. Tadahhhhh
BEN: So, let’s talk quads! [laughs] The way your quads were poppin’… we were all just like “whuttttt????” In a good way [laughs] What is your leg training like?
SUNNY: I’ve had strong legs, QUADS, since high school and college volleyball days. My training days stuck with me throughout my gym life and adult years. I love doing lower body training. I will do Legs/Glutes Monday and Friday (3 circuits of 3;3-4 sets; 10-20 reps). On the days between, I will always add lighter stationary moves like Wall Sits, Skaters, Squat Pulses, Lying Down Hamstring Curls etc.
But I incorporate moves that help keep my legs strong, long, lean looking, and not bulked up. I’m 5’5”, so I need the optical illusion type of training. [laughs]
BEN: That makes for a really good Segway. In the Evening Gown division, competitors are not penalized for “muscle.” The International Physique League is just that… a physique-focused league. So, physique development is a good thing, in all divisions.
But, in the Evening Gown division, presentation is huge. Probably more so than in other divisions. In Evening Gown, competitors must present their physiques in an elegant, feminine, way. You clearly have this mastered. What would you say are keys to packing a muscular physique, yet maintaining the aforementioned level of presentation?
“THE WAY WE SIT, STAND AND WALK CAN MAKE OR BREAK A GRAND ENTRANCE OR INTRODUCTION.”
SUNNY: Great question. Sexy is a space inside ones mind, first. It’s a character that comes to life when the right time comes. I think for me personally, as a woman who loves weight training and has been doing it for over 20yrs, through my 4 pregnancies and during a time when it wasn’t so popular for girls and iron to mix because we’d get bulky like guys… that’s when I decided I’d heard enough and I wanted to show other women that being strong and sexy at the same time was the ACTUAL RESULT of training with weights.
Another physical aspect that I feel contributes to keeping a balance between strong and sexy is a confident POSTURE. The way we sit, stand and walk can make or break a grand entrance or Introduction. My grandmother passed this year at 101 years of age. She was a professional stage dancer (like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers). She taught me to sit up and stand up straight, how to be graceful and lady like. Polite and point your toes. I like to say that my grandmother was channeling through me at the time of my WIN.
When asked which doll I wanted to play with, Barbie or Wonder Woman? I chose Wonder Woman. Strong, sexy, beautiful, and could protect herself. Barbie, not so much.
BEN: I love it! When can we expect to see you back on the IPL stage?
SUNNY: IPL 2017 was such a GREAT experience that it wasn’t difficult for me to decide IF I’d return for the 2018 IPL season. The difficult part now is WHEN and WHERE? [laughs]
I love traveling and meeting new faces, and the way the IPL Competition calendar is set up, it makes my mind wander. [smiles] I’d like to do Arizona, Texas, New York, Canada or Tahiti, and California… So, I’m gonna sit down and really map this out because I still need to go for both my Pro Masters Debuts in Bikini and Evening Gown. Then, I’m looking at entering amateur Fitness Angels and Sports Model. So, I think that’s enough to plan for now. [laughs] GAINZ