INTERVIEW BY BEN YOSEF | MICHAEL BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
“FROM THE FIRST TIME I SAW THE WOMEN’S ATHLETIC DIVISION, I HAD A DESIRE TO COMPETE IN IT.”
Amy Russell slayed the stage at the 2018 3rd Annual IPL West Coast Pro/Am on September 29th in Sacramento, CA.
Amy Russell simply could not be denied in the Women’s Athletic Open class. Winning all six scored categories (Muscularity, Symmetry, Conditioning, Posing & Presentation, Suit, Model Walk at Finals) Amy Russell rose above the pack as she landed in 1st place and earned her IPL Women’s Athletic Pro Card.
Shout out to Abigail Comstock (2nd) and Maddie McVane (3rd) who pushed Amy to the max.Russell, a chameleon competitor, also competed in Bikini Open Class B where she placed 3rd and Evening Gown Open where she also placed 3rd. Amy Russell is now on her way to her IPL Pro Debut at the California Pro in May 2019.
BEN YOSEF: Amy, congrats on your success at the West Coast Pro/Am last fall! You crushed it! How are you feeling about what you achieved that day?
AMY RUSSELL: Thank you so much. I want to start off by acknowledging you and the staff and partners that make the IPL possible. Competing in a “real” competition would not have been a goal of mine without the strict drug-testing that you enforce to keep this a truly all-natural league. That said, I’m beyond proud of myself. I think the peak of my pride can be seen on my face during my final abdominal pose in the evening model walk in September.
YOSEF: Well, you are very welcome! It is an honor to have you in the IPL Family, and now in the IPL Pros! So, I definitely want to focus on Women’s Athletic where you really excelled, placing 1st in the Open and winning your IPL Pro Card. That being said, I do also want to discuss the other divisions as well because you had such a dynamic day at the West Coast Pro/Am. So, you started with Bikini Open. And placed a very respectable 3rd in a tough class. What was it like competing in Bikini at this contest?
…THE WAY I FELT ON STAGE WAS FITTING, APPROPRIATE…IT JUST FELT RIGHT. THE INTIMIDATION WENT AWAY AND I FELT LIKE I WAS WHERE I BELONGED.”
RUSSELL: It’s funny, right after Pre-judging I had the sweetest lady approach me. She said, “Come here girl. Let me tell you something. I’m here to support my brother, but I’ve been watching all morning, and I see you, and let me tell you that you look AMAZING. Honestly, with my sass and your physique, we could win this whole thing!”
That’s the feedback I get from my friends and posing coaches. They tell me that I need to let my personality shine through more, especially in the Bikini Division. I worked hard on that to prep for September. But hearing a perfect stranger give me that feedback tells me that there is additional room for improvement. As I compare my videos from previous competitions, I definitely see improvement and I’m proud of that. But competing allows me to celebrate my successes and continue to look for where I can improve. I feel proud for placing 3rd in that show. As you said, it was a competitive division.
YOSEF: Next up was Women’s Athletic Open. And here is where you really shined. How were you feeling up on stage in this division?
RUSSEL: From the first time I saw the Women’s Athletic division, I had a desire to compete in it. But I didn’t initially because I was intimidated and I didn’t think I had what it took to be competitive in this division. That being said, the way I felt on stage was fitting, appropriate…it just felt right. The intimidation went away and I felt like I was where I belonged. I really enjoyed this division. The experience encourages me to set goals that scare me a little and allow me to grow outside my comfort zone.
YOSEF: Your final division and class was Evening Gown Open, where you placed 3rd. What an amazing transition from Bikini to Athletic to Evening Gown. What was it like for you to move and adjust between these three divisions?
RUSSELL: The transition time between divisions is something I appreciate. Because all of the IPL divisions are unique and have a different feel, for me, it’s nice to have a moment between divisions to mentally prepare for the next division. I like to review my posing backstage and get the feel for the next division. I admire athletes that compete in even more than a few divisions, and some of them transition seamlessly. I like a bit of a mental break and a pause to regroup.
YOSEF: I think I know the answer to this, but do you have a favorite division? [smiles]
RUSSELL: [smiles] Yes, you know the answer. No hiding here.
YOSEF: So, Athletic is your favorite?
RUSSELL: Yes sir.
YOSEF: In less than two weeks you will be back on stage, and for your IPL Pro Debut. How are you feeling about that and what can we expect to see you bring to the stage this time?
RUSSELL: I’m lifting strong, hitting new PRs, even in my final cut. You can expect my best physique yet. I am excited for this opportunity and thank you again for this interview and the opportunity to compete in a true all-natural league.
YOSEF: Excellent! I am honored to have you in the league and I look forward to seeing you hit that stage on May 4th! GAINZ