INTERVIEW BY BEN YOSEF | MICHAEL BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
Simona Nelson finished off her incredible 2019 IPL Debut year at APEX IV. Our year-end pinnacle championship event on October 26, hosted in Burbank, California.
The month prior, at the West Coast Pro/Am in Sacramento, Simona earned her IPL Pro Cards in Fitness Angels, Women’s Athletic and Evening Gown. And she placed a very respectable 2nd in a stacked Bikini Open class. These placements would qualify Simona to compete at IPL APEX the following month.
And at APEX, Simona was certainly a dominant force. First was the Bikini division. Here she would go up against some of the best IPL Bikini Open competitors from the 2019 season. Simona Nelson took the class, placing 1st and earned her fourth IPL Pro Card. Shout out to top Bikini Amateurs 2nd Amy Olivas, 3rd Suleica Voelker, 4th Jessica Sallard and 5th Yhadi Encina who rounded out the top five.
At APEX Simona also competed in Fitness Angels Open placing 2nd, Women’s Athletic Open placing 1st and Evening Gown Open placing 1st.
BEN YOSEF: First off, congratulations once again on an amazing competition year in 2019! And congrats again on the feature in NATURALMAG that’s releasing soon. It was awesome interviewing there! Now, welcome to Natural GAINZ Magazine! When these two issues drop next month you are going to be all over the place! –laughs- What a day you had at APEX IV. Congratulations on qualifying in four classes and kicking butt at the show. Your performance and success was very similar to what you achieved the month prior at the West Coast Pro/Am. How would you compare your experience and emotions between these two shows?
“APEX WAS A CRAZY DAY FOR ME, BUT I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. I WASN’T EXPECTING TO DO AS WELL AS I DID…”
SIMONA NELSON: Thank you! I’m so proud of what I achieved my first year of competing and I’m so excited for both the NATURALMAG and Natural GAINZ releases! APEX was a crazy day for me, but I loved every minute of it. I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did. I ultimately came with the goal to take 1st in Bikini and earn my Pro Card. I knew everyone I would be competing against were all top qualifiers and that made me work even harder, which I appreciate. The West Coast Pro/Am was my first show and I was so nervous and still trying to find my stage presence. I think going into APEX I brought more confidence. My emotions were so high, mostly because I’m my biggest critic and I’m always thinking of ways to improve as an athlete. Both of my experiences were great, but I think the biggest difference for me personally was the confidence I brought to the stage.
BEN: You definitely appeared to be relaxed and confident at APEX. And it showed in your placements! 1st place and Pro Card in Bikini Open. 2nd place in Fitness Angels Open. 1st in Women’s Athletic Open. And finally 1st in Evening Gown Open. Wow. You were incredible in that Evening Gown division. What changed for you in Evening Gown compared to the West Coast Pro/Am? Also, your physique was noticeably improved across the board. What did you do differently with your physique leading up to APEX? And finally, your gown was just spot-on. What was the inspiration for the Gown you wore at APEX?
“I KNEW WHAT I WANTED TO IMPROVE, DISCUSSED IT WITH MY COACHES AND HIT THE GROUND RUNNING.”
SIMONA: Thank you! Evening Gown for me was a challenge because of how truly elegant it is. And I’m not an elegant person. –laughs- I’m the clumsiest girl you’ll ever meet! The biggest change I made was mindset. I owned every single moment of being on stage, embraced it all and got outside of my head. For my physique, I trained with full intensity. I knew what I wanted to improve, discussed it with my coaches and hit the ground running. I made sure to hit every single lift with intention.
Doing two shows back to back was beneficial for me. For APEX I was already lean and was able to focus on fine tuning all of the things that needed improvement. For Evening Gown I wanted something sparkly and something comfortable. I looked for a dress that had double side slits, which makes it easier to walk and pose in. I love long dresses with sparkles that are form-fitting. So when I found my dress online I knew it was the one!
BEN: Awesome! With all that you have achieved and the amazing improvements you have made in such a short time, I am excited to see what you do next! Any final thoughts?
SIMONA: I’m proud of what I was able to achieve within my first competition season. This year I’ve got some goals in sight and I definitely plain on making my Pro Debut in the September West Coast Pro/Am. GAINZ