Saturday, June 5, 2010

So You Want to Compete?! by Lizzy Ostro

I am now 8 weeks out from my first national bikini competition, and this is where the nerves really start to heat up! Of course, making sure my body is in peak condition is of high importance, but it’s the minor details that are stressing me out the most!

The Suit: $50 - $1,000 Depending on how much money you have at your disposal and how much you’re willing to shell out for a top quality suit, finding a suit that flatters your figure, and a color that brings out your best features can be a daunting task. Bikinis are basically made in a few different styles, but every girl’s body is different. I am a flat-chest, long torso, long leg kind of girl. Straight on I’m kind of boxy, but if I turn to the side, you will see my lovely lady lump. Yep, I’ve got a booty. Needless to say, finding just the right suit can be difficult, but that’s why we have tailors 

The Tanning: $50-$150 To the innocent bystander, we all look like we got into a fight with a puddle of mud. In reality, it’s one of the sacrifices we give to look great on stage. The extravagant tan looks just plain ridiculous in broad daylight, and is by no means an attractive look. However, when you step under the extremely bright lights of the stage, you look like you belong, and it brings out your figure to the fullest. I won’t even get into what your skin starts to look like about a week after the competition (think Michael Jackson going from black to white), but it’s just a part of competing. Bending over so your tanning expert can make sure you have no lines on stage is a totally different story in itself, but I will just preface by saying that you must feel completely comfortable being naked and in awkward positions. Moving on….

The Hotel: Up to $500 Again this depends on how much you’re willing to spend and how long you’re staying in that city. Some go for luxury, some are okay as long as there is a clean floor to sleep on. The big thing that is an absolute MUST for any competitor staying at a hotel is the refrigerator. If you are able to pull off a microwave as well, then you’re just plain lucky. All of that pre-cooked chicken and asparagus has to go somewhere, after all. Find a few girlfriends to share the room with to cut down on costs, and obviously to rub your bikini bite on you. Hey, someone’s gotta do it. You will become closer to these people than you ever thought possible, that’s for sure.

The Hair: $50 - $100 This is a pretty crucial part of the process. You want to look dazzling on stage, and a good hairdo can bring this out. Some girls prefer to just keep it simple, and some girls go all out with crazy curls and updo’s. I have redunkulously (yeah I said redunkulous) long hair, so I like to go with long, flowy curls. It looks best on me, and most importantly, I feel most comfortable in it.

The Makeup: 50- $150 This is one gift I am thankful for. Although I couldn’t do someone else’s makeup to save my life, I am able to do my own pretty well. Stage makeup is completely different than your every day make up or even your “night on the town” makeup. You are on stage with bright lights and you need to shine. This equates to putting on pounds of makeup. In regular light, some might mistake you for a clown, or worse, Lady GaGa, but on stage, you will look amazing. My best advice: Become really good friends with a make-up artist (if they do hair as well, that’s icing on the cake, but don’t eat the cake until after the competition) and make them follow you around to your competitions.

The Nails $40-$60 I made the mistake of showing up to a competition without my nails done once (gasp!). I didn’t think anyone would notice, but after placing 5th and not being happy about that, I talked to the judges. “Your hands and toes didn’t match and weren’t done.” I guess they noticed. Although to me that seems like a stupid reason (there were other reasons too, mind you) to make someone place lower, I realized that overall stage presence is a big deal. Do whatever you can to look great on stage, this means shelling out a few extra dollars to get yo’ nails did!

The Shoes $20-$40 This is the cheapest part of competing. It’s also the most fun because it’s an excuse to wear 5-6 inch clear stripper heels and not be considered, well, a stripper. Not that there’s anything wrong with strippers, but you actually get to be considered classy while wearing them. Double score!

The Entry Fees $200ish This is fun. Not only do you pay an entry fee, but you pay a fee to the organization you’re competing with. They always get you somehow!! Such is life…

The Travel Accomodations $Varies This can be really cheap or really expensive. It all depends where you’re coming from and how you’re getting there. If you are only a few hours away and can drive, that’s your best bet. Not only is it usually cheaper to drive (unless you are like me and drive a big diesel truck that gets negative 6 miles to the gallon) but it’s easier to pack! Bringing protein powder and 5 pounds of pre-cooked, pre-bagged chicken can cause quite the back-up at airport security. If you can drive, do it. If not, freeze your chicken, then pack it right before your flight. It will thaw out some on the flight, but won’t spoil (hopefully.)

Posing $ 1.5 bajillion Posing coaches are expensive. If you can find a friend/former competitor or anyone that knows a thing or two about posing, you are better off doing that. Posing coaches are a great tool, and stage presence/posing is extremely important in overall scoring. If you have the extra funds, go for it, if not, get a mirror, log on to You Tube, start doing your daily chores in your heels, and practice, practice, practice!!

As you can see, all of those additional components of competing (read: stresses) that I mentioned had nothing to do with dieting or training. The dieting and training are essentially the least stressful. Sure, they are tough and must be on point, but when you know what you’re doing, it’s just a matter of doing it. Getting everything coordinated is quite the task in itself.

I’m not trying to scare anyone off from competing. As pricey and stressful as it is, the rewards of competing outweigh them immensely. Your confidence, resilience and overall outlook on life change with competing. It has been the greatest influence on my life and I wouldn’t trade those experiences and future experiences for anything in the world!

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