I was born on February 5, 1984 in Royal Oak, MI. My parents are Kathy and Ward and I have one younger sister, Erica. When I was about 4 yrs old, my family moved to Sterling Heights, MI where I have lived ever since.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been athletic. I was in ballet starting around age 5, then I was a dancer and cheerleader. Growing up, I was often outside climbing trees and riding bikes, you would rarely catch me inside playing dolls or doing puzzles.
When I was 8 years old, I started gymnastics. I moved quickly up the levels and continued to compete for the next 13 years finishing my career as a level ten.
I believe my love for lifting started my freshman year in high school. During this
time I tore the medial meniscus in my left knee and had to go in for surgery. Since I was only 15, the doctors decided that instead of removing the portion of the cartilage that was torn, they would try to stitch the injured area. They figured I was young enough and it would heal in plenty of time without any future problems. After six weeks on crutches and many months later, I was finally back to normal- at least I thought. At age 16, the tear was back and worse.
A new chapter in my life
I went in for a second surgery where the doctors removed the torn tissue (in the same knee). During this period of time, I not only practiced my normal calisthenics, I also learned how to lift with free weights. I never missed practice even though I could only workout on the uneven parallel bars. The remaining time of the four hour workout sessions (five times a week), I strength trained. I could see my upper body changing shape very quickly. My coach was a powerlifter, so he taught me how to barbell squat, power clean and deadlift with proper form as soon as my knee was back in working condition.
In 2002, I competed at the Arnold Classic in Gymnastics. That year Laura Mak was competing and since she was a previous gymnast of my current coach, we went to the finals to watch. As I was sitting there amazed by the fitness competitors, I knew that one day I wanted to compete on that stage. I knew that one day I would be there. I just didn’t know where to start.
My senior year in high school, I decided that I did not want to continue gymnastics in college. I had much more fun in the gym and was ready to start a new chapter of my life. I began running four times a week on my own and toward the end of the school year, I began to run track- a sport I always wanted to try throughout high school. I was a pole vaulter and a sprinter. Since I wasn’t working out the 20+ hours a week I was used to, I started putting on a little extra weight. I began learning and reading more and more about proper nutrition and became interested in the overall wellness of the body.
I have my BA in Wellness, Health promotion and Injury Prevention with a minor in Exercise Science from Oakland University in Rochester, MI. Throughout the four years I attended the school, I worked in their recreation department conducting fitness assessments and creating workout programs for individuals of all specific needs. I faithfully worked out on my own five to six times per week. If you were ever in the Rec, you could pretty much guarantee that I would be there.
My sophomore year in college I prepared for my first fitness competition. I had my best friend help me with my routine choreography since she was a Detroit Pistons dancer and I practiced on the gymnastics gym floor after work. I got on stage for my first show in November 2003 and won.
Ever since then, I had caught the fitness bug. That following year I competed in five more shows never taking lower than fifth place. I qualified for Jr. Nationals that year but did not do as well as I had hoped. We will just say that I used that as a learning experience. I told myself that I would not hit the National stage again until I knew I was ready.
In 2006, I started working with Kim Oddo. He helped me prepare for the NPC Motor City Classic held in Dearborn, MI. My plan was to cross over and compete in both fitness and figure (fitness without the routine) so that I would qualify for Nationals in November of that year. After all the hard work, I finally won an overall title- in both categories!!! I flew to Miami, FL and ended up placing fifth at Nationals! I had placed second in the physique rounds and seventh in the routine round. I was told that I needed to increase the speed of my routine. Having been so close to a pro card my first Fitness Nationals, I was determined more than ever for the next year.
My first competition in 2007 was Jr. Nationals in Chicago. Physique rounds went great, and then the routine round came…. I over-rotated my back tuck and fell right on my butt! I took home the second place trophy missing first by only one point.
Four weeks later, I flew to NY, NY. I crossed over once again and competed in both figure and fitness at the Team Universe. I came home with an overall win in both categories beating out over 200 women across the nation and won my pro card! This was the first time in history that a competitor has won both the fitness overall and figure overall categories at the same National show. I was sent to Spain two months later to compete at the World Championships as part of the USA team. This was the most amazing trip I had ever taken.
In 2008, I made my professional debut at the Arnold Sports Classic held in Columbus, OH where I placed 11th in figure. Later that year I went on to qualify for the Olympia in Fitness and in Figure- a feat accomplished by few. At the Olympia I competed in Figure and placed 9th.
In 2009, I won my first professional Figure competition – the Europa Orlando Pro Figure. I qualified for the Figure Olympia for the second time. This competition was held in September in Las Vegas, NV, and I won the Figure Olympia title and became Ms. Figure Olympia!
My ultimate goal is to hold the IFBB Figure International title and the IFBB Figure Olympia title in the same calendar year. A feat not yet accomplished by anyone.
I am in love with this sport and have a passion for health and fitness. I plan to compete for many years to come and to be a positive influence on people all over the world.