Hometown: Rochester, NY
About me: Growing up, being fit was the norm in my family. My older bother, now a pro hockey player, was my inspiration to train with all my heart. He always told me to never let the doubters get to my head and to never quit. To this day, he is my ultimate role model and I am so grateful to have grown up with a positive influence right by my side.
I was a top level gymnast for 13 years (3 years old – 16 years old). You can definitely say it was my life considering I trained 6 days/week for 4-6 hour practices. Getting injured is normal for any gymnast, but as I progressed to level 10, the injuries came more frequently and more serious. I have broken too many bones to count but the time I broke both of my shin bones had to have been the most painful. I have been in surgeries only to re-injure the same bone the week I was back. It was a terrible rollercoaster and it really put a damper on my motivation. Eventually, I was physically worn out which mentally wore me out as well. I lost motivation but never lost my love for being fit.
Unfortunately, I quit gymnastics at 16 years old, but I was determined to keep in shape. I started P90X, a Beachbody program, and completed it to a T. I followed it religiously and looked amazing. But the program finished and I was clueless to weight lifting and maintaining my results. That’s when everything went downhill. Terrified of losing my results, I started ONLY focusing on calories. Not only did I count them obsessively, but I only did workouts that would produce the biggest calorie burn. My focus was never strength or become stronger. I withered away and lost all of my muscle. This developed into a serious eating disorder – anorexia. I was too weak to walk up stairs at school. Teachers and the principals were calling my parents concerned about my severe/sudden weight loss. My parents were very worried as well. Around that time I was hospitalized for 3-4 months due to near heart failure and being severely underweight and mentally/physically ill. Sadly, I relapsed many times the year after I was released from the hospital. It was a rollercoaster.
That’s when I discovered bodybuilding. I saw these beautiful, strong, lean, and curvy fitness models in magazines and on bodybuilding.com and instantly became inspired. Not only did they look great, but they ate and were healthy. Well, I have learned that not all fitness models are healthy but that wasn’t discovered until later in my bodybuilding journey through my own trial and error. I spent my whole senior year of high school researching on my own in study halls, during lunch break, even during class on my phone. I became hooked.
That’s when I bought my first gym membership and put everything I learned to the test. I was very scared because this was a huge change. I forced myself to start eating more. I forced myself to accept the weight gain. Recovering on my own through bodybuilding was probably one of the scariest yet most beautiful experience I have gone through.
I entered my first bodybuilding bikini competition in 2013 with the help of my former pro bodybuilder coach Chuck Valente (Team Iron) and took home a few gold medals. I was his first bikini competitor so the posing was all up to me! But that was probably one of my most memorable experiences ever. After that, I competed about 4-5 more times and received my WNBF pro card in the spring of 2014. My latest show was the WNBF World Championships in the fall of 2014 and it was such an amazing experience!
My main goal is to inspire people to be healthy. Not to be ripped, chizzled, or have a perfect figure. But I use my instagram to inspire people around the world, especially young ladies, to have self-confidence and to go to the gym to become stronger. It breaks my heart to see those suffering from eating disorders. I am hoping my story can inspire the many girls who think they need to be super skinny to look good. Strong is the new skinny…just never give up!