More of my favourites from back in the day when this then teenage female muscle fan was forced to survive on the few pictures of women in mainstream muscle magazines and his bi-monthly fix of Women’s Physique World.
Thanks to all the wonderful people who scan the women from the magazines of that era, this, and the previous 'magazine years' post wouldn’t have been possible without you.
Italian muscle fox Claudia Profanter was a huge crush of mine. Her Roman beauty (I am a sucker for Mediterranean women) and sexy muscular body had me reaching for the tissues again and again. Photos like the one on the right suggested to me that she was a very sensual poser, which made her all the sexier still. And many years later when I saw a video clip of Claudia in competition, I realised I had been right - she posed with feline grace, a lioness of a woman. Sadly, photos of Claudia, and other European bodybuilders of the time who didn’t make a permanent move to North America, were (and are) in short supply, as the mainstream muscle media was almost entirely based there. But I reckon that just makes each one more special to find. Any photo of Claudia in her pomp will be a winner.
Tonya Knight, for a while, received the kind of muscle (and more mainstream) media attention that other female bodybuilders could only dream of. There were so many photos of Tonya that by the law of averages there was going to be a few absolutely smoking ones. The two above certainly qualify as that. She was lean, strong, and muscular, but unmistakably a beautiful young woman at the same time, and became the poster girl of female bodybuilding, the one who would crush forever the image of female bodybuilders as masculine. Well, that didn’t quite happen, but when I look at Tonya’s mouth around that sax’s mouthpiece, I seriously don’t care.
Experience has taught me that it’s better to get things out into the open. But back then I was very much inexperienced in the ways of the world, and so throughout these years, I kept my fetish for muscular women absolutely top secret. Was that a bad thing? In retrospect, I think it was. But there’s no point regretting it, and at least I’m managing to be more open about it now, though I’ve still a long way to go!
I bunk off school one afternoon and head for the town centre and a large newsagent’s where I know they have a good stock of muscle magazines. Among them is one I’ve never seen before called Muscle Training Illustrated, and on the cover is Dorothy Herndon. There’s no one browsing near me so I grab it from the shelf. Hands shaking, I flick through to find her pictorial. I’m so excited my eyes can’t focus on any one picture of this vision of muscular beauty, they manically dart from bicep to shoulder, from the abs to the chest. I’m still shaking but pay and leave. I can’t get home fast enough and be alone with Dorothy, back in my private world.
Although not all the pictures had quite the effect on me that Dorothy’s did, it was more or less a similar story every time I bought a magazine for the female bodybuilders inside. I always seemed to get a huge rush of adrenaline that would make me shake, and at the same time I lost the majority of my higher brain functions and went into a kind of trance. It was exciting, I was turned on by these women, but also frightening to imagine someone I knew being in the shop and discovering my secret. And despite the fear factor, that rush became addictive, and even after I moved abroad to work in the early 1990s, once again throwing out my collection of magazines before I did so, I was unable to resist the lure of the rush that muscular women provided for me.
In the only newsagent’s in a small Tuscan town a couple of years later, a special edition of Flex magazine caught my eye and brought on the familiar rush. It was called Power and Sizzle (I think) and was the kind of publication I had always dreamed about, photos of nothing but lingerie-clad or even naked female bodybuilders, like the one of Roseanne Keyser below.
Roseanne’s flexibility, strength and beauty are all showcased here, but above all it was her legs that had me gazing in awe at this photo time and time again, imagining my hands on the beautiful muscular curves of her calves, hamstrings and glutes.
This pic of Sharon Bruneau was another most memorable one from Power and Sizzle. A beautiful woman, very feminine yet at the same time very strong and muscular, I imagined my fingers on her chest, following the striations and veins across it, feeling the muscle, worshipping her power.
Buying Power and Sizzle put me firmly back in ‘collection’ mode but again I threw out my collection when I finished working abroad. This was just before the millennium, and on returning to London I discovered exactly what this thing called ‘the internet’ that I’d heard about was. And that pretty much ended the 'magazine years’!
But before I sign off, a little tribute to two of the women from that era…
The first is Michelle Andrea, whose sultry Latin looks and mouth-watering muscular body make her one of my all-time favourites. What’s not to like? Eyes not big and dark enough for you? Hair not thick and lush enough? Is her bottom not as firm and sexy as you’d like? What about those pecs in the photo on the right – not doing it for you? Do you find insufficient definition in her thighs in those red fishnet stockings? Didn’t think so. Head to toe perfection. Wherever she is now, and whatever shape she’s in, she was once my perfect woman, and looking again at these pics of her, to be honest, she still is.
And then there was Cory Everson… In terms of what she achieved for the sport in terms of mainstream acceptance, there has been no female bodybuilder quite like her. I mean, Iris Kyle is great and everything, but I can’t imagine her getting her own workout show on ESPN! Cory was versatile, a point I’ve picked the photos above to illustrate. She could be a hot little gym bunny, muscular and defined for sure, but hardly intimidating or masculine. She could be an amazon goddess, hard, ripped and oiled, exuding power and femininity in equal measure. And she could be… well, like Marilyn Monroe… but sexier! A woman unique in the history of the sport, and a woman who, during the magazine years, I probably spent more time ‘with’ than any other.
Enjoy! And I hope my little survey of my formative female muscle lovin’ years has brought back a few memories for some readers, or maybe introduced a few women of that era to others.