UKBFF British Championships
19th October, Harrogate
19th October, Harrogate
Once upon a time, there was a Figure competitor. This figure competitor won five titles in two years. In 2009 she was NABBA South-East Miss Figure, NAC Miss UK, IBFA Miss Europe and WFF Miss Universe. The following year she was NABBA Miss England and finished fourth at the NABBA Universe. Was she satisfied? No.
Nor was she satisfied with fourth place at the 2011 UKBFF British Championships.
She made a plan. A plan that would take two years to come to fruition. This former figure competitor wanted to be big. Really really really big.
On 19th October, this former figure competitor took to the stage as a bodybuilder. In the two years since her last appearance at the championships she had gained twelve kilos of solid muscle, in the words of John Plummer writing for Flex Online UK, she was cut to ribbons and loaded with freaky muscle.
Silvana Imbrogno was crowned the British female bodybuilding champion.
I've worked towards this day since stepping off stage at the 2011 Brits, she said. I've enjoyed the entire journey of this comp prep which started back in October 2011 with a full year off-season and right through the many many weeks long diet. And to win the British Championships is proof that all my hard work was worth it, a goal achieved, a dream come true!
Silvana was born in Adelaide, Australia. I'd always done some sort of training since I was young, she told Real Female Bodybuilding, including 16 years of martial arts, but even when I started lifting in 2007 I was more of a cardio queen, just running! I didn't really start lifting properly until 2008.
The satisfaction that comes with seeing changes and results does empower you to push harder and harder – it's very addictive. I love to train and love seeing how you can change and sculpt your physique – it constantly amazes me and I just love it. I just had to make the switch to Bodybuilding. I'm determined and dedicated and I love muscle!
It's been quite a year for the former 'cardio queen'. Though winning the British title is without doubt a fantastic achievement, Silvana had made history on September 22nd during the UKBFF Midlands, a qualifier for the national championships.
On that night, having already won the women's title, Silvana was invited to take part in the final posedown with the winners of different male classes. I was stuffing my face with banana cake at the time the judges called me back! she said. I was shocked when they asked and then honoured. I think it was just a combination of my mass and my condition.
Female bodybuilding history was made. And Silvana more than held her own. In fact, she came within one judge's decision of actually winning the whole thing. At the end the judges gave me the scorecards to prove it was 3-2 – I'd missed out by one point!
It felt wicked being on the stage with the boys, and after seeing the photos I felt I held my own! It was awesome for me as a bodybuilder to think that the judges thought I was better than most of the guys. It's so cool! I keep laughing about it!
Given the determination she has shown over the last two years and the incredible gains she has made in that time, I doubt we've heard the last of Silvana Imbrogno. She's not going to (her Facebook page shows she's already moved on from her victory and is back in the gym working on getting even bigger) but even if she retired tomorrow, her place in female bodybuilding history would be assured as the first woman to have competed side by side with men. Not bad for a former figure competitor!
Congratulations to FMS favourite Christal Cornick (right), who finished 3rd for the third year running. Congratulations also to Tamazin Danks (left), runner-up (as she had been in that historic Midlands qualifier). But most of all, congratulations to Silvana, history-maker and British female bodybuilding champion.
Follow Silvana on Facebook and Twitter.
[And look out for more on our favourite Brit Freak, Christal Cornick on FMS soon.]