The FMS Hot and Hard 100 countdown reached its climax...
The first post of the month had a lot of British flavour. Corinne Ingman made her Hot and Hard 100 debut at #40, the highest new UK entry, and Lisa Cross (#32) took over (just) from Rene Campbell (#34) as your most popular Brit of all.
Meanwhile, shurely shome mishtake. FMS spent ages checking and re-checking and still didn't quite believe this was the first time "Fit Rock Star" Isabelle Turell had appeared on our list. Still don't quite believe it but there she is, a "new entry" at #33.
And as we raced into the top 30 we found Diana Schnaidt, the second highest new entry of all, and some massive risers - Tanya Hyde (#71 to #23), and Eleonora Dobrinina (#79 to #22) among them. But new (lawd knows how) IFBB pro Nataliya Kovalyova enjoyed an even bigger rise, from #90 in 2015 to #25.
Hot and hard women who had appeared previously in the top 20 were back again. Minna, Kashma, Heidi, Suzy, Cindy etc. Ms Rising Phoenix herself finally cracked the upper echelons of the list, and not before time, as did Virginia Sanchez Macias, much to the delight of her fans (if not Virgina herself). Marthe Sundby (#84 in 2015 to #13) was the biggest riser of all, but the biggest surprise, perhaps, was Dani Reardon "only" at #14 when I, and one or two shocked readers, would have put a fair bit of hard earned cash on her improving on her #4 position in 2015.
And we also met the highest new entry on our 2016 list at #12...
Which left the top 10. Mavi Gioia was there for the third year in a row, as were Elena Oana and Alina. And it was also another top 10 finish for 2015 winner Shannon Courtney, who, despite doing more Spartan Racing than Bodybuilding in 2015, made #7 on your list. FMS faves Melissa Wee (the world's sexiest chaste Christian) and Erica Blockman (the world's sexiest fire fighter) made their top 10 debuts, and 2015 highest new entry Theresa Ivancik muscled up to #4 on the countdown.
The top 3 was as much of a mix of the familiar and the surprising as the rest of the top 10. RP2015 runner-up Helle Trevino smashed her way back into the Hot and Hard 100 after slipping off the list in 2015 at #3, and for the second successive year the muscle fantasy that is Aleesha Young came second by just a single vote.
And so, when all you lovely readers had voted, it was Cris Goy Arellano who became the Hottest Hard Woman in the World. Rather unexpected, but there was no argument that she was a worthy winner. Interestingly, she's the first Physique competitor to take the title after Alina in 2014 and Shannon in 2015.
Who's your money on for next year?
With the countdown done, FMS paused for breath, and then it was on with the show.
We ruminated a little about the number of "Fat to Fit" stories that had been appearing in the UK online media, as well as identifying and welcoming the growing trend for so-called "glamour" models in the UK to be showing off their gains with pride.
And having piddled around with the media definition of "bodybuilder" for a week or so, we launched into a couple of weeks where there was nothing but muscle on show. We struggled to define the theme of the first week of this meat feast, but a few pictures of Michaela Aycock were worth more than the proverbial thousand words.
A theme that has cropped up again and again this year has been the increasingly impressive amount of muscle worn by Figure competitors, particularly in the IFBB pro ranks. Perhaps it's always been there and we just didn't notice, but when Natalia Coelho had flared her thighs at shows in Miami and Orlando during the month of April, well, jaws were floor bound and we learned some muscle lingo: "feathered".
So many muscle women, so many haters. We liked Rachel Reid's response.
We liked it a lot.
And as May drew to a close, the meat turned up to 11 as the new super star of Brazilian female muscle made her FMS debut, some months after her seismic entry into the collective female muscle lovin' consciousness via Selma Labat's Instagram. Hottest new FBB! She's stunning, commented one reader. Flores ist unglaublich heiß und sexy, hoffentlich wächst sie noch weiter zu einer wahren Muskelgöttin mit wahnsinnigen Deltoidmuskeln und wird, dank ihres Mannes, noch muskulösen und Sexier! said another. And if your German ain't up to it, allow me: "Flores is incredibly hot and sexy, hopefully she'll grow even bigger into a true muscle goddess with insane deltoid muscles and become, thanks to her husband, more muscular and sexier still!"
Der Morgen, Juni.