Ten women from eight different countries. Seven Bodybuilders with a capital B, two Physique pros, and a personal trainer. Two previous winners, and the highest ever new entry on the Hot and Hard 100. Our 2017 countdown concludes today.
CINDY LANDOLT (#18)
There are, of course, those who may never forgive Cindy for adding approximately 1000ccs of saline to her naturally majestic frame, but the fact that she finds herself back in the Top Ten after a year out (and has never been out of the Top 20 in the four years of the Hot and Hard 100) suggests the unforgivers are in the minority.
Cindy is the one non-competitive hot and hard body in our Top Ten, and, as far as I know, the only woman ever who has featured on our list as well as one compiled by one of those "gentlemen's magazines" - the Swiss-Austrian edition of FHM as I recall. She also has a movie credit to her name, although her film career has apparently failed to kick on from her one appearance playing "Frau in Bar" in a little-known Swiss comedy.
I would suggest though that much of her enduring appeal lies with her ability to make every single one of her hundreds of thousands of followers feel like it's them she is talking to when she wishes them "Goodnight with kisses and love". Certainly works on me. I can really struggle to get to sleep until Cindy's sent me a kiss these days.
HELLE TREVINO (#3)
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
I think she and Alina share a rare ability to look most beautiful when completely shredded, notes one Helle devotee, pretty much reading my own mind. Some women (understandably) can look a little below their most beautiful on stage, but I think Helle becomes a stunner. And at the 2016 Rising Phoenix, that was certainly true.
Beauty and the Beef! Tanned, oiled and gorgeous in her red posing suit, the hands-on-hips most muscular in particular provided, for me anyway, possibly the most overwhelming contest photo experience of the year last year, and I can still hardly bring myself to look at her in that pose for longer than a few seconds. Even pictures of her just preparing to hit that pose leave me quite breathless. Swoooonarama!
On top of which, Helle is also a fantastic cheerleader for the sport, a leading light in the Wings of Strength-led revival over the last couple of years. Helle is a credit to her sport, and, less we forget, one who was almost lost to it through serious injury not so long ago. She's very much a major Hot and Hard 100 player now - this is her second consecutive appearance in the Top Ten, and, I very much hope, far from her last.
MARGIE MARTIN (#19)
2017 IFBB Wings of Strength Ms Rising Phoenix
The Queen herself. Into our Top Ten for the very first time and quite right too. You'd have to go back to Yaxeni in 2005 to find a Ms Olympia winner who knew how to bring so much fiery sex appeal to the stage. I felt like a Rising Phoenix, said Margie, and once again she dominated the show, ruled the contest, so fierce and powerful, and yet, so feminine. Exactly how I would like the champ to be. All muscle and all woman.
Sadly, now, Margie has hung up that flaming (and quite clearly heat-proof) posing suit quote unquote forever, but her presence within the sport will very much be felt through the women (like Hot and Hard 100 #82, Brittney O'Veal) who she will be bringing on over the coming years. After competing for a while, you should use it a platform to elevate yourself into a position where you don’t need the prize money or the adulation, she said in a (not even thinly veiled) dig at former Ms O Iris Kyle. What I want to do is to make new female bodybuilders and to recruit, even if I have to train them myself! I feel like female bodybuilding is going to last beyond me competing.
I find it oddly comforting that, for a change, the best female bodybuilder in the world is also one of the sexiest (we haven't been able to say that for quite some time!) And neither have we had a champion as humble, gracious, respectful of her peers, and supportive of the people who nurture her sport, a champion who has left competitive professional FBBing in a healthier state than when she joined it... possibly we haven't had that EVER! Thank you Margie! A true champion. A real Queen of Bodybuilding.
ELEONORA DOBRININA (#22)
IFBB Physique Pro
A female bodybuilder with 'zero per cent body fat' has caused a debate over whether she is healthy after showing off her ripped physique in the gym, according to The Mail in November. The woman, "who has not been named" they said, briefly went viralling around the world. A lot of people were suddenly rather concerned about our #7's health apparently. Social media users said it was 'dangerous' to sculpt body in this way, the story went on, but Hot and Hard 100 voters seem to think it's rather sexy.
The unnamed bodybuilder was, of course, our Ella, and thankfully her brief stint as the most infamous female bodybuilder in the world was soon over. Previous to the furore she had had a very encouraging start to her professional career. All shredded to the bone etc. - though carrying slightly more than 0% body fat - and high energy posing, she competed in Toronto (placing 5th), and Vancouver, where she was runner-up.
Rightly admired by female muscle heads who like their muscle super-defined and joyfully displayed on social media, Ella does look a lot less "scary" (as The Mail might say) during the off season, but you'll have to check her IG yourself for those pics. I, and I'm guessing you Ella voters too, like her freaky. Or, as Corinne Ingman once said - almost as though she had those Mail readers in mind - "truly, disgustingly peeled".
CRIS GOY ARELLANO (#1)
IFBB Physique Pro
Last year's winner makes a very creditable defence of her Hard and Hard 100 title, remaining in the Top Ten and SPOILER ALERT finishing as the highest-placed Physique competitor in our 2017 list - yep, it's all beef and nothing but from here.
Cris did get her pro card in 2016, but it was one of those cumulative ones, not the result of winning a major contest. Yet again she came so very close to winning something - 2nd in class at the Diamond Cup in Liverpool and the Arnold Europe in her native Barcelona her two best placings in 2016 - without actually taking the big prize.
But Cris fans had a lot to keep them busy other than contest photos last year, with Double Biceps releasing (I think) at least 3 new Cris clips, and recently a most memorable offering from Daily FBB Clips of an off-season Cris joining naughty Karyn Bayres in a Barcelona beach run - once seen never forgotten that one!
SARAH WILLIAMS NEW ENTRY
2016 WABBA International Ms Universe
BOOM! Sarah Williams - not just top Brit in 2017, but the highest placing British bodybuilder ever on the Hot and Hard 100. BOOM! Sarah is not just the highest new entry on this year's list, but the highest Hot and Hard 100 new entry EVER!
Voters called her "superb", "spectacular", and "a beautiful beast". Some of you noted her "beautiful skin", "He-man arms", "crazy delts", and your excitement at "how stoic and focused she is when she works out". I have been watching Sarah's muscular development over the last few years with amazement, one voter with Sarah at the top of his list explained. Now - WOW - she has hit the jackpot with the greatest muscular body I have seen in 30 years of adoring and worshipping muscular women.
Yes, Sarah has been around a while. It was as long ago as 2012 that she was finishing runner-up to Rosanna Harte at the UKBFF British Championships, and a year after that, a shadow of her 2012 self and apparently having forgotten that you're supposed to put some tan on, she was 5th. That was the last time the British Champs included a female bodybuilding class, but Sarah returned as a Physique competitor the following year and won the title. Her fame grew somewhat after that win, and work with Muscle Appeal and Awefilms followed, but in the days and weeks after 26th November 2016, as photos of her at the WABBA Ms Universe in Colchester started to dribble out, the collective female muscle lovin' community fell totally and utterly in love with her.
SELMA LABAT (#24)
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
Our top Brazilian for the second year running, Selma jumps a very significant 20 places up the list this year on the back of some dressing up, some not-to-be-missed guest posing, exposure to the wider Brazilian public as one of the Gladiadoras de Ferro, and the amazing package she brought to the stage at the Tampa Pro in August last year.
As she has had to do throughout her career, she made every bit of her 4'11" frame count against much taller women than her. Tampa boasted easily the highest quality line-up before the Rising Phoenix, and it made for the most hotly contested show of the year. Like the rest of the top 4 on that day, Selma could have walked away with the title and there wouldn't have been too much argument, but ultimately 4th is what she got.
Post-show photo and video work with Muscle Angels, however, provided us with some of the most memorable female muscle minutes of 2016. Veins on the outside are clearly the new veins on the inside. And those veins on the insides of her legs...
ALINA POPA (#6)
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
The very first winner of the Hottest Hard Woman in the World title back in 2014, Alina's popularity has hardly waned in the intervening years - years when she's struggled with serious health issues and been absent from competition, an ever-present in the Top 10 regardless. This year she rises again, from her Hot and Hard 100 low of #6, back into the Top 3 for the first time since she was #1 three years ago.
Her return to competition at the 2016 Rising Phoenix was eagerly anticipated, and there were many who expected the contest to be little more than Alina's long overdue coronation, but that's not how it panned out. The injuries and surgeries hardly seemed to have taken much toll, but perhaps she was lacking just a little of that shock and awe factor that made her so unfortunate to be runner-up at the last two Ms Olympias.
She still has the admiration of her peers, and in her role as trainer she is taking Lisa Cross, Elena Oana Hreapca, and 2016 IFBB North American champ Jennie Roosa (to name but three) to new physical heights. And clearly us fans, or us Hot and Hard 100 voters at least, haven't stopped seeing her as one of the hottest hard women in the world. But while she was away recovering, the world of pro female bodybuilding moved on. She wasn't exactly left behind, but she's no longer well out in front.
THERESA IVANCIK (#4)
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
Through 2014 and 2015 Theresa (and her fans) had repeatedly had the hope she would win her pro card dashed over and over again, and 2016 looked like it was going to be more of the same. At the NPC USAs in July she finished 2nd in her Heavyweight class, and then at the IFBB North Americans she'd turned up and competed in Physique. Perhaps a smidgen too big, is how Theresa thought she looked. The judges agreed - she didn't even make the top ten. But then, finally, at her ninth attempt, she won her class at the NPC Nationals and became Theresa Ivancik, IFBB pro.
These days a pro card is hardly a guarantee of riches, and ironically, amateur bodybuilders have a much bigger choice when it comes to shows to compete at, but her achievement, the recognition at last, certainly meant a lot to Theresa, and after the best part of four years of trying, I imagine her success tasted all the sweeter.
Quite simply one of the best-looking women in bodybuilding, she has transformed herself from a pretty but unremarkable young woman into a thickly muscled, intensely beautiful one-of-a-kind. She was our highest new entry at #12 in 2015, rose to #4 last year, and now, in 2017, is our runner-up. She's pretty special, isn't she? remarked one Theresa-voting reader. Indeed she is. And personally speaking I've had some pretty special (and pretty intense!) moments with Theresa over the last twelve months!
So, 99 women down, and just one to go - our 2017 winner.
THE HOTTEST HARD WOMAN IN THE WORLD
ELENA OANA HREAPCA (#5)
She's always been, like her compatriot and now trainer Alina Popa, in the Top Ten of the Hot and Hard 100, but this year (just as Alina had done in 2014) she dominated it. It was a landslide. She received nearly double the number of votes that #4 Selma Labat did, and about 30% more than both Alina and Theresa Ivancik (2nd and 3rd was a close-run thing). From Iasi, Romania, I give you Elena Oana Hreapca.
Three times Elena appeared on the blog this year, the second of the which was in honour of her guest posing appearance at the Omaha Pro, possibly 2016's most memorable female muscle event. The idea, dreamed up apparently by Alina Popa and supported by the Wings of Strength crew, was, according to the former, "to get more exposure for the judges to European physiques now that there are no more pro qualifying shows organized in Europe for female bodybuilders". How wrong it could have gone if she had not been at her best, an entire continent's female muscle future at stake! Turned out though there was no reason for worry. Elena was breathtaking.
In fact, she was breathtaking all year. Whatever Alina has got her to do that she wasn't doing before, it's worked wonders. The abs are still the best in the business, and her upper body remains as spectacular as ever. But now she has more width across her back, and the legs to carry it all off. She didn't compete once in 2016 but nevertheless spent a good part of the year in such incredible, mouth-watering shape that she could have done so at a drop of the proverbial hat. Hot and hard and ripped all over.
We leave you with FMS' first sight of Elena in 2016, an unforgettable pre-Omaha Double Biceps preview. As always, thank you so much for voting, and if you didn't, well, there's always next year. We've now had a different winner in each of our annual Hot and Hard 100 polls. I wonder if we'll be anointing another new winner in 2018...
FMS will be back on 3rd April.