I lost one time, says Jacquelyn Hickerson. I did NOT like it.
Two years ago, Jacquelyn made her first appearance at the NPC Nationals. She didn't look that bad, did she? But in a class of 17 women (coincidentally including the 2017 NPC Nationals Bodybuilding champion Fallon Brinson) she finished 11th. I assume this is the loss she is talking about, because she hasn't, as far as I can tell, lost since.
In the time since that Nationals debut first brought her to the attention of the collective female muscle lovin' world, Jacquelyn has become something of a pin-up. Her combination of ever-growing muscles topped with one of the most beautiful faces of any female bodybuilder and a playful, articulate and defiant Instagram presence has won her many an admirer. "A beauty", "awesome", "gorgeous", they said. "One of the best off-season looks around", they said. One of? Who else was on their list?!
So in August when she returned to the stage at the NPC Cajun Showdown, there was a bit of buzz on the forums. She didn't have a whole heap of competition, and she won.
She didn't mention it once on social media. Not a peep. Not a "look-my-posing-suit-arrived" pic, not a "here-we-are-in-the-car" travel shot, not a "tanned-and-ready-to-go" hotel number, not a "chillin-backstage" selfie, no "thanks-coach" with the coach and the trophy proudly displayed post-stage. Nothing. Nada. You wouldn't have had any idea she had even competed unless you knew she had competed, if you see what I mean.
Quite clearly, the Cajun show was just a formality for Jacquelyn, an i that needed a dot to qualify her for the Nationals once again. That was the title she really wanted, and wow was she focused on it. Or maybe my imagination... Sometimes you just gotta go off the grid and get your soul right. It's okay to get quiet and re-evaluate your goals. You're allowed. Not everyone should have the luxury of knowing all the things.
Told you she was articulate.
Anyway, the buzz. Come the weeks before the Nationals it was back. Anyone following her prep couldn't help but be excited when they saw, for example, how magnificently massive her shoulders (and everything else you can see in this pic) were getting.
And when images of Jacquelyn on stage in Miami appeared, we were not disappointed.
She f***in' ruled. Not just her class, but the whole Physique division (perhaps with the notable exception of Rachael Chaskey). No one even came close to her level.
And to my untrained eye she looks a lot like Jacquelyn knew it too. The smile never leaves her face, her eyes shining so brightly. She exudes confidence, arrogance even, and seems to have almost taken her own breath away. This should be interesting, she wrote, tanned and suited up before she took to the stage, the same smile, the same arrogance, already there. In every image I've seen of her at the show (and I've seen a few, believe me) she is so alluring, so powerful, so sexy. Utterly irresistible.
Two poses in particular I think capture her moment.
She looks nothing less than ecstatic.
And that aura didn't disappear when she did her round of post-match interviews either.
"Awkward interview", reckons one commenter on YouTube. I beg to differ. I think Ms Figure Olympia is more than a little overcome by the heaving mass of muscular womanhood that has just thundered up beside her. And Jacquelyn is just on another planet. I'm sure they communicated a lot more than the few words that actually are exchanged for the camera. Or is that just my imagination going a bit wild again?
Decide for yourself!
Happily, this was one of those all too rare occasions when the judges and my loins were in full agreement about the outcome. And obviously Jacquelyn felt like the right woman was going home with the trophy as well. Soon afterwards though she revealed that while her status in the sport may have changed, the motivation remains exactly the same. No win will ever taste more sweet than how bitter that one loss does...
In my head she's moving up to Bodybuilding for her pro debut.
Another Physique dream!