Monday, 17 September 2018

A Temporary Halt
New pro Dana Shemesh, tbc

Sad to say that for a while at least FMS is not going to be posting anything new.

Some real life stuff is going on that absolutely requires my full attention, and unfortunately that is going to have to take precedence. With luck, it won't be too long before FMS returns, but at the moment it's impossible to say when that will be.
2 x Ms Figure Olympia, Cydney Gillon

You might, as they are (sort of) just in, want to check out the Olympia results and galleries on NPC News Online at some stage this week - I know I will! FMS fave Cydney Gillon has defended her Figure title, and in Juliana's absence, Shanique Grant has fulfilled her destiny. UK fans can enjoy Louise Rogers (finally at the Olympia) in Figure, plus our two Fitness Olympians, Emma Paveley and Kate Errington.
Shanique Grant - (the new) Ultimate Physique

And why not check out the archive?

Over 7 years of the finest contemporary female muscle plus the occasional look back at female muscle times past. And since Saturday, 8th September 2012 (with the odd break here and there) we've endeavoured to bring you a post a day, and we started that week, appropriately enough, with seven posts devoted to... ALINA POPA!
Our first, and (almost) our last (for now)

Sadly, not all the images from the last 7 years are still up there, but my musings - inane, insane and very occasionally insightful (if I say so myself) - are 100% intact.
Dani 2014: visible ecstasy on stage in Orlando

I'm rather proud (whether rightly or wrongly) of the week that began with Dani Reardon getting "the chills" at the Orlando Pro in 2014; of the seven-part piece of fiction that makes up Prof. Pennypacker's Pectarium; and last year's Never Better.
Sarah and Simone, at their peak

I've LOVED reporting on the big pro and amateur shows, and the best of British female muscle. I've also LOVED choosing FMS' Women of the Year, and - with your very great help - compiling five lists of alternative female beauty - the Hot and Hard 100.
The Hottest Hard Woman in the World 2017-2018

I'll still be about on the forums, in the chatrooms, on Skype, on Discord, MyCircle, and Tumblr - look out for 6ft1swell (or similar) and say hi - or steer well clear, it's up to you!
Some highlights from 6ft1swell's Tumblr so far this year

I look forward to resurrecting FMS (hopefully) in the not-too-distant future.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

FMS @RP2018: No Comparison?

And we finish our week at the world's premier Female Bodybuilding contest (bit belatedly today, sorry about that) with the competitor who most exceeded the pre-contest expectations. Canada's blond bombshell Nicki Chartrand was barely mentioned in the lead-up to the event (not least by me), but ultimately walked off with the (previously monopolised by Sheila Bleck) Best Poser prize, and 4th place.

We have already waxed lyrical about her performance on the day - and particularly on the night with that scintillating winning posing routine (see Tales from the Feed ) - so instead we decided we'd try to piece together the Nicki Chartrand story so far.

Unfortunately, we didn't find much to piece together.

We do, however, know how she looked back in c.2015, when she seems to be competing at regional Canadian level, as a Bodybuilder too. The research team have really struggled to find any definitive list of her contest placings from the early part of her career - which really bothers me (can you tell?) and is the main reason why today's post has gone up so tardily. Anyway, it'll have to do. Here is our first comparison.


Nicki v.2015 and Nicki v.2018

By 2016, we do know, she was the CBBF Nationals Women's Bodybuilding champion - a title previously held by (among others) Negrita Jade, Laura Binetti, Desiree Ellis, Sophie Duquette, Autumn Raby, Nicole Ball, and Fabiola Boulanger.

Not a bad list at all.

However, and despite being a Heavyweight, it is not in Women's Bodybuilding that Nicki Chartrand makes her pro debut, but in Physique - at the 2017 Toronto Pro.


Toronto Pro 2017 and Rising Phoenix 2018

There's so obviously too much muscle on her for IFBB Physique judges that it's almost funny imagining their faces, and within weeks Nicki debuted as a pro Bodybuilder. At the Lenda Murray/Norfolk Pro she beat the fan fave Theresa Ivancik (also on debut) and beat her well. Then she finished off 2017 with 12th place at the Rising Phoenix.

And then this year, she began her season early, at the Hawaii Pro, again in a less than numerous line-up, but up against a woman on debut who many fans were excited about seeing - Alina protégé Jennie Roosa. And the result? Nicki 1st, fan fave 2nd. Nicki could now celebrate her 2nd professional title and start prep for her second RP.

Which pretty much brings us up-to-date, but before we go, one more comparison.

The thought occurred to me while I was waiting for the Research Dept. to tell me they hadn't found much about Nicki's early career. There's something about her double biceps pose, the way she positions her long, muscle curvy legs when she hits it. Her general statuesqueness (well, it's a word now!), and I guess her colouring too, reminded me of a legend from the not-too-distant Female Bodybuilding past...


Brigita MsO2011 and Nicki RP2018

Perhaps not a fair comparison in terms of where Nicki is right now, but instead a peek into the not-too-distant future at where Nicki has the potential to be before too long.

Just me?


Saturday, 15 September 2018

FMS @RP2018: Jill Blondin's Good Year

The above HD Physiques samples were taken at the cusp of a remarkable contest season for Jill Blondin (aka Jill Diorio). A couple of days after this shoot she made a promising competitive start to 2018 at the IFBB Champions of Power and Grace (good name!), winning the Over 35 title and placing 2nd in the Open Physique class.

Her next three shows were, however, less successful. 7th at the Optimum Classic was followed by a barely believable 11th in Toronto. She did one more Physique show in Omaha, and placed 6th. It proved to be the turning point in her year. As their booth toured the pro shows, Wings of Strength had been reaching out to some of the Physique competitors - Jill included - but ultimately she was pushed, rather than pulled, in their direction. [It wasn't] because of my placings, but the reasoning behind those placings and the judges' feedback that I found myself having to make some decisions, she said. After Omaha, the decision was made to follow the judges' suggestions [my bold] and move up to Women's Bodybuilding. She would compete again in just four weeks.

The fact that just one month later in Chicago Jill won her first Female Bodybuilding title at her first attempt says a lot for the strength of the line-up and blurring of the line between the two divisions. It also says a lot for her muscularity and, above all, her conditioning. Though she has bigger calves than anyone, she is no giant by any means. To cut it in pro Female Bodybuilding, she needed to be razor sharp. And she was.

She beat other Physique to FBBing novices - Natalia Kovalyova, Amanda Smith - and she beat bigger, more experienced women - Maria Mikola, Jay Fuchs, Rita Bello. I had zero expectations going into the show because this was all new for me, she confessed afterwards, clearly in shock. My only goal was to not look out of place or like I didn’t belong. Regardless of what happened, I was proud of myself to taking on a new challenge, pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I’m still not sure I’ve really grasped that I actually DID win. I’m waiting for someone to pinch me.

So Jill started to prepare for her night on Female Bodybuilding's biggest stage, and the "pinch Jill next time she can't believe that she's won" queue started to form...

Predictions on the forums before the show (you may remember from FMS passim) made mention of Jill as a possible top 6 finisher, and so it proved. She was - to my eyes (on stalks) anyway - even more cut than she had been in Chicago, and bigger too.

Her pre-routine film suggested she knows which side her bread is buttered too, with a montage of some of her better-known shots, including the very big finish of a closing zoom into that shot of her bulging vascular calves (taken some time ago now).

If any of the ladies' films on the night whipped the heads in the audience into a female muscle lovin' frenzy, this (or should I say these?) was it. Probably the best calves in the world, and probably in the conversation for the best calves ever, but clearly Jill is so much more than just the sum of these bulging, epic wonders of the female muscle lovin' world, and I think the judges' decision to place her in the top 6 - ahead of Virginia Sanchez, and way ahead of Jay Fuchs - was a fair reflection of that.

Congratulations to Jill, and I hope she'll forgive me for ending by returning to those calves once again, but this female muscle lovin' boy just can't help himself...


For Elms, enjoy my friend!

Friday, 14 September 2018

FMS @RP2018: Swell Digs

Six women across three divisions (sorry Benny Boy, no "proper" FBBs today) that made quite the impression on ol' Swell during (and since) last weekend's IFBB Arizona Pro.

In the order they stepped on stage...



We've already featured Kristine's breathless routine (see Tuesday's Tales from the Feed) but any excuse for a few more of Gene X's pictures of this bouncy blond goddess. She's been a Fitness pro for five years now, and though - amazingly - she's never won a title, Kristine has been to the Olympia twice - 8th in 2016 her best placing. She won't, sadly, be there this weekend though. Sadly for the Olympia audience that is.



Earlier in the week I may have been guilty of giving the impression the Figure division was a bit of a one-woman show - that woman being Cydney Gillon - but in fact there were 24 other women in the line-up. And in a division that only lets in bottoms that provide the most extreme aesthetic pleasure for the viewer, the pleasure was all mine when Tracy Williams faced the back. Probably the most ripped Figure competitor on the night, Tracy (11th) was not as loved by the judges as she was in my house.


We couldn't help but notice her in Tampa (when James Cook took a LOT of photos of her - see FMS passim) and she finished 15th on her pro debut. Here, she had enough going on to finish just outside the top 6. Karen hasn't got much attention from the female muscle lovin' community thus far, but I'm sure it won't be long before her smouldering beauty and banging Figure bod start to get much more IG monitoring.



Any women who starts her thirty-second "presentation" with a full frontal most muscular (even Physique-style) is fine by me, and Reshanna went on to display her obvious charms with similar gusto for the other twenty-nine seconds too. Sadly, as she finished outside the top 10, we didn't get any more of this gorgeous woman in the evening, but she's on the FMS Watch List now, so she can expect a bit of Instagram surveillance. "Bigger and better" next time, promises this mouth-watering hunk of Chicago-based muscle. A physique worthy of the biggest division of all?


The Physique Masters Winner, the well-enhanced Denise finished 7th in the Open class. Like Reshanna, Denise added a full frontal most muscular to her presentation, and thankfully so. It's the only angle from which the judges (and audience and 600+ live feed viewers) could see past those mighty enhancements to her (almost as) plentiful pec meat. With all that going on upstairs her posing suit was in mortal danger - note her tight, tanned, muscular glutes and what's trying to disappear between them.


And our last bit of diggery may be somewhat sentimental, but all the same we very much dug the fact that finally the woman formerly known as Amanda Folstad got to make her pro debut. Once (in a galaxy far far away, ie. 2011) Amanda was a young Heavyweight(!) at the NPC Nationals. Eight long years later and now an Over 35, she won her pro card at the NPC Masters Nationals earlier this year. Great to see the Viking Blond Goddess pose on a pro stage, however briefly. She had "zero expectations" on this occasion, but is determined to be back. Much to improve on! she says.