When opportunities knock why not take them? That's what I always say anyway, so when the opportunity came up for me to get involved as a makeup artist with the Tampa Classic, a level 3 bodybuilding/bikini/physique competition which was held this past Saturday, I said, sure... why not?!
Although I have created looks for bikini models and fitness models many times before, I have never been involved nor have I been to an event like this. I knew above all that it would be interesting and if I could book just a few people to make paying for my "exclusivity" worth my while, I could network my way into future business and it would be a great experience. Little did I know the experience it would truly be! I have NEVER seen so many muscles in one place. From competitor's in their 20's to competitor's 60 and above, I saw enough men in Speedo and breast augmentations to last me a lifetime. These people live their lives to be not only fit and fabulous, but they come to show it off in a way that would make most of us blush. I was completely unaware of the extreme and was quite fascinated at the dedication to say the least. It has always been unreal to me how the human body can be formed into this massive collection of muscles, but to see it in person brought a whole new perspective to it. I only wish I had been able to escape from my duties long enough to take more photos.
Beyond the muscles was a massive amount of spray tanning. It was honestly hard to tell what nationality anyone was because quite frankly, they were all sprayed to be the same color. I understand that tanned skin is more attractive than white skin and shows off muscle definition... but this event brought it to a whole new level. I met white girls who at first second and third glance appeared to be bleached-blonde African American women. Even the African American competitor's were pray tanned, and I just couldn't help having flashbacks of Something About Mary throughout the entire day. I am sure that under the bright stage lights these ridiculously tanned, toned, oiled up bodies looked amazing, but what amazed me, was the thickness, stickiness and flaking of the layers of tanning solution these competitors are asked to endure. It was a nice challenge as a makeup artist to match these tanned bodies and to apply foundation onto faces that were tacky and flaking with spray tan residue. I bet the first thing many of them do is soak in a tub or exfoliate the devil out of their skin just so they can breathe and stop smelling that smell... (you know the spray tan smell I am speaking of) I seriously have a whole new level of respect for these people way beyond the grueling workouts and eating nothing but fish, chicken and hard boiled eggs for 6 months.
My admin girl and dear friend Tina helped me rock our makeup booth, and considering that I had laryngitis for the first half of the day she happily and successfully dominated the early conversations for me. We had our girls and several of those around us laughing most of the day and well into the evening. There was a little Asian guy in the booth next to us selling high protein low-carb oatmeal and bread. We heard his sales pitch so many times that I told him that if he needed to use the restroom I could take over without a hitch. He laughed hysterically as I pitched his products to him in an Asian accent. If only it had been Gluten and dairy free I could have actually sampled it! It was a VERY long day and by the end of the night I was honestly a bit delirious, but the networking was priceless. I was approached by 4 coaches, 2 trainers, 3 production companies and a HUGE spray tan company interested in me traveling to other shows, so it looks like this paid off beyond putting a big smile on my 5 competitors.
Then to cap the night, I found out that one of my girls took second place in her bikini class and well... when she told me thank you and that "she felt beautiful" I got that warm fuzzy feeling that my industry allows me to feel ALL of the time... and to think I have had people say to me, "Don't you want to get a REAL job?"
Well... umm, sorry to disappoint anyone, but my heart tells me that this career is about as REAL as it gets!
Love what you do and it will love you back!