4 X Ms. Fitness Olympia 2014-2016, 10 X Arnold Classic Champion, America’s Got Talent 2016
AskMeAnything: Bodybuilding Athlete Panel Q&A
Sunday, 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm, TheFitExpo Stage
I am from Kaliningrad, Russia. As a child, my family moved often because, my mother decided she wanted to put me in gymnastics as a way to direct my energy. She took me to a gymnastics school in Riga. The Art Gymnastics class was not in session, but my mother liked the beauty of the Rhythmic Gymnastics class she saw at the school. At age 7 I was a late starter for gymnastics, but the coach saw potential in me and I was accepted into the rhythmic gymnastics class. After a few months of training, I placed 3rd in my first competition.
After three years, my father was reassigned to a new post in Russia. This job came with a guarantee of government housing, which meant that, finally, we would be in a settled place. Sadly, there was no gymnastics school in this city. My coach in Riga offered me the chance to stay there and continue my training. My parents asked me what I wanted to do, thinking that I surely wanted to move with them. But I was willing to stay in Riga and continue with my gymnastics. They were surprised, but understood my desire and passion for gymnastics. My father switched assignments with another officer so that we could move to Kaliningrad, Russia, a city that did have a gymnastics school. This was a huge sacrifice for my family, because the government would not provide housing for us. I was able to pursue my gymnastics in Kaliningrad, but we changed apartments often and I moved from school to school. I spent countless hours commuting back and forth on foot and by bus between home, school and gymnastics, and I rarely saw my parents.
Fitness was my life. I went to University in Kaliningrad and in 2000 earned a degree as a specialist in Physical Training and Sports. During my university years and for several years later, I organized my own ballet, “Antares”. I also worked as a choreographer with children at the Tchaikovsky School of Music and Art in Kaliningrad.
At this time there were no gyms in Kaliningrad. When the first gym opened in 2002, a friend suggested that I work as a fitness and aerobics instructor. A few trainers at the gym told me I had a good body structure for bodybuilding. I took their advice, started training and, at that point, competitive fitness had found me. I spent several years working as a trainer and manager in sports clubs while quickly rising to the top of competitive fitness in Russia. In 2005 and 2006 I was awarded the title of “Best Non-Olympic Sportswoman of the Year” in the Kaliningrad Region, while winning fitness competitions on the international stage at the European and World Championships, finally earning my IFBB pro card to compete in the 2007 Olympia.
I have been in the United States for over three years and now live in California. I continue to work as a personal trainer, fitness consultant and fitness model. In my spare time I teach myself to play the piano and I am starting to do some acting. Music and performance are both passions of mine that have helped to make my stage work in fitness so exciting and rewarding.
After 12 years of gymnastic competitions and 6 years of fitness competitions, I still feel compelled to try to improve as an athlete… to do better, to be better. Competition is in my blood and I am a perfectionist. I love to compete against the best athletes in the world and I hope, through my performances and my hard work, to leave a lasting impression on the professional fitness world and be an inspiration for future fitness competitors. I don’t consider myself the best of the best, but I am always focused on my goals to improve and be a champion.