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Five inch stiletto’s, bronzed skin, enough makeup and hairspray to put any beauty pageant to shame. She’s beautiful, she’s fit. Desirable, confident and elegant. A classy cross between a Victoria’s Secret Supermodel and Miss America. That’s a bikini competitor on show day.

But is that me?

It’s 7am on a frigid November morning in Canada. I’m 23 years old and riding passenger in a boyfriend-chauffeured Escalade on my way to get dolled up for my first show. It’ll take me about an hour and a half to go from understated gym owner to glamorous bikini model. Then I’ll head over to the venue, tape and paste my bikini to my body and fluff my hair for a panel of judges.

I was calm, cool and confident. I knew I worked hard and I knew I looked good.

When I was finally lined up with twenty two other girls, my heartbeat finally started to pound as they called my name and number from the stage. This was really happening. Any error in my step and I might find myself on my ass. There was no other sound aside from the little voice in my head that frequently reminds me that I’m clumsy, unworthy and uneasy.

I realized, pretty immediately, that I was going to do this again. Maybe it was the lights, maybe it was my cheer section. When I didn’t hear my number in the first call outs, somehow it didn’t matter. Apparently, I was considered too muscular and hard for this show, which I took as a compliment. The irony, of course, is that look is what I have worked so hard for.

So, now, I’ve started my prep for the Gala in 2.5 weeks. I have a plan that will hopefully appeal to the judges and still keep myself happy with the way that I look.

Is that me? Let’s find out.

Brooke

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