Previous Cover Girls
Natalie Waples is not only this months cover girl, she’s also one of Canada’s most prominent fitness athletes. We were delighted when an impromptu photoshoot this summer with yours truly quickly evolved into three larger projects; one of which you see here today, the others to come soon.
TF: As-always, first question out of the door – How did you get into fitness?
NW: From the age of 13, I was involved in Pageantry. Later, while at the University of Ottawa, I got involved in the Cheerleading program which necessitated a nominal amount of training, including weights. I enjoyed these experiences immensely, so when I met Mindi O’Brien at a sports modelling competition in 2005, and received her encouragement to try figure at a bodybuilding show, I decided to see what it was all about. Six months later, My first show was behind me.
TF: What were your initial observations about the sport?
NW: Well, it’s a different experience going to a show versus looking at coverage in a magazine or online. As such, it’s much different actually being up on the stage. However, my background in Pageantry helped me with the poise and presentation (referred to as stage-presence) required to succeed in the feminine classes.
TF: At that time, did you have role-models in the sport?
NW: Absolutely. I admired Jenny Lynn and many other pros back at that time.
TF: Having been in the sport a while now, how has it changed over the last few years?
NW: With the introduction of the Bikini class, I found that the Women’s Physique and Figure classes became a bit smaller (lack of a better term) and a bit more attainable. Within the last year however, it’s started to go back toward a larger look. As an athlete, you must come forward and present the best look with the means you have available to you.
TF: Do you have any favorite shows through the season?
NW: Absolutely. As a Canadian, I’m always a big fan of the Toronto Pro Supershow. The Kentucky Muscle is also high on my list; Brent Jones does a great job promoting the amateur and pro athletes. I should also mention the Arnold Classic – for obvious reasons.
TF: You’ve certainly made the rounds as a Fitness Model, having worked with the biggest publications in the industry. How’s that been?
NW: I started modelling about the same time I started competing. Although these activities are often linked, they’re different in that you can be an accomplished model but not necessarily compete and vice versa. From my perspective, the modelling side is one which also requires effort so as to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to successful fitness athletes, such as sponsorship, etc. And it certainly is wonderful to see oneself in a prominent fitness magazine!
TF: When you finish competing, will you still model?
NW: Absolutely! I find that fitness modelling has a bit more flexibility for an individual, because your physique doesn’t necessarily need to be as hard as when you compete. I enjoy modelling, writing and other activities which come with promotion.
TF: Any advice to the people coming into the sport?
NW: Go see a show in as many organizations to see what it’s all about. Different to be at the show than just see pictures. Ensure that if interested, it’s important to have pro pictures. Don’t be afraid to approach people – have to create a following and audience before you approach someone. If you can’t sell yourself, they won’t be able to either.
TF: What are the pros and cons to being a pro athlete and travelling to shows around the world?
NW: It’s great to meet new friends and acquaintances while travelling all over the world. This sport brings together people with like-minded interests. It’s also nice to share the moment on stage with people in other countries who have done the same things to as you have to get there. What’s hard is prioritizing other items in one’s everyday life, in order to accommodate the travel. Although I use a great one, my dogs spend more time in the kennel than I’d like. And with personal relationships, there’s a great deal of absence, so everyone needs to be on-board.
TF: What’s next?
NW: Glad you asked! I happen to be working closely with Training & Fitness Magazine. We’re soon launching a series of events; the likes of which have yet to be seen! I could say more, but I just can’t spoil the surprise.