A Humble Fire
Okay…making my official announcement :) I am 8 weeks out from my next IFBB Pro Figure show, the Pittsburgh Pro. It will be my second pro show after making my pro debut at the Kentucky Muscle Pro back in November. In Kentucky, I placed in the Top 10 (8th to be exact)…my first EVER show as an IFBB Pro. I felt more comfortable and confident on stage that day than ever before as an amateur. I thought I would be more nervous being backstage with pros I had always looked up to…sharing the stage with them, etc. But, what really happened that day was amazing. I never once had to remind myself that I AM a pro and I belong up there and worked so hard to get there…I just felt it. I know that having that genuine attitude is what made me feel so comfortable there.
In the NPC, especially at the national level, you're fighting to stand out and get validated by the judges and the other competitors. If you don't place top 5, you feel like you were hardly glanced at after all of your hard work. If you do place top 5, you get a glimmer of excitement for an afternoon while you wait for finals to find out which trophy you will receive. If it's not first, you go home and start planning all over again. You decide how many times you're willing to do that until, if ever, you finally place 1st and earn your pro card.
I know beautiful pros that have been winners from the start…1st place here, overall there, top 5…3…1st at the very beginning of their pro careers. It's hard not to envy them but there is something to be said for the workhorses. I'd much rather get 2nd or 3rd at each show…fueling my fire to make necessary improvements for the next competition. Placing well feels great…but we all want to win. I was and am always humbled by my success on stage, but am always left with a little something to keep my fire burning.
I placed 1st or 2nd at 5 regional amateur shows from the very start and earned one overall title before beginning my national-level journey to turning professional. Placing well in regional shows is great fuel going into national shows…but it can certainly crush your spirit when you're used to placing well or winning and suddenly there are 50 amazing bodies on stage with you at a national show.
I placed 7th, 5th and 4th at 3 national shows over 2 years before winning my class at the 2012 NPC USAs, earning pro status. To earn your pro card with a 1st place trophy at the largest national show of the year, on stage with the most incredible and beautiful women is the best feeling in the world for an amateur girl…the highlight of my competitive career, no doubt!
I expected the same nervous, I-hope-they-like-me feelings at my pro debut but it was completely different. There was a common respect amongst everyone…the girls, promoters, tanning crew, makeup artists, stage expediters…everyone. For me, the pressure is finally off and prepping for and competing in a pro show feels so much more natural now. It feels like a job that I love and I have confidence the entire time…from what I do 8 weeks out until I hit the stage. I'm looking forward to sharing the stage with another group of lovely ladies in Pittsburgh on May 4th and am so excited to see what my future holds this year! Stay posted here as I post my journey to the show!
Jessie Hilgenberg, IFBB Figure Pro
Team NLA For Her Athlete
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