When the spray tan fades and the abs go soft…things get real. That one thing I had been working so hard for is now over. I achieved what I set out to do. I stepped on stage in Vegas at the biggest and best show that the WBFF (World Beauty Fitness & Fashion) puts on, and I got 2nd place in my category, along with my Pro Card. I feel totally satisfied and happy. I also feel a little uneasy. I like to plan BIG goals for myself. It helps me stay focused and gives me motivation to do what needs to be done day to day in order to reach that big goal. So, what’s next for this Pro Bikini Model (I still can’t believe I’ve earned that title)!? Well…I will talk a little bit about that in a second. But first – I want to give everyone the details of my week in Vegas and say all of my “thank you’s”!
The one thing I’ve heard a lot from people is that they appreciate my honesty and transparency in everything I do. The reason I let so many people in on the details of my life is because it’s nice to relate to people going through the same thing, and at the same time there is someone else out there that NEEDS to read my message. It may help them get through something they’re going through, or provide them with the motivation they need to push past their own barriers. Bottom line – I open myself up to the positive and negative reactions from people in hopes that I can help or make an impact in just a few people’s lives. That’s a success to me. So, here we go. I am about to share something publicly that I haven’t shared with anyone besides my very closest friends. My last pregnancy (baby #2) I gained over 45 lbs. While I was very happy to have a healthy child, I was also a little disheartened with the body that I had to deal with afterwards. It’s tough…I am sharing this with people because people tend to think I’ve always been in shape or haven’t had to work HARD to get where I am. My physique has not come easy, and no- I don’t have genetics on my side. I have to work DAILY to stay in shape. I really do. On top of the hard work I have to put in daily – I also have to battle inner demons on a daily basis (to not let my eating disorder behaviors resurface). Here we go…be kind. This is me post baby…a year out from doing the competition in Las Vegas…compared to now. Sometimes I have to look back to appreciate how far I’ve come.
First and foremost – I need to give a HUGE thank you to a special woman. Throughout the year I was training every single day with one of my best friends, Aundrea Stoetzel. She is a WBFF Pro Fitness Model, and was making her Pro Debut on the Vegas stage post-baby as well. I know that I could not have made it this far without her. We made it through our workouts every day together, and suffered through our diets together as well. It was NOT easy. We were each other’s moral support the whole way through. Love that girl to the moon! So, my first big thank you goes out to her. Thank you sister for pushing me, inspiring me, and motivating me to be better than I was the day before. Soul sisters, fitness sisters, double mint twins, among our many other nick names…love you girl!
Before leaving for Vegas on Wednesday, we were busy getting glammed up for a photo shoot. A big thank you to Rylee and Mallory Casey, as well as Hayley Slate for being a fabulous hair and makeup team! Rylee gave me these sexy blonde locks! I knew I wanted to step on stage a blonde…so it took a lot of time and effort to get me from BLACK hair to platinum blonde! See before and after!
Hayley Slate (MAC magic maker) was able to give me a dramatic sexy look for the photo shoot that held up through 105 degree desert heat! AMAZING. Thank you, Hayley!
Upon arrival in Vegas, we got registered and received our numbers.
Then, Aundrea and I were off to a photoshoot with Craig from Healthy Vision Photography. He was amazing, hilarious, laid back, and creative. The perfect combo for a photographer. He made me feel like a total rockstar. Thank you, Craig!
After our photo shoot, it was off to the athlete’s meeting. I got to see who I was up against, and let me tell you – I’ve never seen that many beautiful people in one room in my life! Talk about intimidating! I reached out to some competitors and found that everyone was just as excited and nervous as me, and that everyone was actually really sweet!
Thursday I got a workout in, sat in the relaxing sauna, and got my spray tan by Fitness Tan. They are a company from Australia and they did a PHENOMENAL job. They were organized, professional, and really detailed – so important. Thank you, Fitness Tan (fitnesstan.com)! No touch ups needed at all the entire weekend. That is unheard of.
My husband arrived on Thursday and we went to dinner – or I guess I should say that I sat and watched him eat dinner. I literally couldn’t even drink water. It was a BLAST! I was just happy that he was there to support me (and the Cosmo Pool Bar I later found out…). I probably don’t give my husband enough credit or thanks – but he is the one that has to live with me through these preps. It’s not easy…I would love to see him write a blog on what it’s like living with someone going through competition prep! Ha! I must say that he’s always been very invested in my success, no matter what it is that I’m doing. I couldn’t ask for a greater spouse in that aspect.
Friday was the big day! I woke up and felt great. I had hair and makeup at 1pm. Now – if you know me, you know that I’m extremely picky when it comes to my hair and makeup. I only trust select individuals to touch those areas!! I was nervous about what I might come out looking like, so I brought very specific pictures of exactly what I wanted (do this always!). I sat down at a random chair to get my hair done first. Her name was Katie Demy and she was extremely sweet and personable. We chatted the whole time about her upcoming wedding in a couple weeks, and my feelings about the show, etc. She did my hair PERFECTLY. I kid you not. She was amazing. I had multiple girls stopping me to ask for a picture of my hair so that they could do it, too. Katie had girls requesting her and asking for the same do that the blonde had. She was so great…I mean take a look at my hair! It was the bomb.
Then, it was on to makeup. Could I be so lucky as to have a perfect makeup experience, too?! I sat down with Esma. She was freaking gorgeous. She can do her own makeup…so that made me feel good right away! Lol She was extremely sweet and understood exactly what I wanted. She was PHENOMENAL. I am so picky with makeup, and she did amazing work.
After getting all glammified, I just had to throw on my bikini and rock that stage for pre-judging. Hanging out backstage I got to know a few of the girls around me. One in particular was Conner Rensch. She was from Omaha as well…us Nebraskans have to stick together! I love a Midwest girl. We hung out, pondered whether or not we should be doing squats and dips like the rest of the girls, and then had a few laughs about a couple girls in particular who were very protective of their butt glue (spray adhesive used to stick your bikini bottoms to the booty so it doesn’t turn into a thong on stage). Conner was on the cover of People magazine, with headlining stories about her losing 130 lbs. She’s amazing! If you haven’t read her story – google her. She’s amazing and has a heart of gold, too.
It was finally GO time. Waiting for your turn to get up on stage fills you with so much adrenaline! You can peek around the corner and see the judges, hear the crowd, and it really gets you going. You sit there and hope that you get a good song to walk out to…it makes all the difference in your strut! My first competition in Kansas City, I walked out to Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”. It was fun and bouncy and fit my personality. As I’m waiting to get on stage in Vegas, I walk out and hit my back stage mark, and what song fires up? Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”. It was HILARIOUS. Apparently that is MY stage song. It put a smile on my face and I rocked it out. I will admit that I was a tad shaky and nervous. Who wouldn’t be? You’re in a tiny bikini on stage to be judged by the world. There’s something very powerful and freeing about it as well. A bit of a statement that says, “This is ME…take it or leave it…” It’s amazing.
Pre-judging went well and I got first call-outs. After those first call-outs, I walked to the back of the stage line-up with tears in my eyes…just so PROUD of what I had already accomplished. It was a cool moment. It didn’t matter to me what the judges decided; I had already achieved what I had set out to achieve. That evening I went to dinner with some friends and had a glass of wine…which was PHENOMENAL.
On to Saturday…back on stage again, which I was actually really excited about. I felt more confident having already been up on the stage the day prior. Saturday I stuck with a couple girls in particular, Katie Stevens (cute little Aussie) and Chelsea Cox (gorgeous brunette from Florida). Us 3 were all in a row in the lineup, 118, 119, and 120. Fast forward to the awards, and us 3 found ourselves standing next to each other in the top 5, and then identified as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners – all awarded Pro Cards. I was SO happy. So happy for myself (2nd place), but at the same time SO happy for them! These were my 2 girls! I couldn’t have been happier. (Had to steal this photo from Katie – follow her on Insta!)
A huge thank you to Paul and Allison Dillett, President and VP of the WBFF, for putting on such a fun, organized, and entertaining show! Thank you to Sonja Tanner and Tammy Streich for keeping things so organized backstage and making sure that the show went smoothly. Thank you to Nate Harewood for making sure all of the athlete’s understood where to be and what to do. He presented me with my Pro Card, and I’ll never forget it. And thank you to the Cosmopolitan Hotel for providing such great accommodations for the athletes.
Thank you to Katrina Hirtz, Beauty Services Director, who made sure that appointments were running on time and that everyone was happy with their services.
Thank you to Rod McConnell with Midwestern Meats, who was waiting for us at the hotel upon check in with pre-portioned meals to get us through the weekend! The food was delicious, clean, and delivered to us in a cooler with ice packs. We saved A LOT of money using this service and I would recommend it to anyone competing. Use this service! Don’t travel with food. It was so easy.
Thank you to Elicia with Nutrishop (locally in Omaha), for assisting with body fat pinches, and to Cory at Nutrishop for the supplement recommendations.
Big thank you to Tanya Theberge, the designer of my amazing bikini. Follow her on Instagram @thebergebikini. She is an artist with an amazing talent. I wanted to stand out on stage, and we made that happen. A strapless bikini in a rainbow print? Mission accomplished! She’s the best.
Thank you to Faina Vitebsky, who I bought my beautiful gown from. Everyone loved it!
Also a big thank you to Barb with Stitched: Creations and Alterations (locally here in Omaha). She was able to make alterations to my dress and also my bikini so that it fit PERFECTLY and looked flawless. Thank you, Barb!
I have to thank my friends, family, and clients for being so supportive throughout this process. They’ve dealt with moody, carb depleted, tired Ashlee and I’m so grateful!
Big thank you to Jennifer Lamke, one of my best friends, who not only came to Vegas, but came to my show and made sure I heard her loud and clear in the audience! She’s one of those friends that you know would do anything for you at any time…Love you, Jen!
Last but not least – probably the most important person in the equation of my success with this show – a huge GIGANTIC thank you to Doug Casebier. This is the man behind my diet and workouts. He understood what improvements I needed to make on my body from the last show I did to this one. He dialed my body in right and understood that I did NOT want to come in “skinny”. Here’s the thing with competing…the more you compete, the more you learn about your body, how it responds, and what works best for your particular body. I couldn’t have done this without him. He was able to take my post-baby body and transform it into THIS. Thank you, Doug!
Are you sick of reading yet? Knock it off…here comes the fun stuff. What’s next for me? My first goal is to get published in a fitness magazine. I tend to try to follow in my fitness sister’s footsteps. 🙂 I want to show the world that you can be a mom, own a business, and STILL take care of yourself, be happy, and have a rockin’ body. You can truly have it all. That’s the message I want the world to receive…and I’ll make sure it happens. As for training…I am playing with the idea of Crossfit lately. I don’t want to fully commit at this point, but I think that I am going to dive in head first and see what happens. I like the idea of being judged on performance versus aesthetics. I think it would be cool to compete in the Crossfit Open (the Crossfit juice must be seeping in my brain from the Stoetzel’s and The Forged Athlete). I try to think of something that SCARES me…and then I go do it. As soon as I catch myself saying, “I could never do that….” I know that the next step is to go do THAT. That’s just me. You can’t grow unless you get uncomfortable every now and then. Stay tuned to see what’s next for me! Thank you again for all of the love and support. I’ve never felt so amazing.