Vegan Figure Competitor Graphic Designer for Arnold Sports Festival, Pro League Australia and Dohertys Gym
Figure Competition History
1st Place – 2017 Naturally Fit Games, Austin Texas
2nd Place – 2015 Naturally Fit Games, Austin Texas
1st Place – 2014 IFBB Victorian State Champion
6th Place – 2014 IFBB Australian Amateur Grand Prix
2nd Place – 2014 IFBB O’Mara Classic World Qualifier
3rd Place – 2013 IFBB Victorian State Titles
4th Place – 2013 IFBB Australian Amateur Grand Prix
2017 Ninja Warrior Competitor
2013 International Transformation of the Year – Bodybuilding.com
Tell us a bit about you and your journey…
When I started my training in 2010, I was recovering from an unhealthy time of my life. I had been suffering from stress, anxiety and depression, and extremely low self-esteem. As a way of coping with everything, and my lack of self-worth, I tried to express myself externally, as I felt I couldn’t with words, being so shy. This soon manifested as an eating disorder, where I felt like the skinnier I got, the more I might feel better about myself. But I was completely wrong. I felt sick and tired all the time, and when I left tafe to pursue my career as a Graphic Designer, I knew I needed it to change.
I set myself a goal to improve my health, and I joined the gym. At first I was terrified of how I might be perceived there, but found that Dohertys Gym was warm and welcoming, and encouraging of my goals. I soon discovered that training can be very healing. Improving my physical health improved my mental health, and helped me to re-wire my body image goals. I learned more and more to love my body and my strength, and although I will always be an introvert, I am proud to love and accept myself the way I am! You could say I’m confidently shy 😉
I became inspired by strong women in action movies and bodybuilding magazines, and the positive messages they were promoting about health and body image. I decided I wanted to work on building muscle too, but all the people I spoke to at the gym, and the web pages I read, seemed to suggest a high intake of protein (in particular, animal protein) was ideal for fitness. I was already vegetarian at the time, and didn’t want to go back to eating meat. I started to research alternative protein sources, such as dairy and eggs.
However, I had recently seen campaigns from Animal Liberation and Animals Australia and soon learned that the dairy and egg industries are responsible for cruelty and suffering just as much as meat farming.
I also learned that a plant based diet is the single BEST thing we can do to live healthy, ethical, ecological and sustainable lives. I could go on forever about this, but If you want to learn more, I recommend starting at http://www.animalliberation.org.au/
Processing all of this, I knew that going vegan was the only way to live compassionately. I still had the goal to build muscle and compete, but I wasn’t sure if that was possible as a vegan. Most of the people around me didn’t think so. Traditional bodybuilding diets seem to revolve around large quantities of animal protein. I didn’t know anyone who was doing it any other way.
I took to the internet for answers, and soon discovered that that there are many other vegan athletes and bodybuilders competing in their sports and dominating over their meat-eating competitors!
I met Billy Simmonds for the first time years ago, maybe around 2011/2012, at a Plant Based Health Seminar RMIT University’s Real Foods Café hosted by Raw Events, and I was so inspired by his talk that I decided to work towards my first competition.
It’s very powerful to be able to walk your talk, and show people what is truly possible with a vegan lifestyle by training and competing, and (as often as I can!) beating my meat-eating peers. I want to break the assumptions and stereotypes that surround veganism, especially in the world of strength sports and bodybuilding. I love that I can fit right in with the bodybuilding crowd, and try and make them see veganism as something complexly normal, and not at all a disadvantage. I see what I’m doing as a form of activism, and I attack it with pure passion.