Interview With Personal Trainer, Spokesmodel Finalist Danny J
Some dreams really do come true. The charming and affable Danny J was on the radar when I mentioned her in an earlier post, now the flight of fancy becomes a reality as this striking 28-year-old personal trainer from Las Vegas comes in for a landing on the studio.
Even during the chill of winter, this bikini competitor’s debut comes at a magical time. Out in the milder climes of the Southwest, things are really heating up for our latest, prettiest new face.
That’s largely due to the excitement surrounding the Bodyspace Spokesmodel search that Danny has spent the last several months competing in. Ultimately, supporting fans came out in droves to help her earn enough votes to make it to the finals of the contest set to take place at the Los Angeles Fitness Expo on Saturday, January 23rd.
Consistently maintaining a profile page as well as a terrific blog throughout her fitness journey, the highly accomplished desert diva — who holds a Bachelors degree in Physical Education and a Masters in Health Promotion and Exercise Science — has been an enthusiastic member of the popular fitness forum.
Thanks to a dedicated effort, strong reputation and tremendous popularity, she’ll share the spotlight next weekend with four more lovely luminaries — IFBB pro Erin Stern and former Oxygen cover girl Jaquelyn Kay among them — looking to become the next fresh face of women’s health and fitness.
The final announcement promises to be anxious and exhilarating. Along with the prestige and opportunities of being new spokesmodel comes a glossy cover shot on Ironman magazine. It could be a watershed moment for the winner, something to help launch their career toward the ranks of fitness icons like Jamie Eason.
As the new season approaches, I recently caught up with Danny for an inside glimpse into the former figure turned bikini girl’s future plans on the competitive stage. We also looked back to examine some of memorable highlights so far in her athletic young life, which blossomed in gymnastics and took off — quite literally — when she worked as an acrobat for a performance team at SeaWorld in San Diego, California.
Of course, I asked what it would mean to her to win the spokesmodel contest coming up shortly. Not surprisingly, Danny says winning would be a dream come true but modestly admits she’s the underdog.
One thing is certain, as reigning Figure Olympia champ Nicole Wilkins-Lee recently proved, never underestimate the underdog — and dreams often do come true.
Dean: I know you have experience in gymnastics. Were you always pretty competitive growing up? Did you play any other sports or even have strength challenges like armwrestling matches in school?
Danny J: “I could say I was competitive but I wasn’t a big ‘sports person.’ Gymnastics was it. I thought gymnastics was the only ‘worthy’ sport (probably just because I sucked at the others). I was, however, very competitive in school and with my grades. As far as armwrestling…no. I just don’t get that.”
Dean: A very unique and intriguing athletic dimension about you is that you once worked as an acrobat at SeaWorld in San Diego. Could you give us a little overview and describe some of the tricks you performed and how it must have felt to be able to do them?
Danny J: “Oh my god! SeaWorld was an incredible experience. The show was Cirque de La Mer. So, a bit like Cirque Du Soleil style. My favorite tricks were jumping off the Russian swing, which is a giant swing set, where two people are pushing you as hard as they can and you fly off 20-40 feet in the air like you are flying. You land in water, but believe me and my bruises, water is not the softest landing. Still it was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. AND I was lucky enough to get paid to do it!”
Dean: Just curious, with a gymnastic and acrobatic background to your credit, have you ever thought about putting together a routine and trying out in fitness competitions? I think you’d be very good at it!
Danny J: “I actually really have considered doing fitness. I agree I think I would be good at it, and I coached gymnastics for 10 years, so I always critique the routines. The problems I had in recent years, were my jobs. I work an evening shift, and most gymnastics gyms are only open when I am also working. I just could never coordinate!”
Dean: Once again, hearty congratulations on earning a well-deserved trip to compete in the final round of the Bodyspace Spokesmodel search at the LA Fit Expo. As one of the “final five” facing an elite group of women — among them an IFBB figure pro and a former Oxygen covergirl — where would winning this contest rank within your own already splendid inventory of achievements?
Danny J: “Wow! Well, yes, I am competing against some amazing physiques and beautiful women. I feel a little bit the underdog, and winning this contest would actually be a dream and goal come true. It has been one of my goals just to be able to WORK at the Bodybuilding.com booth for an expo, so winning this contest would mean more to me right now, than even turning pro.”
Dean: Having tried it last season, how do you feel about the new bikini division? Are you going to stick with it or go back to figure?
Danny J: “Bikini vs Figure… Hmmm. I have mixed feelings. You see, I LOVE the leanness and ripped look of figure, but I like the SASS and personality of bikini. I’m still taking some time to decide. I had a hard time (mentally) softening up for bikini. I like to have a harder physique, but I had a lot more fun, too. So…we shall see what 2010 brings.”
Dean: Which shows do you plan on competing at in 2010? What are some improvements you’ve made to your physique or overall presentation this off season that you think will really stand out on stage this year?
Danny J: “Honestly, I haven’t decided what shows, which division, and IF I will compete or not in 2010. I have a personal goal to see 30 countries before I’m 30, and I’m running out of time! I may decide to spend my travel money this year on something other than shows. I also have spent most of my off season growing my training business. So I’ve been in more of a maintenance mode, than making any drastic physique changes.”
Dean: Besides your website, are there any other fitness-related items that I can help you plug or anything else going on in your life that you’d like to share?
Danny J: “Danny J Fitness is my site for personal training. I am currently doing some group trainings and I also do online coaching and training. I am probably one of the most ‘invested’ trainers you will meet, and what I mean by that, is that I make your goals MY goals. We do it together. If I don’t have an answer, I find it.
“I am also writing for examiner.com so please find me in Las Vegas and subscribe to my articles. Keep an eye out in Max Muscle stores as well, as I have been a featured contributing writer in September and December and more to come.”
Dean: Danny, thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me. I’m very honored and delighted to have you as one of our latest star models on the studio. Best of luck at the Bodyspace finals and on stage this season!
Danny J: “Thank you so much for taking the time to let others get to know me. I want readers to know that I LOVE meeting new people and am one of the most approachable people you will ever meet. So please say hi at the expos or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always write back.”