Year in Review Part One: New Pros Under the Radar

High Style: Tissilli Brandi turned pro at the 2012 Jr. USAs.

We’ve covered a lot of new pros this year here on the blog—Jackie Abrams, Amanda Hatfield, Ashley Sebera, Dawn Fernandez, Casie Shepard, Kamla Macko—as each season seems to invite more opportunities (classes, divisions, extra cards for second place) for the golden ticket to the IFBB ranks and the chance to step on stage with the best of the best.

Not to say it’s easy; indeed, there are many competitors still climbing the sometimes stubborn NPC ladder and more enter the mix all the time. Many competitors have come and gone. Some step away from the scene just to take a break, a few leave indefinitely citing injuries or the toll the lifestyle took on their body and mind, others start a family or a new career.

All the more reason to celebrate the accomplishments, so here’s a look at the best of the rest among new pros in 2012. Consider this part one of a three-part series. In part two, we’ll take another look at some of the other young new pros and discuss what they have planned; also, a look at some rising stars who could be next in line for the big time.

Plenty of assorted pics from various shoots to come so click on the links for additional peeks at some of your favorites.

Tissilli Brandi: Things really got interesting for the 27-year-old former track star and University of Alabama graduate this year. In just her second year competing, the Atlanta native won figure class E and went pro at Jr. USAs.

Patty Zariello: Patty took fourth at Jr. USAs but that was merely a tune-up. At Team Universe, she was unstoppable, beating over 30 competitors for the class E crown. To make things even sweeter, she turned pro in her homestate of New Jersey. The 42-year-old is looking better all the time and is set to make her IFBB debut this weekend at the Houston Pro.

Rachel Baker: If you look up the word determined, there might be a picture of this cute and chiseled little physique competitor. She finished runner-up to the pro card winner in four straight national shows, but broke through in style at Team Universe, where the top three in each physique class earned pro cards. Rachel was the short class champ.

Sitting Pretty: Jill Rudison claimed the overall title in women’s physique at the North Americans.

Babette Mulford: When fitness superstar Amanda Hatfield turned pro at Jr. Nationals, Babette was right behind her. That made this vascular 38-year-old Iowa native the number one contender going into her next show and she seized the opportunity, winning the short class at Team Universe.

Jill Rudison: Jill was the surprise winner of the overall women’s physique title at the North Americans recently. It was a tremendous turnaround for the former figure competitor out of Los Angeles, who finished in eighth place at the USAs.

Sasha Brown: Sasha has arguably been one of the best figure competitors not to win a pro card over the last three or four years. The excellent personal trainer from Los Angeles, by way of Ukraine, has had numerous close calls and top-fives during her journey, but finally earned her pro card with a second place finish in her class at the USAs this past summer. She heads to Houston, Texas for her pro debut on October 13.

Sara Butler: The hulking brunette has been a showstopper on the Northwest physique scene over the last couple years and didn’t shrink when her turn came in the national spotlight. With a powerful overall look and abs to go with it, Sara won class D in physique at the USAs.

Next in Part Two: Fitness New Wave—a look at some of the new young pros and rising stars across fitness, figure and physique.


~ by Dean Sucich on October 9, 2012.

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