Models in Training

Wilhelmina's on the prowl for the next top fitness model

Last Saturday, Gold’s Gym in Plano was taken over for the day by a team from New York on the prowl for the next top fitness model.  A line of great-looking, spandex-clad hopefuls was already forming when the Wilhelmina Hot Body Model Search commenced at 10 a.m.

But one question had to be answered before we got down to the difficult business of mingling with all these hotties:

What exactly is a “fitness model” anyway?

According to Tatiana Acosta of the Wilhelmina Agency, you can put aside any preconceived notions of stick-thin catwalkers or voluptuous swimsuit babes. 

For starters, there’s no height requirement.  Acosta explains that the agency looks for a certain “skill set” in a fitness model, rather than picture-perfect measurements.  Knowledge of yoga, dance, and proper weight lifting form are all a plus when working in this sector of the industry.

“It’s a lot different from runway modeling,” added Kate Doyle Hooper, an event producer for Shape and Men’s Fitness magazines, two of the search’s sponsors.  She explained that a job might require a fitness model to do dozens of dumbbell curls to get just the right shot for a magazine spread or advertisement.

Try asking that of a 100-pound waif. 

In other words, a fitness model isn’t just another pretty face – he or she is also strong and fit and ready for action.

Take Tyler Lawson, for example.  Tight and toned, without an ounce of flab in sight, he pumped up with a resistance cord while waiting in line with other hopefuls.  But when he’s not stuck indoors, this 24-year-old Dallasite has been known to do pull-ups on a giant tree in front of City Hall downtown to add a little variety to his fitness routine. 

Now that’s dedication.

Jessica Heidari, 21, was also enviably fit.  Having worked as a traditional model in the past, she read about the search in Shape magazine and decided to give fitness modeling a try.  We could certainly see her striking a pose for a line of athletic clothing or nutritional drinks – a couple of the potential employers in this category.

Acosta also pointed out that many mainstream advertisers like car companies are looking to fitness models these days to target certain health-and-wellness minded demographics.

All contestants had their picture snapped as the final step in the process Saturday, after completing a registration form which included the question, “What does being fit mean to you?” 

Semi-finalists and finalists will be selected in December, and prizes include a modeling contract, an appearance in Shape or Men’s Fitness, and a vacay for two to a Beaches resort. 

The good news?  It’s not too late to enter.  If you think you’ve got the right stuff, you can enter online through November 30th at

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