I was born in Cabrera, Dominican Republic and raised in San Juan Puerto Rico along with my two older brothers. I was a tomboy, always playing with the boys and getting beat on by them. My brothers and I had some fun putting forks in electrical outlets to see if we could see our skeletons (we were crazy like that).I was an active child while I was living in the Dominican Republic. I remember wanting to take gymnastics classes, but our financial situation would not allow it and the gymnastics studio was a road trip in itself. So I would try cartwheels and back-walkovers at home and kept myself busy playing games with my two brothers. I have broken my forehead, nose and the list goes on. We had fun!!!
Once we moved to Puerto Rico, I started to play volleyball, a little softball and basketball. At the age of 17, I was introduced to weight training. I remember walking around school with my weight-training belt hanging on my shoulder just so people would see that I worked out. I did not work my upper body that much but I lifted with my legs a lot which increased my quad size dramatically. After moving, my workouts became more sporadic but I kept working out. In college I joined the Army’s ROTC program, which in turn added running to my training. After being in the ROTC for a couple of years, I decided to take a trip throughout the states to learn English. I traveled to New York from California. While I was in California, I remember a couple of people suggesting that I try to compete in a fitness show. I was very skeptical since I did not have any type of dance background to compete. I did not have the mind-set to even think that I could compete in a fitness show. I remember looking at Mia Finnegan’s abs in a magazine and I wanted my abs to look like hers.
I moved back to Puerto Rico and in 1995 I started teaching aerobics classes and doing personal training at the gym on a military base. It was there where I saw a poster for the NPC Armed Forces Fitness Championships in North Carolina. I put a routine together and went to North Carolina to compete in my first fitness show. It was an awesome experience! I remember looking at all the girls and I was so amazed by them. I ended up placing second and after that I was hooked.
I decided to try the 1995 Nationals in Chicago. I made the top 35 out of 75 girls. This was the first national show and the IFBB was giving 10 pro cards. Dale Tomita won the show and she was amazing. Once in Illinois, I registered for college and continued my fitness career as well. I did two shows in 1996 and then decided to take 1997 off to work on my physique and routine. I came back in 1998 and realized that the competition was stronger. In search of a pro card, I decided to do all the national shows. I transformed my body to a point that I knew I could compete with the other girls, but I knew that my routine had to be stronger in order to win a pro card.
At one of my shows in 1996 I remember meeting an IFBB pro Maria Bellando. Her routine was very impressive, so I asked her about her routine. She introduced me to her choreographer, Kevin Creegan, out of Miami. I decided to go and see Kevin and have him choreograph a routine that I could use for the 1999 USA Nationals. Maria and her husband were very kind and let my husband and me stay at her house in Miami while meeting with Kevin. Meeting with Kevin was one of the best decisions I made for my fitness career. Kevin choreographed a routine that was my style. He worked with my strongest points, which made me feel really comfortable on stage.
I went to the USA’s feeling more confident than ever because my routines were stronger and more exciting. I was excited to do my routine for the first time in my career. To my surprise, I won the overall at the 1999 USA Fitness Championship and earned my IFBB pro card. I never thought I was going to win my class, let alone the overall title. I went in to this contest ready. I still can’t believe I won!
In my first year as a professional, I was invited to compete in the Ms. Fitness International. It was such an honor to be on that stage at the 2000 Arnold Classic. I was so excited to be there with the other professional athletes. That was my pro debut and I finished 8th. It was a wonderful experience. My goal was to qualify for the 2000 Fitness Olympia and I did by placing second at the Jan Tana Classic. The Fitness Olympia was a dream comes true. I was so thrilled to be there and to place 5th and qualify for the 2001 Olympia was a blessing in itself.
Since turning pro, I have worked on becoming the best I can be by improving my routine and physique. Becoming a professional fitness competitor has been a blessing for me. I love competing!! I love teaching others about the benefits of living a healthy life style. I also enjoy training girls for contests and seeing how they evolve on a personal level. I have been blessed with the opportunity of doing what I love to do, and that is competing. I believe that our limitations in life are the limits we set upon ourselves. You can do anything you want in life if you have the desire to do it!