As a category still in its infancy, the Bikini Division has received its fair share of criticism. The most popular accusation hurled in the direction of these fledgling contestants are that they're all body and no brains.
If the first flurry of articles on RX Girl have not yet altered your perception of Bikini then allow me to introduce Anqelique Costa who is about to blow that myth even further out of the water.
Angelique is living proof that beauty and brains can indeed reside in perfect harmony in the same body... She's had great success in the rapidly growing bikini division, yet her story is quite a wakeup call to anyone who insists on still judging a book by its cover...
First of all, for those of us new to the world of Angelique Costa, could you tell us a little bit about your background...where you grew up etc...
"I was born and raised on Long Island, NY in a bustling suburb called Commack. I grew up knowing nothing but the hard life but making the best out of what I had which was a used bike, a garage-sale skate board, a plastic tarp, and a great imagination. The Salvation Army clothed me, donations from the Community fed me, and I started working at 11 years old delivering newspapers with my mother and little sister. On my 16th Birthday, I watched my father lowered into the ground as he had passed due to Renal Cancer. I was humbled growing up by my experiences and ensured I always gave back to my community through service as a long-term member of the Girl Scouts. After graduating Commack High School, I joined the Kiwanis International Club as the youngest sponsored member of the Copiague chapter where I continued to serve needy children and families throughout the rest of my time living in New York. Once I moved to Daytona Beach, Florida in the pursuit of several degrees, I joined the Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity and continued community service work through philanthropic activities for shelters housing abused children and battered women. As an active Alumna of the Fraternity, I continue to participate in community service activities whenever possible as I will never forget my roots and understand its import role in society."
Did you have an interest in sports and competition from an early age?
"Very early on I was interested in joining any and all sports teams and activities my classmates were participating in; ballet, softball, basketball, karate, etc., but my parents could never afford to sign me up for those kinds of privileges. I took advantage of free activities such as after-school recreational programs, shooting hoops down the block, walking around the neighborhood or venturing to local stores. I was always active and when I taught myself how to ride my ‘new' bike, I was all over the neighborhood!"
You also seem to have had interests that strayed away from, shall we say, ‘traditional' as witnessed by your choice of career. I understand that you are an Airport Planning Consultant. First of all, where did the interest come from and what exactly does your job entail?
"In my sophomore year of high school I discovered the beauty of flight and the world of aviation by taking advantage free flying lessons and ground school education offered by my school as a technical trade. I experienced a tough time in flight school because of my gender. I was the only female in my class for the two-year duration, and I was often made fun of. I had to deal with adversity from my male peers who had stereotypical ideas of what line of work a woman should do. I first flew solo in an aircraft at 17 years of age over the skies of Farmingdale. I was hooked on aviation from that moment onward.
"I have three University Degrees including a Masters of Business Administration in Aviation (MBA/A) and three Professional Certifications dealing with all aspects of aviation. I recently applied for entrance into the new PhD. in Aviation program at my Alma Mater, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
"Today, my work as a Professional Consultant in Airport Planning consists of preparing Airport Layout Plans, Airport Master Plans, business plans, economic benefits studies, runway length analyses, obstruction analysis studies, airport capital improvement programs, airspace planning and efficiency studies, public relations, wildlife hazard mitigation, noise abatement, and land-use studies just to name a few of the projects I have and continue to work on."
How do your colleagues at work respond to your bikini competitor alter ego?
"My colleagues support my fitness endeavors and understand how being a competitor relates to a hard work ethic and discipline. We often joke about my diet as I am eating fish for breakfast or running away from the pizza and doughnuts they bring in the office from time-to- time."
I guess you really play a big part in the destruction of the myth that brains and beauty are seldom found together. Do you ever encounter situations where you have to defend your intelligence?
"Actually, I believe the way I present myself and express myself exudes intelligence. I always try to portray an element of class, integrity, and knowledge whether I am in a bikini or a business suit. I enjoy defying pre-conceived notions and stereotypes of how I may appear versus the knowledge I have ascertained in life and through education."
What attracted you to competition in the first place and why opt for bikini over say figure?
"After being a competitive National-level cheerleader and a Florida State Champion, I knew cheerleading could not last forever and I wanted to remain active in the competition circuit but I did not know how. During the summer of 2000, I saw a Ms. Fitness America competition on ESPN and I was in awe. Beautiful, fit, women doing something that looked like a ton of fun, I was amazed. I found a trainer on Long Island who was a competitive bodybuilder and she suggested I attend a local show in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn show changed my life forever and I just knew I wanted to be up there with those phenomenal women.
"I initially started competing in 2008 in the Figure division in Germany. I competed twice, placing in the top 5 at both shows. When I returned to the United States however; it was a whole different ball game. Figure competitors in the USA carry greater muscle mass than the division in Germany, at least in the shows I have competed in. I tried my hand at figure last year and did not place. It was not because I was a sore loser that I turned to bikini, I just knew if I wanted to continue to do what I love, I would have to look at other options or wait several years to build mass on my long limbs! Bikini was new and I gave it my best shot with my cheerleader stage personality. I ended up winning my class at my first bikini show, the 2009 Bev Francis Atlantic States. I was absolutely thrilled and I felt like I had found my home."
Do you feel that the bikini class as a whole is being more accepted now?
"Yes, this year I believe people are realizing the bikini division is here to stay. The division has evolved greatly over the past year and we are seeing a higher caliber of well-conditioned women hitting the stage. As with Figure not too long ago, I believe over time, Bikini will become even more widely accepted and respected as a part of the NPC/IFBB competition circuit."
For someone out there considering entering this class what advice would you give them re presentation?
"I suggest hiring a coach who knows the posing style and mannerisms the judges are looking for when competing in the Bikini division. All too often girls look fabulous and distract attention from their physique by presenting it poorly. In order for the division to gain more respect, posing should be done with class and taught by someone who knows the industry well. Standard trainers may be great on diet and exercise, but posing and presentation for Bikini is a whole different ballgame."
Turning a little controversial here, but how would you answer the accusation that bikini girls do not have to train or diet as hard as the other competitors?
"Speaking for myself and my Bombshell Teammates, our programs are extremely challenging in the elements of cardio and training. Things never get stale and change weekly.
"I do cardio six days per week on various equipment and outdoors and weight training is five days per week combining all techniques such as lifting heavy, super setting, drop setting, and sculpting using both machines and free weights."
And your diet?
"My diet is just like any other competitor. My portions are specifically measured and my meals are planned to a T. I am a pesca-vegetarian which means I only eat fish and no other animal flesh. It is a little bit more difficult to put on and maintain mass and it will take slightly longer to achieve my desired physique, but I am perfectly okay with working harder for longer periods of time. Being a pesca-vegetarian has done amazing things for my skin, stomach, hair, and nails. I ensure I take all my vitamins and minerals as suggested by my coach, but those too are vegetarian-only sources."
When you are not working or working out, what do you do to relax?
"I do a lot of research dealing with subjects of aviation, homeland security, health, and nutrition. I am also pursuing two educational goals at the moment; a PhD in Aviation of which I have to study to take the GRE test as a final step in the admissions process and beginning a Certification in Emergency Hazard Management in the fall.
"When I am not doing something educational, I enjoy being outside amongst nature, supporting my fellow teammates at shows, motivating others, reading, flying, visiting friends, traveling to foreign countries, learning new languages, and planning for the future."
What do you think the biggest misconception people have about you is?
"If one were to observe my demeanor in the gym or in a professional setting he or she may perceive me as arrogant or intimidating. Once he or she actually ‘breaks-the-ice' with me they will often find their perception of me is incorrect. I am a very genuine, level-headed person who would do anything for a friend in need. People often mistake confidence and focus for arrogance and ego. This initial perception by others though has saved me from many interrupted workouts and wasted time. I like having a wall for people to test. If you are a deeper person, you will realize there is more-than-meets-the-eye and that is the type of person I would like to bring into my circle of friends."
Where do you ultimately see your future both in and outside of the sport?
"Within the sport, it is my dream to become an IFBB Pro. If and when I do become an IFBB Pro, I would love to qualify for the Olympia and grace the stage with the best in our sport.
"Outside the sport, I will ascertain a PhD. in Aviation through studies and continue furthering my educational pursuits. I would love to pick up my flight training where I left off and become a multi-engine rated pilot. In addition to educational pursuits, I would enjoy the experience gained through further travels in Europe and Asia as I have enjoyed living and working overseas."
How can readers contact you?
Readers may join my Facebook Fan Page under: National Level NPC Bikini Competitor Angelique Costa, for all my latest updates or