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Bodybuilder DeRosa featured at New Jersey photo exhibition

Professional female bodybuilder Melanie DeRosa is among the attractions at an ongoing photo exhibition being held at the Korn Gallery at Drew University in New Jersey.

A large-scale photo of the Bermudian and other female bodybuilders from around the world taken by award-winning photographer Martin Schoeller went on display on March 27 and will remain open to the public until April 24.

The photographs describe a visual dichotomy that questions viewers’ expectations of gender, as female bodybuilders seem to be simultaneously an idealisation of both the feminine and masculine form.

The torsos in Mr Schoeller’s portraits depict female bodybuilders whose muscles are uncontained by the photographic frame. Yet the faces of the women who created these muscles stare back at the viewer as if primed for a night out on the town with colourful eye shadow, lipstick, rhinestones and the gaze of womanly confidence.

All of the photographs of the female bodybuilders in the exhibit are also featured in a book entitled ‘Martin Schoeller Female Bodybuilders’ that the author published in 2008.

Ms DeRosa’s photo was taken at the 2007 Atlantic City Pro in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“I turned pro in 2005 at the CAC Championships (Central American and Caribbean Championships) in Aruba and when I did my first pro show in 2007 in Atlantic City, New Jersey Martin Schoeller was there as well,” she recalled. “He wanted to do a book on the professional women bodybuilders from around the world so he got in contact with all of us at that show and had us come down for the shoot.”

Mr Schoeller grew up in Germany and presently works and lives in New York. His photographs have been published in leading magazines such as National Geographic, TIME, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair to name a few.

Ms DeRosa, co-owner of SeaView Ultimate Fitness Club, is humbled by the added international exposure she’s receiving through Mr Schoeller’s camera lens.

“It’s really an honour to be on the international stage like that,” she said. “It took a lot of hard work to become a professional and I’m the only professional bodybuilder in Bermuda — male or female.”

Ms DeRosa took up bodybuilding in 1990 and has been competing since 1992 when she signalled her arrival on the local bodybuilding scene by winning the lightweight division at the Bermuda Night of Champions.

Throughout a bodybuilding a career which has gone from strength-to-strength Ms DeRosa has won a plethora of domestic and international titles, including overall honours at the 2005 CAC Championships.

The personal trainer says bodybuilding allows her to be a “positive role model” who lives by example “encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle”.

“As a personal trainer I have the opportunity to teach others the importance of healthy lifestyle,” she said. “In addition, bodybuilding makes me feel like I’m an artist helping to mould and sculpt bodies into works of art.”

Ms DeRosa’s ultimate thrill, however, remains showcasing the fruits of her labour, discipline and sacrifice in the lead up to competition on stage.

“As a female bodybuilder I try to put on as much muscle as possible while still maintaining a sexy feminine physique,” she said. “Bodybuilding means everything to me. It’s a lifestyle ... it’s the way I live and the way I make my living.”

Professional female bodybuilder Melanie DeRosa

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Published April 06, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 05, 2013 at 11:17 pm)

Bodybuilder DeRosa featured at New Jersey photo exhibition

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