by Kris Pitcher
It's your first competition and you are pretty excited! You've attended a show, you've heard about shows...but you're still not sure what exactly happens backstage at a contest?
There are certain things you can expect. And then there are just a lot of unknowns. It will either be hot, or it will be cold. There will either be ample room, or no room...or somewhere in between. Some shows allow coaches, and others do not. One thing is for sure, you'll see a lot!
But I'm like the big sister who just can't keep her mouth shut, so I'm going to tell you how it is. You'll either thank me, or you won't believe me. Or, you may not believe me - but you'll thank me later. Anyway, here's a look at what it's going to be like.
First tip. Be prepared and bring the things you'll need with you. But don't plan on getting completely ready back there. Don't be that girl. Come ready. Have your hair done, and your make-up on. There won't be space or outlets for you to be getting ready. Please don't plan on plugging in three curling irons, a flat iron, and having a mirror for yourself. You will get stink eye.
Once you're released from your competitor meeting there will be a mad dash for the backstage area. People will take claim on property. Don't move people's bags, or crowd in. If someone has kind of claimed a space, it's ok to ask if you can join them. But don't move a depleted competitor's stuff. More stink eye.
Notice who and where the expediters are, where the schedule is posted and be where you are supposed to be. You do not want to miss your line up after all this work. Some shows run slow, some run real fast. It's your job to pay attention. This means if you have your head phones in, keep your eyes open.
It's going to be crowded. Competitors, coaches, everyone has a bag, some have coolers...it's a mess back there. There will be pump up equipment, flip flops and clothes strewn about. Keep your stuff contained. Don't make a mess.
You'll see people pumping up the MINUTE they get back there. At the USA's there was a girl in my class who literally pumped up for 4 hours. I got tired just watching her. There is a lot of nervous energy back there. Don't feel like you have to be doing something. Hopefully your coach has either given you instructions or they are there to guide you. Relax.
There won't be lots of room to sit. Bring a towel to sit or lay on. If you find a scrap of floor the size of your rear, you've done good. There may or may not be space to change. Come with your suit on under your warm ups.
You may have nice bathrooms, or you may have honey buckets. Either way you'll be glad to have a place to do your business. Bring hand sanitizing solution, or wipes. There is nothing like having a fresh wet wipe backstage.
You will see people eating garbage. Lots of garbage. Sugar. Most athletes, broad statement here, are not depleted enough to need to load. And sucrose and fructose are not efficient at filling our muscle cells. People just want to eat candy. The end.
Not the end. One more comment there. At the national level, competitors are not stuffing their pie holes with candy backstage. Just saying.
You'll also see people drinking alcohol. Now the last thing you ladies want to do is fall off your 5" heels. So why are people doing this? Alcohol is thought to be a vasodialator, it increases vascularity. The last time I checked, vascularity was not something the judges are looking for in bikini and figure competitors. The end.
Because people are eating a bunch of sugar, after having been on a diet...it will be real farty back there. I'm talking about the kind of gas that comes out of ugly people. And you'll be very surprised, because everyone back there looks fantastic, beautiful, amazing...but if they are eating handfuls of miniature candy bars, they will be flatulating up a storm. Hot farts. Get ready.
What else can you expect? If you are getting touch ups for your tan, pay attention to the schedule. If your class isn't up for half the night, allow the competitors in front of you to go ahead. When the tanner asks what class you are in and casts you aside, it's because you have 2 hours to wait and they need to get the people ahead of you done. This is a common courtesy situation, now you know. Same with glazing.
Usually the company tanning will do your glazing. You want to put your shoes on, get your suit glued, get your tan touched up, get glazed, then do your pump up. No more sitting, bending etc. That's the order you want to go in. Then you line up and get on stage to show the hard work you've done.
Some people are nice, others are not nice. It's like kindergarten. Be a good competitor. Help others out and others will help you. It's a fun sport when we are good to one another. If you have something that someone needs, help him/her out. If you need something, ask someone nicely if they will help you out. I have found that people are really willing to help out, and accept help. No one wants to go out with half a breast out, or with their tag out...pay it forward back there.
When your class is next up the expediter will be calling for your class, "Figure B!" "I need Figure B right now!" That is your cue to get where you are supposed to be. "I need numbers 67-86 right now!" Don't make them hunt you down. They won't. Get in line in numerical order. You'll be shaky, nervous, excited. If you didn't pump up, or get glazed...too late. Get in line.
This is the time to take a deep breath and remember all the posing you learned. Chest up, abs in, pelvis tilted, glide when you walk, smile, head up, tight...remember what you learned and walk out there like a champion.
Pre-judging will be the fastest thing that ever happened to you even if you are out there for a long time. It will feel like half a second. You'll wonder, "What happened!" Take your time, breathe, enjoy, embrace, feel the moments. It's over.
If you're in just one class, you're done. Collect your things and be back at the venue for the night show as instructed. If you have another class to present yourself in, it will feel slower the second time around.
Your experience backstage will make you question everything you've been instructed or told. Trust what you've been instructed. Trust your coach. Most of what you see is a lot of nervous energy and people who don't know the first thing about what they are doing.
But now you know some of what you'll see...oh, and there might be some naked (gluing suits, quick changes...). But you'll be ready to go backstage!