An interview with 2009 FLEX Bikini Model Search winner Kathleen Tesori
By Team FLEX
May 17, 2009
Last year, over 500 women competed in our inaugural FLEX Bikini Model Search Online. By the end of month five, over half a million votes had been cast. And when we finally closed the book on the contest at the FLEX Bikini Model Search Championships during Olympia Weekend, one competitor stood apart as the winner - Kathleen Tesori.
The fomer Hawaiian Tropic model, now under contract with Weider Publications, has enjoyed her time at the top and is the ambassador du jour for this year's contest, sending any strong candidates for the 2009 contest to our online entry page.
We caught up with Kathleen to find out about her experience with the Bikini Model Search, her appearance in the '09 Swimsuit Issue (on newsstands now) and what advice she has for this year's crop of models.
FLEX: How did you first learn about the FLEX Bikini Model Search and what made you decide to enter?
Kathleen: My friend e-mailed me a few days before the Month 5 deadline and said it'd be perfect for me so I entered.
FLEX: What was your reaction when you found out that you'd won Month 5?
Kathleen: I was completely shocked. I happened to be out of town and [now editor-in-chief] Allan Donnelly gave me a phone call but I missed his call and got the news as a voice mail! With that many girls and the voting online, you just don't know what will happen. It was definitely a shocker.
FLEX: What was it like competing during Olympia weekend?
Kathleen: It was a little nerve racking. I'd competed before in Hawaiian Tropic shows, but I've always had supporters. This was the first time I'd had to go on my own - own hotel, nobody there, so it was a little intimidating. With Hawaiian Tropic, I was always the odd one out because I always had a little bit more muscle. Backstage here, everyone was in the health and fitness industry.
FLEX: Did you think you'd come away as the winner?
Kathleen: I wouldn't have picked myself to be in the top. I know that I possessed the whole package and trained 100 percent, so I knew there wasn't anything else I could offer. I was calm. Even though I saw the other girls physique and thought "No way."
FLEX: What has been the coolest part of the whole experience for you?
Kathleen: It's really hard to pick. Number one, getting to work with and room with the IFBB figure pro girls at the Big Bear shoot for the 2009 FLEX Swimsuit Issue. You read about them in the magazines and here I am eating with them. Also, just getting called out to do shoots for magazines for being in shape, to know that they can call you and depend on you for being in shape - that's great.
FLEX: Winning that contest meant inclusion in our 2009 Swimsuit Issue. How much fun was the shoot in Big Bear and what do you think about the final product?
Kathleen: You know, it was such a wonderful experience. The staff at FLEX is so great! Everything was so great so well planned out and we were so well taken care of. All the girls looked so great. It was well detailed and well taken care of. Clearly, a lot of effort that was put into it. It was a great experience. Working with FLEX and Weider - they're an amazing company. Every single trip, they seriously spoil you.
FLEX: What advice do you have for other girls looking to follow in your footsteps during this year's contest?
Kathleen: I would say make sure that you don't give up after the first month. Make sure that you're sincere when you're entering. People are more likely to vote for you. Get to know more about the industry so you're more comfortable. Start getting in shape now. There's no room for error once you're on stage. Start getting focused.
2009 FLEX BIKINI MODEL SEARCH ONLINE presented by AMAZON.COM!
WHEN: June, July and August
VOTING: Begins on the 1st of each month and ends on the 15th
WINNERS: Two winners per month
MONTHLY PRIZES: $250 each, $250 gift voucher from Amazon.com, a profile and photo shoot with FLEX Magazine
TO ENTER: Go here
2009 FLEX BIKINI MODEL SEARCH ONLINE - ENTER NOW!