Amanda Latona may be a household name now, but this stunning IFBB Pro was still a rising star when she won our Flex Bikini Model Search in 2009. And with Flex and Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine covers now under her belt, this bikini bombshell is still making quite the impression on the bodybuilding and fitness world. We caught up with her recently to discuss how winning our Bikini Model Search transformed her career, and what other women can expect from our competition.
FLEX MAGAZINE: How did you prepare for our Flex Bikini Model Search and what made you want to enter our competition?
AMANDA LATONA: I remember it like it was yesterday. I entered Flex’s first Bikini Model Search in 2007 and got 8th place. I entered in 2008 and got 4th place. So, by the time 2009 came around, you can imagine my excitement. The NPC started the bikini division in 2009, and before winning the Flex Bikini Model Search that year, I won every NPC show I entered, and then turned pro. So I was feeling very confident, and I was hopeful that this could be my year to win. I always entered the online portion of the contest every month, so when I finally won that I was so excited. I even still have the message saved from when they called me to tell me I was an online winner. Call me a dork, but it’s memories, so I don’t care.
FLEX: What was the most memorable part of the competition weekend?
AL: There were so many awesome parts about that weekend. Like the photo shoot with Terry Goodlad at the Flamingo Hotel--every time I go there I still think of that day. Also, getting a chance to do video interviews and my family cheering for me. And then, of course, finally winning! And then presenting the awards at the night show and walking on the Olympia stage--I will never forget that feeling. I mean, you’re in Las Vegas for the Olympia weekend and you get to be on stage. It doesn’t get much better than that--at least to me. I will always be grateful to Robin Chang of AMI, everyone at Weider, and everyone who has supported me and helped me throughout these years.
FLEX: What would you tell women who are considering entering the Search?
AL: For me, the Flex Bikini Model Search wasn’t a Pro Figure or even Pro Bikini competition. It was more of a mainstream bikini look—a girl with sex appeal , class, confidence, and great overall package--with an athletic curvy look who could also represent the prestigious Weider brand. I thought of it more as a spokesmodel package.
A lot of girls think they have to come to the competition super-ripped, but I was definitely not ripped for that win, and I did that on purpose. I try to encourage all women to enter.