Stretch Marks, Modeling & Becoming a FITNESS ICON.

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ABOVE I AM ONLY 4 MONTHS PREGNANT

I was eight months pregnant when I decided that I was ready for a lifestyle change, I had just gotten home from my OB appointment looking in the mirror at my HUGE belly thinking how in the heck is it possible that I get any bigger.  At eight months I had already gained the recommended 20-25 pounds plus an extra 20.  My doctor had warned me at my appointment earlier that day to watch my calories for the rest of my term.   It was around that time that I had already made a commitment to myself that I wanted a lifestyle change and to do my first figure competition after my son was born.  I had already begun youtubing the videos of figure competitors, so of course my devastation after waking up one morning in the final weeks of my pregnancy and my stomach was covered in these ugly red stripes set my enthusiasm back. Regardless if you want to compete in the fitness industry or not its still disappointing. I don’t care how much you embraced your pregnancy. 

 

More discouragement came after retuning home with stiches that closed a long incision across my lower stomach from a C-section.  “Great, I thought.” Im going to have one ugly stomach.,”  “Now I will never be able to get up on that stage in front of hundreds of people let alone ever put a bikini on again.” Despite all the negative emotions  & thoughts that come through my head I still made a commitment to a lifestyle change and  followed through.  1 year a 1 week after my amazing son was born I was bikini biting my suit to my tiny but, perfecting every last curl in my hair and giving myself a pep talk to not be afraid.  I had to put my insecurities aside and remember what I had worked so hard for.  The moment I stepped onstage my entire world changed.  I fell in love at that moment with the sport. Being onstage and standing next to all those girls who also had worked just as hard was so empowering to me.  I walked away that night with 3 first place trophies.  I had done the impossible in my eyes. I had proven to myself that I was capable of becoming extraordinary.

 

A few years went by and I dominated the stage, but I started wanting to be a little more in the industry, becoming a pro figure competitor was not necessarilary on my to-do list, I just didn’t like how you had to go through an ON/OFF season. I wanted to be fit ALL year round. So I started contemplating fitness modeling.  When I researched the ‘fitness’ models they all kinda seemed the same to me. Bikinis, sand knee high socks with high heels  lifting weights which I still don’t get.  I knew that I had to be different I had to stand out from all the other girls trying to become a fitness icon.  Again in my mind I was battling the sight of my stretch marks, thinking how can a ‘fitness model’ ever land a great photographer or a spot in a magazine.

 

I will never forget how nervous I was when I worked with my first great male photographer.  I was very shy.  Like anything else modeling takes practice, you have to find your good angels and it was so important to me that my work was emotional I wanted people to sense some sort of emotion just by looking at the picture, I wanted it to be real.  I didn’t want to be just ‘another’ girl in a bikini on the sand.  If you notice 80% of my modeling picture are shot from a side angle.  The other 20% my stretch marks are just photo shopped out. Its no big deal for the photographer or model, I feel like so many women, put limits on how great they will become for little things like this that get in their way.  Even to the point of letting themselves go because they don’t physically see the point of getting sexy back.  When really it should be no issue at all. 

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My biggest accomplishment this far is signing a contract with bodybuilding.com, If you told me a year ago that I would officially sign with bodybuilding.com and become a BONA FIDE fitness model belonging to the top fitness company in the industry I would have never believed it, to be honest it’s all still very surreal. 

 

In the fall of 2011, I signed up for the bodybuilding.com bodyspace spokesmodel search.  At this point I didn’t even have a bodyspace!! So I created a bodyspace and landed in the semifinals, I was SO ecstatic,  but with Blaine deploying in just a few weeks, I was a little sidetracked from the competition but by the grace of God, I got an email stating that I was top 10 and they were going to fly me into LA to work with bodybuilding.com and compete to be the next bodyspace spokesmodel. I almost ran off the road.   WOW! I was SO excited I couldn’t believe it. But I had a slight problem. I was living in Guam and the competition was only in the continental United States.  I had fibbed on my entry form putting my true ‘home’ address at my moms in Oklahoma.  I trained for weeks, harder than I ever trained before. I hoped on a MAC flight (military flight) it took me 3 days to reach my destination but whatever it was going to take I was going to get my butt to LA. 

 

It was such an amazing experience and I would highly recommend everyone getting on Bodybuilding.com and creating a bodyspace account.  The final day with Bodybuilding.com staff and we were on stage answering questions at the LA fit expo doing our model walks and quarter turns.  I placed 2nd behind Mary Murphy and Laura Bailey. (these girls are now some of my best pals) so I didn’t get the bodyspace spokesmodel position.  So im sure you’re wondering how I got the official title of a bodybuilding.com fitness model and TEAM athlete?  Well, a few months went by and I got a phone call from bodybuilding.com with an offer I couldn’t resist. You think people arnt watching you, you’re wrong.  I had no idea what was about to happen.  Well, the rest is history and I will continue to build my name ASHLEY HORNER with BODYBULDING.COM as an Athlete & a Model. I now live in California and will have the opportunity to travel with and represent the #1 company in the industry.

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14 responses

  1. your a inspiration… after 3 c sections and lot’s of tiger strip’s from my pregnancy’s i too felt disheartened, but seeing how well you’ve done has given me the push to commit to getting my shape back xx

  2. Hi Ashley! I am so grateful I came across your FB page!! I’ve been on a journey to a better life both mentally and physically–and you are one of my greatest inspirations. I hope to have the same drive as you do because you’re one of the few people that interact with fans and keep it real. You motivate me to continue working towards my dreams to be a leader and help others with fitness & health! Thank you for doing what you do and I hope to meet you one day now that you are back in the states!! <3 Take Care!

  3. Ashley, I totally love this article!! I It give us regular women hope that we have a chance in this industry!! I am 37 years young and am competing in my first bikini competition in October 2012. I also love fitness and work to be fit all year round. Keep up the great work and please keep inspiring others!

  4. Love this, so proud to say that you train me. I am always promoting you on Facebook through my own profile and by word of mouth… people are always blown away by you when I show pictures of you and share things from your page. :) Tiffany

  5. Pingback: Favorite Fitness/Health Reads of the Week | This Fit Chick

  6. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THIS STORY. AS A WOMEN WE’RE ALWAYS WORRIED ABOUT STRETCH MARKS AND HOW IT WILL AFFECT A CAREER IN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY. I’M NOT SURE I WANT TO BE A FITNESS MODEL, BUT FOLLOWING YOU SURE MAKES WANT TO CONSIDERED IT. THANKS AGAIN

  7. You are definitely helping me achieve my fitness goals! Thank you! I love BE EXTRAORDINARY! If you haven’t checked out Ms. Ashley’s program, I highly recommend it.

  8. Ashley, you are very beautiful and I love how open and honest you are…you are so appreciated for helping me overcome the “stretch mark” scare and shame!!!! Keep doing. what u do!!!!! N stay u!!! Much love from Chicago

  9. Hi Ashley. I live in South Africa and actually can’t remember how I came accross ur profile. Am so happy I did! You’ve inspired me to carry out my goal of becoming a fitness model. You are down to earth and encouraging which is rare these days…thank you. Gianna

  10. Remarkable! You’re such an inspiration to all of is moms out here wanting and working to get their sexy bodies back! Love your posts and pics!! Hope to meet you someday when i have my body back! :) Congratulations on all of your success! Best wishes always to you and your precious family.

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