Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jessica Scofield Interview

Quite some time ago I was asked by someone if I interviewed powerlifters. I never had, but that's simply because I didn't know any. They told me to reach out to and interview Jessica Scofield. So I looked her up and first thing I said was "she's a powerlifter?" She was this beautiful girl who looked like she could step on a bodybuilding stage and do very well. Through Jessica I have gained more understanding of powerlifting and have come to have a great admiration for her. Jessica has achieved many big things in the sport and will no doubt continue to achieve big things. Very rarely do you come across anyone who has the passion that she has. In this interview you will get to see that passion.

Q: Can you talk about how you got interested in powerlifting?
A: It goes way back. Really I had a couple injuries from throwing the hammer for track and field. I was rehabbing and went and did deadlifts only and it was such a rush and from there it just took off.

Q: Its not considered a sport a lot of women do, did friends and family have trouble understanding why you did it?
A: No, because I always had a girly side to me but I always had an edgy side. I was always strong willed and strong minded. Is tarted with my dad and he saw how much I loved it. My fear was I would be some big burly beast. I felt more comfortable than I would have been doing bodybuilding. So no, my family weren't surprised.

Q: That leads to my next question. People have this perception of female powerlifters as being this big huge women. You break that stereotype, is that important to you?
A: Its extremely important to me. It's helped get me to where I am in terms of my own success in the sport. Its important because I was never the type to follow rules. I like to prove people wrong. At first I thought I would be big and burly. But its just the stuff athletes do in the gym. People that do sports use the weight room as a means to their sport, the weight room is my sport. When I perform I am doing what I already am doing in the gym.

Q: You have accomplished a lot, but is there something you are most proud of?
A: Yeah, my last competition. It was the first time for a lot of things. I was always the girl who didn't want to go over a number with my weight. It was my first competition where I said I was gonna weigh what I weigh. I let myself go a little and gave myself room to breath. I was just a couple pounds over but in a heavier weight class. It was liberating to not be blocked into some weight, coming from someone who used to have an eating disorder. So I can go back and fourth in weight classes. I never thought I could pull a 530LB deadlift that day after ten plus hours of lifting. The fact I kept going, it was like I wasn't there anymore. I am proud of myself for putting in that work, especially after having sinus surgery. I am proud I pushed through.

Q: You mentioned bodybuilding, you have the physique for it. Has it ever crossed your mind?
A: SO many people ask. I just got asked that today. You know what? No! Maybe in the past here and there but I feel like I am myself when I am powerlifting. I can look how I wanna look, its up to me. If I wanna be more cut or tweak my diet, its up to me. I would rather be judged on my strength than have someone look at me or not be politically correct and not get a good placing. Plus I love my sport, I have goals in my sport.

Q: There are a lot of people who are fans of the physique sport, but you have crossed over and even those fans like you, was accomplishing that a goal?
A: I didn't mean to. In some way or another they inspired me. Facebook is this whole new world. I was the type of girl who didn't wanna show my stomach. These competitors were on the Internet more and in some way they inspire me. I am a powerlifter and wanna look good. It gives you a visual of what you like or how you do or don't wanna look. I like being able to cross over and know about both sports. I am big on diet anyway and people who diet and get on stage is a big deal, its not easy.

Q: When you go places such as the Arnold's, while the powerlifters may not normally be as well know to fitness fans, you are known and people want to watch you. Do all those eyes on you make it harder to do what you are doing?
A: No, it actually fuels me. Jason, when I started and was getting attention, I didn't know how to deal with it. I wanted to lift and that's it. As time went on I learned how to play my role of appealing to crowds and its more flattering now. I work hard for myself and also because people are looking at me. Young girls who are interested in the sport and people tooling with starting the sport. I wanna be that person to help lead them to powerlifting and show them its not scary or manly.

Q: When you re at the gym, the attractive girl lifting heavy weight, do you get a lot of attention that you have to try and block out?
A: You know, to be honest, when I am in the gym I have tunnel vision. If I am not in a heavy workout I say hi. But nobody approaches me during a workout. Its the same when I compete, I am not bothered. Afterwords a little bit or on Facebook, but when I am lifting no. Or if I do I don't even notice it.

Q: Is there a lift you think you excel at or enjoy most?
A: Oh yea, the deadlift. I love the deadlift. Its my best lift, I like it best. Squats you have to think about form and it takes tweaking. Bench, if it didn't exist I would have a problem. But I love the deadlift because I feel like all my anger and aggression I can get out. All you do is pull dead weight. You have to have the right form but its not as much finesse as squatting or benching. Its such a rush. I have goals in deadift, I wish I didn't have so many haha. But I love it.

Q: If someone younger was interested in getting started, what advice would you give?
A: I help a lot of beginners. You have to do what makes you happy. If that means blocking out people around you, so be it. Be yourself in any sport and be the best you can at being yourself. Keep at it, it wont come over night or in a year. Its hard work but its fun and rewarding work.

Q: When I have put pictures of you on my fan page, people make comments about how they love you or are a fan. Do you enjoy being kind of a role model for other girls in the sport?
A: I enjoy it and its scary at the same time. I'm just a human being, I don't wanna be on a pedestal. It's nice to be looked at in a certain way, but I wish people knew me. I am just a normal person with good and bad days. Its extremely flattering and makes me work harder. I have the weight of people on me and wanna lift them up.

Q: You have done some photo shoots, is that something you enjoy?
A: I do actually. I am in Georgia this week and doing a shoot tomorrow. I feel like it shows another side of me that otherwise wouldn't be presented. My sport doesn't present it. I like edgy and artistic shoots. I like people seeing my in other ways than just lifting.

Q: Does it give you a chance to change that perception of female powerlifters?
A: Yeah, it makes people scratch their heads. I posted a picture of me with Annie Rivieccio and I don't follow bodybuilding so didn't know her. Here I am in Georgia hanging out with her. It's nice, I like the different context and being a little bit unpredictable.

Q: Anything you wanna add or anyone you wanna thank?
A: I wanna thank you for this opportunity. You've been there from the start when I was just getting going promoting myself. You really helped me and that's big, it gave me the confidence to go forward. I thank my boyfriend and gym and the guys there, Lou, Brendan, Dave, House of Pain, Brian Moss, RPS Powerlifting. I could go on and on, everyone who has helped me become better.

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