Tuesday, July 17, 2012
IFBB Pro Monique Jones Interview
Photos 1,4 and 5: RX Muscle
Photo 2: Physique Art Inc.
Photos 3: Dan Ray
The goal of every competitive bodybuilder is to improve their physique with each show, and therefor increase the odds of improving your placing with each show. Few people achieve that goal better than Monique Jones. Monique was awarded her IFBB pro card at the North Americans in 2010. Knowing she would have to step it up to compete on the pro stage, she did just that, continuing to improve what is already one of the best physiques in the sport and in 2011, her first year as a pro, she qualified to compete at the Ms. Olympia and made a really good showing there. In 2012 she first did the Arnold's, and finished 10th, way below where I would have placed her, then came in even better at the Europa and then recently came in even better and won the Chicago Pro, very impressive considering the amazing women she shared that stage with. Next time you see Monique on stage will be at the Olympia again, and no doubt the sill once again look better than her last time on stage.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: Well, I started at the age of about sixteen. I had a gym membership ever since then. I was always intrigued by the weights and the gym atmosphere. A few years go by, about the age of nineteen, I was approached by a trainer and he said "with your physique you should try and do a competition". I tried it and did my first figure competition in 2001.
Q: It isn't considered the most common sport for females, when you started adding size did any family or friends react negative to it?
A: Haha, yes they did. I was putting on a little size and started growing and growing, they were like "o.k., you are getting a little big there". You get some negative feedback but also a lot of positive feedback. In fact, I think I get more positive than I do negative actually.
Q: A lot of people say after they compete the first time, it becomes an addiction, was that the case with you?
A: When I first got on stage, I was very nervous, but once I got on stage it felt like I needed to be there. I got over it real quick haha.
Q: You won your pro card at the 2010 North Americans, can you describe the feeling of finally getting the pro card?
A: It was just a feeling of relief. Very overwhelmed because I tried so hard, even in my figure days to get my pro card. Knowing it wasn't for me, it pushed me over into bodybuilding. I did it for two years and got my pro card in my third year of bodybuilding. Evidently it was for me to do. It was a feeling of being overwhelmed and ecstatic.
Q: How different was it for you to compete on the pro stage?
A: The difference I would say, is that on the pro level, everyone is bringing it. Everybody there is on top of their game, they all look good. They treat you better on the pro ranks, they treat you a little like royalty there. Other shows they just make sure you are o.k. and everything is good, layed back. I like it better haha.
Q: Was your first pro show intimidating at all?
A: I didn't know what to expect. I was thinking "I am gonna go up here with all these veterans and get my butt whooped" haha. It was a good experience and I learned a lot. Even at the Olympia, my first Olympia I learned a lot, I learned a lot at my first Arnold, so I know what to expect in the next one and will be more prepared.
Q: Last year you took ninth at the Olympia, where everyone dreams of competing. For your first time there was it more just happy to be there or really focusing on winning?
A: It was more of a goal to be on the stage period. My first year as a pro to be on the Olympia stage was an honor. Then to place top ten in the Olympia was a good thing for me. I wasn't expecting that. Not to say I don't expect the best for myself, but I do know I was a rookie at it. I wasn't expecting too much. Now that I know more about how things run, you do better the next time.
Q: You started 2012 taking tenth at the Arnold's, I thought you should have been higher, what were your feelings on your placing?
A: Well, I never really comment on that. I'm just glad to be up there and will be better for the next one.
Q: After that you did the Europa and then recently won the Chicago pro. How did it feel to win a show against so many great competitors?
A: Like you said, the women there all looked good. I was backstage and was like "wow, everyone looks good here". It was an honor to be amongst all the women there and compete with them. Everyone looked good. You cant say there was any women who were way off. It was my first win and it still hasn't gotten to me yet haha. It was a big deal for me, it is my second year as a pro, and to win a pro show feels good.
Q: From the Arnold's to the Chicago Pro, how were you better?
A: I have been chasing these legs for a long time haha. I finally feel my legs have caught up with my upper body. My symmetry is on point. Now for me being a little bigger each time, it's about getting conditioned. My goal for Olympia is to come in more conditioned then I have ever been, that's what I am focusing on.
Q: Do you plan to compete before the Olympia?
A: no, it is ten or elven weeks out.
Q: I kinda knew that, but had to ask haha. When you are in the gym, girls your size are not common, do you get a lot of attention or stares?
A: I do but the gym I go to is my home gym so they know me. If I travel to a gym, or anywhere, the grocery store, the gas station, people look at you and say "that's different", but it doesn't bother me.
Q: So it's not hard to block it out?
A: No, it used to in the beginning, but now I am used to it. This is something I love and enjoy, so I just hold my head up high.
Q: In public, do you dress to cover up and avoid attention, or show it off?
A: You know what? I do cover myself, but not because of that. I like to surprise people when I go on stage. When I go on stage people are like "o.k.", it isn't something you see all the time in the gym.
Q: You do booth work like at the Arnold's, for Species, is that something you enjoy?
A: I love it. I am a people person. I love talking and interacting with people, especially if they are interested in the sport and want to know more about it. This is something I know and I live, so I love talking about it.
Q: If you could spend a day training with anyone in the sport, who would you pick?
A: Phil Heath. Or Iris Kyle to.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Thank everybody. Family, friends for supporting Me, Species of course, they have been in my corner, RX Muscle, my coach Dave Palumbo, he has been there through thick and thin and right there with me during the diet.Thanks everyone for the support.