AS women continue to thrive in numerous male-dominated activities, today’s FITC is one of the St. Lucian women proving that not only can they dominate those activities, but that they can also look great while doing it.
Rocheal Philip is a 20-year-old Choiseulian who has taken the world of fitness/bodybuilding by storm.
The bright and energetic fitness fanatic has been involved in sports for the majority of her life and is dedicated to being her best in order to accomplish her goals for gold and make her island proud.
Bodybuilding is not a sport in which you would usually find many females indulging, and female participation has slowly grown over the years. Today, Philip, who is one of a small group of local women who are absolutely slaying the sport, speaks to The VOICE about her journey so far.
The VOICE: You are making your name in the world of fitness/bodybuilding. Please tell me about your journey into that world.
Philip: During my years at Choiseul Secondary School, I engaged in poetry and drama but it was sports that held my heart. I represented my school in track and field and netball. I also participated in Inter-Secondary School athletics and experienced firsthand the benefit of physical activities.
Year after year, my love for sports grew, birthing an undeniable passion for fitness. Following my successful studies, I went to the U.K., where I got involved in a boot camp with soldiers. It was called the Whitely On Form PT Club and included boxing and track and field.
The intense boot camp was hosted by soldiers from the British Army who were pleasantly surprised at my determination. Upon my return to St. Lucia in 2015, with all my fitness training and accomplishments, I had my eyes set on a new target — bodybuilding.
On August 27 last year, after only a month of preparation, I represented the Sidonie Brothers Gym at the St. Lucia Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Association Competition in the Bikini Body category. I placed 4th but wasn’t disheartened. If anything, I was more determined because I saw the loss as a wake-up call to work harder.
The VOICE: You recently put your stamp on the sport by winning an important title. Tell me more about it.
Philip: I placed first in this year’s competition, which led me to go somewhere I’ve always dreamt of. I was excited about my win but I didn’t want the other girls to feel anyway, so I kept it on the same level as before competition.
I’ve been training for this competition from last September! I put in so much hard work to get the body I wanted! Special thanks to my coach, Gregor Franklin. As a result of my win, next month I’ll be representing St. Lucia in Mexico at the CAC competition. I’m actually in the process of seeking out sponsors to help me along this journey, so as I have this platform, I would like to just put it out there that any help would be much appreciated.
The VOICE: What did it take to get you to where you are today?
Philip: It took hard work, determination, passion, discipline, death to negativity, PATIENCE, and love for the sport. I also want to say a huge THANK YOU to all those who have been supporting me through out my journey
The VOICE: In the past, this sport has been considered a man’s sport, but women have really embraced it. What does taking part in these competitions mean to you?
Philip: Let’s face it — bodybuilding is one of the hardest sports. It takes a special mindset, discipline, patience and consistency. Bodybuilders are special breeds. Competing means the world to me because by competing, I gain tons of discipline and it shapes my character as a person. I also develop pride and self-esteem.
The VOICE: How do you feel when you look in the mirror and you see your body?
Philip: I feel proud whenever I look into a mirror — words can’t explain.
The VOICE: Women who take part in this sport are sometimes seen as intimidating by men. Has your physique ever affected your love life?
Philip: No, it has never affected my love life (laughs). I actually believe men are starting to love women like me even more because 99% of them complain about women with big tummies or women without discipline.
The VOICE: Love life aside, I can imagine that people see your physique and immediately know that you are not one to mess with. Is that the case, and if so, is it just a front or can you really hold your own if confronted/accosted?
Philip: Hmmm, that’s a hard one, maybe depending on the situation.
The VOICE: In this day and age, sports among girls is seemingly being rapidly replaced by makeup and fashion obsessions. How important is it for you to see more females turning to sport as opposed to falling into the trappings of the world of image and popularity?
Philip: Well, I love my makeup, too, but honestly, I’ve tried pulling girls into the sport and all they say is, ‘You want me to start looking like a man?’ Or if I tell them about another sport, they would say they don’t have time for it!
The VOICE: What message would you send to the sporty little girls out there who might be interested in such sports but either lack the support system or are being pressured into being more “girly” in order to be “liked”?
Philip: I would tell them to go out there and chase their dreams. Don’t listen to the negativity of the world. Do what you think is best for your future. Trust me, when you’re into sports, you get so much more popularity!