Bikini Model. Tick.
I've just received the official photographs from my recent bikini competition experience, so I thought I'd share them with you (a big thank you to Toby Harrison for capturing my fifteen seconds so well). And as I share these photos I'll also share with you an insight into what was one of the most peculiar experiences from the show day. Indeed, having reflected on it, this was quite possibly one of the most peculiar experiences of my entire life. The tan.
As I've previously mentioned, prior to the bikini competition I'd never in my 37 years had a spray tan. So, perhaps this particular experience seemed even more strange as I was coming to this as a spray-tan novice. Anyway, listen to this and see what you think.
In preparation I had booked a spray-tan to be applied 2 days prior the show. Why? Well, that was what was recommended by my coach and it was also what I'd researched online to be the most effective timing as regards pre-show spray-tanning. However, a week before the show, the proverbial spanner thrower was warming up his arm for a hurl towards the works when all competitors were emailed the following nugget of information:
'Spray tanning will take place at the event on show day. If you tan elsewhere you will be disqualified. Register for your tan before 14 October or you will not be able to compete'.
But wait. It gets better...
'You are advised to wear a small thong if you want and tape will be provided for your chest as there will be male spray tanners'.*
*Matt wanted to volunteer his services at this point.
Just in case you missed it; we were told there would be male spray-tanners. Some context. This competition is taking place in the UAE; a country with a set of moral codes reflecting its religious culture and heritage. Don't get me wrong, this is a wonderfully liberal and cosmopolitan place - beach parties and clubs are full of bikini-clad women; and contrary to myth, you don't get in trouble for holding hands at the mall. However, standing naked being tanned by a man at a bikini competition. Really? It is safe to say that is going to raise some even a botox'ed eye-brow in Las Vegas let alone Dubai.
So, like a compliant competitor, I don't tan prior to the event - unlike about 80% of the competitors. I take the advice. I tan on show day. I do so a small thong (incidentally, unlike everyone else who was tanning completely starkers). With that in mind, picture this.
I'm backstage. The music is seriously loud. Late 90s German techno beats are pumping out from every corner. It's dark. The atmosphere is thick with the smell of baby oil, fake tan; cloying with hairspray. One hundred females in a confined space who have consumed no carbs for months and no water for 48 hours. The tanning room, well it's more like a tanning cubicle, is no more than 2m x 2m. There are 5 tanning tents and 3 fans. Within each of these small spaces there at least 15 girls. Some of the women standing in positions I can only describe as acrobatic - legs akimbo. They are all being tanned. Everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Every nook and fanny, sorry, cranny. Fifteen of the most amazing bodies you will ever see, standing in front of fans drying their bits whilst chatting to each other; talking on the phone to friends; and taking selfies and belfies. All as if it is the most natural thing in the world. And there I am. I am the only one in a thong and I am totally taken aback by it all. And even more so because this is simply so normal to the other girls. Not a single one of them is phased by it in the least. They are just prancing around like, well, like the bikini models they are I suppose.
Sharp elbows are employed to get some space in front of the tan-fan, I venture out backstage. I'm so orange. Ready to go out on stage. It is all a blur and over so quickly. And what an amazing experience it was.
So you have probably guessed, a fake-tan fan, I am not. But will I do another competition? Watch this space...
Love, Piper x