Thou Shalt Not Judge… Unless You’re Asked To

America Model Championships

About a week before the Fitness America Weekend 2017 by Fitness Universe, I was asked if I’d be interested in being a judge.

I had never been a judge before. As it turns out, for this particular part of the competition, it’s not required that you are a personal trainer or a prior contestant type. This was for the Model America Championships; judges typically are photographers (yours truly), magazine editors, talent or casting and commercial agents.

I asked the guy how he came across my name and he replied he found me on Google with the phrase “Las Vegas fitness photography”. Good to know my SEO efforts are working!

The event was at the Gold Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas. Orientation was at 6pm, competition started at 7pm.

Or so it was scheduled.

As it turns out, there was an issue with the DJ not showing up. Among other things evidently as the session I was judging didn’t start until around 11pm.  I can’t imagine the frustration the organizers must of gone through. Not to mention the contestants; threw off their warm ups and their pre-show things they do. Ugh.

The judges were called together for our orientation. We went over the categories, the poses, and the scoring system. There were five divisions… Fashion Model Women, Fashion Model Men, Fitness Model Women, Fitness Model Men and Muscle Model Men.

Each of those divisions went through three rounds of competition… Clubwear, Sportswear and Swimsuit.

And then each person in each division were graded on physical appearance, photogenics, poise & presence and apparel integration.

Each came out, we judges would mark our sheet, and then the next one came out. The scores were tallied at the end. And then the trophies were handed out.

America Model Championships

Here’s the interesting part…

The judges went up on stage and handed out the trophies! And while fun, it’s tough to suck in the beer belly for so many minutes at a time and still try to breathe. Little intimidating up there. Haa!

It was a super neat experience. I admire the discipline these folks have to reach their dreams. I hope I get to do this again.



  1. Josh on November 27, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    HAHA thanks barb! I’m glad it was a good experience and I sincerely apologize for the DJ dilema. If I find him I’ll end him 😉

    • Barb Davids on November 30, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      All good. I should have just napped in the chairs. LOL

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