Muscleweek.com Senior Editor Shane Ray is one frequent flyer accumulating S.O.B. Back in New York City for the 3rd Annual Muscleweek.com Eastern Conference with board directors and shareholders, Shane Ray just had to get out of the grind and head to a New York gym he hasn’t graced yet.
Gold’s Gym in Bellmore.
Knowing as well as any predator in the animal kingdom the best place to find your prey is deep in the jungle. Always hungry like a wolf and on hunt for his next interview, Shane spots an unsuspecting NYC local who goes by the name of “Sweet Capri”. Amanda Cumberbatch.
With a brief introduction, discussion of mutual friends and a little bit of Game, Shane was able to get Amanda to sit with him and get comfortable in Muscleweek’s Hot Seat and have a little discussion about life, getting glamorized and dating loser bodybuilders.
MW: Amanda. Welcome to Muscleweek. This is my 2nd time in The Big Apple in a month. Thanks for showing me around. So give us a peek into your contest history.
AC: So happy we hooked up and get to spend some time showing you my favorite spots! It’s also fun to explore and finding new places! I’ve been competing since 2003 and if I were to name each and every show I would bore you. I pretty much did most of the major shows here on the East Coast. Since 2003 I’ve done 10 or 12 shows. I plan on doing one maybe two shows for sure this year.
MW: You have the North Americans coming up. You’ll be in the Master Class. What do you expect to happen there? Gunning for a Pro Card or are you just happy to be on stage?
AC: Over my many years competing I had never really put the energy or effort into a pro card. I mostly enjoy the process of prepping and watching my body morph. The stage is just an added bonus that I am grateful to have the ability to do. With that said, I just thought that it was time to aim higher and go for it. I am actually doing Master’s Nationals and possibly North Americans after. It’s time for that pro card but either way I am just happy to get up there!
MW: Your stomping grounds is Brooklyn. You’ve been a big city girl your whole life? What do you like most about living in the Big Apple?
AC: Funny thing is, I have actually lived in MA most of my life but consider Brooklyn my actual home. That’s where my family has been grounded and settled for years. I went to college in Amherst, MA, and I’ve remained there but always went back to Brooklyn on breaks and whenever I could. I love it here and I was setting myself up to move to NYC but some recent life events haven’t allowed for that final move to happen as quickly as expected.
MW: It seems like the bodybuilding culture is very rich in cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I contend New York is also deep in the roots of bodybuilding. What’s the bodybuilding sub-culture like here? One big happy family or is it a kill or be killed cutthroat culture like it is in Chicago? You never had NPC power-brokers or henchmen spoof call your phone with threats have you?
AC: From what I’ve experienced there are just different cliques . I haven’t seen anyone doing any cut-throating personally but then again, I stay away from that behavior and try to get along with just about everyone. Nope, no one has ever spoof called me!
MW: So you compete in Bikini or Figure? I can never tell these days as the Bikini girls are getting harder and harder from show to show.
AC: I am, have been and will always be a Figure Competitor. I am loving the new Physique division as well. I hear you about the blurring line between Figure and Bikini but I just pay close attention to WHO is winning shows not WHO’S SHOWING up at them. That typically gives me a good guideline as to what the judges are looking for. I have seen some pretty lean and ripped Bikini girls but that’s all it is because most of them do not have the amount of muscle a Figure or Physique competitor does regardless of conditioning.
MW: Would you call yourself an athlete? I see more similarities between Bikini even Figure with other pageants such as Toddlers & Tiaras or Little Miss Perfect.
AC: You are very funny. I do call myself an athlete. Always have been. The ability to glam myself up for the stage is an added bonus that I absolutely love! Don’t be jealous cuz you don’t get to do it and get all pretty like we do. It’s fun!
MW: How does a girl like you fall into this lifestyle? Were you into sports in highschool or college or have you always been a gym chick? I understand you’re quite the bookworm with a few degrees laying around. True?
AC: I do have some degrees. Yes. I have a BA in Sociology a M.ED in Student Development and I am currently working to get my PHD in sociology. Know what? When I was 16 I was already enrolled at UMASS to study Engineering. It’s not about “falling” into the lifestyle but more so about “surviving” in it.I have always been athletic – I ran track in high school and played volleyball even throughout college. I was usually the only girl you’d find lifting in my college weight room at 7pm on a Friday night. I think for me, getting into weights was about building some strength inside and out since I was always a very small petite girl.
MW: Let’s talk about bodybuilding douchebags. You know. The ones who think their entire lives revolve around their protein intake and their circle of losers who mooch off eachother and owe everyone money. You don’t get down with turds like them do you?
AC: I think we’ve all met one or 2 from time to time but I honestly stay out of even knowing that kind of business about people. I don’t judge. I only love.
Mw: Let’s pretend you win a Pro Card. Besides a $200 bill every year what else does a Pro Card from the IFBB bring you?
AC: Honestly, I don’t expect my life to change greatly with a pro card. It would be great if in the process of doing something I love I get rewarded for it! We all want that! The things I want to do in life and the impact I want to make in other people’s lives or my community I am already doing, with or without pro card or pro status.
MW: Back to bodybuilding douchebags. Lots of them live day to day and live the dream one workout at a time. They tend to fall into what Muscleweek calls the big three: Shady. Secretive. Suspicous. Why do you think so many bodybuilders are such lazy phags who think they are celebrities just because they worry about their macronutrients? What is the root of their mentality?
AC: Oh man, what’s with the name calling? Why so much hate for bodybuilders? [Laughter]. I know you want me to talk about my very personal experiences being in an “inner circle”, but I am going to respect my boundaries and the people I’ve met. Truth is most have a lot of deep rooted issues and resort to bodybuilding to escape their realities. It’s a very small industry and in no way, shape or form reflects the larger population in our society. But I have to say that not all bodybuilders are lazy douchebags and there are a few that actually live very well balanced family and work lives. Those are just hard to find but they do exist!
MW: Amanda. What advice can you give the typical “industry chick” who thinks she needs to be with an unemployed man with great calves and an impressive front lat spread? Do you tell her to run for the hills if she values her sanity, credit and car or do you wish them the best of luck?
AC: I think we’ve been talking too much and you are addressing this question particularly to me. [Laughter]
I personally love being in the industry temporarily but enjoy going “home” and having a life outside of it. I don’t let the industry define me, who I am, or my life and I tell every single one of my clients this. I share this sentiment with anyone who wants to get in it, especially the women. If you are in it to have fun and meet people then hey, best of luck. However, if you are trying to be in a serious relationship, be with a man who is willing to give you his all, act selfless, and not be suspicious and secretive, then look elsewhere. I have never seen so many selfish men and women as I have in this industry. I will just shut up now.
MW: You seem to have some swagger to you. Just hanging out with you an hour I could tell you’re the type who would pull out a false Order of Protection on someone or cut a mother fuckers face making sure not to get any blood on your Air Force One’s or your fresh white tee while singing some Stevie B out loud. How accurate is my assessment of you?
AC: Very. I am the sweetest person you’ll EVER meet. I will talk to you, help you, give you money even if I am struggling, clothe you and give you shelter if needed. But when I am pushed, taken advantage of AND ABUSED, you will see a very, very bad and ugly side of me. I don’t even like it because it scares me. I can be ghetto and cut a bitch.
MW: It is now 100% en vogue for girls to have a prep coach these days. Gone are the days when a competitor used a mirror only. Who is in charge of your prep and could you tell us what makes him/her so good at what they do?
AC: I am currently working with IFBB Pro Fakhri Mubarak. He’s been a great friend, mentor and coach. I actually wrote a piece about choosing a contest prep coach and you can find that article here. I outlined what drew me to him but essentially it came down to one thing. Trust.
MW: A contest prep can be very stressful. Mental, Physical and Financial. How do you balance all three to make your prep as smooth and painless as possible? Do you still go out and enjoy life? Do you clip coupons? What’s your secret?
AC: I am a very structured person yet at the same time I like to do random and spontaneous things. It works because I am a mother and things come up unexpectedly all the time! I do like to spend time with friends and family as much as possible and I’ve learned to bring my meals everywhere I go. I don’t have to get all tore up and drunk or eat shitty to enjoy life. Financially since I left my job at UMass it’s been a bit difficult but thankfully my business is growing and I’m getting tons of makeup client as well as fitness and wellness coaching clients. My family has also been extremely supportive of my dreams business wise and competition wise. They have come through for me always. And yes, I actually do clip coupons and know how to save and cut corners. It comes from being mother! The other thing I’ve learned to do is ask for sponsorships. My gym memberships are usually covered as well as I have a couple of different sponsors who help me with my competition cost and any of my business endeavors. It’s been truly a blessing. I tell other competitors to always ask! The worse thing someone can tell you is NO.
MW: I contend that KIDS is the best movie ever to be made in NYC. Name for me your Top 3 movies made in this glorious city.
AC: KIDS was cool. I like 1. Do The Right Thing, A Bronx Tale, and l love love love Brown Sugar, not really NYC but it’s the hip hop theme and all that. Can I add Goodfellas too? I just did. Ha.
MW: I’m surprised you didn’t show Beat Street any love. Tell me who your industry husband is. Whose glutes do you want to bounce a quarter off of?
AC: I had one but after my experience the only thing I want to bounce a quarter off of is a meter or the washing machine at the Laundromat. I’m all set.
MW: If you can kick one person in this industry square in between the shoulder blades who would it be?
AC: No one really. People who annoy me I ignore. I got other shit to worry about and don’t like to put too much energy on hateful and negative thinking.
MW: If you had the power to change one thing in the bodybuilding industry what would it be?
AC: I never gave this any thought really. The industry is so small and I ask myself if my power to change things HERE impact the changes I want to make in society as a whole? Probably not. I think those of us who are concerned about changing things are already doing so. I would honestly leave the “industry” be and let it grow and evolve on its own. My work in creating change is not here, it’s elsewhere.
MW: Name for me three supplements always on top of your kitchen counter. What supplements do you believe in?
AC: CLA, L-Carnitine and B-complex. I am big on my protein shakes…must have! Also a fat burner, like Diablo. That stuff will melt your fat right off your body and booty, which isn’t good for a sista like me.
MW: I know you have a little cosmetic business. What do you offer competitors in regards to their hair and make-up at shows? Do you specialize in something specific?
AC: [Laughter] “little cosmetic business”. You are such a guy! I am a makeup artist and was trained and worked for MAC. Despite my educational background and my college degrees, having the experience as a makeup artist is something I knew I’d use in the future. Right now that’s what I specifically specialize in. I offer makeup services at shows, weddings and even do makeup lessons and workshops. For competitions I typically team up with someone else who does hair to expand services and give competitors a one-stop to get all glammed up. I will be teaming up with an awesome team for the USAs and will be doing hair, makeup and even tanning.
MW: Amanda. You survived an exclusive interview with Muscleweek. How does it feel? Do you want to promote anything now? How does one get a hold of you for possible sponsorship or modeling opportunities?
AC: Well, you are something else and you got swag for days so this has been fun! I knew I’d survive. I would love to urge any ladies competing at Team Universe or the USAs to email me at Amanda@sweetcapri.com and get at me! Same contact email for modeling or any other potential sponsorships.
– NY Rangers or NY Islanders: Rangers! They has such an awesome season, didn’t they?
– Yankees or Mets: Yankees.
– Chicago Style Pizza or NY Style Pizza: Chicago. Sorry NY but I like it thick!
– Favorite NYC Gym: Gold’s Bellmore and Bev’s Powerhouse.
– Last Book You Read: A Guide To Life Coaching.
– All Time Favorite Song: Anything by Biggie Smalls (Notorious B.I.G.)
– Favorite Exercise: Lat Pulldowns.
– Crystal Lite Flavor: Peach Flavor Iced Tea.
– Diet Coke or Coke Zero: True story – I was a die-hard fan of diet coke and even argued about it with you but after our discussion I went and tried Coke Zero and I LOVE IT. I’m switching.
NAME ASSOCIATION: I drop a name you drop the first word that comes to mind.
Phil Heath: Smile.
Aaron Singerman: Hustler.
Dave Palumbo: Charitable.
Steve Gluteman: Business.
Derek Anthony: Ill.
Victor Martinez: Symptahy.
Juan Morel: Brother
Shane Ray: Swagger!