10 June 2011

FAME UK 2011

Update: I've had lots of feedback from my posting over the last 24 hours.  Some of it in public via Facebook comments, but a whole load more in private.   Athletes scared to be critical of the event make up the biggest section, but also backstage staff (apparently things were even more of a mess backstage), judges, photographers, even a spectator, and others who wise to remain nameless.   I know I was critical of the organisation, but I was critical for a reason, the athletes who train and diet deserve to be treated better.   One person even called me "diplomatic" with my which is most unlike me.  Anyway, the upshot of this is, and was partly expected, is that the promoter thinks I was "rude", and doesn't want to work with me again.   I'll loose a fair bit of business, but from the comments I've received I've won a fair bit of respect from people involved in the day.  With business still slower than I'd like, maybe I should have kept quiet and said nothing?  I guess only time will tell if my decision to give an honest review was a good thing or not?

Update2: I neglected to mention our compare for the day, Audrey Kaipio in my original blog.  Having a good compare at an event makes such a huge difference to the day.  I've known Audrey for years, but this was the first time I've seen her "at work".  I have to say I was quite impressed.  Good work Audrey.  Although if I can add one slightly negative comment.  I'd argue that it may not have been the best thing to announce on stage that she'd trained some of the winners.  I understand she was rightly proud, and the winners were deserved.  However to everyone else, it might come across as a little bit of biased towards them?  Be proud, but be proud after the event.

Update3: (24th june 2011) It was bought to my attention this morning that the new name for FAME UK is Fame World Tour UK and not Miami Pro as I'd written originally.  Apologies for this mistake on my part.  To save any confusion I've updated my words below accordingly.

Last weekend was the FAME UK event in London was the biggest event of its kind I’ve seen in the UK.  There might be bigger traditional (I call them spit and sawdust events) bodybuilding competitions, but in terms of the model/fitness/bodybuilding events this was the biggest I’ve seen in the UK.

I’m going to write up this as an honest review of how I saw the day, which might upset a few people, although that’s not my intention.  Lessons need to be learnt, and acted upon so that next years Fame World Tour UK (the new name for FAME in the UK) can be bigger and better.

I shall start with the awful venue, Scala at Kings Cross.  It might work well as a nightclub, but as a venue for a fitness event, urgh.  Just horrible.  From what I heard from the competitors they were having to get changed and do make up in near darkness in the changing area.

The stage was too small, and from a photographers point of view I was much closer to the stage than I’d have liked (thanks should go to Sarah Donohue for moving the stupidly high judges table and speakers from the stage - without this Matt and myself would have struggled to do our jobs properly).

Lighting on the stage was actually surprisingly good, especially in the centre of the stage.  Some competitors still made the rookie mistake of wearing large hats during theme rounds.  It might look good as part of the outfit, but means judges and photographers struggle to see your eyes because they are hidden in shadow.

The compact venue did have one big advantage, it made for a great atmosphere of cheering (and occasionally boo’ing when yet another delay was announced) I’ve seen at any show I’ve attended (other than the Arnold Classic).

Registration was a compete mess.  The doors were 20 minutes late opening and athletes and spectators were all mixed up in one long queue.  To make matters worse it was a chilly day in London (probably felt much colder to those with much less body fat than this fat photographer!).  I believe people were still registering an hour after the event was due to start at 12 noon sharp.  Allowing just 30 minutes for registration was a huge error in judgement.

Delays were apparently caused by not having proper information from the Canada HQ that runs FAME, although I have my doubts about this.  Making people queue up outside was just not cool, and very bad planning by the UK promoter.  Maybe it was a health and safety thing that people weren’t allowed to queue up inside the building and up the stairs, either way, hardly a good way to start the day.

There were two hour long 15 minute breaks in the event.  I don’t think anyone would have minded if we’d have been told there was going to be an hour break each time, but everyone was running around getting food, rushing back to the venue only to have to wait for ages for the show to continue.  Not cool.  Even worse was the athletes waiting in the wings to come in for 30 minutes prior to being called on stage.  Why?

I do actually quite like the FAME format, having the figure girls doing more than just standing there with their routine round is good, although I’m still not sure if asking them to do bodybuilding poses is the right thing?

Each athlete who wasn’t doing a routine round (specifically the bikini contest) deserved more stage time.  To work so hard for so many months, then only to be rushed on and off stage in barely 20 seconds has to be a little disheartening.

The overall quality of athletes, not to mention the high numbers was great.   It’s so good to see a UK show starting to rival some of the US & Canada shows I’ve attended in terms of quality and numbers.  Long may it continue!

Emma Louise Bowen might have been the only entrant in the fitness competition, but her physique and were up their with some of the best I've seen.  Hope you actually have some competition to beat next time Emma!

I'm not going to comment on the judging / results because it's always subjective other than to say for the most part I agree with all of the top 3 placings, although it would be nice to have more a more transparent scoring system.  I strongly believe the points scored for all athletes should be published so the athletes know what to work on for next time.

What I will say, after chatting with some of the judges during the event is almost unforgivable.  Unbelievably the judges didn't have a proper list of athletes to work from.  They'd been given a numbered list (not competitor numbers) of people who'd registered prior to the event (not all of whom even turned up on the day), and they were left to fill in competitor numbers themselves when the athletes walked out on stage.  Shocking.

I've attended several FAME shows prior to this, and although not perfect (what show ever is?) they've all shown much more respect to the athletes.  Ultimately most of the blame for the mess has to go the outgoing UK promoter.

Despite a few hiccups, a thumbs up from me for the show.  Hopefully lessons have been learned and can be improved upon.  May it continue to go onto bigger and better things.

Congratulations to Maija Kivel√§, Samantha Valene Butler and Maria Scotland for winning your categories and hence a photoshoot with me!   Looking forward to working with you.  Bring cake!

(if any winners would like me to add a web link to their sites, please add a comment below and I’ll update later)


  1. Majia Kivela  (won a photoshoot with me)

  2. Emma Burrows

  3. Chiraz Hasnaoui

Fitness Model - Class A - Male

  1. Shaun Straford

  2. Adam Reading

  3. Jesus Alvarez Sarro

Fitness Model - Class B - Male

  1. Roman Gilbert

  2. Ru Wikmann

  3. Adam Stansbury

Fitness Model - Female

  1. Samantha Bulter (won a photoshoot with me)

  2. Bex Reading

  3. Maija Kivela

Muscle Model - Male

  1. Roger Snipes

  2. Helle Strubel

  3. Jason Fofana

Muscle Model - Female

  1. Karolina Raczor

  2. Marina Scotland

  3. Yvette Shaw

Bodybuilding - Male

  1. Helle Strebel

  2. Andrew Fisher

  3. Sandor Nagy


  1. Emma Louise Bowen



  1. Maria Scotland (won a photoshoot with me)

  2. Jackie Field

  3. Karolina Raczor


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