VERSÃO EM PORTUGUÊS AQUI!
We met Larissa Reis on the second day of FIBO, in Essen, Germany. The Expo was relatively calm and we were able to chat a little. We asked Larissa for a short interview and she answered: “Could we do it now? I guess that tomorrow things will be more complicated…”
Complicated? Lucky us! On Saturday (the day that FIBO receives the largest number of visitors) you had to wait more than half an hour just to get close to Larissa, so big was the line of admirers that was there to see her, buy or take pictures with her. Complaining about tiredness because of the little time she had to rest, Larissa asked, when we were turning on the camera:
LARISSA REIS: Not too close, please, I am tired and ugly!
Tired? Ok, may be. Ugly? That’s totally impossible!
One of our main interests was to get to know how different a professional athlete thinks from an amateur competitor. We saw Larissa at the beginning of her career and after she became an IFBB Pro Figure Competitor her life has changed a lot. We wanted to know:
BODYBUILDING BRAZIL: Larissa, what has changed?
LARISSA REIS: Well, I became professional in 2007, when I went to the United States. As a professional, many things have changed, especially with regard to the business. Today it is more serious. Before the pro it was a hobby that I liked to do; nowadays I still like that but I have to bear more responsibility, because I have to represent the companies that sponsor me. I always need to be thinking about them before anything else.
BODYBUILDING BRAZIL: We read news about you all the time. Either you are traveling or competing or divulging a new photo session etc. Is it so much work indeed?
LARISSA REIS: Things change a lot especially when you become a top professional. I always have to be making appearances in several places, I'm always traveling, I'm always in touch with the fans, all of that without forgetting my diet and the competitions... Everything is more difficult, but I'm still going strong.
BODYBUILDING BRAZIL: And you probably hate those things (Lol)…
LARISSA REIS: I do not! I love that! But sometimes you want to be a normal person for a week (eating like normal people, for example) and you can’t do that because you have a photo session, you have an appearance... You spend 24 hours a day thinking about your business. It is a much greater sacrifice when you become a Pro because you represent companies! It’s far more difficult but I know that in the end good will come of it!
From time to time we have to take a break: IFBB Pro Fitness Raquel Hernandez Olmo (photo, left) comes to talk and take some photos; a group of Italian fans buys some photos and take other pics. You can see their excitement at being close to their favorite athlete. Other admirers and we ask:
BODYBUILDING BRAZIL: How do you deal with the fans, Larissa? We follow you on Twitter, on Facebook, on your official website. You have so many fans! Is it really you who answers those messages or do you have anyone to do that for you?
LARISSA REIS: It’s really me who answers! I love that! The more time goes by the more my Fan Page increases. I don’t know if you've noticed, but I have nearly 75.000 fans now. I have more fans than the current Miss Olympia Figure. I feel privileged to be a motivation for many people, and at the same time, several positive messages motivate me too. It is an exchange, I think: I try to motivate my fans and they motivate me. That exchange is good, you know, because sometimes you are down, then you open your messages and there is a positive message for you, it seems that it appears there to lift you up. Several things happen this way with me and I think my fans help me not to give up, they are always with me, helping me. I think a fan is everything for an athlete. If you think about being a top athlete, the first thing you have to do is to learn how to deal with your fans, because they are the key to success. They are the key to sponsorships, because I think that no company wants a bad-tempered or a negative person. Everyone wants a talented person, and you have to have talent to deal with people. And it's hard because you deal with all kinds of people. But with insight and common sense we can make things right and everything goes well.
Larissa considers the possibility of changing to Women’s Physique, the new IFBB female category.
LARISSA REIS: The category is going well, there are many beautiful girls there! I am still hoping to qualify for the Olympia in Figure Class this year, because Women’s Physique Pro is not official in that event yet, but I’m sure it will be: the number of athletes has been increasing in every contest and the idea itself is very good.
BODYBUILDING BRAZIL: And they have individual routines…
LARISSA REIS: I need to watch some videos of my colleagues to understand the category better, but it’s tempting.
New fans, more photos and other friends. Larissa poses, chats with the fans, tireless. She doesn’t seem to be disturbed by the siege and does her job calmly, smiling, talking to the people, totally focused and calm.
BODYBUILDING BRAZIL: Does this calm come from zen, Larissa?
LARISSA REIS: Absolutely! I have been a Buddhist for more than ten years! In this competitive world I live in, if you don’t try to find your inner strength, you can lose yourself.
BODYBUILDING BRAZIL: Can you give us some words of motivation for those who dream of going forward to professionalism?
LARISSA REIS: For you who are interested in getting into the professional world and having this as a profession, my tip is: go ahead! I believe that nothing is impossible in this life. I didn’t think I would get as high as I am now. Things have been happening, and when I realized everything was beyond what I had imagined, to be honest. I think this: everyone who works hard, going for it, and is a good person, attracts a lot of good people. It is important to take care of the outside and never forget to look inside. You can achieve success, but it is fast. If you want to keep this success, carry on being a good person, and good things will appear. Sometimes they come slowly, but they appear. Just believe!