Iron Maiden: Anya Star

This Russian beauty nearly missed her call to the stage at the Arnold Classic. That didn't stop her from winning the title.

Iron Maiden: Anya Star

You won the Arnold amateur bikini title a few years ago but almost missed the whole thing. How does that happen?

It was crazy! I was halfway across the place and had to run to make it to the stage—I had my times mixed up. It may have helped, actually. I usually have a whole routine: I drink honey and work out with resistance bands for two hours before pre-judging. But even with that, there’s a lot of sitting and waiting, and it’s exhausting. I think I was more relaxed onstage as a result.

What got you into this?

I’ve been into fitness for many, many years. But also, when you’re young, you go out and you drink. I was always working out in the gym, but my diet wasn’t right.

A year ago I met my current boyfriend, who’s an IFBB pro in men’s physique now. At that time he’d just started doing that, so I attended his shows— I didn’t even know that such a thing as bikini even existed. Everybody I met was saying, “Why don’t you try? You work out so hard.” And I was just like, “I don’t know, I have no idea how to do that.”

Finally, I made a decision—I didn’t tell anyone, I just started preparing. And my first show, I got first in overall! I was so excited and overwhelmed that the next day I signed up for five more shows. I totally fell in love with it.

What kind of changes have you seen in the first year?

I’ve improved my physique a lot. I was really skinny. Now I literally live in the gym, and I’m all business when I’m there. I just put on my headphones and a hat and get to work. I don’t like to talk. If you see me in the gym you might think I’m a really mean person, and I’m the nicest person ever—but when I work out, I just want to be by myself. I have this horrible face. You know: “Don’t even bother this girl.”

Did it take some time getting used to the competitive diet?

Before, I was eating two or three times a day and it took my body hours and hours to digest the food. Eventually I found what works for me. I eat several smaller meals. I cook a lot, and I eat so many different, delicious things. If you want to be happy, you have to find a way to enjoy what you eat and still try to enjoy your life.

People think that if you want to be healthy you just have to eat all these chicken breasts with broccoli and nothing else, but you can actually indulge yourself. We’re all human beings and we like to try good stuff. That’s why I don’t eat out anymore; I just cook everything myself.

I get a lot of e-mails and messages on Facebook and my fan page, and a lot of girls are like, “I’m trying to get into shape, but I can’t cut out all these cakes, what would you suggest? I know I need to eat better, but I can’t.” I’m like, “Why would you ask me but say that you can’t give up certain things?” It means you don’t want it that bad, and you need to.

What kinds of guys are you attracted to?

I really pay attention to good-looking guys who take care of themselves. I want them to look healthy and look good—a nice body, a pretty face. But if you’re an asshole, you’re an asshole. Most of the time you look at the body, but then you realize the person really doesn’t have anything else.

The most important thing to me is a sense of humor. You have to make me laugh. That’s the only thing I need. If you know how to make me laugh, you’ve got it. I would never be with a person just because of his pretty face or whatever.

Anya’s Stats:

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 130 lbs.

Age: 28

Measurements: 33-25-33

Residence: Brooklyn, NY

Twitter: @anya7star

Instagram: @anyastar