Girls

Iron Maiden: Michelle Tarajcak

The Flex Bikini Model Search runner-up found rock bottom before she found balance. Now she's happier—and sexier—than ever.

 

Being fit and competing are two very different things. What got you onstage?

I was in a body-obsession sport my whole life, and all my jobs were off what my body looked like. I was a ring girl and had all these fun jobs. I was just pushing my body to extreme limits and not paying attention to the signs, and it started shutting down and I got really sick. I was on five prescription drugs. I literally had to drop everything and leave to heal my body. It was the most amazing journey; I found all these different ways to heal the body.

What were you diagnosed with?

I had adrenal fatigue. My body was saying, “No more. You’re done.” I literally dropped everything. I was living in Las Vegas at the time, and I moved to Santa Monica. I got into yoga training, and I detoxed my body. No more prescription drugs at all. I cut them cold turkey. I opened up to a lot of different modalities, from yoga to essential oils to acupuncture. I basically fell in love with myself by nourishing my body with the right foods and the right thoughts.

What took you to rock bottom?

When I moved to Las Vegas, I would wake up in the morning at 6:30 and do cardio and lift. Then I’d go to the gym. Then I’d go to work in high heels for eight hours at Wet Republic, a pool party at the MGM. Then I’d come home and cry because my feet hurt so much, then I’d do another workout because I was also competing. My body looked great; I was doing all these fun, glamorous jobs; doing the whole Facebook selfie picture thing; but I was so dead and unfulfilled inside.

You’re still competing. Is it not as stressful anymore?

Now I do it much healthier. I train so much healthier. I eat beautiful foods that nourish me, and I’m in a totally different mindset.

Have you been able to give advice to other competitors?

Absolutely. I say, “You’ve already won going into the competition.” Yes, the pro card is nice, but I see girls crying backstage because they didn’t place, and I’m like, “You are so beautiful. You’re in the best shape of your life; you should be celebrating.” I’ve also met so many women who inspire me.

We’re always talking about training intensity. You talk about tranquility. Are the two incompatible?

I train like a crazy woman in the gym. I actually had to quit Equinox because a trainer kept coming up to me and telling me that I’m overtraining. I was like, “No. You’re just boring.” Another place said I was intimidating the women there. You can be tranquil, like total zen, but have crazy intensity. You can make anything a meditation—yoga or a 500-pound squat.

Does a guy need a 500-pound squat?

No, but I love a man who’s confident and athletic, a nature lover, and open-minded.

What’s a surefire way to turn you off?

Lousy compliments. A guy once said, “You’re like Cindy Crawford on steroids.” Another guy was like, “You’re like a thoroughbred.” Talking about my legs!

So you’re saying you shouldn’t compare a woman to a horse?

Never! I was like, “Dude, you gotta go work on your game.”

STATS

HEIGHT: 5’9”

WEIGHT: 133 lbs.

AGE: 30

MEASUREMENTS: 34-28-34

RESIDENCE: Los Angeles, CA

TWITTER: @GFITMICHELLE

WEBSITE: MICHELLETARAJCAK.COM

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