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Every year at the Olympia, fans see the best physique athletes in the world take the stage, looking their best, and posing down with hopes of leaving the stage as champion. Part of the reason they look as great as they do is that they have tanner applied before they face the judges. Pro Tan founder Stacy Kaufman plays an important role in that process, and he joined the Monday Night Muscle crew on the March 15th episode to talk about his connections to bodybuilding and how he came up with his standout product that is used at every major event.
“I actually worked at a cosmetic factory in a warehouse. I was working out at the gym, I was a big guy, and at the time I was playing football. I weighed 267 pounds. Somewhere along the line, my friends decided, ‘Let’s go to a bodybuilding show.’ We went and saw them putting baby oil on and I thought, ‘That was cool.’ It was 1984. I get back to the cosmetic factory and ask my boss, Don ‘hey Don, I want to make an oil for these bodybuilders.’ But instead of oil that is really shiny, we started making what was then called PPO (professional posing oil).”
“My first big show was the 1984 Nationals, if I’m not mistaken. So I went down there, and I’m at the show, no one knows who I am. I had a booth, paid 50 bucks for the booth. I had the oil and I made a soap for acne, so I had a couple of products. I also had a cream for stretch marks. I then took Clinique bronzer, and I made my own bronze. While I was there, I met the photographer, Barry Brooks, and said, ‘Listen, I I can oil up all these people for your cameras.’ So I did.”
“When I went to the shows, I heard about Dioderm. So I got it, I bought it, and decided that I wanted to make a product like this. I had a chemist back then, and that’s basically what happened. I see people using it, we just came up with the name Pro Tan. God Bless, it was a great name, it was easy, and you know, the rest was history.”
Kaufman also shares how he met and began working with Mr. Olympia runner-up Rich Gaspari, how he met Shawn Ray, the difference between oil-based and waterbased products, and several more stories and topics. You can see this episode as well as every episode of Monday Night Muscle on the Digital Muscle YouTube channel every Monday starting at 6 p.m. EST.