Kellie Everts was pregnant. She was told she'd lose her figure after the baby was born, and that wouldn't do. Kellie planned on becoming a model. Later, even an actress. She was counting on her body to get her there, as numerous people were impressed with her body from the age of 13.
Kellie tells her husband she's going to start lifting weights. He lifts them daily. The man gives her a querulous look, like,
"Oh, yeah...what for?"
She examines his weight set. He tells her these weights are heavy and dangerous, and especially now that she's SIX MONTHS pregnant, what's the point?
That is exactly the point. She's not going get loose and flabby and out of shape. She takes him for his word about his iron set being too heavy and goes to a store in Santa Monica. It's an IFBB affiliated place, and Dave Draper is sitting in a sort of elevated place behind a desk, toward the back. The kind gentleman who waits on Kellie is rather startled by her. Whatever could this pretty platinum blonde with a baby belly want? She tells him she wants barbells because she's going to be in shape after the baby. The man is amused and keeps calling Dave to come over - because he wants Dave to see the pretty lady. Dave would enjoy her. But not only does he stay put, he won't even turn around. Kellie goes back to that moment in later years amused by what she has learned about Dave. He probably saw her when she first came in and was afraid of THOSE UNDESIRABLE ERECTIONS. (Years later she reads and sees with her own eyes that the poor boy gets erections on the posing platform.)
Finally, the salesman tells Kellie, that in good conscience, he cannot sell her anything above 2 1/2 pound barbells. She could hurt herself. Kellie buys them because she doesn't want to hurt the man's feelings. This is a tender-hearted woman. She then goes down the street to another store and buys some heavier weights.
Kellie comes home and starts to lift. She makes the husband guide her through the moves. He discourages her all the way, but she won't listen. At first she gets really sore, but that's a good thing. And within a week, it's ole' hubby's weights she's pumping.
Jump from 1964 to 1972. Kellie Everts begins entering contests. She's in New York City, starring at the Roxy Burlesque, 42nd St. Going downstairs after a show, she looks in the window of Tom Minichiello's Mid City Gym. It announces a BEAUTY CONTEST - Kellie's obsession! It's for body building, but the contests are fitness and beauty rather than muscles. Kellie goes in and talks to Mr. Tom. He's receptive. She was afraid he wouldn't want her, but he does. He tells her whatever she has to know, and she's in.
This is the show that gets it all started. Then Kellie learns about Dan Lurie, publisher of "Muscle Training Illustrated," who also puts on shows. Between these two promoters, she wins four trophies in two years, one for Ms Body Beautiful.
But SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THESE CONTESTS. It doesn't take long for Kellie to catch on. The men are the BIG BABAZEEBAS. The women are treated like a side-show act. The men are taken seriously. The women are not. They are second rate, like just about all other areas of life women are relegated to in the seventies.
The art editor of Esquire magazine is looking for a muscular female. It is 1974 and the staff thinks it would be a hoot. It's Jean-Paul Goude's fetish - in underground parlance, the "amazon" fetish. He wants them big, strong and dangerous. Muscles, hair, whatever. Jean-Paul Goude starts calling all the gyms in New York City. Tom Minichiello tells him there is no such thing as a female body builder. Dan Lurie tells him the only female body builder is Kellie Everts. Jean-Paul asks,
on thumbnails to see the original VIVA MACHISMA! article which appeared
But nothing more happens, so Kellie contacts Jean-Paul Goude. She has a mission.
"WE HAVE TO DO IT FOR PLAYBOY.... the body building idea isn't moving.
"NO WAY...they won't use it...it's too far out. I can do it for OUI."
At that time, Jean-Paul Goude had left Esquire and was the art editor of Oui - a Playboy Magazine that closed down in 1978.
But Kellie INSISTS it has to be PLAYBOY and nothing else. This is kicking it up a notch.
Reluctantly, unsure of himself, Jean-Paul Goude does the story. It's Kellie in a gym with boys, and they watch her lifting when her bikini pops off.
PLAYBOY isn't sure. This is weird stuff. They tell them,
"We'll pay you half, and if we use it, you'll get the rest."
As they are holding the article, Pumping Iron comes out. It's Arnold's beginning to fame. They think GREAT. "HUMPING IRON."
Historically, put this in your notebook. The day PLAYBOY did "Humping Iron" was the beginning of female body building as we know it today. The article was not the FIRST - ESQUIRE had done it already. But Esquire was not the BIBLE of female beauty. Once PLAYBOY puts the imprimatur, the seal of approval on this, that's it. In fact, they said as much. To Kellie's chagrin, they kind of make fun of Arnold again, saying lifting weights for women does not turn their muscles into "Arnie's magic mountains." So it's O.K.
(But by making fun of Arnold, Playboy, for the second time, gets Kellie into trouble. This time, it's the wrath of Arnold on her. Last time it was the Ms Universe promoters who sued Kellie after she said it was not a "true show of beauty" and she challenges their contestants to a contest "in the buff!" The promoters were furious and sued her in Supreme Court and restrained her from ever using her title, Ms Nude Universe!)
Kellie did not want to make Arnold mad - again.
They had a little run-in at the 1972 show. It turned into a love-hate relationship which steamed for years. Kellie wanted to be friends with Arnold, but he was so mad at her he wanted vengeance. Then, things would come about not due to Kellie's fault, that pissed him off even more.
They were promoting the Felt Forum Mr. Olympia, Ms Americana show in New York. Kellie went all out for publicity. There she was, a picture in the Daily News, walking down the street in a bikini with another female contestant. Arnold made it know, something like this:
"Why are they promoting the women when it is the Mr. Olympia contest which is the most important!"
Then there was the AM New York Show. What a disaster for Arnold! What humiliation!
First, the male contestants come out. (We are all promoting that infamous Mr. Olympia Show.) OK, pretty good. What's next?
They bring Kellie out - the only female that does all this stuff in those days.
Wow! This was the first time television sees a woman like this. She is voluptuous, large breasts, but EXTREMELY FIT. They go so crazy over her, Kellie is embarrassed. The guys now in the back, are glum.
"Wait till Arnold comes out, our hero. They'll forget all about Kellie. He'll restore our manly self esteem...it's us, the guys, especially Arnold, who are the stars. What are the women? How dare they put us in the shade....come on, Arnold, restore our pride!"
Arnold comes out. There is more SHOCK and FEAR than admiration. Arnold poses. No, they have never seen anything like him, but they don't know how to react. They are speechless. Then Sandy York, a comedian, breaks the ice. He takes off his shirt and flexes his puny body right near Arnold. Everyone laughs and it is ruined. Instead of admiration and respect, Arnold gets laughter.
They all go back to the dressing rooms, and it's Kellie who gets punished, not Sandy York.
"When are we going to breakfast?" Kellie asks.
'NEVER!' Arnold roars.
Kellie cannot understand why Arnold is always so mad at HER. She doesn't know yet what Arnold is really like. She finds it hard to believe that Arnold would hold a grudge over what to her seems like a small thing. Franco Columbu, who is friendly, placates KELLIE. She would LOVE to go out to breakfast with the guys and kibbitz, but it cannot be.
Then the big contest, where after, Arnold does probably the most heinous thing to Kellie he ever did. Arnold wins Mr. Olympia against ONE contender - Lou Ferrigno. Kellie wins two trophies, second place Ms Americana and Best Body. Kellie is joyous and at the end of the contest, the winners pose on a large platform. Kellie has never seen the FEMALES join the men for their "victory posing."
She desegregated the show, in that respect, in 1972 (see images) and she was about to do so again. Seeing Arnold on the far right of the platform, she decides this is perfect. She will get up next to him and pose. She summons her courage, because this is not your usual routine.The other women don't even THINK of doing these things. Up she jumps, and begins her poses next to Arnold. Arnold seems totally self absorbed and does not smile or look at her or greet her. It's a cold, angry vibe. He is, for a few moments, helpless. But he has a trick. A dirty trick, and this trick proves Arnold is NOT a gentleman. What these guys do when they pose in front of judges is they MANEUVER where, with each pose, they push the other guy further and further out of the way, until they hog the main view to the judges. Arnold was a master at that. He hits one pose, then another, Kellie following. But he inches toward her every second, until she gets closer and closer to the edge. Finally she is so close to the edge she will either fall off or jump off. At that moment, the stage lights go black. Arnold has knocked Kellie off the stage.
As we look back today upon the seventies, it is hard to imagine what went on there. for those who are under thirty, it's impossible. You can't imagine women NOT ALLOWED TO LIFT WEIGHTS. That was the view in the days of Kellie.
Click Both Thumbnails To See Full Sized Images
Consider this: What was the whole point of men lifting weights? It was this - the lifters lift to look great and get the women. The promoters make money from the idea that you become Atlas, kick sand in the bully's face, and you get the women. The promoters, barbell owners, equipment owners, supplement sellers, pill pushers and the like, make money. In those days, no guys got rich from bodybuilding. It was all self esteem and pride. Some eventually owned gyms, like Vic Tanney, and made money. There were the other things mentioned, but on a small scale. Now picture this: If men are no longer lifting weights TO GET THE WOMEN then WHAT ARE they lifting for? It's all about that. If the women are lifting the weights side by side with them, and the women TURN INTO MEN, then that doesn't work. If the lady looks as good as you, she isn't going to faint at the sight of your muscles, so.....this idea, CANNOT AND WILL NOT come from the brains of the male body building industry because, in their minds, they would be DESTROYING THE MOTIVATION FOR MEN TO LIFT WEIGHTS.
The promoters cautioned women again and again that it was a no-no to do bicep curls or God forbid, the most muscular "traps" pose. Laura Combes incurred their wrath when she did double bicep poses starting in 1979.
The industry was trying to control and determine women's image and behavior every step of the way.
In 1979, Kellie was supposed
to be in the IFBB Contest, where the rules now moved toward more muscle.
Maria Shriver told Kellie,
Kellie probably would
have won that contest because she was in immaculate shape. This contest,
the forerunner of Ms Olympia, was the first time a black lady, Patsy Chapman,
ever won one of these things. (Black women NEVER entered body beautiful
contests because they didn't feel welcome....female body building did
many things for women, not the least of which was that women who were
not beautiful had a chance, and women who were black had a very good chance,
of being champions. The rubric had changed. This is what desegregation
of bodybuilding was all about.) At this contest, the men said,
Oliva holding Kellie Everts in 1975.
Then, they had the first Ms Olympia. There was one shapely, sexy young lady there they spoke about. They said,
"She is the ideal...we want that kind of woman."
Every year, the promoters bitched about what they didn't want, but the women had been LOOSED to do what they pleased. They weren't AFRAID any more. It was like something rolling down a slope. It just rolled and rolled, and gathered moss, only in this case, muscle. Once women's fear was loosed - by the PLAYBOY imprimatur - there was no stopping them
Every year, the men knew they were losing control because the women got more and more like men. That was EXACTLY what they didn't want. They wanted to hold onto the assumption that only men could be that muscular. They said that they alone had testosterone. THEN WHY WERE THEY ALL TAKING MUSCLE DRUGS? The truth is, women, with the same drugs, could do EXACTLY what men could do. This destroyed part of the male supremacy factor. And get this: they tried testing on men for a while. But white men, without their drugs, couldn't compete with the African-Americans. Drop testing. But the women - sure -keep testing the women! This fact will knock off their jock straps: If muscle drugs were not allowed, the bodybuilding champions would be 99% black.
Kellie Everts had done a terrible thing. She had put a spear through the armour of men. The bodybuilding. establishment would now punish Kellie Everts by PRETENDING SHE NEVER EXISTED. If they ever did mention her, it was to prove how unimportant she was, and that she had done nothing at all worth recording in their precious body building magazines.
But look at the larger picture. Kellie Everts, the Avatar of Female Empowerment, had pulled the sword out of the stone. She had STRUCK HER BLOW. You cannot stop the infinite God who decides and gives EXCALIBUR to whom She pleases. Once the blow was struck, IT WAS OUT OF THEIR HANDS. You can't stop the REAL HEROS - like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and suchlike souls. Here these guys were PUPPET HEROS, CARDBOARD FLIMFLAM, counting on ignorance and fear to hold their own. Now a woman is given the sword of God and strikes. It has nothing to do with them any more, say what they will.
Now the punishment. Bill Dobbins calls Kellie, in a retrospect, an UNKNOWN BEGINNER, and praises Lisa Lyon, Rachel McLish and others. Like he's this innocent Babe in the Woods who never heard of her....right....and we'll sell you a Bridge.
All these rather silly articles are talking about Lisa being first in Playboy (1980? Kellie was there in 1977) or Laura Combes being first on Real People (1981) lifting weights (Kellie was there in 1979) and whatever. These guys did not start publishing bodybuilding books by women until Kellie Everts, then Lisa Lyon, had their own books published By Leitner Enterprises and Bantam Books, respectively. And by the way, Bantam Books approached Kellie in 1979 but she couldn't do it as she had other engagements. The chief editor told Kellie after Lisa's book came out,
"YOU HAD THE IDEA FIRST."
DID THE WOMEN WHO....
God and Kellie liberated, get the picture? No. These catty, self serving creatures who came after Kellie were about themselves. They wanted fame and fortune and ego joy. Each one competed to knock the other woman out. They spoke of, "as soon as we win the contests, have the industry representatives waiting in the wings to do product endorsements"....".I feel that I am the right woman to represent the industry."
Is this what freedom was all about? Money, greed and ego? How about sisterhood, self esteem, equality and empowerment...with money at some point there, but not the preeminent factor. KELLIE EVERTS MADE NO MONEY. It wasn't about money for her. OK., she made a little money to survive on. But she didn't get rich. If she had been a greedy, grasping, vain bitch who thought the Universe centered around her because she had the biggest muscles, she could have never pulled the Sword out of the Stone.
The end result of all this? The center of the body building world - Joe Weider and his Empire - with all the other Empires surrounding him - is small potatoes compared to the WORLD STAGE. The concept that Kellie Everts birthed with the mainstream media changed the image of women forever. Women in movies and television, women in modeling, women in the Olympics and sports, housewives and teenagers, girls in school - all these women's lives and images were changed forever. Now they have the right to be strong, aggressive, and muscular. God has anointed them with power.
TO THOSE WHO CLAIM.....
People jump on a bandwagon you created and say, "I was first." Prove you were first. Give us the dates and times you were first. Show us the dates of the articles and the tv shows you did to be first. If you claim you were a muscle queen and Kellie only "tits and ass" show us how you looked between "72 to "79. And if tits are bad why are you all getting IMPLANTS? Some catty females said Kellie was no good for bodybuilding because she posed nude. Take a look at Lisa Lyon's "Body Magic." What do you call those photos with nothing on but bronze glow? What do you call those many articles female bodybuilders did in Playboy and in bodybuilding books and magazines? So what's the hypocrisy? If YOU were the origin of female bodybuilding, not Kellie Everts, then PROVE IT.
This is also a challenge to the bodybuilding establishment (Bill Dobbins and others, take note) which is writing the HISTORY of female bodybuilding. Saying something is true does not make it so. It has to be true. You print WORDS but are your words TRUTH? After Kellie Everts' success, many women came forward and became active in the field. You guys promoted them, managed them, dated them and befriended them. That's just ducky. It's great the gals came forward as that was what Kellie Everts was fighting for: women's right to lift weights, women's equality in body building.
ARE FACTS PROVEN BY THE PUBLIC RECORD.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE
After Kellie Everts disappeared from the scene, the new women took over. Was it a beautiful world, now that the doors had opened up? Human nature is weak. It was the same-case scenario as the men had been. Yes, women were smarter, more reasonable, with lots more common sense. They didn't eat raw liver and drink blood from the butcher store. They did not follow the insane diet prevalent in those days: all meat. Women brought sanity to bodybuilding, and the men HAD to follow because they had to admit - women were better.
In spite of all this, there were problems. Kellie Everts watched them, listened to them, interviewed them from the time she was PUSHED out of the picture. What went wrong?
Each woman now became, just like the guys had been, a Universe unto herself. It was ego and greed. It was,
"I am the greatest....no, I am the greatest....no, I am the greatest"...coming from the lips of each one.
It was competition, not cooperation. Whoever dies with the most muscles wins. It was GREED for fame and fortune. It was LINE UP THE MERCHANTS FOR PRODUCT ENDORESEMENT, I AM THE RIGHT WOMAN FOR THE JOB. Each year there was a queen, a star. She would disparage, ridicule the ones coming up that were more muscular. WHAT IS SHE TRYING TO PROVE? (Don't they realize I am the ideal?) Rachel McLish was there a short time, quickly eclipsed. Many names took over, then the blockbuster CORY EVERSON reigns for years. When she divorces her husband, who works for Joe Weider, she also disappears from the scene, and even her endorsements disappear. LENDA MURRAY appears, and reigns for years. She asks WHY DOESN'T THE BLACK PRESS COME AFTER ME? (Aren't they impressed? I'm the first black woman winning this!) Each one is SELF ABSORBED, thinking the whole world revolves around her. They don't see the big picture. Although these winners make big money - Kellie made none - basically, they are chewed up and spit out by the industry.
When Kellie Everts jumped up on stage with Arnold and he pushed her off, she did not do this for money. She did it for freedom. When the women who came after her were told she was waiting to enter a contest (in 1981, Caesar's Palace where she picketed because they wouldn't let her enter) one of them said on the radio, in the greatest contempt,
"Kellie Everts posed nude, so she is disqualified."
Kellie Everts went right to that radio station to fight back, and her speech was so good, the host let her talk for a half hour.
What is wrong with this picture?
The Sword was not pulled
out of the Stone for this. The Sword came out for desegregation, righteousness
and equality for women. What COULD and SHOULD women have done to make
the world a better place? THEY COULD HAVE STOOD UP FOR WOMEN. THEY SHOULD
HAVE ATTEMPTED TO START THEIR OWN INDUSTRIES instead of kissing the backsides
of men who had them. It was the same 'ole same 'ole. Kiss Massah, Yes
Massah. Fear Joe and the Big Wigs who run magazines, contests and industries.....
Have you bowed down for the kingdoms of the world and their glory? Think about Martin Luther King, Jr. What if the beleaguered black people, once freed up to some degree, went only for the money of the white man? Wouldn't they be just as guilty as the white man who oppressed them? Prophets DIE for the freedom of their people. Their people must be righteous when they get their freedom....not sell out for material things. (There is nothing wrong with prosperity. But the spirit comes before the flesh!)
What is wrong with these women who came after her? THEY DON'T HAVE THE SPIRIT, OR THE PANACHE. They do not believe in self-sacrifice. They don't believe in working for free so others can be freed. Oh, yes, they do make sacrifices, FOR MONEY. But not for others. It's all about them. WHO'S THE GREATEST? IS THE CATFIGHT THIS IS ALL ABOUT.
THE STORY OF LISA LYON
The Tom Snyder Show, in 1981, New York, has summoned Lisa Lyon and Kellie Everts to promote their books - "Body Magic," and "The Ultimate Woman." Backstage there is chit chat. Kellie tells Lisa that she got bodybuilding into Esquire and Playboy. Lisa says,
"THAT WAS YOU?"
Kellie asks Lisa when she started lifting weights. Lisa says,
Kellie realizes that the Playboy of May, 1977, "To the barbells, girls!" is what got everything started.
Kellie then tells Lisa that she had recently picketed the Caesar's Palace Show where she was not allowed to participate. Lisa thinks a moment and obviously has not computed this thing out. She is now talking about the same show, and says,
"We had a woman picketing at our show....she had won some tits and ass contests."
Kellie feels a pang of pain. Lisa is talking about her. No other woman picketed any contest but Kellie, and later, Kellie realizes Lisa WAS as the Caesar's Palace Show as a commentator.
Since Lisa has now accused Kellie of being no more than a "tits and ass" contestant, Kellie thinks about the path of Lisa.
Mz Lyon won a contest in 1979, promoted by the gym where she trained, Gold's Gym, managed by her friend, Pete Grymkowsky. Bill Dobbins, who was at this show, said that Claudia Wilbourn was more muscular, but Lisa had a better PRESENTATION. She did something like ballet poses, while Claudia did only muscular poses. It was her presentation, not her muscles, that caused the judges to pick Lisa over Claudia. MZ LYON DID NOT WIN, NOR DID SHE ENTER, ANY OTHER CONTEST.
Lisa Lyon did promote one contest, which is how Rachel McLish got started, and apparently helped put together the Caesar's Palace Show and it's coverage for television. She did a lot of publicity, and Joe Weider and Arnold Schwarzenegger got her articles and recognition. Arnold posed WITH Lisa Lyon, but he PUSHED KELLIE OFF THE STAGE when she tried to pose with him.
By 1981 - two years later - Lisa Lyon
could no longer compete with the other women. There were too many of them
jostling for stardom, and they were getting more and more muscular.
The Joe Weider press, as well as the puppet press of other bodybuilding magazines, most frequently give credit to Lisa Lyon as the first female bodybuilder. What nonsense! They are revising history because Lisa was a team player, a friend of the Joe-Arnold partnership. Kellie Everts won many of their contests, but after getting into Arnold's "black book," she could not hope for support from Arnold or Joe Weider, and she sure didn't get any. It's convenient to say one of your friends, one of your team players, did it all by herself. Sounds good, feels good, but is it TRUE?
Let's be logical. There are two bases by which Mz Lyon could claim to be the first. One, that she was the first woman to promote female bodybuilding. A perusal of this site would show you in a few minutes that Kellie Everts promoted bodybuilding for women in the NATIONAL MEDIA all alone from 1975 to 1977. You are not talking gym contests or backyard talk, you are talking Esquire, Playboy, and many national venues. Anyone who ignores this is sweeping aside the facts which are public record.
The second basis why Mz Lyon could call herself the first female bodybuilder would be that in 1979, when serious muscle contests started, that she was the most muscular. We just noted that Claudia Wilbourn, as observed by Bill Dobbins, was more muscular than Lisa, but Lisa won by presentation. Beside this, there were other contests going on in 1979, like the one mentioned in Sports Illustrated in Canton, Ohio. (See article on this page) In that contest were three women more muscular than Lisa Lyon: Cammie Lusko, Laura Combes and Kay Baxter - who won the contest. In 1980-81 Kellie herself kicked it up a notch and got as muscular as the above - check the photo in this article and Gallery. Around 1980, Bev Francis entered the fray and she was the most muscular of all. So how does this make Lisa Lyon first? What was she first in doing? She wasn't the first to promote it and she wasn't the first to be muscular, so how is she first?
If anyone believes Lisa Lyon was first, we'll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.
Coming attractions: Kellie Everts will
soon put on this site her bodybuilding photos of 1992 and she is planning
a book for 2005: "Bodybuilding for Lusty Seniors."
THE STORY OF 'BODY MAGIC'
It was all about Arnold. Douglas-Kent Hall, the author of "Body Magic," describes how Arnold entices him to meet Lisa,
"She's fantastic! "You've got to meet her."
Douglas-Kent Hall adds,
"An incredible appetite for anything new, anything sensational, is a part of this great bodybuilder's exceptional charm. Arnold's enthusiasm can rise for a girl, a building he's considering buying, a new muscle car--someone's Ferrari, the latest Porsche. That day it was for Lisa Lyon.
" None of the odd assortment of women I had met with him--starlets, flight attendants, dancers, designers, or journalists--had ever shown any genuine interest in bodybuilding....."
Arnold phones and asks the writer /photographer if he can bring him to "see her tape." She is able to fit in a little time for them out of her busy schedule.
"Throughout the tape Arnold kept up a continuous commentary. He was impressed and full of praise...."
Mr. Hall talks about the weirdness of female bodybuilding - like the Elephant Man and the Siamese Twins....a freak show. But Arnold and Lisa Lyon have him convinced.
Arnold started the praise, Douglas-Kent Hall finishes it. What was a sub cultural freak sport for countless years is now taken by Lisa Lyon into a place of new dignity and integrity and art.
Throughout he has harped about Lyon's femininity. She's only 5'3" and 100 pounds (probably can't beat you up, Mr. Hall) and has soft hair and he would NEVER KNOW she's the woman up there flexing her muscles on this tape.
Kellie Everts now has a fantasy. Arnold
has fallen in love with a new woman, his latest sensation.
"Look, Douglas; you're going to take pictures of me covered in nothing but metallic paint, and you're going to write my book, and you're going to shut up about this feminine crap, because I am a woman and I am going to be whatever way I want to be, feminine or not, and you're not going to say one word about it."
She puts the man down and he needs to go to the bathroom real bad, but manages to whimper,
"But you aren't feminine."
Then Arnold grabs him in a headlock and snarls,
"What do you think I got you over here for? Not to think about it, just do the book. You be here tomorrow at 10 AM sharp and start working."
As Arnold loosens his hold, Douglas-Kent Hall has stank up the room......Kellie's fantasy ends.
Preface over, the rest of the book is about historical, archival type women of the distant past - the strong women and anachronisms gone by. Ms Lyon poses for a lot of exercise shots. The ones that jump out at you are Lisa covered with nothing but metallic paint.
Kellie Everts thinks. It seems like all those who write the history of female bodybuilding - Bill Dobbins, Charles Gaines, and now Douglas-Kent Hall, are directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Should she have been nicer to him?.....Naw.
It was 1980, for the third time, Kellie Everts decides to write her story of bodybuilding. She hasn't been able to pull it together, but will try again. She decides to call it, "Building the Temple," a reference to Our Lord's speaking of the body as a Temple of God. She likes all things relating to God. She understands religion. She sees how suffering leads to victory. But she can't get the ideas right. What she CAN get right are the pictures. She fasts and trains one to two hours a day and starts taking pictures; some up on the roof of her Brooklyn apartment, some by the Hudson river with friend Nat Riesenberg, some taken by the manager of Woolworth's, whose name she can't remember (they only took ONE nude photo, and it was Kellie's idea, and at that very moment, the man's wife walks in. She was very nice about it, and the man was an angel, no pig at all.) She works very hard. But alas, three months have gone by and she can't get it together and has to go back to work - stripping for God. She goes to Philadelphia and while there receives a phone call.
A man will pay her $5,000. on the spot to pick up and fly to Illinois because he and his wife want to do a book with her - a bodybuilding book. They saw her in Esquire five years ago, then on Real People. It is Stan and Jan Leitner, an entrepreneurial couple. Later they up the price they'll pay Kellie to $10,000. She is thrilled with the entire thing and has a new lease on life.
It is a wonderful experience. Mr. and
Mrs. Leitner have Kellie in their home, and set up a weight
These beautiful people make Kellie feel
she belongs. They center some of their lives around her for a time, because
of the project. Their little daughter Stacy, eight years old, admires
Kellie and she helps her exercise.
"Oh, Ed, stop. You're getting so red!"
When the Leitners find out Kellie has a beautiful daughter, she is also flown in to take part. It's a great book. The only thing Kellie doesn't like is the wig. The super short wig is supposed to make Kellie look more like a suburbanite rather than a glamour doll. She hates it and thinks it spoils some of the book, but she's still grateful for the opportunity.
One of the amazing things about the book is that the Leitners paid to create a commercial for television, and spent $16,000. in one week playing this commercial on the Phil Donohue Show.
A psychic told Kellie, "You will win. You will be called The Ultimate Woman. You will laugh and drink champagne."
She tells this to the Leitners and Stan orders a bottle of champagne. They drink and laugh and now have the title for the book, "The Ultimate Woman." It feels good to win.
Kellie Everts reads the claim that Lisa Lyon "launched" female bodybuilding
GAINES & BUTLER - PUMPING WOMEN
Two of the biggest names in the establishment of Arnold have been Charles Gaines and George Butler, writer and photographer, movie producers. They put together PUMPING IRON, the book and movie, which got Arnold his start, and then, STAY HUNGRY, which moved Arnold up a notch. Butler met Arnold that fateful day (mentioned elsewhere) of September 16, 1972, at a body building show in New York.
phenomenal duo tried their hand at doing same for women. Out came PUMPING
IRON, The Unprecedented Woman, in 1984.
Kellie never saw the female version of Pumping Iron until October, 2004. Writing on the subject, she thought she might as well investigate.
Why did Kellie drop out of body building after 1981? Because she had done her work and there was nothing left to do. What could she do in an industry that now had numerous women who could get as muscular as men and had full time to work on it? Kellie was present FOR A LONG TIME. She was there - in the spotlight - from 1972 to 1981. That's nine years of effort. Lisa Lyon was there for about three years. Rachel McLish, ditto.
so the industry axed out Kellie. That is, her legend, her story, her accomplishment.
She suspected Arnold had something to do with it, but she couldn't quite
figure out how the pieces came together. Now she knew. If Arnold told
Gaines and Butler to leave the Progenitor out, then that was the template
the rest of the industry followed. Arnold ruled, Arnold had influence.
Nobody in the industry dared cross Arnold - not even Joe Weider, who was
no longer just his mentor, but an equal partner. Kellie decided the best
way to heal the pain was to forget. Thank God for letting it happen and
move on. Move on she did - with many stupendous, amazing and meaningful
projects at hand.
When Kellie examined Pumping Iron, The Unprecedented Woman, she jumped. This was the "third man," the "man with one arm." She called out to God in jubilation and thanks. God gave Kellie the Gift of Understanding, and any mystery she had to know, sooner or later, was shown to her. And what mystery is this?
Kellie Everts HAD NO IDEA that this book would absolutely, and without question, explain the influence of Arnold in her story. It was TERMINATOR, who comes out in time to wipe out the woman - the woman who gives birth to save the human race. (She had only seen Terminator, for the first, time, days ago! She found Arnold's macho roles unbearable, but liked his soft roles as Mickey Hargitay... and as the pregnant woman.)
It was a relief, a joy, to read what the book did to her, because IT WAS UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY AND THERE WAS CLOSURE. The book starts out, to her amazement, at the contest she was at: Ms Olympia 1980, where she saw Arnold for the last time. She was given the frigid freeze at the contest, but she endured. She scans through the photos. There's ten pages of text and photos, and she is not even in any of the backgrounds. She knows she had to be in at least one background shot somewhere, but no. Then she scans the text with a magnifying lens. No place there, either. EVERY OTHER FEMALE IN THE CONTEST IS NAMED, but not her. Then she thinks maybe its because of the muscles, because she wasn't very muscular for that show. (Four days of abstinence from food, entirely, had metabolized the muscles it took her three months to build up. She looked beautiful, but her definition was not there. It snapped back, within a week, after she started eating again. She has the photos to prove it...(see images)...)
OK, guys, whoever you are. Kellie is not mad at you for passing her over as far as a finalist in this show. But now, Charles Gaines talks about the shapely, voluptuous bodies,
"April Nicotra and Lorie Johnston have bust lines and hips; nice traditional hourglass shapes; Patsy Chapman, Corinne Machado-Ching and Georgia Miller-Fudge....have these shapes too....
WHERE WAS KELLIE EVERTS? If you weren't going to mention her for muscles, you HAD to mention her for shape, because Kellie was the most shapely and bountiful-breasted woman there! Something was up.
Now the history. They actually, for the first time in the "industry" (for if they are partners with Arnold, they are now in THE industry of body building) are telling the story of the MYSTERIOUS APPEARENCE OF FEMALE BODY BUILDING.
Kellie imagines Charles Gaines, scratching his intellectual head, in conference with George Butler and having been told FROM ON HIGH NEVER, EVER TO INCLUDE KELLIE EVERTS IN THE HISTORY OF BODY BUILDING.
So how does Charles Gaines envision the birth of female body building? If you look at the pictures, there are archival photos stemming from the Greek legends of Amazon women up to women of 1950 - nothing after that - and WHAMO! There's the Ms Olympia contest, circa 1980.
Then you look at the text and it is even more ambiguous. It's something in the air. We breathe it, we sense it, we see it, and then WHAMO! The Ms Olympia Contest! Here's how he tells it:
...."it had to wait for the last few years of the seventies when ripening feminism and a worldwide craze for fitness combined to produce a fashion that all but forced it to occur. That fashion, like all fashions, a clear broth drained from a rich social stew, consisted of the ERA, women jet pilots and jockeys and executives and football players; jogging, halter tops, nylon shorts, and New Balance running shoes,; diet and exercise books; Kenneth Cooper, ARNOLD SCHWARZENNEGER, James Fixx, Richard Simmons; sprouts, yogurt, yoga, herb teas, racket ball, triathlons, bio mechanics, fun-runs, "pumping iron," "staying hard." The broth was clear and strong and good for you. It was Cheryl Tiegs wearing shorts and a muscular smile, Margaux Hemingway with her wet hair, Brooke Shields naked on an island in a movie and then describing to a magazine her favorite stomach exercises, Jane Fonda stretching and standing up for her rights. And within this context women's bodybuilding fairly had to happen."
WHEW! It took all that!.... " I didn't get pregnant because a man put his sperm into me. I got pregnant because I was lying under an apple tree in the moonlight, and three months later I realized I was going to have a baby. " Ah, the MYSTERY OF IT ALL!
But for all the shenanigans of Arnold, George Butler, did, after all, get a picture of Kellie into the book. It wasn't a thumbnail. It was a huge, two page spread on that day of days. Kellie looks BEAUTIFUL as she fixes her makeup backstage, in that famous leopard-skin suit, looking into the mirror. The caption reads:
"Kelly Everts, contestant, early women's bodybuilding competition. Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1973."
Lovely. Just one mistake - besides the spelling of her name. It was 1972, the day she met Arnold and the day they started "The Affair." That's the day, the same leopard skin suit which she had only wore once on that day, Arnold is ogling her cleavage in, and muscles her to the darkness backstage. In spite of any moratoriums, edicts, demands or deals, the guys have snuck Kellie into the book, thereby circumventing censorship. God has Her revenge.........
There are also messy arguments for Lisa Lyon and a grandmother from Florida being the startup of women's bodybuilding - where Gaines is confusing some of the first television sets with the person who invented television. First they did it, then they didn't. Yes, no. It's confusing. (Back to the sprouts, yoga, herb teas, Jane Fonda in shorts?)....When you tell a lie, it is complicated. BUT THE TRUTH IS SIMPLE.
THE TWO-FACED WORLD OF HYPOCRITES
In 1981, Kellie Everts wants to enter another true BODYBUILDING (not beauty) contest. It's going to be held at Caesar's Palace in Atlantic City. Kellie placed last in 1980 Ms Olympia for reasons political, but also, she admits, her training went awry. Now she has jumped back and looks really muscular!
"She has stretch marks. Let's mark her down for that."
If Ms Mike's lady marked Kellie down, she should have remembered that Mike Mentzer's body was a roadmap of stretch marks. They were so huge you could see them in the magazine layouts. Kellie wants to prove herself in 1981, but the gatekeeper does not let her in. She gives no reason, just drones on and on about the other women. Where is all this coming from?
She misses the bus to Atlantic City and pays a cab $250. to get her there. It was all the cash she has and she and her friend eat peanut butter and bread all weekend. But she gets there, and pickets on the boardwalk, poses for tourists (getting a big ovation) and hands out leaflets. When she enters the lobby she is thrown out, as proselytizing is not allowed. The show goes on without Kellie, the Progenitor, but she has already won.
But this is what Kellie finds out. She and her friend listen to the radio, and there, lo and behold, the host is interviewing one of the bodybuilders. He asks her about the woman picketing outside. The bodybuilder says condescendingly says that Kellie Everts is disqualified for posing in the nude. Kellie Everts is so mad she goes to the station and convinces the host to hear her side of the story - for A FULL HALF HOUR!
It was battle after battle. First, it was desegregate Patriarchal bodybuilding. Now it was two-faced hypocrites who instead of saying, "Mozol Tov" and patting her on the back, were putting knives into her. This hard-won freedom they wanted only for themselves, but not for Kellie! They sat around inventing reasons why Kellie should be excluded for if it wasn't one thing, it was another.
Kellie had turned down stuff that she thought would bring a bad name to the newly formed sport. She was offered a job publishing a magazine called "Pumping Love." She refused it because she thought it might somehow make women's bodybuilding look disreputable. In view of what she saw later, she should have taken the money she needed badly and screw the industry.
As Kellie visited with those who were involved in contests in 1980 and 1981 they tried to make her feel that they were great athletes, but she was dirty laundry. All because she posed and danced in the nude. Kellie even felt just a little embarrassed and ashamed of what she had to do for a living.
(Interesting note about blowing her cash to get to Atlantic City. Kellie only has enough money to get her to Church - St. Patrick's Cathedral, when she gets back to the city. She feels she's been on a mission and comes back to God as a wounded soldier. She goes to the tiny garden outside, on the right facing the church, rather secluded. She faces St. Francis of Assisi's statue and talks to him. And he talks back. He knows she needs cash. He says to her,
"Climb up to my shoulder."
As the years go by, when Kellie occasionally checks the magazines, she notices a trend. The trend is toward nudity for women. They are becoming more like she was. The champions are following in her footsteps and appearing in Playboy. (There is some controversy when one woman who is competing appears and is then barred. ) A muscle magazine even starts a nude muscle center spread. But what took the cake for Kellie was the book by Bill Dobbins, THE WOMEN.
Kellie Everts wasn't sure who Bill Dobbins was when a fan sent her his book. She knew Bill Dobbins was the guy who put her down in an article in 1997. But who was this guy? She read here and there and realized he was one of the top workers of Joe Weider. He writes articles as well as takes photos. He's all over the place.
Now she examines the book. There is something startling about these big industry men doing a book of ALL THEIR CHAMPIONS IN THE NUDE! It's not like Bill Dobbins ran off to the red light district and took his nude pictures and had them published by AMOK PRESS. This is a book dedicated to Joe and Ben Weider and forwarded by Arnold Dearest.
What makes these men first
BAR WOMEN WHO POSE NUDE AND THEN TURN THE OTHER WAY AROUND, PHOTOGRAPH
THEIR WOMEN CHAMPIONS NUDE, AND SAY,
Whatever these men do is alright because these men write the history.
Life does change. Kellie has also changed her mind about things. Maybe these men are evolving. Maybe they realize how wrong they were in the first place. Maybe they'll also photograph the Mr. Olympia's nude and do a book on The Men, dedicated to the wives of Joe and Ben and Arnold, and with a forward by Kellie Everts. And they will admit what a great gal Kellie is......right.
Sports Illustrated 1979
IT TOOK AN ACTIVIST, NOT AN ATHLETE, TO START UP WOMEN'S BODYBUILDING. IT WASN'T ABOUT MUSCLES, IT WAS DESEGREGATION, IT WAS FREEDOM OF SPEECH. IF A WOMAN ENTERTAINED THE THOUGHT THAT SHE COULD OPEN UP THE DOORS OF BODYBUILDING TO WOMEN ON ACCOUNT OF HAVING THE MOST MUSCLES, SHE'D HAVE ANOTHER THING COMING. WOMEN OF THE WORLD, KELLIE SAYS, KEEP FIGHTING FOR YOUR RIGHTS IN ALL ARENAS. THE WORLD IS CHANGED A LITTLE AT A TIME, BUT ALWAYS BY THOSE WHO FIGHT.