May 17 2012
I have been taking you on my journey to become a figure competitor and I feel like we have all just completed my first competition together! I have received so many great questions from you. I want to try to answer as many as I can.
Here are some great questions quite a few people have asked me, which makes sense because I have appeared to be a very fit, orange, oompa loompa crossed with a reptile over the past week.
Why am I orange? Why do competitors have to get so dark? Why doesn’t it look that dark on stage? When does it wash off?
It really is shocking to see how tan we get for the stage. Here’s my take on it… It’s theater! It’s performance art! It’s sculpture! It’s pageantry! It’s like stage make up for the body. Your body is your canvas and you have to paint it. That’s how I see it.
Orange you glad you asked? Ok, I admit, that was really, really bad.
Check out the video, the pictures below and read on for more of my take on body paint (tanning) aspect of presenting yourself as a competitor on stage.
Why Are You Orange?
Why Do Competitors Have to Get So Tan?
There are a variety of reasons that competitors get so obscenely tan for the stage, but here’s the most important one: The lights used to light up the stage are very different from the light we use in our normal, every day lives.
It really is so bright that you cannot even see out into the audience when you’re on stage. You can hardly see the judges less than a few feet in front of you.
Your skin will be severely washed out under the lights if you don’t have a very dark color evenly painted on your skin, even if you’re already naturally dark.
This is performance art. This is theatre. This is sculpture. This is an expression of art.
It would be like entering a car into a car show with just primer on it’s body. No gorgeous, eye popping coat of paint. No outrageously shiny coat of wax. Part of what you’re being judged on is your skin tone.
No I’m not a car, but my body is my body of work, my work of art in progress.
I want to present myself, my work of art, in the best possible light after all of my hard work and dedication.
So what is competition spray tan like? It’s not your typical spray tan. It’s industrial strength. There are a lot of different products out there. Some you paint on, some you have a professional spray on.
I did both. Painting it on is tedious and it really dries out your skin. I’m not sure if I will do that again.
Having it sprayed on by professionals is quite an experience. It’s not like a typical spray tan. I have had quite a few of those, done by professionals before weddings, vacations, etc. and in a Mystic Spray Tan machine. This is very different.
Although the experience is not really like this video, the video is fun to watch and gives you a true sense of the “performance” aspect of competition.
Jan Tana – Kevin Mcclain Airbrush Tanning Ava Cowan to Billy Jean
When Does it Wash Off?
The week following my competition I walked around looking like a cross between a reptilian beast and an oompa loompa. I was orange and scaly. Not attractive.
I honestly didn’t really try to hide it. I just walked around like normal and smiled brightly at people when they stared at my ankles and knees that looked as though they were covered in dirt. I saw it as a great opportunity to not really care what others thought about my appearance.
Each person seems to have their own system for getting it off. What worked for me was soaking in a tub with enzymes designed to remove dead skin, then using a pumice stone throughout my entire body, then showering with an exfoliating sponge and an exfoliating scrub.
Even with all that, it still took a little over a week to come off and it doesn’t look pretty in the mean time. Your skin looks slightly scaly because it comes off in some areas more than others.
If you’re concerned about how others see you, this is a great opportunity to just get over it. Rock your super fit body that you spent months creating. The tan will be gone in a week.
How Dark Are You Really?
It’s slightly shocking how dark I was in real life compared to how dark I looked with the stage lights on me. After the first coat (done the day before), you look tan, but not like you have been dipped in chocolate or stained mahogany.
I started out with my natural, freshly exfoliated skin. I personally tried doing one coat of competition color that you paint on underneath the spray tan. You literally paint your skin, from your neck down to your toes.
The next day, the day before my show, I had a coat of the competition color sprayed on by professionals. Here’s a picture under typical indoor lighting with one coat of the competition spray tan applied.
The two of us on the left have the a base coat (just one coat) sprayed on. Since I also did a coat of the “paint on” kind of self tanner underneath, my tan appeared a different tone, not quite as red. The two ladies on the left didn’t use competition spray tan, but used several coats of the kind that you paint on instead.
Here I am in natural sunlight after having both coats sprayed on and the glaze applied. I seriously look like a chocolate covered Cori Ann! Or like a mahogany stained deck! Crazy isn’t it?
Here’s how it appears on stage. Tan, but not like I have been dipped in dark chocolate.
The lights really do wash out colors, make up, everything. If you have ever done a play, dance recital, or another performance you know. If you haven’t, let me tell you, stage lights are blinding.
My Body of Work
I truly do see this as an expression of art. My body is the art form I have been sculpting for months through my choices, dedication, actions and diet.
It may seem strange to view my own body as an art form instead of personifying with it as my true self. That is simply my own perspective of what my body means to me.
My body is not who I am. Who I am is my actions. Who I am is my choices. Who I am is my thoughts, my feelings, my inner being. My physical body is simply a body of work, something I can sculpt, change, recreate.
My body is my canvas. The tan is like a coat of paint that is the finishing touch.
xoxo ~ Cori
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