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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Merlyn Mantilla

What a year its been for entrepreneur, body builder, PT, nutritionist, pageant contestant, cosmetologist & beautician Merlyn Mantilla so we sat down with her again so she could fill us in as to whats happened over the last 12 months in her pretty incredible and filled life!

Photo Credit: Evgeniy Sonev

Merlyn, it's been just over a year since your last cover with Hinton Magazine, can you tell our readers what the last 12 months have looked like for you?

Hi to all HINTON Magazine Team and audience.

I am so honoured, grateful and happy to have been invited again to be the cover girl of this wonderful magazine.

These last months have been pretty intense and not easy for me.

Trying to adjust myself into the American system, setting my company, studying and keeping my passion alive for bodybuilding and pageantry. I have not been able to travel or to enjoy the Miami life but yet, I am so proud to have accomplished so many things over these months and despite all obstacles I could faced I made it!

Firstly I want to start off by saying congratulations on your Pro status with WBFF as a bodybuilder. Was this always the intention when you started out?

Omg! Thank you so much! The WBFF PRO card means a lot to me, no for the show or the beauty involved in the stage, what really makes it meaningful, is that I have received a recognition for my dedication and passion for fitness and bodybuilding.

All bodybuilders, we start with the motivation and intention of getting the PRO status one day. Definitely I wanted my WBFF PRO CARD since I started and I made it happen.

Photo credits: Dennis Cruz / Dennis & Tessa Cruz

Could you tell me what you've been through physically and mentally to achieve this status?

I have been through a lot specially mentally, it has not been easy to keep my mind straight while having so many commitments and daily tasks as I do.

Physically it wasn't easy neither. What i feel is that we all can, eventually get use to pain, soreness or to the feeling of being exhausted. It's our minds the ones that have to be truly strong to help us to carry on.

To enjoy glory, we have to known fright and failure.

If there is someone who's reading this interview wanting to get their Pro status like you, what advice would you give to them?

My best advice to anyone who wants to get a PRO status, its don't be afraid to fail and never give up. Even if we have the feeling that we can not take it anymore or follow the rhythm, we are stronger than we think. Breathing acknowledging and embracing a bad feeling or a bad day, will bring us back in track and if we feel that our body is not responding, do at least a bit, a simple thing. Wall 1 meter more, make some abs, anything, that small input will have a tremendous impact on your mind, you are educating your mind and you are changing your limits. That at the end is what a bodybuilder is made off. Always better and better.

Photo credits: Dennis Cruz / Dennis & Tessa Cruz

So now you're Pro what is the plan?

Well, I will say my career has just started. I would like to compete for the WBFF WORLD'S PRO STATUS. That is my ultimate goal. The world's show, will take place in Las Vegas, NV in couple of months, exactly in August 2023. I will be there! After that I will use my expertise to help others in the fitness goals. The WORLD'S PRO STATUS will give me recognition I I need for people to trust me and to upgrade in my fitness modelling career.

I want to move on to something else you've achieved over the last 12 months, you are Ms. Florida, how did this come about?

Oh wow!! This has been a really gratifying and amazing achievement for me and to be honest very unexpected.

I decided to submit my portfolio, presentation letter and CV to MISS US NATION PAGEANTRY FEDERATION, asking them if I could opt to be Miss Miami. I thought I will never get a reply from them. For my surprise, after few days I received an phone call directly from the Founder of MISS US NATION, Mrs. Nora Marvilli (a noble and hardworking woman who I admire and I respect infinitely for her labour in the pageant and fashion world), saying I am selected for a casting. I couldn't believe it.

The casting was smooth, I won't say easy. Thought I made it thorough. I won over several competitors Ms. Miami 2023, getting my ticket to participate in Ms. Florida.

After 2 weeks being crowned as Ms. Miami 2023, I was crowned as Ms. Florida 2023! Dreams always come true. God has provided with infinite talents and willing. We just need to put effort in getting what we want out of life.

Photo Credit: Evgeniy Sonev

Was the pageant industry something you've always been keen to get into?

Yes, defenetly. During my childhood in Colombia, South America, I grew up watching Miss Colombia and Miss Universe every single year, also, playing Mario Bross video games that made me dream about being one day a Queen or Princess. That opportunity came early this year.

What does Ms. Florida mean? What did you have to do for this title and where does it take you?

For me Ms. FLORIDA means the opportunity to upscale professionally. It brings me the opportunity to keep growing in my career as model, influencer, pageant and model.

For me it has been a 360° change. From building muscles, to look leaner, less shredded, change my diet and unlearned my pasarela, walks, workouts from my bodybuilding coaches. Years invested in mastering bodybuilding techniques where drawn.

Dramatic changes in habits are the worse fear for many of us. I embrace it and i follow what i have to do, praying and doing all i could to reach there. All has been so worthed.

Photo Credit: Evgeniy Sonev

Photo Credit: Evgeniy Sonev

The Pageant industry is huge in the United States and very competitive from a young level. What does it means personally to you to win this title? For me Ms. FLORIDA means the realization of my child's dream. How sublime and powerful is this. It takes me to a another world of possibilities in my roll as human being in this world, and professionally, it helps me to keep growing in my career as pageant and model.

The exposure it brings me feeds my motivation and help me to set new targets and shape my tomorrow and my future.

Ms. Florida and a Pro Bodybuilder, If I had asked you 12 months ago if this is what you want from the next 12 months would you have been so ambitious to say this?

Definitely no. It gas been more than expected. A WBFF PRO CARD has been in my bucket lift for a bit more than a year. Becoming a Queen was maybe in the uncounsiocious though was a deep wish that I have been carry from my childhood. I also blessed to have been able to complete my studies in Phlebotomy and Massage Theraphy in record time. My secret formula: goal/wish + determination/dedication = success

I think everyone is going to be impressed by the last 12 months but what does the next 12 months look like?

This is the hard part! Who knows what opportunities the coming days will bring me, what is 100% sure.on my calendar is to compete for my WBFF WORLD'S PRO STATUS and to opt to get the tittle as Ms. US Nation, representing Ms. Florida.

A side of these 2 achievements, I am investing my time and work in my own charity company IG: @growing_beautiful_strong dedicate to help children with food disorders and autism. I am also working in a model academy. I will live to have the opportunity to help others, i consider this a big part of my life. If we are not able to give the best we have, it will be hard to receive. The world cries for help. Each one of us can do something

Photo Credit: Evgeniy Sonev

Merlyn, Thank you for your time.

Thank you Curtis and thank you for having me again and to the audience to brong me back. Blessings to all!.

Photo credits Evgeniy Sonev:

Evgeniy Sonev is an artist with unique style on photography. His vision is amazing and mesmerizing. No matter who you are, he will reveal your inner strength. He will find an idea that is right for you, to maximize your potential.

A friendly and trusting atmosphere during the shooting is important for him, he will do everything for this and of course his team of professionals in the beauty field will help with this.

He loves to create incredible shots, thinking through every detail.

An artist who approaches his work with all his heart. Therefore, the result naturally wins the hearts of every client.

Experience: Im working in photo industry more than 10 years.

Ukraine: Vogue Ukraine, Lofficiel Ukraine, Miss Universe Ukraine, Fashion week Ukraine, Fashion brands.

Dubai: Lofficiel Arabic, High fashion brands, bloggers, self made people.

Usa: Miami Swim Week, Fashion brands, bloggers.