It was merely a week ago when Karey Grabow stepped in front of my camera just coming off a lightning speed 8 month journey to receive her pro card. On the precipice of beginning her modeling career, Karey shares with us her story which got her into competing, earning her pro card and her goals within the talent industry.
James Patrick: What got you interested in competing?
Karey Grabow: I was always passionate about fitness and it has been a staple in my life since I was young. I especially turn to training as a form of stress relief. While I was in the midst of my divorce, I decided to dedicate my new found free time which was very lonely and different than I was used to as a busy full time stay at home mom and baseball wife to pursuing a career in fitness as a competitor while renewing my license as a registered nurse. This made the transition bearable for me and I will forever be grateful to the sport for that.
JP: Share your story on your short journey from amateur to pro.
KG: I am extremely shy and my self-confidence was lacking so competing was kind of like a dive in headfirst approach to overcoming these weaknesses. I decided to thrust myself out of my comfort zone. My first show was a regional show in Culver City. I became very aware of where the phrase “shaking in your boots” came from. I placed fifth but more importantly I left with the satisfaction that I could do it. It was so long since I believed in myself; and bottom line it felt good to feel good again. I entered a show 3 weeks later in Mesa where I won my class. I could feel the momentum building and I thought to myself “I wonder how far I can take this?” I had been busy the past decade chasing someone else’s dream with them (my then husband’s baseball career), I never stopped to ask myself what my dreams were. I decided to keep going. I joined a competition team with Kim Oddo and we picked another Culver City regional show one week before my first national show appearance at USAs in Las Vegas. I placed second in Culver City and qualified again at the national level. The following week at USAs, I was extremely nervous but I told myself, “someone has to win, why can’t it be you?” Also remembering what my good friend always tells me “what follows I am, follows.” For once, without a second thought, I was confident. Somehow, all the work paid off, and I won my class and earned my pro card in that whirlwind 8 months. So, I’m still thinking to myself, “how far can I take this?” Although, most importantly and above all, I won back my self-esteem, self love, and became my own best friend.
JP: What is your next step in your fitness modeling endeavors?
KG: Presently I am hoping to expand my modeling portfolio and eventually grace either the pages or cover of a fitness publication.
JP: How did you select photographers to build your portfolio?
KG: I’ve chosen photographers, like yourself, after I have admired their creativity and style in previous work. I’ll see a very cool and creative photo that will spark my interest. I am new to all of this so I appreciate knowing I will work with someone with some great, fresh, and fun ideas to potentially bring out the best in me.
JP: How have you marketed yourself thus far and how will you moving forward?
KG: Honestly, I just like to put my story out there. I want others who might have lost their self-esteem or self-confidence to see that they can turn it all around. I want others to fight for their happiness. We aren’t trees, if we don’t like where we are in life, we can move. We are all so much stronger and braver than we can ever imagine.
JP: Largest obstacle you’ve had to overcome and how did you do it?
KG: Starting my life over in a city away from my family and friends. I took things one day at a time, my son was my motivation, fitness was my stress relief, and I just pushed through with the help of an amazing support system. Any obstacle can be overcome with a solid support system; I truly believe that.
JP: How have you involved fitness in the life of your family – particularly your son?
KG: In my new relationship, we train together. We eat healthy as a family. My son is active and knows what quinoa is even though he is only 2. I’m hoping that this will just be a part of his life and he won’t think twice about staying active and eating right. But what makes me smile the most is that I know when he is asked to describe his mom someday he will say she’s a confident, happy person with self respect and self worth- because he will see that now, and competing is a big reason why.