Desiree Ellis

Desiree Ellis is a former IFBB professional  bodybuilder who was active during the early 1990s to mid-2000s. she was born in London to a family of four sisters and one brother. The family moved from England to Canada. Residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba for a brief period, at the age of nine the her family then moved to Vancouver. Desiree also was very active in sports as a child. She ran track and field, played soccer, did some gymnastics, as well as a background in kickboxing. Desiree also had experience in kogido. It would seem that she would naturally gravitate to bodybuilding. To her own admission, she found lifting weights boring at first. The reason she started doing it after she sprained her ankle. Desiree wanted to do some physical activity, because she could not run for five months. Desiree said she mostly trained her upper body, because her legs were highly developed from years of running. She began training at the age of 24.  She had her daughter in 1990 and after that wanted to get back in shape. Desiree like the definition she was gaining from weightlifting and decided to compete. Her original intention was not to become a bodybuilder. She would go on to compete for 14 years. Desiree Ellis did build an impressive body and have great competitive longevity.


She began to love the challenge of competing and the aspects of the fitness culture. Desiree has said “I love training hard and pushing myself to the extreme.”Desiree Ellis competed in eight shows between 1992 to 1996. She won the Gold’s Classic (1992),  the B.C. Provincials (1992),  and the North American Championships (1995). The major triumph came in 1996 when she got her pro-card in the Canadian Nationals Championships. At her physical peak , she had a flat bench press of 225 lbs and a squat of 315 lbs . Desiree’s bicep curl were 135 lbs  and a shoulder press of 145 lbs. Her leg presses are even more impressive reaching a total of 900 lbs. Not only did she look strong, she had the power to make it credible. Her body measurements are also something to appreciate. Her biceps were 15 1/2” and  her calfs  were 16.”Desiree had a powerful chest of 38” and quads of  25 1/2.” Then she had a dainty waist of 28,” providing a nice hour glass figure on her powerful physique. The professional ranks were much tougher for Desiree. Her placings were lower, but the competition was fierce. This was a time period of Andrulla Blanchette, Lenda Murray, and numerous others. Even though she never placed high, it is her love and dedication that make the sport great. Desiree had said in 2006 : “As far as competing, I’ll be doing the Ms Olympia again this year, and I hope I’ll get another invite to the Arnold Classic again for next year, and just keep going until I’m no longer having fun.” Desiree has also stated on numerous occasions how thankful she is for her fans and family that supported her through her bodybuilding career.

           Desiree’s occupation is personal trainer. She is an independent one so hours are not regular. This gave her flexibility depending on how many clients she has. Desiree preferred to train early in the morning and then work in clients into the schedule later in the day. Her training regimen seemed simple. Desiree said ” in the off season I train just five days a week.” Her preparation for contest she says ” Pre-contest I train 6 days a week as the weeks get closer, increase cardio, and I split by bodyparts over 4 days, and training 2x/dy.” That one extra day may have paid off. She is very knowledgeable about training, gaining it from autodidacticism.

She also is a certified aerobics instructor who also has knowledge of nutrition. She also provides services as a nutrition educator. Her basic philosophy regrading clients she states :   “with a reputation for motivating and pushing clients to their limits, I enable every client to successfully achieve their fitness and nutritional goals and objectives.”Desiree sounds like a person who genuinely wants to help, rather just looking at it from a business perspective. A job and a sport is very time consuming. However, Desiree had time for other passions. Most of the time she enjoyed spending time with her daughter, talking with friends and watching videos. This is opposite the common misconception that bodybuilders are selfish in their mindset. She has currently retired form the sport and her last competition was in 2005. An injury led her to the decision to retire. Yet, she still appears at some contests as a spectator and trains a few rising figures in the sport.

Women who retire in a sense never really leave the sport. They are active in it in other ways. Some train other athletes, become judges, or start a contest of their own.

       Desiree Ellis would also on occasion participate in mixed wrestling matches. She would wrestle both men and women and demonstrate her immense strength. The first time she attempted a match she was no problem beating her challenger. The video was filmed by Premier Productions and Desiree had no knowledge of wrestling.  Being strong in not enough to win, but seeing as she had an athletic background, moves were simple for her to execute. Unlike most videos of this sort the man was trying is best.

The man in the video named Bob had no idea he was going up against a woman who could leg press 900 lbs. When this video was filmed Desiree was at 150 lbs. Normally, women in bodybuilding try not to do these videos out of concern for their image. At the time, there was a stigma. There is not anymore, because it is simply wrestling. Desiree is a type of person who likes a challenge and never challenged a man in something physical. This was so much fun for her she appeared in other videos where she tested her strength against other women.

The matches against other women tended to be one sided. Her strength and skills became greater. Notably she wrestled another strong woman Fawnia Mondey. Fawnia was a fitness  competitor, but Desiree weighed more by fifty pounds. Desiree preferred to wrestle competitive matches. The match with Fawnia in 2003  for was not fake. Desiree continued to appear in wrestling videos crushing other opponents. Besides appearing in wrestling match videos Desiree Ellis also did posing videos for Awefilms and produced some of her own.

It was a delight for fans to see her pose. Her symmetry was phenomenal. Powerful legs and biceps should have made her one of the top contenders of the Ms.Olympia contest. Desiree’s back was impeccable. She even said that her best body part was her back. The only weakness ( minor at best) was her adominals. They had limited definition, but it was hardly noticeable when looking at other parts of her body. Judges can see these minor details, which can harm a competitor in points. Then again judging has always been controversial and convoluted in a manner.

 Her routine were known for being more slow paced and artistic in presentation. Desiree style put emphasis of showing off all the muscle she put in on in strategic way to influence the judges. It is not solely about size, but shape, conditioning, including symmetry. Desiree combined these elements well in the presentation of her physique. It makes the observer reconnect with the artistic element of the sport. Desiree made a physique that seemed like it was carved out of marble.

        During her competitive years Desiree did reveal how she felt about the judging of contests. Desiree articulated the matter in this way: “well it’s such a subjective sport it’s pretty much just a matter of opinion, but I think if they stick with judging it the way is should be, symmetry, balance, {an athlete should stay within their frame}, conditioning and femininity, then I feel that it would be heading back in the right direction.”She seems to very practical in that respect. Inconsistencies and unclear criteria only cause more trouble in making assessments.

While judging seems off, fans know what they love. Her entry into the sport makes her one of the most recognizable Canadian bodybuilders. Her statement describes the physique that she displayed for 14 years. Every exercise went into transforming it, even the ones she hated the most. Normally, the assumption is bodybuilders love every exercise. Desiree hated preacher curls. Yet, she knew she had to do them. At some point an athlete has to retire. When Desiree retired from the sport she entered another field. She now is a stylist and make-up artist with her own business. Desiree then studied at the Blanche Macdonald Centre in Vancouver. Desiree found another passion being a hair and make-up artist. She is based mostly in the Vancouver area.

 It appears from recent photos from a Cecile Gambin shoot that she is still in great shape. Most of her time and energy is devoted to her business and family. Desiree’s specialty is created customized presentations for head shots, special events, film and television. On her website she writes ” it means so much to me that I not only help clients look their best, but feel amazing about how they look.” A client first approach has always been her ideology even when she was a personal trainer. This desire to lean and try new things is certainly an admirable.

Visit her website for make-up artist consultation : Desiree Ellis Make-up Artist

She also provides some tips on her make-up artist website on skin care, health, and general grooming. Desiree also provides a portfolio of her work. Her personal statements says “she embraces the uniqueness of each client.” Desiree really wants he customers to be satisfied with her work. The interesting aspect about this is that it overturns negative stereotypes. People often erroneously think that women involved in sports like this would not be interested in make-up or the traditionally feminine activities. Desiree continues to be one of those great bodybuilders who never one a Ms.Olympia title. Fan often complain of biased or abnormal judging. This does have an element of truth, but there is more to it. The fact is there is so many talented women like Desiree who were on stage, making a choice was not that simple. Desiree still remains in the minds of fans as one of the best contenders of the 1990s and 2000s. Canada not only has terrific hokey players, but as Desiree showed  excellent bodybuilders.

Desiree Ellis

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