Latorya Watts broke barriers for Black women in bodybuilding and is still making it happen.
There are those who inspire through their words, those who inspire through their actions and those who do both. Latorya Watts, the first Black woman to win the Ms. Figure Olympia title, does both. We spent the day with the 2x Ms. Figure Olympia Champion to hear her story and after watching it here, you’ll be inspired to overcome your fears and go for it.
WATCH- Latorya Watts: Bodybuilding Groundbreaker
But the journey wasn’t something that got started at jump. No, far from it.
Latorya tried sports but wasn’t into it. After meeting her boyfriend, she decided to hit the gym in order to spend more time with him. As chance would have it, she accidentally found her calling when a promoter encouraged her to take the sport seriously. After some hesitation in regards to the misconceptions many women have about bodybuilding and fears of, as Latorya said, “what I would look like if I competed,” she decided to give it a shot. But she would have to wait a year as she had to deal with health issues relating to Fibroids.
“They said my uterus was as large as me holding a five month fetus,” said Watts. “Then after that, I felt like ‘I’m about to do something new. I’m going to step on that stage.'”
So in 2009, a year after her health scare, Latorya took the stage in a bikini competition with no fear. After competing in NPC events, she earned her IFBB card in 2013, took 5th in her first Ms. Figure Olympia contest in 2014 and then blasted the door open by placing first in the Ms. Figure Olympia competition in 2015, becoming the first Black woman to win the title. A year later, she did it again, taking first and defending her crown. This win was made even more special as she was joined by two other Black women, Candice Lewis-Carter and Cydney Gillon, who placed second and third, respectively. Three Black women sweeping the stage, another Olympia first.
Watts is a trailblazer in a sport where many women, especially women of color, are hesitant to enter because of the lack of understanding and the misconceptions of what their bodies “would look like.” But Watts put those fears to rest and has now become an inspiration to those who are hesitant to take to the lifestyle.
“I hope that little girls, and women, that look like me, are inspired. That’s the main thing,” said Watts. “The trophies come, they go. You know, you win, you lose. You win, you learn. That’s what I really like to say. I just hope they can look at me and say ‘I can do that.’ Or my saying ‘Why not.'”
So now, what’s your excuse?