In early August, Physique Canada and SAF ( shared a booth at Canfitpro, a popular tradeshow that’s held annually in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Since I have a hand in both organizations, I was at the booth for the two days the expo was on, talking to current and prospective competitors about the organizations and all aspects of competing. Also on hand were Physique Canada’s president, Brian Robitaille, and SAF competitor Lisa Delahaye.

It was then that an already-in-shape Stefanie Terrana walked up to the booth and began inquiring about competing. She told us that it was something she had dreamed about doing, but she didn’t know how to go about it. Since Stefanie looked ideal for SAF, which is an all-women’s fitness organization focused on athleticism and beauty, I suggested that she look at competing there, as did Lisa.

Stefanie and LisaStefanie and Lisa Delahaye at Canfitpro

Stefanie looked at some pictures we had on hand of SAF competitions and seemed genuinely impressed and interested with what the organization had to offer. She then asked when we thought she should compete and we both said, “In five weeks, at the SAF Toronto Spectacular on September 21.” That’s when Stefanie’s jaw dropped, because while she’d considered competing, it never dawned on her to do it so soon. Her first response was, “No way.” Then Lisa said, “You’re already in shape, why wouldn’t you?” That’s when Stefanie’s eyes lit up.

Lisa and Stefanie talked some more, and when Stefanie left the booth she said she’d seriously consider doing the competition on September 21. But, to be truthful, despite what seemed like an honest gesture from her, I gave it about a 20 percent chance that we’d see Stefanie on the stage – most people who say they will consider competing quickly forget about it in no time at all.

A couple of weeks later, Stefanie’s entry form came in, which surprised and impressed me. Still, that didn’t convince me entirely because so many times I’ve seen competitors enter and even pay for contests, but then back out at the last minute. But a fitness camp for SAF competitors was held at the beginning of September and Stefanie showed up – now that was promising. Then contest day came along and Stefanie was actually there!

Swimsuit Models backstageFirst in line!

But even though Stefanie was there and ready to compete, it wasn’t without last-minute jitters. I vividly recall the moment when Stefanie not only realized that she’d actually be stepping on the stage in a bikini in front of a crowd, but that she’d be the very first to go on the stage that day! I thought she was going to collapse because she was so scared. Then I was told that when her name was called out to present herself on the stage, she said the same thing she said at Canfitpro, only this time with more emphasis: “No way!” Reportedly, she even started taking steps away from the stage instead of toward it, so that was when world-famous-photographer Paul Buceta stepped in – he was photographing the SAF competitors backstage, and when he saw Stefanie backing away, he literally gave her the push she needed toward the stage. After that, Stefanie was finally under the lights and in front of the judges.

Swimsuit Model categorySwimsuit Model category at the 2013 SAF Toronto Spectacular

The audience didn’t see any of this, including the last-second shove Paul was responsible for; instead, the only thing they saw was Stefanie’s fabulous physique and outstanding presentation, which were so good that no one there could believe that this was her first time competing. In short, she was amazing, which made us all wonder why it took her so long to get on the stage in the first place.

As they old saying goes, the rest is history. Stefanie won her class, which made her one of SAF’s newest pros, as well as one of the nation’s brightest new talents. Her outstanding performance also resulted in her being photographed by Paul Buceta the next day, since all the SAF winners are awarded photoshoots with him. She’s also featured here this month in this article and in the “Hot Shots” and “Iron Shots” galleries (Paul’s pictures of her are so good, you can be sure she’ll be in “Hot Shots” many times more). Frankly, that’s all pretty impressive for a woman who, at the beginning of August, had only thought about stepping on a physique stage and stared at us in disbelief when we told her she not only could, but should in five weeks.

Stefanie and PaulStefanie with Paul Buceta

As incredible as all this sounds, Stefanie’s success didn’t surprise me, since I’ve seen similar things happen many times before with other people who dreamed about getting on the stage and simply needed some sort of encouragement or direction to get there. Still, even though it was not surprising, September 21 was rewarding for me because if there’s something I’ve enjoyed doing over all these years, it’s motivating others to make their dreams come true and discovering new talent.

What I hope by telling this story about Stefanie’s recent success is that it will inspire others to try to attain the same success – maybe even as early as this month. On October 19, SAF and Physique have joined forces once again to put on the SAF Fall Spectacular and the Physique Canada Canadian Championships in the main theater at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, which is in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. SAF’s competition is at 11 am, while Physique Canada’s is at 5:30 pm. Dozens of competitors will be there – some veterans, but also many novices – so there’s as good a chance as there was in Toronto that new talent, male or female, will be discovered. I’m excited to find out who the next discovery might be!

Doug Schneider Founder and Publisher