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Thursday, 12 December 2013 15:53

Muscle adverts: A history of female bodybuilder ads from Kimberley Anne Jones VW Vento posters to todays Rene Campbell and Tamara Makar Tango commercials and Jelena Abbou MAC cosmetics campaigns

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Female bodybuilder Kimberley Anne Jones in VW Vento ad Female bodybuilder Kimberley Anne Jones in VW Vento ad

British female bodybuilders Rene Campbell and Tamara Makar are currently helping popularise female bodybuilding as part of a major new ad campaign for UK soft drink Tango.

Rene flexes her muscles in a series of TV adverts while Tamara has become the de facto face of UK women's bodybuilding thanks to life-size cut-outs of her on display in thousands of shops and supermarkets across the country.

Elsewhere figure competitor Jelena Abbou has given a huge boost to female muscle by becoming the face and physique of MAC cosmetics' Strength campaign – taking over from previous big-name celebrity MAC faces including Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj.

But Jelena, Rene and Tamara are not the first female bodybuilders to spearhead a major ad campaign.

As far as we can discern that honor goes to female muscle legend Kimberley Anne Jones.

Way back in 1993 Kimberley Anne was stopping traffic as she flexed her oiled-up muscles from countless roadside billboards as part of a campaign for the Volkswagen Vento.

The car was rubbish, but the body was spectacular!

(Continues after gallery)

And while the Vento died a death Kim went on to become the most famous female bodybuilder in the country (and quite possibly the world at that time) featuring on TV chat shows, and in newspaper and magazine interviews.

Kim had already starred in an ad for TV station LWT but her new found muscle fame led to work with Virgin mobile as the model for a specialised 'ventricular' poster campaign. She also got her own mini-site at misssuperbuff.com and execs used her physique for the now legenday 'Muscle Gran' viral ad. She also took up a role hosting the Discovery Channel's 'Body Spectacular' 

Kim told realfemalebodybuiilding.com: “The VW ad changed my world and that of British Female Bodybuilding and definitely opened the British public's eyes to the fact that such creatures existed in their midst.

“Within a week of the VW poster going live I was regularly appearing on TV shows firstly in the UK and then in Europe.

“The initial probe was to actually check 'I was a woman', but once it was established that not only was I that but I also had a brain.( The British media tried its hardest to prove I was stupid) From there on in I became the darling of everyone and every thing.

“I had already made the London Weekend Television (LWT) advert but the VW ad magnified my appeal there and the TV station continued to use my image for a year afterwards. The public grew to understand that we were not freaks or aliens and together with the images of Terminator's 'Sarah Connor' muscular look, female bodybuilding took on a whole new meaning.

“Female bodybuilders and women training in gyms became a common occurrence. No longer was it considered a secret.”

The success of Kim as a female bodybuilder and model clearly struck a chord with the advertising industry worldwide and muscle women have been used in a series of ads ever since.

They have included:

Australian powerlifter and bodybuilder Jill Mills flexing her muscles in a pink bikini for a soft drink firm

Betty Pariso hitting a wonderful double biceps pose in an ad for US restaurant chain Joes Crab Shack

 

Not all ads starring female bodybuilders have been 100% positive for promoting female muscle sport however.

One South American TV ad for Magistral detergent bizarrely shows a female bodybuilder obsessed with washing the dishes. She is shown as a slightly clumsy, sex crazed, muscle woman who doesn't quite know her own strength


And a series of viral ads for US fitness club chain Planet Fitness caused a heated online debate when huge female bodybuilder Lauren Powers was shown intimidating naked men in the locker room.

Female Bodybuilder Lauren Powers in shower

But all publicity is good publicity. The more female bodybuilding steps out of the shadows the better it will be for the all those who share the bodybuilding passion.

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