Miss Jamaica Bodybuilder, Pepper Dawson
The "pepper" that burns on sight is none other than Pepper Dawson, winner of this year's Miss Jamaica Bodybuilder title.
This female John Grimek, with rippling muscles and a gorgeous Herculean-type body of sinewy muscular definition, pushed her fellow competitors aside on September 22 to easily retain her Miss Jamaica Bodybuilder title.
Married to Tom Dawson, Pepper has two children, Dominique and Isabella. She grew up an only child but is today providing for children's integration through exercise at her own gym, the Sweat Shop Fitness Club.
But for a period when she harboured thoughts of a career in singing and as a fashion model, Dawson was always into health and exercise. That urge proved so forceful it eventually drove her to the gym.
It was not long before she realised that she had at last found her calling; shortly after joining the gym she began keep-fit sessions on her verandah for friends.
Little did Dawson know that this recreational move was sowing the seeds that would later pay off in a successful career as a health and fitness instructor.
Her enthusiasm soon caught the attention of a gym owner who encouraged her to get formally trained. She did just that. Today, some 10 years later, she calls the shots at the Sweat Shop Fitness Club, located on the Island Life Building in New Kingston.
"The Sweat Shop is a small but well-equipped gym on two floors with the proposal to expand to a third floor in the near future," Pepper informed All Woman recently.
"Sweat Shop," she explained, "is the first gym in Jamaica to introduce spinning classes - aerobics on specially designed cycles. "It is also the first gym in Kingston to offer aqua aerobics classes."
"Further to this," she continued, "the gym offers a wide range of activities which include Teen Cardio and Kids Fitness."
Apart from bodybuilding, Dawson is a popular figure at Jamaica Carnival Socaerobics doing annual stints along with Porscha Morgan.
Ardent in her weight training and possessing a good posture, Dwight Campbell, a personal trainer, and Judge of the Jamaica Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Competitions (JABBFA), Cecil Chung, encouraged her to compete in the local bodybuilding and fitness competitions.
She was apprehensive at first but, after meeting with former Female Champion Bodybuilder, Audrie Allwood, she was encouraged and accepted the challenge. It was one which she has no regrets of taking on.
With two consecutive Miss Jamaica Bodybuilder titles to her credit, Pepper is now looking to turn her attention overseas where she plans to test the waters.
Should things go as planned, "I will like to compete in an international contest overseas next year," Pepper said. The move farther a field she said "is to keep that deep desire burning. "Competing in local bodybuilding contests is a wonderful experience but challenge is what test the human resilience."
In the absence of overseas competitions, Pepper says: "I may eventually switch from bodybuilding to compete in fitness contests."
How do people view you as a bodybuilder? "That's a personal choice," was the response.
"Some people do not appreciate the look while some others do. I believe muscles on a woman is quite beautiful once the woman maintains her femininity."
Dawson told All Woman how she managed to attain and maintain her muscular form. "Well, to get big and muscular for a woman is difficult.
"Diets and supplements as well as genetics are key factors in achieving the desired goal. However, at the root of all this, hard and dedicated work are fundamentals which bring you a certain level of success and satisfaction."
Continuing, Pepper dispelled fears of weight training for women. "Women should not be afraid to train with weights as this helps to strengthen the bones which will eventually prevent the risks of osteoporosis later in life.
"Regular exercise is a great way of relieving stress. Further to this, it has proven to provide protection against chronic diseases - coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers and depression."
She also pointed out: "For a normal woman, weight training is essential as it will help to burn fat more efficiently. Along with Cardio and proper eating habits, weight training will give a well-toned body and help you keep your figure for a much longer time."