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Jackie Paisley, IFBB Pro
1-On-1 With IFBB Pro Jackie Paisley
1987 NPC USA Championship - 1st (HW & Overall) - Won pro card
By: Derwin White
Q. Where are you originally from?
A. Altoona, Pennsylvania. I was leaning more towards music than sports back then, I attended the Curtis Institute of Music conservatory in Philadelphia, then Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, before transferring to ASU, where I fell in love with the desert and stayed.
Q. Many younger readers may not be as familiar with you as I am, so if you could start with career highlights in your interview, that will frame the significance of everything that follows.
A. One would be the ’87 USA overall; there were 53 women in the show! Training was intense and often left me unable to stand up afterward. This is the first time I had a coach, and I grew. Reg Bradford took a look at me the day before the show and said this was it for me. I was clueless, as I trained quietly in Arizona and didn’t think about competition! In the ’89, ’90, and ’91 Olympias, I placed fourth, fifth, and eleventh. I loved it. By the third Olympia, I had much stress from a business change and a breakup. It took away from my training. In the ’89 Arnold, I was the winner after Tonya Knight got disqualified; I got the difference in prize money, but never a first-place medal or certificate with my name on it, and I was invited to represent the Arnold winner’s hall of fame at the 2008 competition in Columbus. Ohio. In the ’89 World Pro, I placed second by one point to Diana Dennis. I don’t know if I should have won or not. It was very fun. I was very lean. I travelled with Gold’s Gym (I was the female spokesperson in Venice, California) all over the country, and Europe, South America, and Mexico. I guest posed all over the country, in South America, and Europe.
Q. How did women’s bodybuilding change while you were competing? Who were some of your rivals onstage who were your favorite pros to compete against?
A. Cory Everson, Bev Francis, Sandy Riddell, Dona Oliveira, Lenda Murray, Laura Creavalle—I liked them all. Sandy was very competitive with me and took it very seriously. I didn’t!
Q. There were so many popular competitive ‘80s bodybuilders who couldn’t resist the temptation of moving to the Golden State and got caught up in the Venice Beach/Hollywood lifestyle, sometimes with disastrous results. How were you able to resist this temptation and remain in Scottsdale?
A. Actually, I never had the temptation. I only went to California when I got work (photo shoots or guest posing) and either stayed at a friend’s place or at a motel when I did, then went right back home. Venice Beach and Hollywood were definitely exciting places to visit in the late ‘80s, but I just never got bit by the “California bug” like many pro bodybuilders did back then, which probably contributed to my not getting that many offers for work there. But I think that staying put in Scottsdale kept me much more grounded then I would have been otherwise.
Q. What made you decide to retire?
A. I had business to attend to and a lack of focus from my recently broken relationship. Women were getting much more muscular, and I didn’t have the body type or desire to get bigger. I didn’t have a mentor then either, so things may have been different if I had.
Q. Tell us what you’ve been up to since retiring from competition?
A. Since competing, I got a degree in sports medicine at Arizona State University, started a training business, got married, and had a son, Neo, who is now eight years old.
Q. Do you still keep in touch with any the bodybuilders you competed against?
A. Well, I kept in touch with Anja Schreiner for a while, Diana Dennis, and touched base with Cory Everson, a few years ago.
Q. You had a double major in exercise science and music performance at ASU as a classical cellist. Since we know what career choice you made, when was the last time you picked up the cello?
A. About two years ago, I played one of my favorite pieces by Johann Bach.
Q. When did your health complications first get detected?
A. My health complications started in 2005 with mild left chest and shoulder pain. First, I had a mammogram (women with implants should never get a mammogram; in fact, they are not safe for anyone, and an ultrasound is just as good), then an ultrasound, then an MRI showed leakage in three places in the left side. I had no major health problems but fatigue and sleep issues. I thought nothing of it because I had been told there were no health issues by my surgeon and I had a newborn premature baby home from four months in the hospital, so I didn’t know what was what. In 2006, the same surgeon replaced my implants with new ones. He said there was no leak and had the MRI in front of him, so I had no reason not to believe him. I lost my insurance coverage until 2010 and then got a mammogram. This time it showed the leak had spread. I was feeling so bad by that time, and it took about six months to get properly approved for the MRI. The silicone spread to the lymph nodes. I was shuttled to four surgeons, all of whom said that silicone does not cause problems but they would take out the implants. They gave high quotes, as my insurance would not pay. I had mold with the silicone leaks, as well as mycoplasma bacteria (which I didn’t know at the time). I had chronic fatigue, vision loss, terrible head symptoms, sleep issues for several years, and my white blood cell count was below the lowest number. I had dizziness, memory loss, crying, and no joy.
Q. Tell us about the progression of your health problem.
A. I was given two years for recovery. Ten lymph nodes were gone. I had steady recovery, but used antifungals, which made me feel horrible, and killed the mycoplasmic bacteria with Miracle Mineral Supplement, a natural but powerful bacteria-killing solution similar to bleach, for up to six months before and after surgery. My recovery has been slow but getting better. Tapering off the medicine I was on for sleep has almost been worse than the surgery! By this February 11, it will be two years, and I think I will be a new person.
Q. What have been some of the side effects?
A. I’ve described some side effects already, but I also had pain, sleeplessness off and on for months and months, no working out, hopelessness, and terrible medicine withdrawals, but I will keep going until I am finished!
Q. What’s next for Jackie Paisley?
A. This is the best part! I have discovered a genetic set of “genes” or receptors. I have some of them, and the story is long, but I am going through one healing crisis after another. By mid-December, I’ll be healed of things I had for years. This definitely made things more difficult, both physically and mentally, in my whole life and with recovery, also. I have found a way to assess others and help them heal, much easier than I am. Slowly, as I get more energy and strength, I will write about this and am currently doing assessments for others, from athletes to children. I do a “functional” approach to fitness, as I look into the body’s systems and work to balance them. I plan to help as many people as possible, and children too. My son has special needs, and he is improving rapidly on protocols I have given him, based on genetic dysfunction I have assessed in him. And I plan to do a physique show within two years!
Q. Despite dealing with recovery, I understand you’re still offering nutritional assessments for competitors. Where can people reach you?
A. I offer nutritional assessments for everyone! Here is all of my contact info, including my Facebook page, and main website, which is currently under construction:
Jackie is currently struggling financially to make ends meet during her final phase of recovery, and needs financial support for her and her eight-year-old special needs son Neo to remain in their Scottsdale, Arizona apartment through the beginning of the new year. A donation of any amount is welcome, and can be made by clicking on this “Donate Button” link on Jackie’s Facebook page:
Note: When Making a Donation, Please Use "Personal" then "Other", so PayPal WON'T Charge Jackie a "Transfer Fee".
Jackie Paisley -The Genetic Code Website: http://www.jackiepaisley.com/
About The Author:
Derwin White is a professional media composer for DKW Musicworks (http://www.dkwmusicworks.com), and has been a fan of women bodybuilders since he saw Lisa Lyon gracing the cover of a muscle magazine with Lou Ferrigno in 1980.