By Kimberly Dunbar
One of Yenny Polanco’s favorite sayings is “Behind every smile there is a story.” And behind hers, there is truly a very interesting story.
“My life has been very different and full of adversities since I was born,” says Polanco, a fitness model and athlete. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Polanco arrived in the US at age 12 when her mother married an Italian-American who owned a jewelry business in Worcester. Although she was unable to speak a word of English, Polanco, who now lives in Auburn, worked hard to fit in. “It was extremely difficult at first, but once I learned English I was determined to make the best of it,” says Polanco.
And make the best of it she certainly has. Polanco has gone from being a cosmetologist to a two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion (she belonged to the boxing club at the YMCA in Worcester and was their only female fighter ~ and their only Champion!) to a hair salon owner to a national fitness athlete. “I liked them all,” says Polanco about her many career moves. “But fitness is my passion, so competing as a Pro Fitness and Figure competitor is my dream come true.”
Polanco, who taught herself the sport by watching tapes of other competitors, entered her first competition in May of 2005. She competed in the Figure Open class and won at the INBF Nancy Andrews show that qualified her for her Professional card. Polanco kept on winning and placing in the top three in her Figure competitions, so she decided to challenge herself and compete in Fitness.
“Fitness requires a lot of different elements. You have to have a professionally choreographed fitness routine that displays some dance, gymnastics, acrobatics, cheer, and whatever other talent you may have,” explains Polanco, who uses her jump roping skills as the highlight of her fitness routine.
Polanco has participated in 25 shows since her debut and is quickly climbing the ladder to star status. She has already picked up two sponsors (including Cortibalm), been featured in Oxygen magazine, seen in the May issue of Fitness and Physique magazine in her first national print ad, and is expecting 2007 to be a big year. “I plan on winning a big national event this year,” she shares. In addition, she is part of a new television show about boxing titled “Million Dollar Lady” and is working on her own fitness workout videos. “I won’t disclose much more, but it will be very fun and exciting,” she promises.
With bikini season upon us, Polanco ~ who lists 111 Chop House, Sole Proprietor, Zipango, Sakura Tokyo, Nancy Chang’s and Know Fat as some of her favorite restaurants ever ~ also shared some of her fitness secrets. “Ladies, start eating everything grilled, broiled or baked,” she says, advising readers to eat a well balanced meal and to get some cardio exercise at least three times a week. “But life is short, so do have your cake and eat it, too. Just don’t eat the whole cake!” she advises with a smile, adding that The Living Earth has the best non-dairy chocolate cake around. Now how’s that for a story?