Alright, ladies and gentlemen. Stop whatever you’re doing. Right now. I don’t care if you’re sitting in a waiting room about to undergo open-heart surgery and the nurse just called your name to get prepped. I don’t care if you’re about to have tea with the Queen of England (happy 90th birthday!) or if you’re in the middle of writing your doctorate dissertation that’s due in an hour. Just stop whatever you’re doing and do what I’m about to tell you to do.
Find a device with Internet connection and do a Google search on Minna Pajulahti.
Ready to proceed? Great.
I’ve already shared photos of Miss Pajulahti on this blog, but I think now is the time to dedicate a whole blog post to her. She isn’t new to the scene, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t newsworthy at this particular moment. Have you seen what this gorgeous woman looks like? She’s newsworthy 27/7/365. Hopefully we can all agree on that!
There isn’t a whole lot of biographical information about her available, so I’ll summarize what I can.
Minna is a Finnish IFBB bodybuilder who was born on May 4, 1980. At the ripe age of 36 (although she looks 26!), Minna competes in the women’s physique division. She works as a flight attendant and fitness coach when she isn’t busting her butt at the gym.
She placed 14th at the 2010 IFBB Fort Lauderdale Pro, 7th at the 2011 IFBB Toronto Pro, 5th at the 2011 IFBB FIBO Power Pro Germany, 16th at the 2014 IFBB Europa Dallas, and 6th at the 2016 IFBB Karina Nascimento Pro. She also participated at the 2010 IFBB Arnold Amateur International Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure & Bikini Championships. She might have competed in other contests, but the history on that is scant.
In addition to competing in bodybuilding, Minna is also a powerlifter. She says she also enjoys cheerleading and everything related to fitness. Standing at 5’4”, Minna may not be super tall, but her gorgeous good looks, beach blonde hair, and powerfully built physique makes her stand out above the rest. She currently lives in Nokia, Finland.
Every so often I’ll come across a female bodybuilder whose striking beauty and impressive muscular development gives her enough “crossover” appeal to please both female muscle fans and “female muscle skeptics” alike. We all know (or know of) people who are skeptical and irrationally disgusted by strong women. The stereotype they have ingrained in their brains of a female bodybuilder is someone with a man-like face, grossly unfeminine muscles protruding everywhere, excessive body hair, a voice deep enough to make a 17th century pirate blush, and overly aggressive behavior. Minna Pajulahti takes all those harmful images and smashes them with the hammer of Thor.
Minna is different. Despite her huge muscles, her curvy figure is undeniably feminine. Her face is as gorgeous as you’ll ever see. She seems approachable, pleasant, and “normal.” But more important, her incredible good looks makes you stop dead in your tracks. You see her once and you’re hooked. How can you not want to check in on her Instagram every single morning?
First impressions matter. I can guarantee you your first impression of seeing pictures of Miss Pajulahti is to be hypnotized by her flawless combination of beauty, muscularity, and etherealness. She’s so physically beautiful she seems almost not real. She’s like a female muscle fan crafted a flesh-and-blood female bodybuilder from scratch and created the Perfect Dream Woman. Minna is that damn gorgeous.
This is how we react. Will others follow and be captivated by her like we are? Maybe, maybe not.
Whether Minna is likely to become a “mainstream” celebrity isn’t the point. Bodybuilders as a whole, even today’s most popular male competitors, are only known to a limited number of people. Guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno had what it took to become household names, but this isn’t the 1970s anymore. The sport still exists, but it can’t compete with soccer, basketball, baseball, football, and MMA in terms of widespread popularity. Bodybuilding’s market share isn’t what it used to be.
In a previous blog post, I talked about the difficulties of maintaining the so-called “perfect balance” of being a female bodybuilder who can appeal to a wide audience. Miss Pajulahti is someone who comes very close. I personally think she hits the nail on the head, but not everyone will agree with me. That’s perfectly okay. They have every right to be wrong!
But seriously, Minna is striking for being two things at once: She looks like a Baywatch lifeguard while at the same time having the muscle mass of an NFL linebacker. For my non-American readers, I apologize if I can’t come up with a better analogy. Heavyweight boxer, perhaps?
If you follow Minna closely on Instagram – and I highly recommend you do if you don’t already – she does everything you’d expect a beautiful woman on IG to do. She posts selfies, photos of what she eats, her friends, her work life, her accomplishments, inspirational quotes, and shots of herself modeling. The fact she isn’t a world-famous supermodel by now astounds me. But I get it. Women with biceps that large can’t possibly draw interest from the general public.
Or can they?
If given a chance, I have no doubt Minna could shake up the advertising industry. If she were 10-12 years younger (though like I said earlier, she looks a lot younger than she is) and were born and raised in Southern California instead of Finland, perhaps things could be different. If she chose to pursue a sport like MMA or if she became famous for posting viral fitness videos on YouTube, Minna could be a bigger international star than she is right now. Today, Minna is only “famous” to people who pay close attention to the fitness/bodybuilding world. But it didn’t have to be that way.
This “missed opportunity” isn’t necessarily tragic, but it is a bit disappointing. Minna is unquestionably beautiful, feminine, and accomplished. She also has bigger muscles that most people aren’t accustomed to seeing on a woman’s body. I can’t fathom how anyone would be shocked or repulsed by her. She would force you to do a double-take, but that’s not the same thing as wanting to turn away from her because you find her appearance unbearably unpleasant.
How can you not help but stare at videos of her deadlifting, squatting, and bench pressing massive amounts of weight? It’s impressive for anyone to be able to powerlift all that, never mind someone who also looks like she could be arm candy for Hugh Hefner (try not to vomit when you think about that). I am not in the least bit surprised that she used to be a cheerleader. She definitely looks the part.
Is Minna a “flawless” female bodybuilder? Well, that depends on how we define flawless. I find no fault in her physique, attitude, professional goals, and accomplishments. Will a diverse array of people, both those who are already sympathetic to muscular women and those who are not, like her in the same way? That remains to be seen. Sadly, we may never have the chance to find out. This is the missed opportunity I am quietly lamenting.
I will not attempt to project where her career goes from here. Will she score a small role in a big studio Hollywood feature film and become a major celebrity hereafter? Probably not. The odds of that kind of good fortune are nearly nonexistent. However, that isn’t totally outside the realm of possibility given the pop culture trends we’re seeing play out today.
Superhero movies are more popular than ever. The sci-fi and fantasy genres are about to take off to new heights. The rebooted Star Trek franchise and reinvigorated Star Wars universe are prime avenues for non-traditional looking performers to hog the spotlight. New episodes of Game of Thrones is starting to become a national holiday. Lots of popular sci-fi/fantasy books and graphic novels are ready for an HBO or Netflix executive to greenlight. Nobody knows what the future will hold.
So it’s not outside the realm of possibility for a sexy, gorgeous muscular woman to score a role in a major TV or film project that will attract millions of eyeballs. I won’t hold my breath for such an occurrence to happen, but it’s not inconceivable. It may not be Miss Pajulahti who lands this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity per se, but it doesn’t have to be.
I cannot bring up Minna Pajulahti as being the flawless female bodybuilder we’ve all been waiting for without giving proper respect to Shannon Courtney, Dani Reardon (despite an unfortunate domestic violence arrest), Sheronica Sade Henton, Beata Antoninas, Lauranda Nall, and other young rising stars. I wouldn’t say Minna is my favorite current FBB, but she’s definitely one who’s effortlessly captured my heart.
This lineup of young female bodybuilders who aren’t afraid to build abnormal levels of muscularity is impressive and encouraging for the future of the sport. It is unreasonable to expect the sport to become as popular as tennis or golf, but it doesn’t have to be. The goal shouldn’t be to find ways to expand the brand of female bodybuilding just for the sake of expansion. The ultimate goal should be to maximize the amount of support these incredible athletes receive so that they can feel emboldened to pursue their dreams.
Who knows? Maybe sometime in the near future someone else will emerge as the much-awaited “savior” of female bodybuilding. Perhaps this hypothetical person will be blessed with supermodel-level beauty, a charismatic personality, top-notch performance talent, intelligence, wisdom, grace, humility, passion, drive, the desire to be great, and an unapologetically hyper muscular frame. She’ll love who she is and will refuse to apologize for her muscles. She’ll be an inspiration, a one-of-a-kind pioneer, and someone who we can truly say revolutionized the way society views strong women.
That day may never come. Or maybe it’s right around the corner. Either way, all we can do is wait and see. This Ultimate Female Bodybuilder may or may never arrive on the scene. This could just be a pipe dream. Regardless, until that day comes, we’ll just have to embrace Minna Pajulahti – and hundreds of women just like her around the globe – with a full heart and an open mind.