Go Fund Yourself!

Bikini Competitors: The New Beggars?

Begging Made Easy!

I had never heard of requesting money from strangers for something as trivial as a bikini contest. Then someone told me about it. Had to be a joke, right? Nope, it wasn't.

On GoFundMe.com you'll find numerous requests for donations to support bikini competitions. Google "GoFundMe bikini competition" and you'll see how common it is.


If you're not familiar with GoFundMe, it's a crowdfunding platform typically used to raise money for charities, disaster relief, and people with illnesses. Or at least it used to be. Then the wannabe bikini competitors moved in, sharing their sob stories and begging for your money. Because, you know, competing in a T&A competition has become a necessity vital to their lives and self-worth.

It's bad enough that there are bikini competitors who stain our industry with such a salacious element. (When they're on stage, all that's missing is the pole.)

"It never hurts to ask," the old saying goes, but setting up a GoFundMe page to finance a bikini competition does hurt. It has an extremely negative connotation, not only for the fitness industry, but also for those of us within it who believe you do things with a sense of pride, independence, and a strong work ethic.

Money has no value to some people. The lack of money is seen as nothing but a hindrance to what they want, not a motivation to earn what they want.

So let's say that you're an aspiring bikini competitor. You might think you've worked pretty hard on your body to get it where it's at now. Would you give some of that progress up and give it to someone else who's not doing the same amount of work or making the sacrifices you are? Probably not. You earned that body after all. But if you've got a GoFundMe account set up for your competition, that's what you're asking other people to do with the money THEY earned.

If you're such a hard worker, maybe it's time to channel what you do in the gym in ways that actually earn you a nice looking bank account too. Become a woman who can do both.

Just because I work hard and have something to show for it doesn't mean I'm obliged to share it with strangers, no matter how small the amount, and no matter the cause. All money has value. It represents some degree of the blood sweat and tears I shed making it.

It's bad enough we have to give a chunk of our hard-earned money to the government. The rest is ours to do with what we want, and financing a bikini chick is quite possibly the dumbest way to spend it.

If we really feel a calling to do something charitable, we could rescue a dog, pitch in for an amputee's wheelchair, take a veteran out to dinner, or about a thousand other things that are more worthy than making sure your glute-ham tie-in is fully exposed so that the judges can examine it and rank it on their score sheet.

Giving bikini girls money only increases their need for more. Why? Because even if they place well in the competition, they're not going to earn anything from it. There are no cash rewards at local competitions.

So if they actually make it to Nationals, then moving on to compete at Nationals is only going to require MORE money. And if they couldn't afford the local competition, they sure as hell won't be able to afford a National one... or a professional one for that matter.

I'm not saying not to be charitable; I'm saying don't perpetuate a problem. If you toss some broad 50 bucks with no return on your investment, you're only furthering the freewheeling entitlement and false reality that this is a worthy pursuit. No one should finance that shit.

If she needed the money, and actually wanted to earn it, she could be taking on second and third jobs like dog walking, babysitting, or cleaning houses for twenty bucks an hour. In fact, make that offer! Ask her to clean your house for fifty bucks. I'll bet you fifty bucks that she'll decline. That'd be beneath her.

Unfortunately, on a more sophisticated level, panhandling can be a lucrative thing. I knew a guy back in the day who was bringing home $600 a week in cash panhandling in Venice. At the time, I was bringing home $500 working construction! With such a generous society, this odd phenomenon has metastasized to the shameful degree that you can now beg – successfully – for money online.

I imagine this was just a natural progression in today's maligned world of entitlement and bizarre expectations that technology would enable people to succumb to their lazy and entitled impulses, and provide them with a platform that amounts to digital panhandling. The most egregious of which is, in my opinion, GoFundMe.

Unlike platforms such as GiveForward, which raises money for expenses related to illness or injuries, or Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which seek investment in business, charity, and artistic pursuits, GoFundMe caters to snowflakes looking to raise money for just about anything, including fake tits and sponsorship for a first bikini competition.

When you do a Google search for "GoFundMe bikini competition" you'll get over 900,000 results. And they're fascinating to read. When you click on them they go something like this...

"Hi everyone! Well, I decided that after training for the past 6 weeks it's time to enter a NPC bikini competition. I was kinda shocked to see how much it would cost, especially those crystal-studded suits, hair extensions, and a boob job, lol!

"So I'm reaching out to see if anyone would be willing to sponsor my fitness journey by contributing to this fund. $3,000 covers almost all of my costs including the entry fee, the suit and shoes, hair, makeup artist, trainer, diet coach, posing coach, chiropractor, life coach, all my food, supplements, and a few different colors of Six Pack coolers to match my gym outfits.

"And now after WEEKS of grueling training, my fitness journey has brought me here. And I want to be able to bring my best package to the stage. I use my Instagram page to be an inspiration for others (meal plans available). And I will give you a shout-out there. You can't help but see my love and dedication to building the best package on the planet. So thank you for taking the time to read my story and a bigger thank you for your donations!"

Pose for Food

Now, not all bikini girls ask for money for boob jobs, but enough girls have used GoFundMe and similar donation sites for that purpose that you can link the two together. Really, it's all the same entitled bullshit, no different than asking someone to buy them a car because they're tired of walking the four blocks to the gym.

Secondly, there isn't a single philanthropically-minded dude out there who's going to finance all that body work and stuff it into a thong without "visitation rights." If such rights are indeed discussed and an agreement of sorts is made, you have ostensibly created a transaction known as "prostitution." And if you don't think that happens in our beloved little world, I have a nice bridge to sell you.

No woman wants to be considered a whore. Be that as it may, if you take a guy's money for all your contest needs, and in return offer him unfettered access to the most intimate corners of your nook and cranny, honey, you a ho.

The last thing our industry needs is more hoes, but prostitution has many faces. I know for a fact that there are ladies in our industry who've sold some visitation rights, or traded for the odd "session" that has a happy ending for at least one of the parties involved.

There used to be a crowdfunding site specifically for breast augmentations. It introduced guys willing to finance the augmentation to the panhandler and her chest. In what can only be seen as sad commentary on modern culture, and men in general, Myfreeimplants.com raised about 13 million up until 2016 from willing donors who had contributed to enhancing an astonishing number of tits.

Sure, the site claimed there was no "trading" of goods or services going on and there was allegedly measures in place to prevent it, but that only went as far as the site. You're going to tell me that over the course of nearly a decade, men spent 13 million building racks they had no intention of using? Yeah, right.

I'm sure there is the odd uninterested party who finds the philanthropy in this palpable and is satisfied only with the tasteful before and after pics (no nudity) to which he's entitled, but for the rest of the red-blooded male donors, I can't imagine for a minute that somewhere along the line this deal won't involve his penis.

Asking for someone to fund your tits in exchange for services is prostitution, which is illegal and somehow more gross when it's under the guise of philanthropy.

It's not that there aren't nice, wholesome girls out there who just want to stick their asses out for comparison. In fact, these girls are probably the majority, but for some reason the bikini division seems to attract the unsavory type too.

Just to clarify: I'm not saying that all bikini girls are women of ill repute. I'm saying that the division seems to attractive narcissistic attention seekers and wet T-shirt contest elites.

In my experience, the division has fostered an ever-growing tribe of self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing opportunists who, after a few months of training, are advertising diet plans on Instagram, filling their YouTube channel with vast spreads of prepped meals, supplement arrays, esoteric exercises, fresh manicures, duck faces, fitness clichés, and booty shots.

And that's her business, unless her bank account is as mediocre as her physique, and she expects you to help fund the next steps of her "fitness journey."

Between her food, supplements, drugs (clenbuterol, appetite suppressants, maybe some Oxandrolone), trainer, diet coach, hair extensions, nails, makeup, tanning and all the requisite goop to maintain that shit, the rhinestone-studded bikini, heels, travel, hotel, and entry fee... she's short several thousand bucks. And that's before any surgical augmentations.

Even considering the more endearing sagas of a woman's "fitness journey," there is simply no story that needs to be told through a bikini competition. Major weight loss, cancer recovery, accident rehabilitation, or coming back after enduring the devastation of a tornado or a litter of kids – none of that requires you to get on stage.

Using other people's money to pose on stage in a bikini doesn't demonstrate how far you've come; it demonstrates how far you need to go to make your bank account match your sad hobbies.

I don't completely understand how a woman seeking affirmation can feel empowered by asking for money. What happened to being a strong and INDEPENDENT woman?

Bikini Competitors

Now, this right here is the turning point. If you have a passion for something, no matter how trivial, and it requires financing, how you go about rounding up the cash is what counts. If you take on a second job, work hard, sell shit on eBay and save your money until you have what you need, then you have done something respectable, in spite of the frippery of your pursuit.

You completely obliterate that respect if your first course of action is a GoFundMe account. Begging for bikini money is about as frivolous as it gets. Not to mention, it's a huge risk if it makes you feel indebted to strangers who don't have your best interests at heart. The whole situation is a breeding ground for "side deals" that can lead to STDs, fatal attractions, broken marriages and the rest of the malignancies associated with hooking.

The idea that a girl has the gall to ask strangers for money to pay her way to the stage, without offering anything in return, is as ludicrous as it is an insult to the sport, which probably explains the scarcity of donations to support such folly.

Competitors that need funding are panhandlers, no different than the homeless guy with the putrid breath and an equally stellar work ethic. What are these competitors offering in return? Gratitude?

You want something? Go work for it! Crowdfunding sites are intended for people with real challenges in life. They're meant to solicit a little hand up, not a hand out for some girl to strut her run-of-the-mill bikini body on stage and show everyone how awesome she thinks her "package" is.

That level of frivolity should come from no one's purse but her own. Someday you may actually need help with a real problem, and you'll already have cried wolf.

John Romano is a longtime industry insider and performance-enhancement specialist. He authored several bodybuilding and fitness books and appeared on HBO, ESPN, ABC's 20/20, and numerous radio talk shows. He is also featured in the acclaimed documentary Bigger Stronger Faster. Romano resides in Guadalajara, Mexico where he owns and operates a Gold’s Gym.