When asked to describe a superhero, descriptions may come to mind: courage, strength, intelligence, dedicated, and even muscular. Lots of people like Rachelle Cannon look up to superheroes, but if she were asked if she could ever become one herself, her answer wouldn't have been very positive.
"I've been teased a lot about my looks and my unpopularity for not wearing the most expensive branded clothes," confessed Cannon.
But deep down, Cannon had an idea who she wanted to be like.
“I was inspired by Wonder Woman because she showed so many other forms of strength and depth, right? It wasn't just her looks. So I thought, 'Wow, here is someone who, despite being a fictional character, represents that a woman can be intelligent and physically strong, noble and fight for justice. "
Fast forward to today, and Cannon matches what she calls "She-Ro" with a T. She is a US Coast Guard veteran and IFBB pro-female bodybuilder and body competitor. Little did Rachelle Cannon know she was growing up into bodybuilding as a child, but the goal of serving in the military was instilled in her thanks to her father. Like many who care for their country, Cannon has several members of her family who have served.
"My father was in the army, he was a Signal Corps officer who served in Vietnam," said Cannon. “My grandfather served in the army as an optician during World War II. There was also a distant relative of my father who served in the Coast Guard. "
Courtesy Rachelle Cannon
Intended for serving
The initial passion to serve began with a personal desire to attend a college she believed would challenge her. Her father was a history buff and took the family on a trip to West Point while Rachelle Cannon was in high school. This family outing had a profound impact on young Rachelle.
"I just remember being so impressed with these pictures of these cadets in uniform," she says. “I loved how neat they all looked. I like the appeal that it was "free education" and you have the guarantee that you will have that job for five years after that. It was this combination for me. "
Her engagement began at the age of four as a cadet in the Coast Guard Academy, followed by six years of active service in the Coast Guard itself. In fact, she was the fourth African American woman to graduate from the academy. Many would call this achievement the high point of their careers, but Cannon has an experience that is even higher.
“The peak was when I was on duty in Portsmouth coordinating a search and rescue operation for a boatman lost at sea. The funds I had allocated to the search area that my team and I had planned successfully brought the boater home to his wife, ”Cannon said proudly. “Shortly afterwards, I received an unexpected handwritten letter of thanks from the Lord's wife for saving him. I still have this note today! "
By the time Cannon's career came to an end, she already knew what to do next. She wanted to pursue a career in health and wellness. It was here that she was also introduced to the sport in which she is now active - bodybuilding.
Courtesy Rachelle Cannon
"The Health Promotion Program Manager's quarters were located at the Washington, D.C. headquarters. opened. After attending three extensive training courses at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX, I was inspired to complete my Masters in Health and Fitness Management, ”said Cannon. She would graduate and begin her professional career in this field. Today she works for a Medicaid organization as a manager for prevention and wellness programs.
On the competitive side of this chase, Rachelle Cannon had competed in 17 competitions so far. She won her pro card in both women's bodybuilding and physique in the rth Americans in 2019 in Pittsburgh, PA. Cannon admitted dealing with body image issues when she was young, but now she's adopting her looks. In some circles she is even known as the "Queen of Quads".
“I used to work as a personal trainer in a gym that no longer exists,” she says. “One of the other coaches who could have competed himself but never did, saw my quads and said, 'You're the queen of quads!' As independent entrepreneurs, we had to market ourselves. He said, 'I think you should do that.' So I did. "
Cannon admits that her smaller stature goes with better muscle bellies, but these quads, as well as the rest of her body, got them from years of tap dancing, jazz, ballet, swimming, athletics, and numerous competitions that she participated in as a child. While bringing her own gifts, she credits eight-time Olympia Lenda Murray as her mentor on her bodybuilding journey. She also looked up to another women's Olympic icon, Carla Dunlap.
"I saw Pumping Iron 2 and looked up at her and Rachel McLish, who looked like Wonder Woman with her dark hair," she said. “I did synchronized swimming and they had photos of Carla with them. It was rare for me to see a woman of color swim synchronized and she was a bodybuilder. I went to an event that I knew she would be there, so I brought my copy of my DVD for her to sign. "
Fit for the future
Cannon isn't sure when she will compete next, but she knows there are girls out there who will see her just like she saw Dunlap and she wants to share a positive message for those who reach their own greatness want, but may face negativity along the way.
“Get away from the negative energy, take your time, even if it is five minutes a week or day, to sit in silence with yourself. Think about what you want in your heart and in your head. Also, find mentors who are experienced and willing to help her draw her own conclusions and be willing to derive ideas. Follow what is in your heart. "
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