My career as a clothing designer started at the age of 15 in Philadelphia, Pa. My dad was a major league designer to most of the Motown stars in the 60’s and 70’s. Mom was a fashion illustrator. His untimely death-(with my mother soon to follow) left my brother Cornelios, 5 years my elder, to tend to things at dad’s factory. I was still in high school, he was in his last year of college,and on his way to a lucrative pro soccer career. He quit school to keep the factory going, and I worked part time at a concert theatre. Dad had one of the largest costume shops in the country, and the factory employed all European designers and tailors. I learned from the old school! We needed to make money fast, and with the people I encountered in the entertainment circuit, we could make clothes in mass production.

We started with the Hard Rock cafe account the word spread, and all the rock-n-rollers started to follow. We made all the promo clothes that they sold on the tour. During the concerts, I worked back stage security, so I got to speak with a lot of stars. During college days, I had a full ride to school for gymnastics, but a critical fall off the uneven parallel bars at Olympic camp left me partially disabled. My major was Phys Ed, but changed to Fashion Illustration. I could not do the physical activities to keep my major or my scholarship. My old gymnastics coach was the Olympic mens coach for the USA, and with his recommendations, in my senior year, I landed a job at the Playboy club in Atlantic City as assistant health club manager. Hugh Hefner fired the manager a few weeks later, and as a result, I became the new health club manager. At the age of 22, I had a staff of 39, and was the youngest in hotel management of the casino city. (What the hell was Hef thinking??!! to this day- I still thank him for giving me the chance..)I was still doing designs for my brother, and went home on the weekends to attend concerts for networking. I started making custom clothing for the rock stars who came to town. On the personal side I had designed and made clothes for Stevie Nicks, Elton John, Patti Benatar,Phil Collins and Genesis to name a few.

After college, and working both jobs, a new event had to be put together at the hotel, the Mr. & Ms. Olympia. First time event for me! Working the health club rehabilatated me for the most part, and I wanted to become a bodybuilder! I started training with weights, and did aerobics for cardio. Through my Playboy connections, I landed my first mag photo – in Playboy! It was an ad for Precor equipment. It ran almost 2 years! I left Playboy after 4 years, the hotel manager had it out for me, and wouldn’t grant me leave when mom died. I quit and went to back to my homeland Greece for an extended visit. A few years later, I designed a line of clothing for Redd Foxx, and the day I was supposed to ship them out for the debut, a special carrier delivered a round trip ticket to L.A. to hand-deliver the clothes. Redd had been a long time friend of my dad’s and watched over me after dad died. The next thing I knew, I was written into the script, and bam! 7 episodes later,and 2 months later, I went back to A.C. I stuck to making clothes, training and doing odd jobs like bartending to keep my hours free to sew. All the buff bodies hung out at this one beach just south of Atlantic City. All the dancers, bodybuilders, aerobics wannabe’s along with the richest people around baked in the sun there.

Everyone from all over the world congregated there- enough for ‘Entertainment Tonight’ to do a special feature. I was the only one who had the balls to wear a thong the day they taped, and my butt got plastered across the country in the feature. To make matters worse, they put me in the opening segment of each show! My dad’s one line of clothing was “Brass Ass”, and had these labels that said exactly that. I had 2000 of them, and started plastering them right in the triangle of the thongs and sold them on the beach. When ET asked me what I called this strip of beach, I blurted out- “Ego Beach’. Thats what my swimsuit line is called. I kept dad’s trademark on ‘Brass Ass’ and made that my stripper’s line(mens & womens) It still holds today under Unique Physique Bodywear Inc. My grandpop, who was 87 at the time, needed full time care and my brother could not accomodate him. The municipal government said there was a 9 month wait for a spot at the nursing home. I took ‘pop’ in for 5 years until his death. He at one time was one of the best tailors my dad employed. That man forgot more than I’ll ever learn! He could make the most beautiful costumes out of scraps! Grandpop died, and soon after I started to date a bodybuilder from my local gym. We ended up living together for 4 years, and learned about dieting for contests and such. I had more of an aerobics body, I caught him having an affair with a bodybuiler. When we broke up…it fueled my fire enough to become totally tunnel visioned into the sport.

I thought to myself-” I want to rule his bodybuilding world”…there won’t be a magazine he opens without me in it-and I’m going to be the best there is. I did 5 shows my first year, placing second in the south Jersey,winning the Golds Classic, winning the New Jersey State & the Jan Tana,placing 7 in the middleweights at the ‘93 Nationals. I won the Jan Tana World Amateur Grand Prix,as a middleweight for 3 years in a row, and in ‘95 took the overall. In ‘94, I placed second in the Masters Nats, and in ‘95 took that too. I recieved my pro card in 95, and retired from competing to concentrate on my clothing. Just before my first competition, I couldn’t find a posing suit to wear that fit me. “Hmmm, I thought, I make swimsuits for the beach- how hard could this be??!!” Voila, and thus, created my niche. Laura Bass was guest posing at the NJ State, and loved my suit. She was the first pro I outfitted. At all the shows that first year, everyone raved how nice my suits looked.

I started handing out my cards and thats how it all started. I stayed in the pro division keeping my status as an official. I moved to Florida ia few years later after hitting “it” in the stock market. I played around with stocks a little bit, and this one stock I purchased went through the roof. I came to Ft. Lauderdale to open up a pro shop where competitors could come and get everything they need to compete. Here I am!!!!!!!!! I have since given up the vitamins and nutrition to concentrate on the fitness competition wear. It’s just like making costumes in dads factory again!!!!! I love it!!!!!!! The one person she gives credit to is her brother Cornelious. “He was my biggest inspiration,” James said. “After my parents died he practically raised me by himself.” So, with all her accomplishments what does she want to be remembered for? “For setting the trend,” she said. “That a female can be a body builder and still be feminine.

Most of you have seen my accomplishments first hand as my suits are seen on athletes across the globe.