- You are now working with Vyo-Tech Nutritionals?
Yes. VyoTech sought my services out as a viable spokesperson signing me for 2 years!
I have started on March 1st, back in the gym, back on the diet, to show that their products do work. In early June, we will take pictures to show the results. In the process, I will be at various NPC and IFBB shows at the Vyo-Tech booth. I will also be working with them in the infrastructure and makeup of the supplements to give them a professional bodybuilder's perspective on how to meet the needs of the athletes. This is something I am looking forward to because I never had the inside track into supplements. I am definitely excited about working with Vyo-Tech.
I want to thank Vince and Spiro Kandis for the opportunity to work with them, and to help their company grow. As of May 1st marvelous Melvin Anthony will be on board with us as he pursues his first top 5 placing at the Mr. Olympia! As well, Vyo Tech has signed a few female athletes in the form of Christine Pompanio Pate, Jamie Franklin and Mary Elizabeth Lado! We will be looking to add an up and coming top amateur as well as possibly one more top pro soon! VYO Tech is going ALL OUT! We will be presenting a Custom Made Chopper at the Mr. Olympia in a Raffle Drawing for the fans valued at $40,000.00 to be given away onstage at the Mr. Olympia!
- What was the reaction of the Getbig interview Part One?
The reaction was mostly positive - people want to hear the truth about our industry, the judges, the politics and so on. Jim Manion was not very receptive to some of the things I talked about, but then again, I wasn't too receptive to some of the things going on in our industry regarding him. We all have a right to our own opinions, not everyone is going to agree with them and I respect him for having differences with me. This is the way you create dialogue and change. I am not trying to win a "Popularity Contest" with anyone in my interviews. I am only stating what I have experienced and what I know from my point of view. No one can change that perspective for me, it is mine.
- King Kamali has said some interesting things about you. What do you respond?
I am not going to dignify anything that Shari Kamali says about me in a magazine or on the Net. This is a guy that loves talking about me. I love reading about it. He has issues. I would be upset if he only had issues with me, but it seems he has had issues with all the guys who have had great success on stage and in the magazines: Cutler, Titus, Anthony - what would make me any different. I am the biggest target for this guy. I love it. He has me having sex with a transsexual, and he can't stand the fact that I have a bald head. He claims to have made more money than me in his short illustrious 4 year career with only one Mr. Olympia appearance to my 13! Please! The less said regarding this cat, the better from where I am in my life. Peace,
- What is with the bandana on your head?
When I put my bandana on, that is always like me putting my football helmet on. When it comes on, I am going to war! It has always been a part of my uniform as a bodybuilder. It is like suiting up for me when I go to the gym. It is not a distraction for me, but it is like my tough exterior look.
- Drug dealing? DEA? What is up with your mom?
I have always tried to keep the focus on me regarding my bodybuilding. What happens with my mom, my dad, my brothers is not public information that I put out there, I'm the bodybuilder not them. Their lives have no relevance as it relates to me as a bodybuilder and what makes me the athlete that I am. They have their own lives to live, as every family has their share of problems, issues, diseases, addictions, failure and disappointments, this is life. People will say what they want to say, but everything I earned is accounted for and paid for throughout my professional bodybuilder career. We've had investigations on bodybuilders, and the DEA had visited my house like they have every other professional bodybuilder that is on top in this industry. Don't think that they haven't looked into the financial background of many bodybuilders to make sure that they are not laundering money or drug dealing.
- Back to the DEA investigation, are you the one who told on people?
I think that if anyone would of said something to the DEA that would get another athlete in trouble, they would probably of been subpoenaed, and it would probably been taken on record so that it would be admissible in a court of law. I have never been subpoenaed, I have never been approached by a lawyer, I don't have a lawyer, and I have never had anything written down that could have been used against another athlete. The people that were spreading those rumors were the ones that had more to fear from the DEA than anything that I had to say because every bodybuilder that was involved in the investigation knows whether or not I had dealings with any of them personally. So if there was a bodybuilder in the same room with me dealing drugs, they should have to be concerned, but so would I.
The DEA visiting my house was no different than them visiting Ronnie Coleman, Melvin Anthony, Craig Titus, Richard Jones and Milos Sarcev. The difference is there was absolutely nothing I had to offer them because I don't know anything about the other bodybuilders? Since this whole thing has gone down, Craig Titus has called me, and told me personally how sorry he was for even putting that in a magazine, because he was mad about other things. Craig and I are fine now; I was at his house a few weeks ago. However, the DEA is going to launch an anti-drug campaign that I am going to be a part of happily to help the kids avoid some of the pitfalls in Drug Use and Abuse.
- Did you ever use steroids?
Yes, I have. I was the first athlete to ever fail a drug test at the Arnold Classic in 1990, and that cost me $60,000. A professional athlete in a professional sport - you do what you do to be the best that you can. And you work within the parameters and the guidelines of the rules. That given year - I played by the rules but the drugs were still in my system and I suffered because of that. Since then, I have never failed a drug test, and I played by the rules that were in place by the IFBB.
- What about Nubain?
I have never done any recreational drugs, cocaine, speed, x, or Nubain - I don't even take aspirin for a headache. I have a drug addict in the family - I have seen what drugs can do - and it is not pretty. I know bodybuilders today that are all messed up - strung out on Nubain - strung out on Ecstasy - strung out on too many steroids - and have drinking problems. I have seen the best that bodybuilding has to offer - I have seen the worst that bodybuilding has to offer. Growing up in a house with a drug addict - I saw what drugs do not only to an individual but to a family. When I was in college, I was studying to become a juvenile delinquency counselor, so that I could steer kids away from recreational drugs. That was before I turned professional as a bodybuilder.
- Arnold and the Steroids Controversy. Will it change bodybuilding?
I don't think it is going to change bodybuilding. If Arnold is going to keep staying in public office, or consider a run for the presidency, or anything like that, he is going to have to distance himself from a sport so inundated with steroids. Until this federation goes out and reinstitutes steroid testing, Arnold will forever have a dark cloud hanging over his party. Arnold will need to distance himself or institute drug testing. He will have to make that decision. The press will not allow him to have it both ways. He is the editor of Muscle & Fitness magazine, he is the co-promoter of the Arnold Classic, and steroids are illegal. Now, when Arnold admitted to using steroids, they were not illegal to use but you can't go back in time and spin the clock back, and say that he was breaking the law.
If you are going to be a participant in the sport that allows drugs and doesn't drug test, then public perception will cry foul ball and the press will be breathing down your neck. I will however, speak on the bodybuilder's behalf. The bodybuilders don't make up the rules. The federation does. The bodybuilders are like race cars on a track. Until somebody puts a pace car out there in a form of a drug test, the bodybuilders are going to run on all cylinders. They are going to do and use whatever they can to get an edge. That responsibility does not fall on the bodybuilders, but the federation. Arnold will need to make a decision soon on this.
- The Ironman Pro? Why did you criticize that show and no other pro show? That wasn't fair.
The reason for that is that it has been around for 15 years. The contest has moved from venue to venue, and it has expanded into three days now for the second straight year. They paid athletes to come in there and do seminars. They paid athletes to come there and do aerobic routines. They had people come there and do strong feats of strength at the expo, but the bodybuilders have yet to make an extra dime on stage in 15 years? I pointed out the Ironman as an example of what is wrong with professional bodybuilding today. The only reason why there was more money pumped into the Ironman this year, at the last minute, was because of "My big mouth!" It shouldn't take 15 years to raise the prize money? If it takes the promoter 15 years to raise the prize money, then maybe the federation, on behalf of the athletes, should allow others to sanction that pro show.
For example, if you want to promote a show in California, then you have to go through John Balik. You can't bid for it. They are loyal to John and he has first right of refusal. You are talking about a promoter that owns a magazine and a supplement line. You are talking about a situation when the winner of that contest does not even get a cover shot on that magazine? Funny thing is that when someone tried to organize a pro show in Arizona, John blocked it. Others have tried before and failed also to get a sanction for a pro show. The reason that I singled out the Ironman is because I have roots there. It is the first pro show that I ever won.
- Why not say something about the San Francisco Pro?
The San Francisco Pro has been around only a few years in comparison, and it has changed hands. I don't have a problem with at $10,000 prize for that show if it's getting its feet wet. Jon Lindsay just took over as the promoter for that show this year. But here we have Jon, who has never run a pro show, offer the same amount of money as the Ironman, which has been around for 15 years? That is a problem to me. A rookie pro promoter offering the same prize money as a 15 year experienced veteran. Jon has no magazine, no supplement line, and offers the same money. Things that make you go, Hhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmm?
- Do you think pro bodybuilding will change in the future?
I have faith in Jim Manion, as he is a bodybuilder's man. I hope that Jim Manion will try to implement some of the visions that he had in the NPC hopefully into the IFBB. Jim is not a control freak, and likes to delegate responsibility. I am hoping that Jim will allow himself to have the same kind of delegation on the IFBB pro scene as he does on the NPC level. That will allow for different opinions to come to fruition, and for that, we might see some changes. He is easier to approach and he listens to bodybuilders unless your criticize him. Let's give an opportunity for Jim to try and establish himself. Before, there was no room for compromise; there was no room for reason and not a lot of room for dialogue. Hopefully, Jim will listen to the athletes and understand what needs to get done. As well, hopefully as painful as it might be, he will have patience with the athletes who step up and point out issue and problems that he can address to hopefully, improve matters and not make them worse by tuning them out.
- What do you think with AMI/Weider's taking over as promoters of the Mr. Olympia last year?
I think when a new company, AMI, comes in, it needs to do some tinkering. I think that every move is not going to be effective and there will be criticism, but I would rather them try and tinker with that system than leave it the way it is, because the way it is, isn't working. So it is ok to tinker with it, change it up, and continue - until they find the way that it can work. Rather than messing with the judging rounds, mess with the judges - and you will see a whole lot of doors open up. Have a limit on how long a judge can judge, and have a steady rotation of judges, and that will solve a lot of problems. But I welcome the changes that AMI is brining.
- What was your favorite moment in bodybuilding?
Standing on stage at the NPC Nationals, being crowned the best in amateur in the world. I had already won the NPC Teenage California and Teenage national Championship, but winning the National Title, getting that trophy and earning my Pro Card - I thought of the people that had that trophy before me - and I was 22 years old, in college, living at my mom's house. I thought of Lee Haney in 1982 winning this award, of Bob Paris in 1983 winning this award, of Mike Christian in 1984, Phil Williams in 1985, Gary Strydom in 1986, and now I have mine. Those guys that preceded me were like the superstars of the game. Those guys were in all of the magazines. They were the IFBB and now it was my turn. I thought this was the beginning of something that was going to be a great ride, because at that point and time, my mom and dad were asking me what I want to be in life. While I was in studying Social Psychology at Cal State Fullerton, I was doing what I wanted to be - to be the best bodybuilder on the planet and be in the Mr. Olympia. Winning the NPC Nationals made me realize that I was very close to my dreams - and I was three years removed from high school, as I graduated in 1984.
- What was your worst moment in bodybuilding?
The worst moment was in 1994, when I lost the Mr. Olympia contest. That was even harder to deal with than failing the drug test at the Arnold Classic in 1990 because I won that show. I felt like a winner there, everybody who saw it felt that. At the Mr. Olympia contest, in 1992 I was 4th, in 1993 I was 3rd. In 1994, to wind up second in a contest that I felt I had won, when Dorian had torn his bicep, came in with a bloated stomach, his color was off, and it was clear he was visibly not at his best from 1993. A lot of people came to my room, and told me I looked the best, that I was going to win. The photographers were setting up photo shoot for me. Joe Weider gave me his blessing - he thought that I nailed it. Everybody who knew me knew that I had nailed this show. I used the routine that I turned pro with in 1987, and I nailed that too. I felt that this was going to be the night.
And when they announced Dorian in first, I felt that at that point and time, there was nothing that I could have changed, nothing I would have done differently, and nothing more that I could do. This was the best that I had with my physique, and I was dazed and confused because I didn't know what else I could do with my body? I didn't want to change anything - I was happy. And when I placed second, it was the worst thing. I would have been happier if I had placed 6th or 7th. One person stopped me from my destiny. One person away from realizing a dream since I had in high school. I was 10 years removed from high school, it was two weeks after my 10 years reunion, and when that happened, it took a lot out of me. I retired that night.
- Did you ever analyze the 1994 Mr. Olympia scorecard?
I never looked at the scorecard, I never asked a judge what I could have done better, I never asked why. I knew I should have won just by looking in the mirror. Flex Wheeler had come to my house a week before, and remember that Flex was 2nd at the Olympia a year before that (in 1993, Flex was in a car wreck). He came over, and he said that he had never seen anything that looked like that in person. It is very hard to impress somebody like Flex. Flex rarely gives compliments that I acknowledged to that degree. Afterwards, I had many people come to tell me the same thing. I studied the video, looked at pictures. I found a few things wrong with Dorian and nothing with myself then. After about two weeks, I found peace, because I felt there was nothing I could do to prevent that loss. The judges had it in their mind and it was reaffirmed in 1997 when Dorian tore his triceps, and the judges were verbally telling the athletes before the show that they were going to be marking down for distended stomachs, yet they allowed him to win his 6th Olympia and retire.
- Shawn, you were the ultimate bachelor. When did you switch from your wild ways to a new lifestyle?
I think when you start to understand the true meaning of marriage and commitment. There is no "I" in We. Once you decide to take this responsibility on, it is easy for your old ways to catch up with you somewhere down the road if you act like your Single. So there are changes that you have to make in order to make your marriage a success. That is when my wife and I decided to get involved with a church - and learn how to be good, faithful servants. Here is where I am learning how to be a good husband, good person and a good friend. So it was like going back to school for me because I was not brought up in the church, and I was not brought up reading the bible.
I was Catholic, but very rarely even opened up the bible growing up and kind of followed the rest of the kids. I have been going to Church learning how to be a Christian with an instruction manual called the Holy Bible on how to live in eternity with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To me, my faith is now sustaining our relationship. To be the head of my household and to know what it is like to have the written word of God instructing and directing my life, to me, that is something I didn't have as a bodybuilder. I didn't have that when I was a bachelor - I lived according to Shawn Ray's Rules & Regulations.
- So what was Shawn Ray's Rules & Regulation?
Well, I didn't let a lot of people in. As far as I was concerned, I was a good person, because I was disciplined in my job, I was disciplined in my health, I didn't abuse my body, and I felt like it was me against the world. My mentality was 'Don't let them take from you what you worked so hard to get. Therefore, I didn't allow myself to have a lot of friends in this industry. I didn't allow myself to feel love. I didn't allow people to come in and take, so I was perceived as a taker because I wasn't giving. I think I was perceived as somebody that was out for himself, which in this industry and most professional sports we are. I began Bodybuilding for me, Shawn Ray not for my friends or the fans. It is a sport of vanity and insanity mixed together. Anybody that tries to say that they are not involved in this business for themselves is lying because as a competitor, our job is to take from everybody else and stop them from beating you. You get as much as you can by working your butt off!
When I got out of that lifestyle, I realized that I was in a kind of spiritual warfare and I needed to make some life altering adjustments here to assimilate back into society. To me, I was at war from the inside out! I was at war with the other competitors, I was at war with the federation, I was at war with my physique, I was at war with the demons inside of me and the temptations of food, partying and women, relationships. When I decided to stop competing, there were people who helped me direct my soul into an area where I knew the Holy Spirit was working on me and my salvation. My eternity would be determined by where my heart was when I leave this planet. For me, when I walked away from the stage that was front and center in my life! I feel like I needed to go through Shawn Ray's Rules & Regulations to get to where I am now. I understand why I had to go through the things I did in order to understand the saving grace of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and forgave me.
- The temptation was with women & partying?
No, the temptation was with the sins of the flesh, mind, body and spirit. The temptations with the consumption of vanity and selfishness that comes with the sport of bodybuilding. I think there are a lot of situations that you allow yourself to become a part of that are a detriment to your spiritual growth, that are detriment to your character. As for bodybuilding, I had to get involved in this sport to lose myself, lose my identity, so when I came out of the sport, I could find myself again. Once I wasn't in the gym and stepped off of that competitive stage, I felt like the rebirth of Shawn.
- So did you like figure, fitness or bodybuilding women?
I was a lover of all women. I didn't discriminate against female: White, black, Mexican, Asian - it didn't matter. I was a people's person. I traveled the world; I experienced very different cultures and was exposed to "people" not colors or religions.
- What about twins?
No, I didn't get into all that kind of stuff, I dated a twin, but not at the same time. One thing you can never say about Shawn Ray is that there is a "freaky side" rather I am quite conservative. I have always been grounded in my lifestyle. My family and my friends are a direct reflection of who I was as a bodybuilder and a person. My friends were kids I grew up with in elementary school and junior high. My best man at my wedding, I met in preschool?
- But what about the famous Sasha, the transvestite?
Yeah - I have heard rumors about that too. The irony of becoming a success is that there are people that are going to throw stones at you. I have been told that I have posed nude for pay. I have been told that I have slept with a transsexual. About Sasha - it was her/his friend from Arizona that I dated, she was dancing with her at one of the clubs. Apparently, the rumor got started was just because I was dating her friend that I was with her. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am not into any of that stuff - no threesomes, and nothing like that. But to defend it would make me sound like I am guilty of something. So I just don't get into these types of arguments about these kinds of rumors.
- But you haven't?
No, that is not me. Anyone that knows me will vouch for me. I have also been told that I have dealt drugs, which is how I accumulated part of my wealth and my cars. See, if you put yourself out there, outspoken, and become the best at what you do, you put yourself up as a target - and I take the good with the bad. Because as long as they are talking about me, good, bad or otherwise - I must be doing something right. I don't have an arrest records, I have never dealt drugs in my life - I don't have any paternity suits - I don't have any children out of wedlock - I don't have diseases - and I have never had an appetite for recreational drugs.
- You mean to tell me you never smoked marijuana?
Yes I have, it was in high school, kids do dumb stuff and that was one of them for me. You are taking me way back. I did experiment like most curious teenagers. My life has been one of health and fitness. I was the Grand Marshall of the Placentia Heritage Day Parade, where I was born, in 1994. I was voted 2-time MVP on my football team; I was inducted into my high school hall of fame for football. When I started something, I usually finished it. If I wasn't the best in what I did, I was very close to it. You don't get there with an appetite for destruction, which is associated with recreational drugs, and extracurricular activities that involve freaky stuff. I have never been a part of the underbelly of the bodybuilding world, even though I have stated publicly that former Mr. Olympia, Chris Dickerson and National Champion - Mr. Universe, Bob Paris were two of the main reasons that I got into bodybuilding in the first place. Two openly gay men.
God forbid that I would say that these guys influenced me based on their physiques, but in saying so, there were a lot of little things that were thrown my way in terms of me being gay. Bob Paris, at the time, in 1983, was Mr. America and Mr. Universe. Every girl wanted a piece of Bob and every guy wanted to look like him. Chris Dickerson happened to be Mr. Olympia in 1982, and he was 5'5" tall, and 189 pounds. He was the only thing that looked similar to me in stature. Looking back, I wanted to be a combination of those two, with a distinct posing style. People distorted that, and tried to make in something nasty in my career, tried to make it something perverse. Those were two of the finest gentleman that I have met in bodybuilding. Without those two being in the sport, there would never have been a professional Shawn Ray bodybuilder. My appetite for women was always strong, thank you!
- What perception do people have of you that you think is wrong?
That I mean and out for myself. Most successful people are out for themselves. The responsibility of what they need when they get to where they want to be is solely individual. I love to watch the Apprentice with Donald Trump. Donald Trump - what he had - he worked for, and the lifestyle he lives - he deserves. Some people don't feel the same way for me - especially when they see me in a different car, or they see my house, or they hear me talk about my successes. They want to turn it into something negative - call it arrogant, call in materialistic, whatever they want to do. But the people that are in the inside circle of my life, I am very generous. I am generous with my time, my money and I share what I have with my family and close friends. In bodybuilding, there is a lot of jealously. There are a lot of people who would like to step over you when you are down. In this business, when one bodybuilder falls, another one rises.
When someone loses a contract, people don't feel bad for you. A bodybuilder on the rise looks at that and sees perhaps an opening for himself. The more successful you are as a bodybuilder, the louder the people on the bottom are. Jealous and Envy are real in this sport! I had people complaining to others that I still had a contract with Weider/ AMI even though I was not competing. My question is - what did that have to do with them? Business is business. You reap what you sow in this industry. The people that know me - they know my heart and my inner character. The people that are on the outside looking in - they see small glimpses or hear things and they draw their own conclusions good, bad or indifferent, I really have never cared.
- What is your most embarrassing moment for you in bodybuilding?
When I had to take my 1990 Arnold Classic trophy from my mother's mantle and give it back to them at Gold's Gym of Venice. Embarrassed and shameful.
- Back to the girls, any interesting stories on female bodybuilders?
No, not really. Sad story I heard was that Tonya Knight, who came up with me, was arrested for drugs or something like that which is tragic, because she was one of the best female bodybuilders for her time. I don't like to hear those kinds of stories. It is sad to hear what is happening to professional bodybuilding for the women. They are being told to reduce their muscularity, yet the judges are picking more muscular women now than ever before.
- Who are your friends in the bodybuilding industry, not just acquaintances?
I am friendlier with the writers, as I think they respect me. I forged a good relationship with Peter McGough, long before he became the editor of Flex Magazine. Peter was the editor of Pumping Press over in England. He was Dorian Yates staunchest supporters, but through it all, Peter was very objective, and gave me very good advice. Chris Lund also, the number one photographer, out of England too. These are two Brits, and so is Dorian Yates. I couldn't be further opposite of Dorian, yet these two people I valued their friendship. On the bodybuilding scene, I think Kevin Levrone was the most consistent loyalist with me as a person, not as a competitor, but as a friend.
John Brown was there for me before I began, as well as throughout my pro career, as an advisor and a friend. I met John when I walked into a gym, and five months later I was competing in a contest that he got me into. In 2005, we are still friends, and his 6 year old son was my ring bearer at my wedding. There are few people I let get that close. Flex Wheeler has been a love - hate relationship that somehow worked and stood the test of time. But I think it was because it was like an Ali-Frazier thing. We raised each others game, but through it all, we came out on each others side, and have a mutual respect for each other. The problem with bodybuilding is that it is so impersonal that it is hard to get to know each other well because we are so geographically not close, and competitively, we all have our own agendas.
- When are you going for a tell all book like Jose Consenco did?
I really do not have an autobiography plans in the works. If the opportunity presents itself, then I will tell the life of Shawn Ray as seen by Shawn Ray, the bodybuilder and the person. I don't necessarily think that there is really a need to tell all in bodybuilding in my perspective. But I do have a training manual called the Shawn Ray Way available on my web site: www.shawnray.net.
- I hear you have a number of videos. Tell me about them?
Through my videos, I have been able to give to my fans a portion of Shawn Ray that they can't get out of the magazines. The first one I did was in 1989 called Lifestyles of the Fit and Famous. That was kind of a spin-off of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, as I wanted to show the fans that through bodybuilding, you can live a certain lifestyle if you work hard enough to do it, and I wanted also to capsulize my career up to that point. After that, in 1993, I made Shawn Ray: To The Extreme: Basic Training. That is just my hardcore workout. Three days, to the extreme, breaking down my bodybuilding techniques, and showing you proper instruction on training. In 1995, I made The Best of Shawn Ray, which was up to that point, highlights of all of the Olympia's that I competed in. All the posing routines and I commentated on where I was mentally and physically leading up to those Olympia's.
In 1998, I made Shawn Ray: The Final Countdown. This was a video featuring 12 weeks out from the 1998 Mr. Olympia all the way up to and after the contest, showing you the body transformation. I broke down the diet, showed you how to go through the music selection process, the posing trunks - a synopsis on how to get ready for a pro contest. In 2001, I made Shawn Ray's Inside & Out - Behind the Muscle. That is about a 2 hour video that basically takes you on the inside and outside of professional bodybuilding - up close and personal. At home, on the road in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, some lifestyle, sponsorships - shows you the industry as seen through the eyes of Shawn Ray. I am hoping to come out in 2005 with another DVD that highlights some of the past and present bodybuilders, like a where are they now type clip, to show a little bit more on whom these people are, not just them lifting weights, but whatever became of some of the pro bodybuilders. At the same time, let's see how some of the pros are living now. Let's go visit them in their homes. Something like a true Hollywood story - where are they now.