Happy to have you here, Kirra. Tell us your story, how did you get started modeling and where is your home at the moment? Tell us more about yourself.
Hi, I’m Kirra Collins from Northern Colorado. I’m a Colorado native and grew up in the Eastern Plains of Colorado in a little town called Burlington. I have always had a passion and drive to accomplish my goals even as a young adult. Graduating from a community college with two Associates Degrees before even graduating high school. Later graduating with top honors with a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Then placing my education and career on hold to raise my two amazing boys for eight years. But then I realized I was trying to balance it all and be everything to everyone but neglecting myself. I made my family the priority, which was great for them, but I lost myself somewhere along the way. I decided to start lifting, taking cardio classes, studying nutrition, and applied it day-in and day-out, and within six months I had not only lost the 30 pounds I had gained after having my first two kids, but I had completely transformed my body! Needless to say, the experience was life changing. After it, I felt compelled to pursue a career as a certified personal trainer, instructor, and nutrition specialist. I wanted to empower, educate, and inspire other women to transform their bodies and regain a renewed sense of self -- just as I had.
Shortly after starting my fitness journey, I started my own multi-faceted health and wellness company and became an elite personal trainer for Gold’s Gym and for the last few years helping to transform the bodies and lives of so many women. Fitness has helped me develop and strengthen my character, as it gave me so much more confidence in myself. I began to believe in and love myself even more, and I was able to free myself of negative things like negative people, bad food, and nonsensical things that were influencing my life. The results from my lifestyle are not just limited to my body. As a result, it opened up a newfound love and career in modeling.
Also, I attribute my success in modeling and fitness to always being “real” and staying true to myself. I have built a lot of new friendships and have met a lot of great people by just being me. In life you must stay humble and be grateful. I always try to be positive and encourage others to do the same. Your attitude influences everything you do in life and how you get along with others. When you work hard and love what you are doing, the rest falls into place.
What else do you do next to modeling?
Most fitness enthusiasts can’t seem to do just one thing, and I am no exception. I’m a full-time Mom, Elite Personal Trainer, Contest Prep Coach, Nutrition consultant and Fitness Model. I am also a Nationally Qualified NPC Bikini Competitor. Winning three NPC Overall Bikini Titles and named 2019 Colorado Athlete of the Year in the first four months of competing. Then in 2020 I stepped on the national stage for the first-time placing fifth overall, just four spots from my IFBB Pro Card. I also competed in three national events in 2021.
What do you love most about being a model?
This makes me laugh, because in my head I automatically think- why are you asking me this? I guess it still hasn’t set in that I am a “model”. Of course, every girl wants to become a model or fitness model, I feel it is a common dream/goal. But to be honest I never saw that happening for myself. I saw body building as my outlet for competition. I have always been a very competitive person and when I quit playing sports, I was looking for something to channel my competitive nature. All I knew is that I wanted to be the best at the sport, and I put everything into the last couple years trying to achieve that goal. Like I mentioned, the idea of fitness modeling sounded great, but I knew there were so many other girls with that same goal in mind and I needed to “prove” myself to stand out in another way. I didn’t have any connections within the industry and didn’t know how to go about landing sponsors or modeling gigs, but I knew the more my name was thrown around and the more people were talking about me the better my chances.
So, as I became better at the sport, I started working with more local photographers to build my portfolio and give me more fitness based looks to market myself. I started networking on social media, gaining sponsors, and working with small businesses. Within the last year I have landed many gigs through these connections and the reputation I have built. I currently have sponsorships with 5 different companies and an endorsement contract with Sculpted MD & Nutrithority. Once you are out there in mass circulation it becomes easier, but the key is getting to that point. Again, it’s not something that is easily explainable cause I often wonder how I even got here without necessarily “trying” to become a fitness model.
And, what do you least enjoy about modeling?
We don’t all aspire to the same aesthetic goal. Some women want big muscles. Some want to be super lean. Everyone’s values about physical appearance are different. Moreover, people have different genetic gifts. Many fit women and female athletes don’t look like fitness models and are very happy with the way they look. People write me to tell me that they find that I am too muscular, or too lean, or I should change something. I didn’t realize how much feedback I would get on my physique once I started modeling. So, that has been an adjustment and something that I probably least enjoy about modeling.
What is the most challenging being a model?
Many people think being a model must be easy, just sit there and look pretty. I was actually very surprised at how difficult it is, especially fitness modeling. You must stay in constant shape and be able to lean down on short notice. You must spend long hours in the gym and maintain a very strict diet that can affect your relationships with friends and family. Social occasions such as BBQs, dining out, or going for drinks often aren't possible due to temptations, and all of this is just prep before a shoot. During shoots, a serious model needs to know herself and her body. You need to be able to tap into an emotional event or find something within yourself that will give your eyes the proper look. You also must be able to hold uncomfortable positions for long periods of time and be adaptable. The day after a shoot I have often found myself as sore as a hard day in the gym from holding awkward poses that utilizes muscle that sometimes get overlooked.
Also, you must be strong inside and out. You have to be 100% comfortable and secure with yourself, and you have to be doing it for yourself. If you don’t have even one of those three things, it will be hard to succeed.. You can’t imagine some of the things that people will say about you and your body. Hopefully most of it will be supportive, but there will be plenty of people who will cut you down. That’s why you must make sure that you’re not doing it to please others. If you are, you’ll be miserable. You can never make everyone happy, some people like girls with muscle, others will call you a man. Others will say you’re too skinny and need to eat a cheeseburger. If you base your self-image on what those people are saying, you’ll be confused and unhappy. But if you base it on your inner strength, ability to reach your own goals, and confidence in the lifestyle you’ve chosen, then you’ll be successful!
If you could change something in the modeling world, what would it be?
Fashion and modeling have always been a way to express yourself, but I think now more than ever designers and models need to use the opportunity to make a statement. Such as evolving and working to be more inclusive of all kinds of people. I love that women of all sizes are now being celebrated and even more companies have stopped photoshopping their models, making sure to include their stretch marks, lumps, bumps and all the glorious things women have to offer. Also, for those who work behind the scenes to have a little more praise and credit for their work,
What fuels your imagination and provides you with inspiration?
My motivation comes from all the positive changes I have made to my physique so far. It’s very self-rewarding to see your body become stronger and healthier as a result of your hard work and discipline. I have never felt better about myself as I do now. It’s an ongoing process and I truly enjoy every minute of it. I have a personal standard of fitness and health that I subscribe to and that I enjoy sharing with others. I can’t help others if I don’t have myself squared away first, so that’s a big motivator. I also have a lot of goals for myself that motivate me during my workouts. I like to challenge myself and continually push my limits. I always want to get a better max, a faster time, or another rep. That competition with myself keeps me going.
What keeps you excited about life in general?
I stay motivated by reminding myself that I’m setting an example for my boys, my clients, my friends and the thousands of mothers out there who may think they can’t look great after having kids.
Looking back how has modeling experience changed your personal/professional life? Have you grown more comfortable with yourself since you have started?
Ever since I started fitness modeling, I have noticed not only that I am feeling more positive and confident about my life, but also that I am more organized, more motivated and more determined. No goals seem unattainable to me anymore. Taking risks in order to accomplish my goals has just gotten easier over time. Even without “winning” a competition, I learned so much about myself, especially letting go of all the fears and anxieties that limited me in my past; but when I began to win, it became that much sweeter a victory! I have learned that taking a risk is necessary for growth, and that it’s not something I should fear.
What kind of life would you like to have?
My dream life allows me to be a successful, well known, and respected face of the fitness industry. My personal training and NPC Coaching Career will grow into a larger team and more clients allowing more women to become fit, healthy, and happy. Also, being able to share my passion by inspiring others to find their passion in life and fitness. I know I have a long and hard road ahead of me, but I have made great strides towards this goal in this industry. I believe if you aspire to live your dreams and don't hold back, no matter what the risk, you are already successful.
What are the achievements you are proud of most of today?
I am most proud of my boys and being an example and role model for them both. Having an amazing career focused on empowering, inspiring, and helping women change their lives.
2021 Fitness Cover Model
2021 Sculpted MD Sponsored Athlete
2021 Nutrithority Sponsored Athlete
2021 Iron Angels Team Head Contest Prep Trainer – Multiple overall Titles & Class Winners
2021 Masters Top 10 National Bikini
2021 North Americans Top 6 National Bikini
2020 Team Universe Top 5 National
2020 Colorado Rocky Bikini Open Winner
2019 Colorado Athlete of the Year
2019 Miss Brave Heart
2019 Miss Brave Heart Masters Overall
2019 Miss Iron Heart Masters Overall
2019 Colorado State Novice Open Overall
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?
Kirra Collins, CPT
Model: Kirra Collins @kirracollins
Makeup Artist: Glam Gal @glam_gal
Photographer: Kaya Munn Photography @kayamunn_photography
Photographer: Kacey Cole @kaceycolephotography
Makeup Artist: Amelia May @amelias_magic