Pearl Thompson: Trains like a man, looks like a goddess
By Grace Chirumanzu
October 25, 2011
Tough and strong is a typical description of men in African society. But 33-year-old Pearl Thompson has proved that women can also bear that description - without giving their beauty away for it.
Pearl Thompson – beauty comes from within.
Watching her flex her muscles at the recent Mr and Ms Pro-Fitness bodybuilding competition, where she came second, left many women intrigued by her audacity to plunge into such a male-dominated sport.
They must have thought to themselves, “why lose my feminine beauty for a man’s bulky body, all in the name of sport?”
Most beauty pageants around the world have preached the gospel of women’s beauty as something only possessed by skinny, tall women. Muscles have no place in these sermons unless it is a men’s chapter, but Thompson has proved that there are no limitations to a woman’s beauty.
The single mother to a four-year-old girl has looked and felt more beautiful since she started lifting weights back in 2009.
“Beauty starts from within, if you feel good inside then you feel beautiful. There is no point in having a beautiful face when you feel rubbish inside and it is difficult to feel that way when the body is not functioning well inside. That is why it is important for people to go to the gym or do some form of physical activity because the happy hormones are released when you do some form of exercise,” said Thompson.
“One can still be a fat woman and feel beautiful; they don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful.”
Thompson, who was born in Zambia, lived in Zimbabwe her whole life and started weightlifting after attending an inspiring bodybuilding contest in Harare about 12 years ago.
“I started my training with Otis Goredema who noticed at that time that I had an interest in the gym, he became my personal trainer and helped me win the Ms Zim competition in 2002. For the past four years I have been training with Givemore Marume and Kenny Guwa, they have really helped me by pushing me each time,” she said.
Thompson who once weighed 75kgs feels good at her current 65kgs.
“It is mainly about eating healthy; we don’t look like the body builders seen in other countries because here we don’t take supplements that boost our bodies. We just take a diet that allows the body to look like that,” Thompson explained.
“A lot of people are surprised to know that I do bodybuilding, but it is mainly because I still look like a woman.”
Despite deciding to come into the sport as a “hobby” and competing at some contests “just to support her gym” Thompson clinched her first prize at the 2002 edition of the Ms Zimbabwe bodybuilding contest, at the age of 24.
What makes her an inspiration is her ability to juggle her roles not just as a woman in a man’s world but as a single mother. She runs an Art and Craft Academy in Harare Milton Park. Thompson spends most of her time at the school as well as visiting the gym and making sure she spends quality time with her daughter.