Source: NJ Herald
When Angela Gargano tore her ACL, while performing for her college’s NCAA gymnastics team, it ultimately became a blessing in disguise.
“I had always done well in sports but I was never really well-conditioned, so I became really involved with a new process of hiring a trainer and staying healthy,” she said.
It was perhaps with her newfound empowerment that Gargano was announced as one of this year’s five finalists for Women’s Health magazine’s fifth annual search for the Next Fitness Star.
Gargano, donned in a navy blue sports bra, red shorts and blue sneakers, beaming with a bright smile, stands beside her fellow competitors on the flip cover of the magazine for the July/August issue, which is on newsstands now. On the inside, Gargano has a full-page spread on the importance of embracing her own strengths, as depicted in a photo which has her balancing on a wooden box with one arm.
The competition, which Women’s Health said in the application looks for women with “tenacity, passion and skills” has readers vote online for their favorite fitness star until Aug. 4. A panel of expert and celebrity judges will also have a hand in the decision.
The winner, who will be announced on TV show The Insider on Aug. 22, will receive $10,000 cash, the title of Women’s Health Next Fitness Star, a feature in WomensHealthmag.com and Women’s Health magazine, and potential inclusion in Women’s Health Next Fitness Star DVD’s, photos or videos.
In February of this year, a client sent her the link for the Women’s Health competition, and although she was hesitant to apply since she assumed thousands would, she did it anyway. In March, she got the call she was one of the top five finalists and was sent to New York City for a photo shoot where she received “star” treatment — “They actually chopped off all my hair and dyed it,” she laughed.
Now up to the public to decide her fate online, Gargano is slated to fly out to Los Angeles, Calif., in August to meet up with the finalists and find out if she won.
As a child, Gargano said she was often bullied by boys who made fun of her defined arms, a product of hitting the gymnastics floor on a daily basis. “I love my arms and I love my strength– Those arms are one of my favorite body parts now because of how strong they are.”
Although Gargano said that regardless of if she wins or not, she feels as if she already has because she has had the ability to share her story and help people along the way. “I hope that girls see my story and start to embrace their inner and outer strengths, that being strong is beautiful,” she said.