Denise “Stella” Matthews

Life & Accountability Coach
Wellness Natural Bodybuilding Athlete

I am from a little city outside Mobile, Alabama, called Prichard. I graduated from CF Vigor High School, and upon graduation, I joined the US Army. I have been an employee of the Veteran Health
Administration since October 2012.

After high school, life seemed to come at me extremely fast. I made several mistakes, but with every fall, I could get back up. Through all the struggles in my life, fitness has always been my safe space. I would run in the morning before work and on my lunch break. When I ran, I envisioned being free from all my problems. It was my time to build a solid spiritual relationship with God and praise him for everything he had blessed me with.

So how did I end up here in the world of bodybuilding? I tried bodybuilding about 13 years ago
and was told after over six months of training that my body would not fit into any category. Fast forward to June 2021. My coach, Genae Banks, asked if I wanted to try bodybuilding. My reply was no. I remembered what I was told years ago, and my body shape was clearly the same. She said perhaps you should think about it and let me know. After processing the thoughts and remembering what I was told 13 years ago, I decided to try it. I thought about all the women who look at their bodies and feel
ashamed. I wanted to change the narrative that you do not have to be perfect to pursue your goals.

The Road to the Stage

The road to the stage was my life’s most challenging five months. Competition prep took over
every aspect of my life. I had to make decisions about engagements and social events. My diet was
stringent, and casually eating out was not on the plan. The program shocked my body, causing
moodiness and irritability. I spent days alone because I was exhausted or could not enjoy what everyone was having. It was brutal. However, it required me to be disciplined and consistent each day.
Life has a fascinating way of taking us down paths that do not give us a clear vision.

We blindly trust the plan that will lead us to our purpose. In my purpose of helping others, this process taught me how to remain focused and disciplined. When I stepped on the stage, I showed up for myself and other women who had doubts and insecurities about themselves. The purpose is to lead and show others that they are enough.