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Dining with Denise

img_0482Last week it was catch up time with Doug Brignole at the Cheesecake Factory in Pasadena. Today the theme and venue was the same, but the scenery was much, much nicer. Sorry, Dougie, but who would you rather sit face to face with, me or Denise Masino?

Although I heard that Denise had moved from Ft. Myers, Florida, to California a couple of years back, I didn’t get that verified until we ran into each other at the Arnold After Party in Columbus, Ohio in early March.

She introduced me to her hubby, Greg, who she married a year ago (Denise is still business partners-and good friends-with Rob, her former spouse of 14 years), and suggested we get together soon when we got back to L.A.

As is usually the case, sooner usually means later, so I gave Masino a reminder email last week that it’s been two months since that vow; she said “oops”, then agreed to drive in from her Studio City residence and meet me at one of my favorite eateries in Pasadena for lunch.

Still dazzling at 41, the female Frican ‘Rican (hey Gustavo Badell, you have to share the moniker now) told me she has been coming out to L.A. off and on for five years for business, but decided to make a permanent move at the end of 2006-although she still owns her home in Florida and visits fairly often.

I reminded her of the first time I met her-in June, 1995, when the late John Mese flew me in to emcee the Florida State Championships in Miami. Denise, who won the show the year before, guest posed in a super sexy Indian outfit. Five months later, in New Orleans, Louisiana, I called out her name as the Lightweight winner at the NPC Nationals.

Masino has done well in the pro ranks (she’s been second in her class at both the Ms. Olympia and the Ms. International) and says she still loves competing, but is not sure if she’ll get back on stage anytime soon. The biggest reason is the elimination of the weight classes for the women.

img_0485“I’m small….5’1″ and about 130 pounds when I compete,” she said. “When there were weight classes, I went into a show knowing I had a chance to win, or finish high…without weight classes people like myself get totally lost up there.”

Denise is also no dummy. She realizes that extra classes means more cash out of the promoter’s pocket, and that another division adds even more time to contests in an industry that will be bringing in Bikini to the pro level next year.

But, no need to feel sorry for this New York born entrepreneur. She continues to produce Muscle Elegance, the magazine she started with Rob about a decade back (now viewed online only at and has other projects in the works as well. Her website is

She trains these days at Gold’s in Hollywood and North Hollywood but, even though she says she stays in shape all year round, Denise didn’t hesitate when I asked if she’d like dessert. Not wanting to be a party pooper, I reluctantly agreed (well, not so reluctantly) when she said we could share one. My choice. Banana cheesecake it was. There go my abs for the summer. Well, as we all know, they disappeared many summers ago.

This was fun, and interesting. We talked for an hour and a half on a variety of topics, including her dismay at the price of real estate in Southern Cal. Hey, there’s a price to pay to live in paradise, girl. Plus, you don’t get to have lunch with me if you move back to Florida!

What else is there?

Instantized Creatine- Gains In Bulk


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