I’m a 70s bi$ch born in the small town of Kamloops, BC Canada. My home was in Alberta, Canada until I was eight, getting my start in life in the small towns of Sundrey, Olds and Calgary. In 1983 I moved to Victoria, BC where I dominated for 27 years.
My mother is disabled, and it’s through her loving heart and unconditional kindness to everyone she meets I have learned to see life as a gift, never to be taken for granted. I have three Dads, cause my momma is so fricken sweet. My first Dad loves to hike mountains and works with wood building things for fun. My second Dad is 20 years older than my mom and he's an excellent cook, as he was a chef in the Army back in the day. I learned from him the importance of recycling and to work hard for everything you want in life. My third father is a wonderful person, and truly the perfect match for my mother. He is 10 years younger, and works painfully hard and long hours for every penny. It’s disheartening to me to see the Canadian government deduct money from my mothers handicap pension when my Dad makes more than a certain amount. Definitely a case of the rich get richer and the poorer get poorer.
My brother is a VW Mechanic, and I am pretty sure he is also part elf. My aunt Mary Coutts-Bendsen is a pretty famous basketball player, and is now in her early 70’s, which is the new 50. Especially since she took up pole fitness classes when she turned 71.
I have been married twice and divorced twice. Sounds like a common story right? Well I will share with you an interesting fact. Are you ready? My first marriage was to a man, and the second was to a woman. Today I am living my 20s again, going after my starlet dreams of performing in a Las Vegas Show, starring in more movies and having a baby. Even if I have to make my own show, my own movies and use technology to make my baby, it’s going to happen. You can learn more about me in my upcoming books.
I have been to various cities across Canada including Whitehorse, and have enjoyed visiting both coasts of Mexico, Jamaica, various cities in California, Nevada, the north and south coast of Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Hawaii, Washington, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and Kentucky. In Europe, I have enjoyed working in Antwerpen, Belgium; Prague Czech Rep, Cannes France and Zurich Switzerland. For six months Nassau, Bahamas was my home. I love travelling, meeting new friends and learning about different cultures.
In elementary school I ran cross country and the 800m. I also played numerous team sports, but enjoyed volleyball most. In 1994 fresh out of high school, I began working as an exotic dancer, and with no prior dance training I performed my way to the top of the Canadian exotic dance circuit. 18 months later I quit, leaving for a guy, and never looked back until the recession in 2008. Yup, 12 years after retiring from dancing I stepped back on stage trying to walk in these new shoes called platform heels, lol. Needless to say, I teach in bare feet and leg warmers so that’s my excuse (for crawling most of the time on stage) and I’m sticking to it. In 95’ I began weight training on a regular basis, read everything I could that pertained to fitness and nutrition and submersed myself in the world of bodybuilding. I earned my group fitness and personal trainers certification and kept it current today. In 2001 I attempted to take up golf, by taking lessons with Lori Randle (Pro), but have only been to the driving range, pretty sad I know. After 25 competitions I happily enjoy my life as a studio owner, pole dance instructor, and CEO of Pole Expo, my newest project. I weight train and do cardio a few days a week, and teach 3 - 6 classes a week. Trying to keep my life simple, though that’s simply complicated at times.
At the age of 13 with two 5lb dumbbells, (which I asked my grandmother for Christmas) I simply moved them around any way I could. Doing curls, shoulder presses and lying on my back and working my chest was my first workout.
At 16 I was starting to gain weight but didn't notice until turning 18. I gained some muscle during my first two years of dabbling with weights, but with my unbalanced diet (too many carbs) I also gained fat. My weight was 140 lbs. When I lost weight from dancing (down 30 pounds), I saw that I had potential to build a nice physique. Joining a gym and learning about food was my ticket to my current condition. Today I balance my job as a pole dancing instructor with my passion for weight training and running.
For my first show in 1999, I found out what I was made of (physically and emotionally) and placed 1st in the women's light weight, Muscle & Fitness Mania, in Burnaby, BC Canada. In Sept 2003 I competed a second time, but in figure rather than bodybuilding, and earned a spot in the Canadian Nationals! I am hooked, though it's not always a piece of cake. Sometimes it's the whole cake!
In 2004 I placed 9th at the Canadian Nationals, and in 2005 placed 5th at the Emerald Cup. My prep for the Emerald Cup was a combo of weight training and pole dancing. Teaching pole dancing 20 - 30 hours a week kept me lean but I know that for my next show, I will need to include other forms of cardio… I have competed many times since 2005 and have placed 9th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st at the Canadian Nationals and 2nd in Fitness America. In 2010 I placed in MGM Grands Wet Republic HOT 100 contest in Las Vegas.
In 1998 I started a basic portfolio which quickly grew. Shooting with any photographer possible has giving me true sense of how to work with both the camera and person shooting. Until 2002 I had appeared in a few magazines such as Oxygen's back cover for Muscle Marketing USA, and Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness's last page for Cardillo Weight Belts. In Feb 2002 I decided to give modeling all I had, by entering the yearly model search for Malibu Body Wear. I was one of the two female winners and in June 2002 shot with photographer Alex Ardenti. My previous shooting came in handy, and I had my first shoot with a top fitness magazine photographer. In Oct 2002, I shot with Alex a second time with Canadian pro bodybuilder Mike Platz, for the cover of MuscleMag. This photo became the cover for March 2003s MuscleMag International!
With that cover, I had gained the confidence to go after my dream of becoming a recognized fitness athlete and model offering guidance, inspiring others to take better care of their bodies.
Photographers Sarah Lyons, Eva Simon, Justin Price, Shane O’neal, Ferry Teunisse, Adam Jay, Christopher Donald, Sam Green, Nina Reed, Don Curry, Alex Ardenti, Terry Goodlad, Ralph DeHaan, Robert Rieff, Eric Freimanis, Bill Dobbins, Michael Palmer, JP Erickson, JC, Larry Niven, Alan Worsfold, Mark Mozzier, John Stutz, George Kontaxis, Danny Fittro, Jennifer Chamberlin, David Ford, David Bohn, Christa Rivington, for your time spent with me, and your talent behind the camera! A special thank you to (the late) Robert Kennedy from Oxygen and American Curves and to Jeff Everson of Planet Muscle, and to the staff at Weider publications of Flex and Muscle & Fitness, for publishing me in your magazines.
Thank you BodyBuilding.com, for offering the best in fitness information and products, and for standing by me since 2002, and to my current fitness sponsor Twin Lab.
For my first fitness show in 1999, I found out what I was made of (physically and emotionally) and placed 1st in the women's light weight bodybuilding at the Muscle & Fitness Mania, in Burnaby, BC Canada. In Sept 2003 I competed a second time, but this time in the Figure category, rather than bodybuilding, and earned a spot in the Canadian Nationals. 10 shows and a first place National title later I have expereinced the highs and lows of competing, and want to thanks to my family and friends for their support. And thank you to my partner Kathy for accepting my obsession with dance, modeling, and accomplishing endless hours of office work. I know it’s never done! I am looking forward to seeing you all at The Arnold Sports Festival and Pole Expo each year!
I love to compete. Why, you may ask? Competition gives my life structure and I love working towards a goal. The journey towards a contest is a ritualistic one for me and I enjoy the natural rhythm that comes with being ‘on track.
Previous to my contests below, I was a long distance runner and placed top 5 in all my races. Then in high school I as introduced to wrestling! Yes we had a women’s wrestling team and I really enjoyed learning how to maneuver people around while avoiding getting pinned. Next was my love for dance and the female physique.
The last few years I have taken a break from competing to focus on my career as a pole dancing instructor and judge. I have also created Pole Expo, which takes nine months to organize. This bad boy is a four day pole convention which I host every September in Las Vegas.
I have appeared in the following magazines and calendars
I have appeared in the following magazines and calendars
Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness, Oxygen Magazine, Muscle Marketing USA, Pumped Action Wear clothing, Buds & Babes Calendar, Cardillo Weight Belts Calendar and Catalog, Celebrity Sleuth, Playboy’s Natural Beauties, Women of Vancouver Calendar, Drive Health & Fitness, Makes & Models' Magazine: Playboy Playmates Etc, Flex Magazine, Menz Magazine, Ultimate Athlete, Playboy’s Lingerie, Malibu Body Wear, Ms. Fitness, Canadian Health & Fitness, Muscle Magazine International, Muscle & Fitness, Playboy's Blondes, Brunettes & Redheads, American Curves, Hardcore Muscle, Playboys Girls of Canada calendar, Double XL, Body Of Science, Fit Body, Ms. Bikini calendar, Unforforgettable Women calendar, Vegas magazine, Las Vegas Life, Strip Las Vegas.
Contributing writer: Bodybuilding.com, Oxygen Magazine, Element Fitness, Status Fitness Magazine, Body Sport Magazine, Fun & Fit Life, and Body Of Science Magazine.
The woman behind the pole
The woman behind the pole
Canadian born Fawnia Mondey is the pioneer of pole dancing instruction as she produced the world’s first instructional video on how to pole dance. Since her start in 94 Fawnia has produced seven instructional DVDs, taught thousands of women worldwide, and owns ‘Pole Fitness Studio’ in Las Vegas, NV. USA. Fawnia is respected judge for pole competitions around the world at the highest of levels including the World Pole Dance Championships, the World Pole Sports Championships by the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) and the International Pole Championships (IPC) hosted by the International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA).
With over 20 years experience teaching, Fawnia’s certifications include Personal Training, Group Fitness, iKick, Zumba, and PiYo. Seeing the demand for safe and effective pole dancing instruction, Fawnia created the Pole Dance Instructor Certification (PDIC) which is a complete training program and guide for running a safe, informative and successful pole dancing school.
Fawnia wrote the forward for The complete Idiots Guide to Exotic and Pole dancing Illustrated (Paperback) in 2007 and was voted The United Pole Artists Pro-Poler of the year 2011. In addition to teaching at Pole Fitness Studio, Fawnia instructs pole dancing workshops at the University of Las Vegas (UNLV) and also offer education lectures at UNLV's "Dance 103: Sex, Dance and Entertainment" class. Fawnia is on the board of directors for the Pole Fitness Association (PFA) and on the Olympic committee for the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) as an Elite Athlete with efforts towards the 2020 Olympics. The Pole Dance Community (PDC) awarded Fawnia with the PDC Pioneer Award in 2012. During the International Pole Championships (IPC) in Singapore Fawnia was awarded the IPDFA Industry Leader of the Year award for 2014. Locally she was awarded Las Vegas Top 100 Women of Influence for 2014.
In 2011 Fawnia created Pole Expo and hosted the worlds first Pole Expo in 2012 in Las Vegas. In 2018 Pole Expo has grown to be the largest event of its kind welcoming attendees from over 50 countries.
Fawnia produced the world’s first instructional video Pole Work, volume 1 in 1998 and went on to produce six more titles: ‘Dance Moves & Floor Work”, “Fawnia Live in Stage”, Lap Dancing & Entertaining Your Man”, “Making Fitness Fun” (formally “Fitness for the Dancer” ), “Male Exotic Dancing”, and “Advanced Pole Work & Fire”. Fawnia has also graced the pages of four Playboy special edition magazines, plus Playboy's Best of Canadian Girls Calendar, the March 2003 cover of Muscle Mag International, and back cover of Oxygen Magazine and three spreads in Muscle & Fitness Magazine.
Fawnia works closely with BodyBuilding.com as a writer and spokes model to promote health and fitness alongside their amazing team at events such as The Arnold Sports Festival, The Olympia, and The UFC expo in Las Vegas.
Since Fawnia began teaching pole dancing in 1994, she has seen the pole fitness industry grown exponentially to include a broad range of products, pole moves and techniques, and launch the careers of countless super star instructors and performers. Creating Pole Expo in 2011 with her friend Kerri Friedman will always be pivotal time in her career, solidifying Fawnia's position as a leading pioneer in the world of Pole Fitness.
In 2014 Arnold Schwarzenegger welcomed Pole Fitness into the Arnold Sports Festival as an official sport. Fawnia was the emcee for the anagual Pole Championship Series, which will be held annually, along with workshops and a variety of pole fitness competitions for both women and men.
Twice a year Fawnia speaks at UNLV to the students of the Dance 103 class (Sex, Dance & Entertainment) about the history and future of pole fitness. In fact several key pole fitness pioneers have been working hard to get Pole Sport recognized by the Olympics.
Modern dance pole dancing has evolved into exercise from practiced by not only professional and performers but by everyone from casual students and fitness enthusiasts to national and internationally recognized pole athletes. The world of Western Pole dates back a lot further then many would imagine. Pole is practiced today by both women and men and is a fusion of Chinese pole, Indian Pole or ‘Mallakhamb’, other circus based (eg. Dutch and French pole) exotic dance of various international influences and pole dancing as seen in the travelling fairs of the American Depression.
Chinese pole is usually what comes to mind when thinking about the history of pole fitness and you would not be wrong. The history of ‘Chinese Pole’ dates back to prior to the 12th century, when professionals of the era would use a pole, approximately 3 – 9 meters in height, laced with a rubber material and wear fully body costumes.
Performances of the Chinese pole were less fluid than performances we now see using a pole, due to the grip from the pole and the costume, but many tricks like ‘the flag’ holding straight out at a 90 degree angle to the pole using nothing but arm strength, are still being used to this day. Chinese acrobats would display climbing, sliding down, stretching and holding positions using acute strength and skill. Performers of this time would regularly have burn marks on their shoulders from performing and training which became a way for them to identify and have respect for one another within this art form.
With the flips and jumps, sometimes performed with two or more performers and poles there is much crossover to this day between these Chinese circus performances using pole and that of Cirque Du Soleil.
The Indians also have a ‘pole’ tradition of some form dating back to over 800 years and originating in Maharashtra. This form was referred to as “Pole Mallakhamb” and was intended as a way for wrestlers to train. Yes, wrestlers! The literal translation meaning ‘wrestler of pole’; “Malla” = ‘wrestler’ and “Khamb” = ‘of pole.’
The Indians would often play competitively, using a smooth wooden pole with a base diameter of 55cm and thinner diameter at the top of 35cm, which was sometimes laced with a castor oil to avoid friction. They would wear little clothing, taken from inspirations of yoga clothing or they would wear similar clothing to swear and no shoes to allow better skin to pole grip. They became pole flip specialists and would often begin a performance by running up and flipping directly on the pole. No easy feat by any means, as it required a great deal of precision and agility.
Pole Mallakhamb was used to develop speed, reflexes, concentration and co-ordination. Training in this form helped to increase stamina, strength and endurance. It was believed that this type of training was beneficial in practicing many other games and sports such as Wrestling, Judo, Athletics, Horse-riding, and it improved flexibility, grace, swiftness and rhythm especially for gymnasts.
Nowadays there are national Mallakhamb championships involving 14 states in India, and is a very male dominated environment in which women do not participate.
HOW DO THESE FORMS COMPARE TO POLE AS WE NOW KNOW IT?
Pole as now evolved into a modern day exercise form, not just for professionals and performance and not just for one sex. The world of western Pole dates back a lot longer when you would imagine.
An effort to include pole dancing in the Olympics was initiated by K.T. Coates. International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA) founder, Ania Przeplasko and Pole Fitness Studio (PFS) founder, Fawnia Mondey strongly support this idea and both have in many interviews highlighted this cause. IPDFA and PFS seek to gain the International Olympic Committee’s recognition of pole dance as a sport. US Pole Sports Federation (USPSF) is the national federation and the US governing body for Pole Sports. It was founded in 2014 under the name US Pole Sports Federation, and is a non profit 501c3 along with being a non-governmental national organization constituted under US law. The Federation is a member of the Pole Sports & Art World Federation (POSA), one of the international governing bodies for pole sports and the host of the Pole Sports and Arts World Championships and Pole Art Worlds. The USPSF is a leader in the community and is working towards Pole Sports being recognized globally as a sport and the eventual inclusion into main stream sport events and the Olympic Games.
The US, Europe, Australia and Asia quickly followed, with pole dancing and pole fitness classes, studios, academics, competition and training spaces opening worldwide. So today, modern pole is a combination of these centuries’ old techniques, and has evolved into a modern day form that relies heavily on dance as well as fitness skills.
The fusion of the finely tuned circus performer skills and of the Chinese, and the energetic acrobatic skills of the Indians and the alluring and sensuous dance skills of the Western world, are what make up pole dancing as we know it today.
Going forward, Pole Expo, founded by Fawnia Mondey, is joining with US Pole Sports Federation, president by Summer Vyne, in Las Vegas September 2018 to grow as a community and continue making history.