Merrill Norrdin: IPL Pro Masters Evening Gown Champion

“As soon as I put on that dress, there was a total transformation for me! I felt strong and sexy! I knew I could bring it on stage too!”

2021 IPL SoCal Evening Gown Masters Pro Champion, Merrill Norrdin!

     After placing 1st and earning her Pro Card in Bikini Masters 40+ Merrill would reappear, this time in the Evening Gown division. And here, she would DOMINATE!

     First up was Masters 40+ where she would take 1st place, earn her second Pro Card AND win the Overall. THEN she would head into the Open for another win and Pro Card. Finally, Merrill would waste no time and hopped into the Pro class for her Pro Debut, and WON! Earning her first IPL Pro title!

Complete list of Merrill’s placements at the SoCal Pro/Am:

*1st & Pro Card Bikini Masters 40+

*2nd Bikini Open

*1st, Pro Card & Overall Evening Gown Masters 40+

*1st & Pro Card Evening Gown Open

*1st Pro Evening Gown Masters (Pro Debut)


BEN YOSEF: Congratulations to you on such an amazing showing at the IPL SoCal show! You crushed it! It has been a couple of months now since the show. Take me back to that day and what it was like for you. How were you feeling on the morning of the show?

MERRILL NORRDIN: Oh my goodness! Thank you so much! I still can’t believe it! What a day that was! To be honest, I had so many emotions running through me! Since this was my first prep and show experience, I really didn’t know how the day was going to turn out! I was nervous, excited, a bit emotional and hungry!

BEN: Well, you handled the day like a true professional. AND not only BECAME an IPL Professional in three classes, but also won your first Pro title! This entire issue is dedicated to the IPL Evening Gown division, so let’s get into that. But we will definitely have to bring you back to talk Bikini.

     What was is it about the IPL Evening Gown division that captured your interest when deciding to enter this contest? And what was it like to hit the stage for the fist time in Evening Gown, for the Masters 40+ class?

MERRILL: Yeah, it was kind of an amazing day all around! As for Evening Gown, to be honest, I was on the fence about doing it! But I am so glad I ended up doing it! I had been looking through photos and videos of past comps and the ladies on stage just looked so sexy and confident. Sexier than in their bikinis, believe it or not! So I just thought if I am going to do this, do it all!

     I knew that my back was my strength. So getting a gown with a low back and a “wow” color was what I wanted! As soon as I put on that dress, there was a total transformation for me! I felt strong and sexy! I knew I could bring it on stage too! I channeled my inner sex kitten, if you will. I held my breath and went for it! Hearing my husband and my friends cheering me on made me work that stage even more!

BEN: Love it! You definitely came alive during the Evening Gown division. You would then head into the Open, where you would snag anther win and Pro Card. What was it like competing in the Open? Were you feeling tons of momentum and confidence after just winning in 40+? And what was it like to take your second win in the Evening Gown division?

MERRILL: Yeah, I was definitely feeling awesome after that first Evening Gown class! Not too shabby for a forty-three-year-old mama of three! Winning the Open was amazing and my Pro Card on top of that! Honestly, all of this was so unexpected. I woke up that morning not even thinking about winning. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t forget my posing and not to fall! The ladies all looked phenomenal in their gowns, so it was an honor to win.

BEN: Finally, you would make your Pro Debut in Masters Evening Gown, winning your first IPL Pro title! Was it a tough decision for you to hit the Pro stage or was it just par for the course? And what was it like earning that final win?

MERRILL: The whole experience was so humbling and unexpected. I just remember being on stage standing arm in arm with my teammate Ana and Hiral, who both looked incredible, and couldn’t believe it! It was all so surreal! I think that is the theme for the whole day for me! It wasn’t a tough decision per se. It wasn’t something that I even thought was possible that day! I just remember you asking me if I wanted to enter the Masters Pro division, and everyone was cheering and clapping for me. So I went for it!

     Winning Masters Pro Evening Gown on top of everything else that day was the ending to an incredible day! I remember getting to walk out to Britney Spears, “Work B**ch“ and I totally did! The stage, the lights, the audience and the song…It could not have been more perfect.

     I worked really really hard last year for that day! I’m a wife to a Fireman and we have three young kids, so busy is an understatement! Finding the time for training and juggling all the things was difficult at times. I also injured my back AND got Covid eight weeks out from the show! So needless to say lots of obstacles were in my path.

     With my Coach and tribe of my people in my corner I was able to do it! I’m pretty sure I told my Coach I was quitting several times! But I didn’t, and I’m glad I persevered. I put my nose to the grindstone, put in the work and trusted the process.

BEN: Love all this! Thank you so much for sharing your story! You are such an inspiration and an exciting competitor. When will we see you back on the IPL stage?

MERRILL: Awe, thank you! I’m just really proud of myself. Trusting the process and my coach, I found my inner strength I didn’t know I had. I have been lifting weights for almost 11 years and I was never able to see what years of strength training truly looked like on my body. It was hiding underneath fluff! So that was a really cool thing for me to see! Hitting the stage for me next is up in the air! We have some vacations that are not lining up with show dates! But that’s ok. I’m taking what the judge’s notes said seriously and working on that peach booty! When I get back on stage, I want to be better than before and have a bomb glute-hammy tie in! If not this Fall, then for sure the SoCal show in March 2023!

BEN: Sweet! Love your positive vibe and energy! And I cant wait to see what you bring to the stage next! Any final thoughts?

MERRILL: Thank you so much, Ben! I loved every second of my IPL show experience. It was THE BEST DAY EVER!

About the interviewer:

Ben Yosef

Ben Yosef

Ben is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of NATURALMAG Magazine and the President & Founder of the International Physique League.

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