Autumn Cleveland is set to make her second straight appearance on the Figure Olympia stage thanks to her victory at the 2023 Chicago Pro. This was her second pro win in as many years. Her focus now will be to get in her best shape possible for her trip to Orlando, FL, on Nov. 2-5. You can still get tickets to see her as well as the other greatest bodybuilding and fitness athletes in the world at www.mrolympia.com. In the meantime, let’s learn more about Cleveland beyond the stage and weight room in our latest edition of “10 Questions With.”
If you can have any cheat meal you want after a contest, what are you getting?
As weird as it sounds, I don’t do cheat meals, but my boyfriend, Derek, makes the best New York Strip for me. It’s better than any restaurant I could go to and pay for. I would pay him to fix it and serve it to me. It’s that good. If it had to be from a restaurant, I would go with sushi.
If you weren’t in bodybuilding, what would you be doing for a living?
I actually struggle with this because I’m an artist and I also was a DJ. I think I would be pursuing more of the DJ’ing side if I wasn’t bodybuilding. Beyond that, I eventually want to get into manifestation coaching.
You get an evening to binge any TV show or watch a movie, what are you watching first?
I’m a repeater, and I always go to what is familiar. So, Friends is No. 1. It would be that, Schitt’s Creek, or The Office.
Do you have any favorite sports outside of bodybuilding?
I don’t watch other sports, and I don’t know anything about any other sports. That’s why I got into bodybuilding (laughs).
Got any protein shake recipes that you want to share?
I do protein, but it isn’t exactly a shake. I’m obsessed with Dymatize’s Fruity Pebbles flavor. I take a scoop and a teaspoon of unflavored fiber powder, and sometimes I add a Stevia packet. I then take an egg white and mix it up into a cookie dough type texture. I just eat that with a spoon. So, I feel like I’m eating it instead of drinking it, but I enjoy it that way.
Who got you into bodybuilding and inspired you to start competing?
That would be Natalie Barnett. My dad and I went to watch a show she competed in, and we ended up working together. So, she actually got me into the sport. She also coached Donna Salib (Women’s Bodybuilder), and we both ended up going to Olympia. That was in 2003 or 2004.
You have other roles in the sport, including experience as an expeditor. Can you share the importance of what they do for fans that may be new to watching a show?
Those are my people. If I were to describe it, expediting requires you to know a lot of information, but you won’t know it until it’s time to use it. There is an aspect of customer service to it. The job calls for them to make the athletes as comfortable as possible with the whole experience. It isn’t only about pointing where an athlete stands or walks offstage. We have to keep order so they can compete, and the judges can make the best decisions. Shows don’t run as smoothly as they do without them.
If there is a jet at your local airport and you can fly anywhere in the world you want, where are you going?
If it was just for enjoyment, Derek and I have always wanted to go see the pyramids in Egypt. So, I think that’s where we would go.
Speaking of Derek, he has been trying to break into acting and was on Chicago Fire recently. What was it like seeing him on the show?
That was awesome. He’s naturally talented, has the skills, and is a go-getter. It was just a year or two ago, he went chasing down auditions. He hasn’t had that many lessons, and he’s off to a great start.
Your next show is the Olympia. For the fan whio has never been to an O in person, what can they expect if they go for the first time?
The energy there is contagious. It isn’t just about seeing your idols. Everybody that is involved is there. Literally, the whole world that we know is going to be together in one place. Bodybuilding is an isolated sport, but when you go to something as big as the Olympia, you feel what you’re a part of, You figure out that you’re a part of something much bigger than you feel when you’re in the gym alone.