brazil to atlantic city
On May 21st, 1979 in Brasilia, federal district, Brazil (the capital of Brazil) – a baby girl was born with no knowledge of the amount of aspiring professionals she would go on to influence and inspire through her own accomplishments on world stages, magazine pages and at trade & exhibition shows around the world. Throughout history, those who inspire have (at some point) been inspired and this was true for Larissa too. Growing up and being educated in Brazil, she was unable to attend the English speaking schools, as these were too expensive, so she learned and graduated whilst having to put her own hopes of travelling the world – with an English language to help her – on the back burner. From her humble beginnings she was determined. Determined not to be the same as the others around her, Determined to not have her homeland be the only place she saw in her life and determined to follow in the footsteps of her own inspiration. Her own hero – IFBB Professional Figure competitor – Monica Brant!
IFBB PRO who inspired Larissa to become a champion in her own right.
A world class, championship, physique doesn’t come without hard-work and dedication, in and out of the gym!
dana linn bailey/larissa reis
As a sponsored athlete, Larissa not only attended many shows (working the booths) but also met a host of stars along the way.
ifbb = no-no
When Larissa was still learning her craft – she was warned to stay away from the IFBB promotion in Brazil. As she puts it – ‘IT WAS TRASH!’ (and it was in those early days in that part of the world). Everyone warned her to compete in NABBA. This was the premier federation in Brazil at the time and anyone who was anyone competed there. Formed in 1948, this was the original bodybuilding federation specifically for amateurs (National Amateur Body-Builders Association).
A few modelling shoots helped to give Larissa a look into a possible career option while she was a student at college. This proved to be a spectacular success for her exposure as she soon caught the sharp eyes of a photographer who approached her for a spectacular photo shoot for PLAYBOY Brazil. This led to her being chosen as a Playboy Playmate in 2003. This was a huge moment for her, her career and the direction her life could now go in. Once that was published she had the attention of an audience and this was how she could begin her charge to her ultimate destination, America! Her efforts doubled in the gym and her determination to succeed was fierce. No one could deny her now!
Success was on the horizon and now all she needed to do was take the first step to realising this.
We all have heroes we look up to or people we admire and determine that is how we want to live our life. We can’t be them, but we can emulate their success through hard work. Larissa was no different. she loved the use of supplements in her regime, she appreciated the edge they gave her in her daily battles with the iron and she regularly visited her local supplement shop to stock up on the best products to help her train harder. One day, she had collected her shopping and was leaving the store and a huge advert was hanging on the wall of Monica Brant. She knew this was what her goal was. she wanted to be that advert, she wanted to be a champion and she wanted to follow her new idol! This was the motivation she needed to get straight back to training and become a champion. Having left the world of Playboy behind, she was determined to show her hard work and 100% hardcore dedication on the stage. She was warned by her friends and training partners not to pursue this dream. ‘You won’t make it, you won’t succeed. It can’t be done!’ Then came the biggest test of her new career. Warnings of failure and disappointment were offered, and ignored, when she decided to choose the IFBB over the infinitely more popular NABBA federation. Anyone who was anyone competed in NABBA in Brasil. No-one touched the IFBB at that time because it was so poorly run and structured, but Larissa was determined to follow in the path of her idol and, maybe, one day, compete with her on-stage. Fast forward to 2005 and she was ready. Her first ever contest was the South American Championships where she swept to victory and the journey began. She was certainly justified in her next competitions that her decision was the right one when she not only won the Brazilian Championships in 2006, but also placed 3rd in the World Championships in Barcelona. She was rising through the ranks, she had three top ten finishes in her first three competitions and America was calling. By 2007 Larissa had become a force to be reckoned with and she decided 3rd place wasn’t good enough for her, she wanted her pro card. She wanted to win and she wanted to be a professional. The world waited for her to travel it and her dream was to do so.
The World Championships were again in Barcelona and she went all out!
By the time the show had ended her name had been called and her decision was justified to compete in the IFBB. she didn’t win. She didn’t become champion. She did, though, walk off that stage as a pro with her Pro Card intact and 2nd place. She had done it. She was a pro, she was on her way and she was about to achieve a life-long dream. America was the destination now and learning English was her next task.
Her only problem…….she had virtually no money!
One of Larissa’s stand-out accomplishments is her ability to capture the attention of every demographic. From the figure classes to the bodybuilding world – Playboy and the most hardcore brand out there- 5% Nutrition! Her fans love her no nonsense attitude to life and training, they watch her every move and dissect every detail of her physique in admiration. However, this has been a choice forced upon her for some instances when she came to America and began to compete there.
“All the women in Brazil only used to train glutes and legs. In America we have to have more upper body so i had to train that really hard to catch up with the lower half of my body”, she laughs.
Her training styles match her look, but her stage presence matches her personality. She is a terrifyingly hard trainer, rugged and aggressive. For good reason. Her real-life self though is that of a softly spoken, incredibly sweet natured lady (now mother of two) who has an incredible work ethic and love for life. Don’t confuse the tattoos as meaningless pieces of work either. Structured and with meaning, they symbolise her Buddhist beliefs in joining all walks of life and all people together. Nothing is excluded or left out from her life and she embraces all cultures. The tattoos reflect this in their origins, look closely and you will see they are tribalistic in nature, but significant in application. They are from all walks of life, without exemption. They compliment her beliefs and her fanbase.
Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu practioner, kickboxer, bodybuilder, lifestyle guru, Buddhist, business owner, professional athlete, Playmate, model, restaurant owner, mother, holistic health coach, plant based nutrition coach, surf enthusiast, MMA supporter!
Much more than meets the eye!
ruling the stage
- 2010 Olympia, 10th Place
- 2010 Arnold Classic, 6th Place
- 2009 Olympia, 12th Place
- 2009 New York Pro, 2nd place
- 2009 Atlantic City Pro, 1st Place
- 2008 New York Pro, 10th
- 2007 World Championship, Barcelona, 2nd Place (Received IFBB Pro Card)
- 2006 World Championship, Barcelona, 3rd Place
- 2006 Brazilian Championship, 1st Place
- 2005 South American Championship, 1st Place
the future is healthy…
We all have them, some count – others don’t. Larissa had many views on many things, but the amount of awareness she has right now about her own life and what works is, frankly, remarkable.
As a business owner you have trials and have to sink or swim, this is the same in life! Larissa has learnt how to adapt and overcome a lot of obstacles in her life that she never thought she would have to face when she began her entry into modelling and stage competition before she moved onto opening her ‘PROTEIN HOUSE’ chain of restaurants. With 11 locations across America and Dubai, the idea of matching healthy eating along with high quality, nutritious and affordable meals that are accessible to all (not just the elite), she has revolutionised the accessibilty to the real food to the masses. With restaurant or delivery options, there is no reason you can’t have your take away food and still be extremely healthy.
With her life being so hectic in the beginning, she had no time for the constraints of love and life with a partner and had to wait for her chance. Modelling can take all your attention when you are first starting as can the stage. It is lonely and has to be everything when you start out and the shows come thick and fast before you are able to pace your competitive year. As with many choices, some are good at the time and some are always bad. Larissa’s choice to have breast implants was made to enhance her figure and her exposure choices when the photo’s (many in this article) were taken. The choice was hers to make and she chose a very popular option for many women, but there is a flip side to every choice and hers were the side effects many women are beginning to feel now. A condition known as Breast Implant Illness is becoming more widely spoken about and this illness is known by over 15 other terms, The Adjuvant Disaease, Silicone Induced Immune Dsyfunction Syndrome and Silicone Related Symptom Complex are just some of the terms you may have heard of but never really understood. The feelings and presentations of symptoms are often overlooked and prescribed treatments for non-related issues, such as, Fatigue, Brain Fog, Weight Issues, Low Libido and Vertigo. Many women (especially in this industry) are now beginning to come forwards and have theirs explanted (removed) and this was the course of action Larissa chose to undertake in August of this year.
Her life has taken so many twists and turns, but the most exciting turn she took was when she met her, now, husband – Corey Thomas – a partner into WS Customs vehicle restoration services. Larissa and Thomas’ decided to start a family and they couldn’t have been more excited. Unfortunately the flip side to this journey was that while Larissa fell pregnant quickly, the result was an unfortunate miscarriage. Obviously heartbroken, they continued forwards with the dream of having a family and Larissa was pregnant again. Their joy turned to heartache once again as this resulted in another miscarriage. There was a choice to make here. try again or let what has happened be what happens. A third pregnancy occurred and this time a baby girl – Faith Reis Thomas- was born and all the pain from before was able to turn to joy. Not long after, Larissa was pregnant once more and again, this resulted in a healthy baby boy, Lincoln Reis Thomas. Both successful pregnancies were aided with the aid of Progesterone to aid the first tri-mester. They are now extremely proud parents who are adamant that two is enough for them. Both births were performed with C-Section procedures and during the second, Larissa made the choice to have both tubes tied. Her diet and lifestyle completely changed due to her pregnancies where the first pregnancy was full of processed foods and sugars, couple that with the post-partum depression she suffered and something needed to change during the second pregnancy. A complete change to Vegan foods and choices equated to zero post-partum depression this time around. As an only child and without her parents after they both lost their respective battles with cancer, Larissa learnt to lean on her extended family as well as making certain she did everything to maximise her health and choices moving forwards. They are now a wholefood only family with a taste for the outdoors. Hikes and freedom for the hustle and bustle are key as well as a credit to meditation from Larissa to reset her energies and prepare her for daily life. The future was extremely bright and it was about to get much brighter.
After 12 years of competing and having surpassed 40 years of age, Larissa is set for the best part of her life journey. success onstage is fantastic. Success in the home is worth more, though. Along with the explant procedure of her implants, Larissa now feels able to breathe again as herself and not be defined by her past choices but the ability to define her future choices. A favourite quote of hers is that “You can’t live in the past, can’t live in the future – be present”