by ANTONY CLAY
BIKINI athlete Gemma Hallatt-Howard could be on the verge of TV fame.
The Rotherham resident is hoping she will be chosen to appear in a new series following the fortunes of contestants as they train for a small screen competition.
But there will be no professional judges – and the winner will be selected by the TV audience.
The Body Idols show is being developed for TV but budding participants like Gemma are already battling for public votes to push them ahead to be chosen to take part.
The show will be filmed next May and June and would see Gemma followed by a camera crew as she undergoes training for the programme.
But far from being worried about the consequences of TV fame in the wake of the Love Island and Big Brother scandals, Gemma is positively looking forward to being a reality TV celebrity.
“It will be fun,” she said.
Gemma has become a rising star in the bikini modelling world and achieved success in competitions.
Whilst most people would be worried at the idea of parading in front of an audience and being judged on their body, the 37-year-old is happy to do it in a micro bikini.
Last October, she was placed fourth in Britain in the Ultimate Bikini Model over 163cm category at the UK Ultimate Physiques (UKUP) British finals in York.
She has done well with 12 placings between first and fifth in competitions since 2014.
Competitions have been put on hold this year as she and husband Phil have been caring for beloved pet dog Harley who had to undergo a lifesaving operation.
But now that Harley is well on the way to a full recovery, Gemma is aiming for success in the TV show.
She even has a new coach, Marquis Muscle, who has freed her from the headache of having to develop her own training regime.
“It’s been hard to hand the reins over but it’s nice not to have to think,” she said.
The difference between traditional bodybuilding and bikini fitness is based on body shape. Bodybuilders have big physiques whereas bikini fitness enthusiasts have a different body look.
There are different federations with different criteria.
Gemma said that the Body Idols show will be “Big Brother meets Pop Idol”.
She heard about the TV project via a promotion on Facebook which was asking for people to apply. She had an interview and was shortlisted.
“It’s something a bit different,” said Gemma.
Those who have been selected so far now have to fill in a journal to encourage more people to follow them online to determine who are the most popular and will get on the final show.
There will be eight weeks of preparation for those taking part in the show which will be filmed in a ‘fly on the wall’ style by a camera crew or by participants using a hand-held camera.
The coverage will highlight everything from people’s training and food habits to their social life,
But one of Gemma’s main reasons for taking part is because she believes it will be educational for viewers and teach them both about fitness but also bikini modelling competitions.
She said: “It will hopefully get people moving and will target mental health.”
She said she was pleased that everyone taking part will be drugs tested to prove that success does not have to be chemically enhanced.
“It’s going to be a natural (drug free) TV show. I am natural. I would not know where to get those things,” said Gemma.
Rather than being nervous of having a camera crew on her trail all day, Gemma thinks she will give them a run for their money.
“If I have a camera crew I will drag them on my fitness training and they will be the fittest camera crew ever,” she said.
“It will be quite strange having a camera crew with me for eight hours a day but at least it will show the real side of competing.
“I walk everywhere. The crew will be following me everywhere.
“Because of the benefits of what it’s going to achieve I hope it will open people’s eyes about health and fitness. If being on it educated five people then I have done a good job.
“That’s the reason I was interested in doing the show: it’s about pushing health and fitness forward.”
Gemma said that people may be surprised by her training regime.
“People think that preparing you need to go low calories and cardio but I don’t do that. I will be showcasing that it can be done on the correct food,” said Gemma.
She does 25 minutes of intense exercise four times a week whereas other people do two hours at a time.
“If you put in the intensity then you don’t need to do extended periods,” she said.
Gemma admitted that she has been quite “competitive” in encouraging people to vote daily for her in advance of the TV show. Voting continues until January.
“I am very competitive to get people voting,” she said.
She also admitted to getting some extra help: “My mum has been amazing. I went to see her the other day and she has been urging people to vote for me.”
Gemma said she is the only person from Rotherham who is aiming to be on the TV show.
Gemma is also looking forward to a photoshoot and may enter an upcoming competition.
Gemma has been sponsored by Ziggy’s Workhouse Gym and Karen Enhance Aesthetics, and Pennyblack Clothing is providing her with outfits. She is slso searching for a support company to help her on her way.
“I would like some more sponsors,” she said.
In a previous interview with Gemma in Chase last year, the bikini athlete and fitness model said it was important to her to set an example to young women keen to follow in her footsteps.
She said: “I would like to think I am a role model and make girls think I can do that.”