Irene Andersen: Not Too Large For My World


Over the previous many many years, I’ve been concerned with or interviewed for a lot of bodybuilding documentaries, notably on girls’s bodybuilding.  I’ve been disillusioned by most of them.  The unique Pumping Iron, directed by the late George Butler, was an incredible and efficient have a look at the world of aggressive bodybuilding, made extra so as a result of it featured the wonderful and efficient Arnold Schwarzenegger.

However Pumping Iron II: The Ladies, additionally created by George Butler, was a lot much less of a hit, for therefore many causes. I’m going to have to write down an article simply to element all that it lacked.  Suffice it to say, this movie was extra of a “actuality present” than a documentary, very contrived, and didn’t present a lot perception into what the thrilling inclusion of girls within the bodybuilding world was all about.

Irene Andersen posing in leather outfit in the desert
Publicity picture by Invoice Dobbins. Invoice Dobbins

I sat down and had many conversations with George about feminine bodybuilding within the yr or so earlier than the manufacturing of the movie started, however I’m afraid he simply didn’t get it.  Technically, the film was nicely made, however by way of telling an vital story, it simply didn’t hit the mark.

Subsequently, as I turned referred to as a photographer and advocate of aesthetic feminine muscle, I used to be contacted by many TV exhibits and movie corporations to be interviewed on the topic.  Many of those initiatives have been moderately nicely executed, however the issue was they have been created by individuals who have been mainly ranging from scratch each time by way of figuring out about bodybuilding for ladies.  So, all of them largely make the identical documentary time and again, from the fundamental beginnings and never asking about or exploring essentially the most fascinating and insightful elements of this topic.

However then alongside got here Irene Andersen and her film Too Large For The World.  This film is correct and fascinating with regards to feminine bodybuilding as a result of professional bodybuilder Irene is the topic being documented.  She is to this film what Arnold was to Pumping Iron – the character that holds the story collectively.  Irene is fascinating in some ways.  For one, in contrast to many different girls bodybuilders, she has stayed within the sport over time and has had an in depth profession.  Ladies in bodybuilding typically retire a lot earlier than do the boys, that’s how laborious the game often is for them.  For an additional, she is a mom and has managed to mix being a completive professional athlete with regular household life – no simple job.  And, lastly, she may be very huge and muscular however completely unapologetic about it.  Some could contemplate her to be “too huge for the world,” however she doesn’t.  Nor do her many followers worldwide.

Female Bodybuilder Irene Andersen posing on stage at a female bodybuilding competition
Irene Andersen has had an extended profession and these days typically finishes within the prime 5 in professional contests. Invoice Dobbins

The creators of this documentary don’t arrange synthetic situations to make the movie “extra fascinating.”  In different phrases, they don’t attempt to make a phony actuality present out of it.  You see the true Irene, what her actual life is like together with her coaching and preparation for competitors.  The film doesn’t glamorize Irene or her life.  It does what a documentary is meant to do: it paperwork the fact of a topic.

For the reason that film was launched in 2016, Irene has continued to compete efficiently, extra not too long ago in contests promoted by Jake Wooden and Wings of Power.  Since Jake got here on the scene there was a renaissance of professional bodybuilding from girls and increasingly extremely good champions have been coming into exhibits.  And but Irene, born in 1966, has been ceaselessly capable of end within the prime 5.  That is fairly an incredible accomplishment.

Muscular Female Irene Andersen posing in a headdress on the floor
Irene in costume commemorates the time when the Aztecs invaded Sweden. Invoice Dobbins

In some unspecified time in the future, Irene should retire – as all aggressive athletes finally do.  However she won’t solely depart behind an admirable file of accomplishment in her chosen sport however an impressive documentary that provides followers and viewers an actual schooling in what feminine bodybuilding and her aggressive profession have been all about.

Too Large For The World is obtainable on-line.  In case you are a fan of feminine bodybuilding and even simply bodybuilding on the whole, and also you haven’t seen it – you might be actually lacking one thing extraordinary.


Female bodybuilder Irene Andersen posing in the desert
Irene Andersen is clearly not in Sweden anymore. Invoice Dobbins

Irene Andersen Competitors Historical past

  • 2021 Ms. Olympia  5
  • 2021 Rising Phoenix  12
  • 2020 Ms. Olympia    5
  • 2020 Rising Phoenix     5
  • 2019 Toronto Professional      4
  • 2019 Puerto Rico Professional      6
  • 2019 Tampa Professional       8
  • 2019 Rising Phoenix      3
  • 2018 Norfolk Professional     7
  • 2018 Tampa Professional        8
  • 2018 Romania Muscle Fest     4
  • 2017 Puerto Rico Professional     3
  • 2017 Omaha Professional    5
  • 2017 Toronto Professional      6
  • 2017 Rising Phoenix      13
  • 2016 Tampa Professional       7
  • 2016 Rising Phoenix       8
  • 2015 Omaha Professional      9
  • 2015 Chicago Professional     8
  • 2015 Rising Phoenix     14
  • 2013 Tampa Professional     10
  • 2012 Tampa Professional     16
  • 2012 Europa Hartford Battle of Champions     16
  • 2010 Europa Hartford Battle of Champions     16
  • 2010 Tampa Professional      18
  • 2009 Tampa Professional     10
  • 2009 New York Professional     16
  • 2008 Atlantic Metropolis Professional     12
  • 2008Europa Supershow Dallas Professional     4
  • 2008 Tampa Professional     15
  • 2007 Atlantic Metropolis Professional     12
  • 2007 Jan Tana Basic     4
  • 2007 Sacramento Professional     7
  • 2006 Atlantic Metropolis Professional        18
  • 2004 Lucia Basic     1
  • 2004 Swedish Championships     1
    • Senior 1
    • Veteran 1
    • Couple  4
    • Rookie of the 12 months
  • 2003 Luciapokalen 1
Female bodybuilder Irene Andersen
Publicity picture by Invoice Dobbins. Invoice Dobbins

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