I never thought we'd be able to draw such a huge parallel between Women's Bodybuilding and Women's Bikini, but there is a huge commonality in regards to prize money and opportunities between both divisions - or shall I say, the lack thereof. At the Pro level, Bikini competitors that win shows are getting something like $500 or $1000, meanwhile the IFBB and NPC are making a killing on contest fees! The tanning people make money, the promoters make money -- but the athletes (as usual) don't make much.
But this entry isn't so much about the lack of money in the sports (rest assured, I do plan on addressing this issue in the future), but it's about the fact that women that compete in physique sports, are usually in it for the love of training and the sport. Bikini, like bodybuilding, isn't going to support most of the women that do contests. In fact, if you're looking for a career, most girls will do a one or two shows, get photos and video, and start flourishing modeling and/or personal training businesses (never to step foot on stage again).
So what does all this mean? Well, for starters -- don't worry so much about your placings. Bikini is a very nice division and the judging criteria seems to be in women's bust moreso than in their physiques, conditioning, and presentation. Go into these shows with the purpose of making friends with fellow competitors, talk to the fans, hit up the supplement booths, and have a great time. You paid to compete, you prepped to look good, so have fun. Whether you place first, second, or dead last -- YOU KEEP KNOCKIN ON THAT DOOR.
Do ten shows and come in last in all of them, as long you prepped and looked your best and made friends and had a good time, then who the hell cares what the judges wrote on their scorecards. Unless Bikni and Figure are paying your mortgage, putting clothes on your back, or feeding your children who cares what placing you took?
Sure... no one wants to be a loser, but a placing DOES NOT determine whether you're a winner or a loser. You don't know what happens off the stage, you don't know what some people may or may not have done, who has to get lypo, implants, facelifts, go on dates, flirt, w/e .. you don't know if the judges find one girl hot or she is the friend of a friend or if one girl also happens to be a promoter or she's related to the title sponsor or she looks like a judge high school sweetheart. You don't know what they're thinking and shouldn't care.
I'm not taking away from the girls that win -- and I'm not saying the girls that place well are the best at what they do. But what I am saying is -- UNLESS BIKINI IS YOUR NINE TO FIVE, JUST DO YOUR BEST, ENJOY YOURSELF, AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE SILLY PLACINGS SO MUCH.. JUST KEEP KNOCKIN ON THE DOOR, BABY!