How I went from financier to Bikini competitor?

Рискът води до велики неща! Случайно или не през 2018 г. попаднах зад сцената на едно от състезанията по фитнес и бодибилдинг в България. Там успях да се докосна отблизо до Бикини състезателките. Имаше дори въпроси аз в коя категория участвам и така осъзнах, че явно има нещо, което хората забелязват в мен.
That's how the idea to compete was born. I had no expectations, I was 34 y.o. and I thought maybe it was too late for me. Going back to 2019, I realize that it is never too late for anything in this life. Remember it from me!
Около мен се говореше, че ще трябва да се състезавам доста години, за да стана добър състезател и шампион и аз бях настроена за този сценарий. Въпреки неясното бъдеще на напълно начинаещ състезател, бях си поставила сериозна цел – първото ми бикини фитнес състезание да бъде международно. Но редица обстоятелства около мен ми предоставиха възможност да се кача и на българската сцена малко преди да изляза извън България. Възползвах се максимално и през април 2019 дебютирах като Бикини Фитнес състезател. Постигнах поставената ми цел да имам добро представяне и още с първата изява завоювах златото. Беше неочаквано и незабравимо! Последваха още победи и така цел след цел, състезание след състезание, медал след медал, аз не спирах да надграждам и продължавам, защото човек винаги има накъде да се развива и да учи нови неща във всеки един аспект от живота.
In 4 years I managed to participate in 23 competitions, I got on the stage 35 times and won 34 titles. I became the Absolute and European Champion, took the prestigious TOP 4 at Arnold Classic Europe, won the Balkan and Republican titles and more. I spent countless hours in the gym and in the kitchen. I learned even more about organization, discipline, patience and belief that I can achieve anything I want. You can do it too, just believe in yourself and set a goal!

List of my competitions:

How did I start
Bikini Posing Coach?

Even before I started my first competition preparation, I knew that I had to be brilliant in my performance on stage and I started posing on my own almost a year before my first competition, introducing myself with the rules of the respective federation, watching many competitions and studying various details in the movements of athletes from all over the world. I also attended a few posing lessons, then continued on my own. I always trust my understanding and feelings for posing in my work, which has never let me down and has always led me forward. I work on bringing out from each girl a personal individuality that she carries in herself, and with which she can stand out on stage!

I never imagined that posing would become a profession for me, but apparently the things that are "ours" find us and manage to settle in our lives!.

The energy I show and express with my posing on stage didn't go unnoticed then and now. I remember that even in my modeling years I was often called "the panther" precisely because of my walk and movements on the catwalk. In my debut in 2019, I refused to provide posing classes despite the interest in me. I only had 4-5 competitions behind me, and I'm one of those people who always want to gain more and more experience so that I can be as useful as possible to others. At the end of 2019, I took this step with a dose of fear and uncertainty of the unknown, but I did it! In less than 3 years i have worked with 20+ female athletes, who are already proven champions in NPC and IFBB and I am proud to have contributed to their success through our collaborative work together. Remember that success is always the result of teamwork!

But who am I really?

I’m Yoana Zhilkova from Bulgaria. I’m many things and often describe myself as a multi-functional person - proud mother of two adorable kids, wife, bikini fitness athlete, posing coach, model, motivator and mentor. I love being on stage and in front of the camera. I graduated in Business Finance and Fashion Design. My dream was to become a designer. There was a period when I wore clothes created by me - from the sketch to the sewing, and who knows, maybe the time will come for this venture of mine to become part of my professional development...

In 2003, I started my career as a model in Bulgaria and abroad with participation in a number of fashion events in Germany, South Korea, Greece, Turkey - fashion forums, TV commercials, training and music videos, various TV appearances, TV lifestyle shows, film roles in "The Expendables", “Aleksander the Great”, "Sofia Day and Night" and other international film productions.

But my great passion remains sport, which has always been a part of my life. I practiced acrobatics as a child for seven years. In my teenage years I stopped, but I played sports alone at home. The initiative was mine - I studied all kinds of exercises from different books and then performed them. I joined the gym 20 years ago, thanks to my husband and coach Hristo Zhilkov and that's how I got addicted to a healthy lifestyle and training in the gym.

I love to train, model and build the body I dream of and show it off in the best possible way on stage and in my life. It is my desire to convey this to you as well. It’s not an easy road, but when you see the results, you know that every drop of sweat and hardship was worth it! And that's how I became the athlete and the personality I am now!


It is extremely important to me to be true to myself, to become better at what I do as a woman, mother and athlete and to improve myself as a person! I believe this is the way to give you inspiration and motivation to change your life. You can get in great shape, be healthy and live in harmony with yourself by building a balanced lifestyle with me. I strongly believe in balance in every aspect of life in order to be healthy and successful.

Success is for the brave ones!

Yoana Zhilkova