A "cheesy" social media message during lockdown started a relationship between two bodybuilders who went on to be "the first" couple to be crowned Mr and Miss Universe on the same day.
Ryan Mackins, 34, first caught the eye of Amy Scholes-Higham, 30, on social media and sparks flew between the pair after he fired her a flirty message saying she'd “really made” his morning by following him on Instagram.
Amy, a primary school biology teacher, from Bolton, explained that she first caught a glimpse of Ryan on Instagram roughly two years ago and "liked the look of him."
She recalled: “I was following a lot of other bodybuilders and I saw him on someone’s story, and I just thought, 'Oh, I quite like the look of him,' so I followed him.
“He then messaged me, and he said, 'Oh you’ve really made my morning'. It was really, really cheesy, but then we got talking.”
His message worked and the couple had a long-distance relationship until a year ago when they bought a house together in Bolton, Lancashire.
In May, the couple competed in the PCA Universe event and both came away with the top-ranking men’s and women’s titles – meaning they can now compete as professionals at international events.
Their gruelling twice-daily gym sessions paid-off when the couple won the top titles at the prestigious amateur event on May 15.
Ryan, who was crowned “Mr Universe”, said this top accolade was a major breakthrough for him.
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Amy, who had entered her first bodybuilding event in just 2020, said she was “proud” of the incredible progress she’d made in just two years.
The pair now hope to compete abroad, where they can vie for cash prices and sponsorship deals.
Amy said: “I don’t think any other couple can say they’ve received the 'pro' status or become Mr and Miss Universe on the same day – so it’s incredibly unique."
The couple consume vast quantities of food together – with Ryan eating more than 6000 calories a day and Amy reaching around half that when they're bulking up.
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The couple spend thousands of pounds each year on gym memberships, supplements and competition equipment.
Amy said: “Bodybuilding is incredibly expensive – my bikinis alone start from about £250, and I’ll have a couple of those each season.
“The tans that you have to get are about £70, the make-up is about £65, the stage heels are about £70-80, and all your jewellery is about £10 a pop.
"We’re a little bit reluctant to tot up the total amount, but it will go into the thousands.”
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