My husband jokes that he likes to walk behind me to see the reactions. People stare at me all the time because I look different. I’m almost 6 feet tall, and I wear heels. So I’m a girlie girl; I’m probably one of the more girlie firefighters you’ll ever see.
But I’ve also been working out since I was young. I’m not like a huge body builder, but I am super fit. People come up and ask to touch my arms. They’ve actually asked to see my abs. It’s weird. I don’t know if it’s a motivating factor for them, or what. I’ve had women say, “Oh, you’ve never had a C-section.” And I tell them, “I’ve had two!” I’m very proud of the fact that I’m almost 40 and I look 20.
The male firefighters don’t ask me to open jars for them or anything. It’s not like that. But people are confident in my ability. My (female firefighter) friends, for example, they’ll say, “Sarah, I would choose you over most men to come save me.” I have to work much harder to do the same job (as a male firefighter), and I do.
It’s not easy. I eat different than most people. I’m of the 85/15 mentality. Fifteen percent of the time I like drinking wine, eating pizza and having sweets. Eighty-five percent of the time I’m eating clean. I don’t eat a lot of carbs. I don’t eat processed food. My kids (she and her husband have a combined four children) will be like, “Mom, are you going to eat a cupcake any time soon?” (At the Delray Beach fire station), I used to get razzed more, but people know now that I take it very seriously. They think of me when they plan their meals, so that’s nice.
People think you get to a certain age, and you can’t be what you were before, but that’s not true. I played volleyball in college, beach volleyball for years after that—and, later, placed third at the World Firefighter Combat Challenge. I still had that burning desire to compete, which led to me the World Beauty Fitness and Fashion stage.
I recently competed in my first professional WBFF event in Las Vegas; I was on stage with 60 of the top fitness models in the world. These are the models you see on every fitness magazine cover. It was pretty daunting, but it also was amazing. I walked around in full makeup and 5-inch heels for five days straight. People were coming up to me and taking pictures.
I feel beautiful. And very confident. My husband says that when I walk into a room, I own it. I feel like I’m a shining example of what you can be, as long as you work at it.