by Erin Keck

Strong women are often overlooked or even looked down upon for being "too masculine" in strength-and-fitness circles, where men are usually the brightest stars. But in "No Pain, No Gain," women have a shine all their own that isn't overshadowed by muscular males.

"No Pain, No Gain" features several women who are strong in mind, body and spirit. Accomplished stage and screen actress Kim Travis portrays a ruthless sports-nutrition company executive trying to dominate the fitness world. Fitness model and actress Crystal Calderoni plays the sweet and sexy companion of the movie's hero. Jill Mills, two-time winner of the "World's Strongest Woman" title, has an over-the-top cameo role in the film. The inner strengths of all three women show through their roles. Additionally, flamboyant bodybuilder Lauren Powers, B-movie queen Julie Strain, fitness model Carmen Garcia, and reality TV contestant Toni Ferrari make colorful appearances in the film.


Kim Travis
as "Crystal Rivers"


Actress Kim Travis plays Crystal Rivers, the powerful CEO of a fitness mega-corporation that is trying to crush up-and-coming bodybuilder Mike Zorillo. Smart, ruthless and driven, she will stop at nothing to keep her company on top and can bust the balls off anyone who gets in her way, including the film's hero and her many male underlings.

To get into the mindset of such a ruthless character, "I tried to think more like a man," Travis said. "Men don't think with their hearts very often, especially where business is concerned. But please don't get me wrong, I'm not a 'man hater.' In fact, I absolutely love the company of men and have many close male friends."

Although Crystal Rivers isn't a model executive in "No Pain, No Gain," actress Travis says more women in should be leading companies in the real-life business world. "I think many companies would benefit greatly from a woman's perspective. There would be a lot less underhanded bullshit going on and much more productive honesty," Travis said.

"To me, Kim personifies the perfect women - smart, strong, and beautiful - and not afraid to display all three at the same time," says producer-director Samuel Turcotte.

Travis's film credits include "Hackers," "Cadillac Man," "Private Parts," "In the Blood," "Midnight Taco," and "Six in Austin (Out of Bounds)." Travis made television appearances on "Central Park West," "Feds," "Law & Order" and "One Life to Live." She also has extensive experience in numerous theater productions and manages the Broadway actors equity league.


Crystal Calderoni
as "Nikki Pauletto"


Crystal Calderoni plays Nikki Pauletto, a beautiful, fast-living former party-girl turned kickboxing queen at the famed Mekka Gym. Born in Texas, Calderoni later moved with her family to Venezuela, where she spent her formative years learning ballet, tap and jazz, and even staging plays with neighborhood children while selling tickets to everyone on the block.

When her family moved to Houston, the seed was planted and she began to flourish as an actress. Calderoni has worked as a model and actress in print advertisements, independent films and commercials. She has also had several theater roles, including the part of Ngana in a stage production of "South Pacific" and a part in "Music Hall" with Debbie Reynolds and Howard Hartman.

In addition to her role in "No Pain, No Gain," Calderoni is a fitness guru in real life, with extensive experience in personal training, aerobics, hip-hop and yoga. She can be seen in "The Duo," "Death for Sale" and "In the Moment."


Jill Mills


The World's Strongest Woman, Jill Mills, makes a special cameo appearance in "No Pain, No Gain." Seen frequently in competition on ESPN, the 30-year-old, 5-foot 3-inch, 176-pound Mills is a two-time winner of the "Strongest Woman" competition. Besides attaining her personal bests in competition, one of Mills' goals is to show that women don't have to be frail and soft to be beautiful, and that strong can still be feminine.

The film marks the first big-screen appearance for Mills, who can squat 573 pounds, bench 363 pounds and deadlift 540 pounds. She plays an over-the-top powerlifter and bodybuilding competition judge in several scenes, including one which depicts her immense strength and her overzealous attempt to "motivate" her less than enthusiastic male training partner.

"It was a lot of fun making the film," Mills says. "For me, the toughest part was trying to act mean, because that is so not me. I've known some female powerlifters that act like my character does, but I prefer to focus my energy inward."

"Jill was such a sport" recalls producer-director Samuel Turcotte. "The first thing I asked her to do was swear at a total stranger. She is such a sweetheart, she just kept laughing each time she started yelling at him. I don't think there's a mean bone in her body, but boy can that body lift some tremendous weight. I watched her grab one of the male bodybuilders on the set and military press him like he was a broom stick."


Julie Strain


With credits on more than 90 movies, Julie Strain has been called "Queen of the B Movies" by Premiere Magazine and others. This six foot, one inch, statuesque actress has been Penthouse "Pet of the Year" and stars as Judge Julie on Playboy TV's Sex Court. She has appeared in countless fashion publications from Cosmopolitan to Vogue, has been photographed by Helmut Newton and even teaches a fine art and photography class at U.C.L.A.

She is currently the lead character in Columbia Tri-Star's animated feature, "Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.2." Her latest book entitled "Six Foot One and Worth The Climb" is an illustrated autobiography. In "No Pain, No Gain" she makes a cameo appearance on Venice Beach.


Lauren Powers


An "All American Amazon," Lauren Powers, a champion bodybuilder, wrestler and former firefighter, portrays an aggressive female bodybuilder who accosts hero Mike Zorillo while practicing her posing routine in Mekka Gym. She has appeared in music videos, including one for Bob Seger, and in many magazines, including Muscle & Fitness, Flex, and Muscle Elegance. Lauren has appeared on the "Jenny Jones Show, and many other sports-related shows on Fox, NBC, HBO and BBC.

Powers is no muscle-bound bimbo, however, having graduated Valedictorian from Huntington Beach High School and earned a business degree from the University of Hawaii. Breaking stereotype for women, during college she ran a surfing academy, no small feat on the island of Maui.


Toni Ferrari


Chicago-based personal trainer and fitness model, Ferrari appeared on FOX's popular summer reality series "Paradise Hotel" and on FOX's "Love Cruise: The Maiden Voyage." The straight-talking Ferrari shocked and amazed audiences week after week with her no-nonsense "in-your-face" attitude. In "No Pain, No Gain" she plays a loud reality TV show contestant.



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