Stations of the Cross, 2016



Bodybuilder Joey Angell reenacts Christ's 14 Stations of the Cross – overlaid with clips from an interview in which Joey talks about his faith and his bodybuilding practice.  








Interview transcription:


The closer you get to God the more you get attacked, the more temptation comes your way, the more evil comes your way to try to get you off track, but if you stay faithful till the end, then you’re rewarded.

I enjoy what we look like at the end, you know. I enjoy winning obviously. We definitely do it to win – if you’re not doing it to win, then maybe it’s not the sport for you, or hobby. Because you’re jumping up onto the stage with a bunch of people who wanna win too, so I think that’s an important trait to have about yourself, and if you have the faith, you will [win], and if you put in the hard work and dedication, you will [win]. Or if you don’t that time maybe you will the next time. 

My first introduction to bodybuilding ever, I was probably 7 or 6, and I had the Hulk Hogan workout tape, the dumbbells, and the jumping rope… I didn’t compete until last year. I figured I just never wanted to do it – it just didn’t seem like my thing, but my friends encouraged me, and I won – all those trophies up there [points], all first place, and also the overall winner for the championship. I’ll be competing this year in July, for Nationals, for my Pro-Card hopefully, God willing.

I get excited for it, but I guess I could see some people not liking it. Your body feels real tight – yeah, you do feel a little bit… your energy gets a little lower…

[in background: how did you feel about the video shoot, doing those poses?]

I felt fine except I was fat that day. Besides how I looked, good. Any chance to get to honor God, you know. 

I said, oh, God must’ve brought this to me, he knows I want it.

It’s always good to have an outside pair of eyes to look at you and let you know, alright you need to work here more, or here more, or here less.

Phillipians says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and then there’s First Corinthians that mentions, “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is owned by God”

[on Arnold Schwarzenegger] He had…I don’t agree with all his stuff, but he had some pretty good basic principles, and he looked really good, he looked awesome – aesthetically, he looked perfect. 

I think with this sport, we always are trying to improve ourselves. and especially with the new category coming up, I think that maybe if we improve ourselves in certain ways we might have to switch over to a different category. I’m not really too concerned with that, I think that, most importantly, that you just look your best on the day of the show – you’re prayed up, you followed everything to a tee, you know that when you jump on that stage, you couldn’t have done anything any better. And if you could’ve then you have an excuse why, but there should be no excuses, definitely. 

It’s kind of like an onion, you’re peeling off the layers… to see what you’ve worked so hard at in your off-season, what gains you made, how different your body looks from the previous season.

That’s a little intense, women are vicious in this sport, they try to – they’re cutthroat. It’s the same women that don’t put in the time – you know, they’re eating ice cream three weeks out – so of course they’re gonna have to cheat or use different antics to try to psyche out their competitors, fellow competitors.

It’s kind of weird, it’s like, you have to be very focused at that point. If you’re not, I don’t know, I don’t think you’re gonna do it. 

[Bodybuilders] don’t realize how good they look – I know it’s kind of backwards, it’s like reverse vanity – they think they look awful when they actually look really good. Honestly I think it develops from comparing yourself to others, versus your own self… it’s like this though: you look at yourself in the mirror, and that’s not what you look like. You’re looking at yourself backwards. 

There’s so many different pulls I had from the Lord… the final pull was maybe when I was driving down the road with my friend Eric and I told him I wanted to cover my cross [tattoo] with a Buddha, and he said I shouldn’t do that. And then, as crazy as it sounds, a giant eagle appeared in the middle of the road with cold, black round eyes – the thing was literally about 10 feet tall and about four feet wide – it was huge, and we swerved around it. He [Eric] said, “that’s my God”, he said “that’s my God, see that, kid? That’s my God,” he slapped me on the chest. Now he was surprised, we both were – I couldn’t talk, but he could actually physically talk, and then I could talk after he did… Never seen anything like it in my life, still to this day… I felt that it was a divine intervention. It was kind of something God sent to smack me.

Then, one time when I was real depressed, crying on my floor, praying, "God if you’re real, show yourself to me," and I felt him lift me up off the floor. I asked for signs – you’re not supposed to, but i did – and He sent me a couple signs… 

I did baptize a handful of [personal training] clients. I did bring a bunch to knowing the faith or assisted in such, and just offered it in the most loving way possible. Tried not to shove it down anyone’s throat because that just pushes them away – you drown the seed. You don’t wanna do it like that – no seed drowning. 

I try to honor God first and foremost, and always represent Him and giving Him, any chance you get give Him the proper respect and credit He deserves. It’s His, it’s all His anyway.


It’s more of methodology, and “is this going work?” But you gotta also believe that it’s gonna work too, you know what i mean?

Backstage was interesting, a lot of people were pumping up with the ropes, getting lubed up with oil for posing, and I prayed a lot. I spent most of the time on my knees. A lot of people made fun of me, snickered kind of, I could tell. They thought I was joke, but it’s alright because, you know, God raised me up, like it says in the Bible, He raises the humble and strikes down the wicked – the prideful. So I kind of felt like that happened, that David and Goliath thing. Guys that had much more experience than I did – I had never done it before, I was scared. I just kept praying to God, talking to Him the whole time. But I knew He was with me, so I couldn’t lose. [in background: so you’re like the underdog?] Yeah, definitely. No one even knew my name… but they do now. And they know His, more importantly.