Famous bodybuilder Shari Kamali, nicknamed “Persian Pearl“ and “Terminator”, was born on April 29, 1972 in the Iranian capital of Tehran, now lives in New Jersey. His full name sounds like Shahriar, which means “king”, hence the name King, which some mistakenly consider a nickname. As Kamali himself said in his interview, in his homeland it was customary for children to give names in honor of well-known and respected people. It is believed that then the child will have a happy fate. He received the name Shahriar in honor of Shah’s son. In America, his name was changed to a local manner and began to call him Sherry, which means “Berry”. Kamali was very annoyed with this variant of the name. Once he talked with one of IFBB judges Jim Manion about this topic, and Jim suggested using a free translation of the name in the minutes. Since then, everywhere began to write King Kamali.
Childhood of Shari Kamali was held in Iran. His grandfather was a general under the Shah. Grandfather built a huge 3-storey mansion and gathered under his roof all his relatives. In the 1970s, political problems shook the shah’s power and directly touched the general’s family. As a result, grandfather decided to pack suitcases and get out of the country. The family emigrated to America when Shari was 8 years old. After the former luxury they had to huddle in a small one-room apartment. King’s parents had a good education and were fluent in English, so they got a decent job. Young Kamali had a long time to adapt psychologically to life in a foreign country with other laws and customs.
King Kamali started his bodybuilding in 1986, when he was 14 years old. The class was recruited into a football team and the boy decided to enroll. But soon the coach dismissed him: King was knocked down all the time, his weight was 45 kg. The coach offered him a little training and return to the team a year later. Throughout the summer, Kamali was rocking hard and by September managed to gain about 16 kg of pure muscle mass. But in the section of American football, he did not return, continuing to engage in bodybuilding. The first 2 years of training were not too serious, because Shari did not set himself any high goals. Despite the skipping of training sessions, a lot of parties with friends, a large amount of drunk beer and non-compliance with the diet, Kamali has all the same markedly changed. After graduating from school, he enrolled in the gym “Ironworks”. James Bryant, the gym coach, noticed the good genetics of Kamali and began to prepare him for the competition. James taught King the intricacies of training and diet and the guy began to progress confidently and grow strong muscles. Much had to be done on the road to success: trauma, lack of money and lack of sponsorship, combining trainings with a tight training schedule, misunderstanding by parents and a beloved girl. However, the more they did not believe in him, the more violent were King‘s efforts in achieving his goal.
King Kamali started to compete as a high school student, not missing a single local tournament. In 1991, the first victory came – King became the absolute champion among the schoolchildren of Virginia in his age’s category. Entering the university, he continued to compete. In 1994, Shari won the student “US Championship” after three years of unsuccessful attempts. After graduating from the university, Kamali received a parental blessing, fully devoted himself to bodybuilding. Over the course of four years, he performed with varying success at various amateur competitions in the USA, he was almost in prize-winners, then sinking below 11th place. In 1999, King Kamali was took under Chad Nichols’ care, a well-known trainer and nutritionist. Thanks to him in 1999, King finally managed to get a professional card. This was preceded by a path length of 7 years. All these years, King Kamali refused himself in everything, not appearing on any family holiday, not meeting with friends and practically not resting.
Kamali‘s debut on the professional stage took place in February 2001 at the tournament “Iron man”, where he took 3rd place. After 2 weeks, he finished fourth in the Arnold Classic tournament, becoming the first-tier star. The most important trump card of King was an arbitrary program, which is actually a mini-play. Compared to clumsily shifting from one foot to the other, rivals, the arbitrary posing of King Kamali is really a work of art. His movements are very plastic, and gestures are filled with almost ballet plastics.
In 2001, King Kamali took part in the tournament “Mr. Olympia” and became the tenth. In 2002, he again tries his hand at Olympia, but becomes the 17th.
King Kamali’s competitive career lasted until 2008, the last of his tournament was “Atlantic City Pro”, where he took 6th place.
Shari Kamali has a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology. He is well versed in the kinesiology of sports and dietetics, which makes his seminars very informative and interesting.
King Kamali became the first Iranian professional bodybuilder. He still trains himself and trains others.