My fourth NFL WAG feature is of the sweet and bubbly, Mrs. Marissa Allen. Marissa and I found each other via social media. After receiving her immediate support of the blog, I asked for an interview. We had the most natural phone conversation earlier this week discussing her life and experiences as an NFL wife. She's such a wonderful, well-rounded woman! Read the Q&A below...
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Marissa Allen
Husband: Jeff Allen
Husband is Rookie or Veteran: Veteran. Headed into 4th season (drafted to KC Chiefs in 2012)
Children: Daughter named Joy Elise
NFLWAG: 4 years
Cities You've Lived in with NFL: Kansas City
Favorite Food: All Mexican food (enchiladas, tacos, fajitas)
Hobbies: Cooking; working out; staying active; blogging at thenewmrsallen.com; photography (taking classes and eventually want to open a business)
Interesting Facts: I'm an only child; I'm left-handed; I have a degree in Marketing from the University of Illinois; I was a Division I athlete (soccer); I'm certified to substitute teach
LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
MA: I’m from Dallas, Texas. I received a scholarship to play soccer at the University of Illinois and that’s where I met my husband. We got engaged on Christmas Eve, semester before I graduated. I was interviewing for jobs at the time, but made the decision to move to Kansas City to be with my husband and that’s where we are now.
LM: How long have you been married? How many years have you been an NFLWAG?
MA: We’ve been married for just over a year. Our wedding was last year on June 14th. I have been with him since he was drafted so four years now as an NFLWAG.
LM: What are the pros and cons of being married to an NFL player?
MA: The pros would be getting to travel to amazing places and doing some really impactful charity work. One of the reasons I love my husband is that he has a huge heart. He loves to use his current position to help others. We [WAGs] can take them for granted but NFL games are special and attending them is a plus about this lifestyle. The fact that my husband has the opportunity to provide for our family is also an obvious positive. Some of the cons would be the public opinion of our husbands’ performance. Sometimes the comments and media coverage is hard to hear and read. Another con would be the uncertainty surrounding where we’re going to live the next year. The long days and nights coupled with the travel can be hard but I know some other sports have it worse than we do. The injuries! The injuries and not knowing what state my husband is going to be in as our daughter gets older is tough. Will he need a knee replacement, have memory loss, head trauma from concussions? That sort of thing is a negative as well.
LM: I know your husband had a recent injury? How did he get injured?
MA: My husband tore his bicep in the first game of the season last year. It was a season-ending injury but he has since made a full recovery.
LM: I am so happy to hear that! How did he tear his bicep?
MA: The injury occurred on a field goal protection play. I actually didn’t realize he was badly injured till the end of the game. He went back in for a few plays after tearing it. It was nice having him around during the pregnancy though! [Laughs]
LM: What is your love advice to all women? Advice for women inside the NFL?
MA: For all women, communication is my love advice. Don’t let issues build up. You can’t fix a problem if your spouse doesn't know it exists! My husband and I are still working on that. We always put things to the side because of the (football) season and say we’ll deal with it later. If you can deal with issues when they occur, things will be a lot better. To the NFL wives, my advice would be not to worry about what is not in our control. We can’t worry about if we’re going to be on the team next year or about playing time, all we can do is be supportive and be there for them.
LM: You recently had a baby girl! Miss Joy Elise. Describe what that experience was like? How was your pregnancy and delivery?
MA: We found out about the pregnancy the day we figured out my husband needed surgery on his bicep so we had a lot going on. Pregnancy was good! I had a very by-the-book pregnancy. No cravings! I gained a decent amount of weight but didn’t get sick. Delivery was better than I could have hoped for; I only pushed for about 35 minutes. We’re so thankful she’s here! We just sit around and stare at her all day still. She’ll be three months on Monday [today!]. She’s my little twin.
LM: Tell me more about your little princess. What does she like to do?
MA: Joy likes attention. She doesn’t care if you’re watching TV or not, she wants you to talk to her. She likes to roll and struggles with it sometimes but she tries. She loves all music including rap! When my husband plays it I'm like, "Good thing she doesn’t know what they’re saying." She doesn’t like wearing bows but she has to because she gets called a boy often!
LM: Really? She doesn’t look like a boy to me!
MA: It’ s mostly older people who call her a boy and I don’t want to sound rude or anything so I go with it.
LM: What are your hobbies?
MA: I do a lot of cooking. I like to feed people. That’s my love language. If I feed you that means I like you! I’m also really into natural hair care because I have to do something to tame this wild and curly hair. I love fitness. I’m into hot yoga, orange theory, and fusion fitness (plyometrics workout). I like the workout DVD’s as well. I have PiYo [Chalene Johnson] right now and I’m saving it for while my husband is at training camp.
Check out Marissa’s blog for awesome recipes here.
LM: I’ve heard a lot about this Orange Theory fitness lately. What is it?
MA: I think you’d like it because you were an athlete. It’s a mixture of strength, endurance and power days. The workout incorporates treadmills, water rowers and a weight floor. In a workout, you run on the treadmill for about 20 minutes and then do a mixture of water rowing and weights. It’s really competitive and changes everyday. It’s all heart-rate based. My coach back in college was really into that. Each person wears a heart monitor in class and it’s designed so you get the most out of each session. The goal is to get in the orange zone which is like the sweet spot. There’s a huge screen in the facility so you can glance up during the workout and see if you’re in the orange range. If not, you know to push a little harder. It’s a great way to maximize your workouts.
LM: I saw a post about your natural hair journey. How has that been going? What are some of your favorite products?
MA: I’m not anti-makeup or anti-hair straightening, I just don’t have as much time as I used to. I just found going natural to be easier for me. My favorite style is a roller set. I like big curls and big hair. Get you some flexi rods, ladies! My favorite products are: unrefined coconut oil from Trader Joes and Aunt Jackie’s Coils and Curls (you can buy them at the Dollar Store and beauty supply). Mixed Chics is a good line too and so is Miss Jessie’s.
LM: I’ve been wanting to try some organic hair remedies. Do you do those?
MA: Some of those organic hair remedies were an epic fail for me. Like anything with an egg was a no! So be careful.
LM: I love that you are a fellow former student-athlete. What position did you play in soccer?
MA: I played Forward.
LM: Do you follow the U.S. Women's soccer team? What did you think about their World Cup Victory last month?
MA: I watched a little. It's incredible for the sport! I hope more girls are interested in giving soccer a try now. A lot of my college teammates still play in the WPSL (Women's Premier Soccer League) and they will appreciate all the new women's soccer fans.
LM: Do you play in any soccer leagues or are you finished playing?
MA: I don't play anymore. I don't think my ankles or knees would appreciate it. I had surgery concluding my senior season. I'm just looking forward to coaching my daughter's team one day!
LM: What do you think about all the coverage lately surrounding NFL players and domestic violence?
MA: The news is trying to sell something so they obviously focus on the negative. The problem does need to be remedied. There are NFL guys who treat their significant others like queens, but a guy treating his wife nicely isn’t going to sell. I do wish the coverage was a little more even. That’s all they want to talk about right now.
LM: What has the NFL meant for your family?
MA: The NFL has meant a lot in that it is a job for my husband. He is able to support our family and it’s also provided me with opportunities to do different things. I personally have done a lot of community service with my husband and it’s allowed me to see what causes I’m passionate about. We’ve also met some other really incredible people. I’ve met NFL wives who are lawyers, real estate agents, and culinary artists. Many of us continue to work, or make a sacrifice and put it on hold for the sake of family. Some of the football guys have really impactful stories too. It’s cool to be around such driven and accomplished people. Makes you want to be a better person.
LM: You mentioned doing a lot of charity work. What are some of the causes and organizations dear to your heart?
MA: My husband is really interested in going back and helping out where he grew up in Chicago. We are associated with a foundation called HEROH. My husband is proud to sit on their board as a Director. It was started by one of his former college teammates, Chris James. They provide academic services like SAT classes, ACT prep, and tutoring. They also have sport-specific training and assist with recruiting exposure. It’s an accountability thing. HEROH provides a framework. They’ve taken some of the kids to tour colleges which is huge. We weren’t as involved this year because of my pregnancy but they are doing big things. I mentioned before that one of my passions is food. I cry every time I see one of those “a kid goes hungry” commercials. Since I love to cook I’m like I am there for you. I’ll feed you for days to come. We also did some work with the Kansas City Chiefs at a local women’s shelter. It’s been a really good experience and heart breaking to see what some of these women need. They need hair care products, especially black hair care products, feminine products, and items for their babies. I couldn’t image not having access to some of those things.
Click here for more information on HEROH!
LM: What would you like people to know about you?
MA: I’m a separate person from my husband. I made the conscious decision to support him in his passion. I have dreams too, it’s just not the time for me to pursue them…and I’m okay with that! That’s part of the reason I started the blog. Most NFL wives are nothing like we see on television; I don’t have any friends that want to go to lunch with me THAT often or want to fight with me. We don’t have time to be in each others business like that.
LM: What type of activities, specifically, do you do with your spouse?
MA: We just recently bought a Wii so date nights look a little different now. We put our daughter to bed and play the video game (golf, Mario Kart, etc). We do Top Golf too. My husband’s favorite date is a movie and dinner. Oh, we bought a dart board too! We just turned our basement into a one stop date night. We also go to the Farmer’s Market together a lot. Well, I think he does it to please me but I like to go!
LM: What would you like people to know about NFL families or the NFL lifestyle?
MA: The players out on the field are somebody’s son, husband, and father. Keep that in mind when you’re hurling insults. I just had a bad experience with that. We went to a playoff game two seasons ago but it wasn't in Kansas City. I was sitting next to another player’s wife where her husband went down with an injury. Fans were yelling, “Good! Good! Get him out of there.” You should never cheer for someone’s injury or misfortune!
LM: Do you have any favorite recipes?
MA: One of my family favorites is coconut granola. My husband loves it and my mother in law requests jars of it at a time. It’s not necessarily my favorite but it’s the most practical, not loaded with sugar, and a no fail recipe! It’s easy and has a long shelf life.
Find Marissa’s coconut granola (pictured) recipe here.
LM: Anything else you would like to add?
MA: I just really appreciate you doing this. I am not sure how I found out about it. I think it was on my (Instagram) Popular page. I saw your site and was like oh wow! This is awesome. There aren’t as many sources talking about the positive aspects of professional athlete’s significant others. I’ve also seen the articles that rate NFL wives by looks and that is just absolutely ridiculous. We have way more to offer. People are going to make judgments but at least you’re giving people something to base them off of.