Meet Kijafa Vick. The wife of 15-year NFL Veteran QB, Michael Vick. But, this feature isn’t about Mike. We found out just how much of a powerhouse this woman is in a recent interview.
Sincere, gracious, genuine, intelligent, chic and classy AND that is to say the least. Mrs. Dionne Boldin, wife of Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, Anquan Boldin, is more than what meets the eye. Dionne is as fabulous as she appears in her killa’ #selfies we see on social media with a timeless air of bold self-confidence. A wife first, mother to two boys second and a philanthropist third, who believes in not only leaving a legacy of giving but creating the mindset to give as well.
Name: Dionne Boldin
Husband/Teams: Anquan Boldin (Cardinals, Ravens, 49ers, Lions)
Children: Ashton (6) & Anquan “AJ” (12)
What #hashtag describes you best: #gamechanger
Favorite place to vacation: It’s a tie between Greece & Paris
Best Concert you’ve EVER been to: Beyonce
Interesting Fact about yourself: I’m Jamaican
Hobbies: Traveling & cooking
Your favorite memory: Giving birth to my boys
Where are you originally from and how did you get to where you are now?
DB: I am from Belgrade, FL, which is a little town in West Palm Beach County. We now live in Delray Beach, FL so we are still surrounded by our family. We chose to live near this area specifically early on so we could be closer to our family and create a home base, which was especially important to us as the kids got older.
How did you and your husband meet? What’s your love story?
DB: We met in high school. He is from Pahake (FL), a neighboring small town to the one where I grew up so we have always known each other and we met in probably 5th grade. I was a junior and he was a senior when we started dating in high school. After that, we both went to the same college, Florida State University.
ON THE NFL
What are some of the challenges of being married to an NFL player and what do you like about it?
DB: I like the platform it affords us. The ability to be able to walk into a scenario where you instantly have a platform for whatever your cause may be has always meant a lot to me. As a wife, there is a fine line between staying in a supportive role to your husband and positioning your platform in a way that you are grabbing the right audiences as well. Your presence, your behavior is important because people are always watching to see if you are going to screw up and that makes a difference as far as the type of “positioning” and respect you’ll garner. I have known my husband since he was very young so it has always been great to be able to see him live his dream. What I don’t like about it (and that’s the hard part because we knew what we signed up for)--I do miss having privacy. I miss being able to go anywhere and him not being noticed. I will say that I don’t like the scrutiny that the guys get. The fans can rip them apart for the smallest things and they are seen as“just athletes” when in reality, many of these men are fathers, husbands and genuinely good guys.
WR: What are some of your favorite fondest WAGS memories?
DB: I like the camaraderie. Every team has their own sense of camaraderie and there are always a few wives who will reach out to you when you first arrive. From team to team, I have picked up life-long friends. Whether we are out to dinner with the girls or at a game, those moments (the time spent together) are some of my favorite memories. Of course, Super Bowl year with the Ravens was another fond memory. My time in San Francisco was one of my favorite memories. In both Baltimore and San Francisco, I led the women's Bible studies. Being one of the “older girls” in the group, I enjoyed seeing the younger girls grow. I learned so much about each of these girls and really enjoyed pouring into them.
ON FASHION & STYLE
WR: Is fashion a hobby for you or a love? We’ve seen your Instagram looks and are impressed to say the least!
DB: I’ve kinda always loved fashion. Over the years, I have tried to switch it up and make my look different and fun. I went out on a limb last year and brought on a stylist. We have been working together for over a year so at this point, we are friends now and we’re just having fun! In my free time, we talk fashion and put looks together. At some point in my life, I will be in the fashion industry. Where? I don’t know. For now, I am building my budding personal shopping concierge service called The Art of Shopping.
WR: What are your favorite pieces and collections that you have been wearing recently?
DB: Everything Gucci is doing is really great right now.
WR: Any all time favorite designers?
DB: Hermes or Chanel, accessories wise. I like what St. Laurent has been doing the last few seasons. My favorite pieces are Jackets and Bombers and I like nice, structured blazers by Balmain.
WR: Don’t we all?...!
ON THE ANQUAN BOLDIN FOUNDATION & WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
WR: Your foundation work and charitable contributions are nothing short of amazing! Tell us more?
DB: Thank you very much. We started the foundation in 2004 and originally it was just an opportunity to give however that may be. My husband and I both grew up in underprivileged areas and our thought was that we would create opportunities only for those communities. So that is what we have been doing every since we started. In each city where Anquan has played, we have tried to serve in whatever and wherever that city had its specific needs. About two years ago, we created an endowment: It’s a $1 million dollar scholarship in San Francisco and Palm Beach areas for students who academically deserve and have shown a commitment to community service. Our mindset has always been to give and share wherever there is a need but more specifically, we want to CREATE a mindset of givers as opposed to just leaving a legacy where we were the only ones giving.
WR: Has there been one particular charitable experience or individual story that you really valued?
DB: Yes and I definitely see the results. For example, we had one kid who was expelled from his high school. He later went back and got his GED so we gave him a scholarship and now he’s a teacher and started a mentoring program back home (in FL). You can really change lives and shift their perspective and anybody that has been helped, anyone I have poured into- I hope I have created a mindset that this is what YOU need to do as well. We also have a family in San Francisco right now where the mother was homeless with two boys. We put her in an apartment where all of her bills are paid for, for the next year. She’s now saving money, on track to support herself and I speak to her at least every other week making sure she is doing everything she “should” be doing. I like the building of the relationships as well. We aren’t helping you to leave you. Life is about relationships and serving. There are so many rich people in the world who are mentally poor.
WR: Your Husband was recently awarded the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. What type of impact has this had on you and your family?
DB: It’s impacted us in two ways. It has afforded us a platform to get our message out to a different group. This year as well as the year before he was nominated, we’ve seen such a jump in interest. I also like the notoriety of this award. The NFL finally displaying a positive light on the men enables me to appreciate the League for putting this award, front and center. There are so many guys doing the same kind of work who are as deserving. Secondly, we have been able to spend some personal time with the Payton Family. Growing up, Walter Payton was Anquan’s hero. They (The Paytons) are “who they say they are” and they are great people to be around.
WR: That is powerful. Shifting a bit as it’s wedding season and you have been married for over 10 years now. Every day, we see another picture of a beautiful bride. Before we wrap up, do you have any veteran marriage advice or tips for a newlywed?
DB: I have learned to prioritize one another and even before your kids. Prioritize your marriage and your spouse, which seems difficult when we have babies running around but putting kids in their place has helped us a lot. During the season, I do what’s uncomfortable for me and sometimes that requires me to do what’s not physically comfortable because I travel to every game. It gives us some time alone so I make it a priority. Keep people out of your business! That means not involving your girlfriends or your mother or father but keep your business at home. In the world of sports, there are a lot of insecurities floating around and rightfully so but, give your husband the opportunity to protect you.
WR: You seem like a lady who gets "it" all done! Tell us, what do you do in your home that no one else can do?
“Often times once a woman is married, society treats us as though you are merely a sum of your husband’s actions and successes. I’ve worked so hard on my own for so long (that) I don’t want my life and career to just get pushed up under his umbrella of professional football. There is plenty of room for both of us to follow our passions and shine brightly!” Devi Brown
Power Player. Wife. Radio personality. Media maven. Centered. Passionate. Ambitious. Gorgeous. Heart of gold. All of these and more describe Devi Brown, wife of Houston Texans, Duane Brown. Devi has built her entire career perfecting her brand; a brand that she's worked relentlessly to create and craft and with great success- be it behind the mic, in front of the camera or beside her man.
Name: Devi Brown (and in the radio world “Devi Dev”)
Husband/Team(s): Duane Brown #76, Left Tackle for the Houston Texans
What #hashtag describes you best?
#Adventure #Seeker #Resilient I know you asked for one haha but those three really sum me up as a woman. I look at life as an adventure and try to make every moment feel like one whether I am home in Houston or traveling abroad. I’m also someone who is constantly seeking to learn, grow and evolve. And like many women reading this, I pride myself in being a resilient woman. Someone who will rise no matter what life throws at her.
Where are you originally from and how did you get to where are now?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. That’s also where I started my career while in college (go CSUN!) at radio station 93.5 KDAY. I grew to where I am today by never taking no for an answer and always looking to evolve in my career. I started like a lot of people in radio by landing a couple internships and just grinding it out until it turned into real money and always seizing opportunities. That internship at 18 eventually led me to being an on-air personality, music director and TV host with a couple cross -country moves to work in New York City and now Houston.
On NFL Life:
How did you meet your Husband?
Well, if you let Duane tell it, he was listening to me on the radio and really liked my voice which led him to look me up online and try to meet me. He popped up at a birthday party I was having and introduced himself. A few weeks later he asked me out to A Tribe Called Quest documentary that was in theaters and we were kind of inseparable after that. We ended up getting engaged within three months and married a few months after that. Life moves fast! Haha.
Tell us about some of your fondest NFL/WAGS moments?
I’ve really enjoyed the atmosphere that our owners create for us in Houston. The McNair’s and the Texans staff are really phenomenal people with huge hearts. We have a lot of fun together and they promote and create an atmosphere of major community involvement. Recently, we had some bad flooding in the city and they stepped up by making huge donations to the victims and gave us a really beautiful opportunity to get out and serve the people of Houston at one of the shelters in an area where people were hit the hardest. That moment meant a lot to me. Another not-so-happy but really meaningful moment was this past season when my husband got injured. I was hysterical in the training room after they carted him off the field with a torn quad and I'll never forget seeing Hannah McNair, one of our owners, literally run to me with tears in her eyes and wrap me in a tight hug. Everyone there rallied around us and for weeks, sent food to the house and lifted our spirits with visits and messages. We felt really blessed!
Behind the Brand:
Who is Devi Dev and is she the same or different from Devi Brown?
Devi Dev and Devi Brown are one in same, Devi Brown is just the 2.0 version that has been able to branch out into different areas of media and philanthropy. I’m ready to merge my personal and professional passions. Some of my friends and long times listeners were like “Oh No! What is happening to Devi Dev?!” after I changed my social handles and website but, I’ve been explaining to people that even though I understand the brand equity I’ve built up in that name- I’m also ready to broaden my horizons outside of the hip hop radio world and using my real name is a long term investment. Plus… the core of each is still DEVI and as far as I know I’m the only one that goes by that, haha! I think slowly it will all fall into place.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I think this moment in time is what I’m most proud of. I’m taking the time to really evolve my brand, drop the things that I’ve outgrown and celebrate and push forward the things I’m really passionate about. These include: impactful conversations with artists and entertainers, spiritual journeys and women’s empowerment. In this last week, I launched my new self-discovery platform "Karma Bliss" which I am really excited about! We are a lifestyle and retail brand centered around connecting people with the tools needed to grow and stretch their inner selves. Over this last year I became certified by Deepak Chopra's Chopra Center to teach primordial sound meditation. I knew last summer after having spent a few years going to retreats and seminars that I deeply wanted to connect young professionals and busy women with an outlet to help them start some internal dialogue and become centered. We all spend so much time investing in our careers, families, and spouses that sometimes we are not making those same deposits into our spirits. I'm so thrilled KarmaBliss.com is now officially live and I hope you check it out!
How do you balance your own identity/brand/fans with your husband’s equally successful career?
Thankfully, it’s actually pretty easy. What we do is so different that it allows us to really be fans of each other and to stay in our own lanes. He’ll listen to me on the radio as he goes through his day and of course, I’m at all the games cheering my heart out. It works out pretty good fan wise too because he has fans that may not have been familiar with my show but now because they love him they have become loyal listeners of mine. The reverse of that is that I have a reach outside of Houston, where people who may not have been fans of the Texans or familiar with Duane are checking for him and supporting what he does. We do a lot of events together but I also try to keep a healthy distance between my brand and his. I want people to still be able to relate and identify with me for the work that I do and who I am individually. Often times once a woman is married, society treats us as though you are merely a sum of your husband’s actions and successes. I’ve worked so hard on my own for so long I don’t want my life and career to just get pushed up under his umbrella of professional football. There is plenty of room for both of us to follow our passions and shine brightly!
Tell us about Power Play Women, your program that you started to serve as a mentor platform for young women entering the industry?
So as we speak I am launching a foundation called “The Devi Brown Project: Moving Women Forward” which is where I will be funneling my mentorship work in place of PPW. I’m really excited about this project. Mentoring ladies in media is something that's really important to me but my workload doesn't allow for me to do as much "one on one" stuff anymore. With this foundation, it gives me the chance to not only continue to share what I’ve learned but to also bring other successful women on board to do the same. Our Mission: The Devi Brown project propels women to fulfill their potential and empowers them to pursue their dreams. Our Vision: The Devi Brown project does this by providing women with capital and business resources, education and vocational training, and networking and mentorship opportunities.
On Devi 2.0:
What do you know now that you wish you knew “then?” This can pertain to NFL Life, career, personal etc.
I wish I knew to be gentler with myself and to trust the universe more. To be present. That you are the only one who can give yourself peace. When you’re dream chasing-you tend to put A LOT of pressure and inner criticism on yourself. When I was getting started, I did so much of that. Looking back now I realize how many beautiful moments I missed and how many opportunities I did not appreciate because I couldn't get out of my own mind. If I had the inner peace THEN that I have now….Man! But then again, everything unfolds in the time that it’s supposed to.
Have you arrived? If not; what’s next?
I don’t think I will ever think I’ve arrived because I want to do so much more and reach so many more people. I definitely work hard but I find myself always thinking of how much harder I should be working. I want to find ways to foster deep connections between media and its consumers. I definitely want to grow more in television. I previously hosted an ensemble talk show for MTV which was an incredible learning experience and recently I’ve been doing fun stuff with the morning news team at Houston’s CBS affiliate. After working primarily in music- driven Hip Hop radio the past 10 years, I’m working now to transition into more talk-based radio. I'm looking to do more writing and mindful work as well.
The Mistress The infamous mistress. She has been the star and co-star in countless movies, sitcoms, and novels including the beloved Olivia Pope from Scandal. She appears when the husband is at his highest point in his career but at the weakest point in his marriage. He is feeling himself and eagerly searches for something to occupy his time. They strategically plan meetings to avoid their relationship being discovered. The mistress knows her role and no matter how long the affair lasts she knows that the chances of him leaving his family is slim to none. She stays in her place because she wouldn’t dare compromise the arrangement by telling the wife. The mistress knows that her existence completely depends on the existence of the marriage despite the fact that he may genuinely love her, and therefore she is content. If the affair was ever discovered, the mistress never confronted the wife as if she was privileged to do so. She accepted her fate and if necessary moved on to the next one. Husbands initially deny the relationship but after stack piles of evidence they inevitably admit to some but not all indiscretions. Some wives forgive and move on while others cannot accept it and seek divorce.
The Side Chick
This is the storyline we have known for centuries but somewhere along the way the mistress became vintage and was readily replaced by the side chick. Unlike the mistress, the side chick is bold, aggressive, and careless. She has little notoriety and as a result boasts about the relationship to become relevant. Men don’t accidentally meet side chicks. These women develop strategies to meet athletes and celebrities so they can claim their stake. Whether they are sliding in DMs or popping up in VIP sections in the club, the new age side chick is calculated but far from loyal. She often has multiple “ballers” in her call log that have no idea that she’s sending the same message to his teammate. The end game is not to be with the man but to use the man to get ahead. She is often reckless seeking married men like it is a sport. She will readily confront a wife as if somehow the wife stole her man. She lives for the incriminating screenshots and anxiously waits to press send. With the rise of social media, wives are forced to keep their profiles private to prevent the side chicks and the side chick wannabes from creating havoc in their lives.
Married women obviously have no interest in dealing with the mistress or the side chick. However, wives are genuinely puzzled as to why being a side chick is a #goal. From posting comments on social media about sleeping with somebody else’s man, sliding in his DMs when he is in your city, or showing up to his game with tickets received from a homeboy who is trying to “put you on.” What is the point? Is it winning when someone can say that they have had some type of relationship with a successful man that just so happens to be married? There are situations in which women are unaware that they are in fact the “side chick” but those situations are rare. Some of these women who have made a career out of being the side chick even lie about relationships with the goal of ending marriages.
In a time where women use the allegations of being a side chick to catapult their career, what does that mean for the wives? Wives are on guard, ignoring the white noise, and most importantly staying prayed up. The men involved are just as guilty primarily because they are the ones who made the covenant of marriage, but I’m hard pressed to say that men couldn’t cheat if they didn’t have anyone to cheat with. If the goal is to be the side chick with hopes of inevitably becoming the wife, just remember the old saying “how you get them is how you’ll lose them.”
For information on how to start a business or non-profit, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tenisha Patterson Brown, Esq.
Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless
Psalms 148:8, “The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous.”
I woke up the other morning in panic; my vision was very blurry. Then I realized that I had removed my contacts from the night before and just needed to put on my glasses. Wow, simple fix. Then God reminded me of how we see certain people, things, situations, and circumstances. We begin to panic when we cannot see how things are going to work out or how things are going to look. We tend to have an idea of how we want things to look or assume they will turn out the way we have pictured it.
I realized that once I placed my glasses on my face, my vision came into focus and everything was clear again. When God opens our eyes to see through His eyes and not our own, everything becomes a lot clearer. His perception is greater than ours will ever be. I sat and thought that my prayer should be, God, open my eyes so that I may see, as You would want me to see every situation and circumstance.
Sometimes we are “blind” and do not even know we are. I heard a pastor talk about a situation that happened in his family’s life. He lost his daughter to an asthma attack during one of the holiday seasons. He was an emotional wreck. A few years later, he talked about the complaint he had to God of how it seemed that as the years went by he felt as if he was losing the memories he had with his little girl, and that she was becoming further and further away from him. God gently spoke to him and told him that he was not getting further away from her; he was getting closer. God’s response slightly disturbed him. God told him the more he walked in the direction that He was pointing him into, the closer he was walking to destiny and one day his life in Heaven. This insight made him refocus and acknowledge the fact that every day he was living for God placed him closer and closer to his little girl and it totally opened his eyes to see a little differently.
All of us see our situations and circumstances differently, but the key is to ask God to show you how He sees what is going on in your life. This will allow you to shift your perspective and grab a hold of what the Bible talks about as the “peace that surpasses your own understanding.”
My challenge to you is to ask God to open the eyes of your understanding when it comes to how you see the world, people, politics, business, family, career, motherhood, being a wife and the life you live in the arena of football. This will ultimately assist you with walking out your full purpose in God and through God.
Father, I thank you for the awesome women who read this prayer. Cover them, lead them, guide them, and over shadow them with your love and grace. Show yourself strong in their lives. Give them eyes to see as you see and a heart that will love as you love.
Cover their families; cover their children and future children, and their husbands. Create peace in their homes and unity with their spouses. Calm their fears and give peace in their hearts with things that seem to try to overwhelm them. Grant unto them blessings beyond their asking or thinking. Provide unto them benefits that will keep them from lacking in anything or any area of their lives.
Where they need joy, fill them up, where they need peace, comfort them and where they need strength give them everything that is necessary to endure as a good soldier. Allow them to see that you are blessing them in the midst of trial and tribulation. Allow them to see that what the enemy meant for their bad; you are setting it up for their good.
Father, you have inclined your ear to hear our hearts cry as it is in heaven so shall it be on earth in Jesus name we pray, Amen!
Down to Earth, gorgeous, ambitious, genuine; ½ of a dynamic duo is Katie Levitre; former sideline reporter, Bills cheerleader and wife of Andy Levitre, offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons. If you haven’t met Katie, then you are in for a real treat as we chatted about everything from how she met her husband (“love at 2nd sight”) to what she is passionate about (hint, her family and empowering other NFL WAGS).
Name: Katie Levitre
Husband/Team(s): Andy Levitre/ Atlanta Falcons (formerly the Tennessee Titans & Buffalo Bills)
What #hashtag describes you best?
"A large percentage of us don’t work outside of the home because of how much we move, so we don’t have something outside of marriage and children to call our own. I am definitely lucky that Andy always goes out of his way to make sure I am comfortable and made to feel just as important as he is, regardless of the situation. Having someone like him as my husband can make this hard transition a lot easier. I have always been a career driven, independent woman and Andy still treats me like one." Katie Levitre
Who is Katie? Where are you originally from and how did you get to where are now?
I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be a journalist, specifically a broadcast journalist. I am passionate about writing and speaking and have always been comfortable performing in front of large groups of people. I graduated #1 in my journalism class from Buffalo State College and immediately pursued my career. I started with an internship at the local NBC station then freelanced for an entertainment website run by the Buffalo News. I moved on to sideline reporting for Time Warner Sports for a year. In early 2013 I was up for a full-time reporting job at one of the top 3 news stations at the same time Andy was ready to move back to California for his first off-season as a free agent. When he asked me to move with him, I had to make a decision that I knew would affect the rest of my life. I was deciding between love and my career. I knew the NFL lifestyle wouldn’t be conducive to my life as a journalist. In the end I know I made the right decision by choosing Andy. It’s easy to think about what life could have been if I had chosen to follow my dreams, but no part of me regrets my decision. If I had to do it all again, I would choose love every time.
How did you meet your Husband?
Andy and I met at a children’s toy drive hosted by the Buffalo Bills. It was his rookie year playing Left Guard for the Bills and my rookie year as a Buffalo Bills cheerleader. We spoke briefly at the event but there was no romantic spark (and thank God, or I would have been kicked off the squad!). Two years after we met, he walked into the bar I was bartending at in college and we both got that butterflies in the tummy, hearts in the eyes feeling. We think of it like love at second sight. There is something so beautiful about timing. We were both in such a stable place when we met the second time around, it was almost as if fate wanted us to wait a little while to really find our soul mate.
Tell us about your day to day?
I am a big spin fan! They have a great place in Atlanta here called Flywheel and the instructors are amazing. I finally understand what people mean when they say they get “addicted” to a workout. After spin, I run a lot of errands and take care of our house(s). I am a dedicated mommy to two French Bulldogs and as anyone with a Frenchie knows, they are quite high maintenance! I also love to cook, which you can imagine is quite enticing to an Offensive Lineman! ;)
What’s your game plan when adjusting to a new city?
I am in the process of trying to downsize everything! Andy and I have lived in 4 states in the past 3 years. My usual game plan was to pack 3,000 bags and hope I had enough. But now I am trying to get rid of things I don’t need so I can alleviate some stress when we go back and forth to our home in California during the off-season. When it comes to making new friends and feeling at home in a new city, it definitively isn’t always easy. Each football city has been totally different for us. I remember my first year dating Andy in Buffalo, some of the veteran’s wives told me that they don’t give new girls or girlfriends the time of day because they don’t know whether they’re going to be around for long. I remember thinking how sad that was! But, now I sort of get it. I will ALWAYS be welcoming and kind to new people but it can be so hard to find friends that you absolutely love only to have one of you leave the next year. In a sense it’s like starting your social life over from scratch every year, not to mention if you’re like us and live in another state in the off-season. Sometimes you just have to take it one day at a time and do your best to make this crazy life feel normal. I’ve been blessed to meet some really incredible people along the way.
What are some of the challenges of being married to an NFL player and what do you like about it?
I think when some people find out you’re married to a man in the NFL they automatically think your husband must be cheating or constantly followed around by women. It may be true for a small portion of the league but for the majority of us- that is definitely not the case. To be honest, its not the women at all- it’s the grown men that are big football fans!! Haha! I joke that I could be standing next to Andy naked and if a guy finds out he plays football they wouldn’t even notice me! In all seriousness though, it can be easy to feel like you’ve lost a big part of your identity. A large percentage of us don’t work outside of the home because of how much we move, so we don’t have something outside of marriage and children to call our own. I am definitely lucky that Andy always goes out of his way to make sure I am comfortable and made to feel just as important as he is, regardless of the situation. Having someone like him as my husband can make this hard transition a lot easier. I have always been a career driven, independent woman and Andy still treats me like one.
What are you passionate about?
My family is my greatest love. I love being a wife, a dog mom, a daughter, sister & daughter-in-law. There is nothing more important to me than the people who surround me. Something else I’ve been passionate about lately is giving not only myself, but also every woman in the NFL a chance to stand on her own. I want to be known as Katie Levitre, not “Andy’s Levitre’s wife” or “the football player’s wife” and I know other women feel the same. Solely identifying as someone’s wife or someone’s mother is not AT ALL a bad thing, but I want to give women a chance to have something outside of the home to call their own if that is what they want. People outside of professional sports don’t understand that its not glitz and glam; women have to leave their families, friends, homes and careers to support their significant others. In every city and on every team we’ve been on at least 5 women have told me that they wish they could work but “no one wants to hire someone for 5 months of the year.” So, I’m making moves to try to change that. I recently spoke with someone from the NFLPA about helping women find companies that would be interested in hiring us in the cities we live in during the season. After all, we are a league full of intelligent, hardworking and mature women!
Tell us about your babies, the bulldogs!
Awww, my babies! They are amazing! I got Titan right after Andy got signed with Tennessee, hence the name. We had to find a dog that could travel in a plane with us and Andy and I both didn’t want anything too fluffy. We were deciding between a French Bulldog and a Pug- until we heard that pugs eyes can pop out when they get too excited! We found Titan (who is blue with tan paws and a white chest) in Dallas. Four months later, I had puppy fever all over again and Andy surprised me for Christmas with a little black and tan Frenchie puppy. I always wanted to name a little girl Olive, but Andy wasn’t in to naming a human baby after a food- haha! So, my little black puppy became my Olive. They are my only children for now and I spoil them accordingly!
Love it! Now for something a little less rigorous; a fun question for you:
What do you do in your home that no one else can do? Lights, Camera, Action!
Despite what you see on TV and on the blogs, most of the women in the NFL are educated, dedicated and driven. They run their husband’s foundations, their own businesses and they hold down their families like I’ve never seen before. They aren’t all stay at home moms either. There are some women that work full time and others (like myself) who chose not to move with their men and instead make the decision to continue their education. When my now husband first began his NFL journey, we were uncertain of his longevity and his future. He went undrafted and after a season ending injury during his senior year- it wasn’t until 8 months after the draft that he got the call to play again. At the time, it didn't feel like it was in my best interest to move with him so I stayed in Texas.
Staying in Texas was a hard decision- a decision that I made for three straight seasons. During those three seasons; I worked full time, had a baby, earned a Masters degree and got married. And after every major life change, I still made the decision to stay (where I was). There were people who called me selfish and said that I would “miss out on being an NFL wife” and that “men of this caliber want their women to stay home.” They speculated about his fidelity and the strength of our relationship and because of this, I often felt anxious and uncertain.
It was never easy but, we trusted each other and knew ourselves. We both had dreams and goals before we met one other and respected the other enough to pursue those goals together and apart. I often wanted to miss those early morning flights home after a late night playoff game—but in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t.
I’ve met many women around the league who work full time, went to graduate school, law school and even medical school. These women are teachers, reporters and photographers. Many do not make those moves across the country for 1-year deals or uncertain contracts. Some live in their home towns until after training camp to be sure their man is on the final roster. But, in the end we are all sacrificing something to make sure our families are "set" for the future and that is whether you are a stay at home mom or a career women. There is not one "cookie cutter" way to be a supportive wife and mother and because of THAT, we should never feel guilty.
OK, OK. So, I know technically it's not exactly the “off season” but most of our guys do have a few weeks where they don’t have to report to the facilities. I remember the first year I realized that the guys had some time off in the summer and I was so excited for beach trips and fun in the sun with my man! Little did I know I was going to be disappointed.
Summer around the NFL can mean football camps, weddings, agent extravaganzas and babies (if you were lucky enough to time it just right.) The adorable child-fans are finally out of school and can't wait to see their favorite players, whether it’s signing autographs, attending their camps or seeing them train outside in the hot sun of their local neighborhoods. Engaged NFL couples that weren’t married in the spring are probably getting married in the summer. After spending the whole day in the sun working our honey's camps -coordinating kids and volunteers, directing people on where to go AND reminding everyone about the importance of hydration (other people worry about that right? or is that just me?), you are probably still not heading home for a nap. You’re most likely running errands, picking out a baby gift, washing clothes and packing for your next trip or entertaining your own child for the rest of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and I know my honey does too. So much that he started a foundation to make sure that I never have free time—I mean, to give back to the community.
Looking at our calendar we are busy ALL SUMMER SIXTEEN *insert Drake voice here*. We have one weekend that we don’t have anything planned but we also need to pack up our entire house, so my guess is THAT will be that weekend. Trust me, I’m not complaining. What I’m trying to say is: SUMMER IS EXHAUSTING!
So here are a few things to do to relax and get in your slice of personal time with little to no planning.
1. Backyard Dinners
I haven’t tried this one quite yet but I’ve been waiting to. Something about the summer night sky that is just as beautiful as it was when I was a kid gets me every time. Send the kids to bed, grandma’s or even a friend’s house. Order something good from one of those amazing new delivery services (postmates, favor, foodie call, eat in out etc.) that don’t just deliver fast food. Open a bottle of wine and just have dinner. If you want something with a little more "pizazz", you can hire a chef, a two or three person wait staff or a personal bartender for the night. If you have a hot tub or pool then a late night dip after dinner may not be a bad option either.
2. Have him try your workout (and vice versa)!
Even in the off-season our guys are making sure they are staying in shape and ready for camp. Oftentimes, I run off to one work out and my honey runs off to another. So, a few years ago I introduced him to a Barre work out that I had been doing and HE LOVED IT. So much that he got his friends together and they do Barre without me! Sometimes I tag along to his gym workouts and do what I can and he encourages me when I get embarrassed (nothing like tripping over agility ropes around professional athletes.) I love these days because I get to see how hard he’s working and it just feels good to hear his encouragement and excitement. This also leads to impromptu lunch dates and great laughs for the rest of the day because I’m not the most athletic.
3. Go see a movie
No, not “date night." Go in the middle of the day. Actually, go right after a football camp. Go when you’re hot, sweaty and just plain tired. It’s a great way to simply relax. It's cold and the theater is likely empty and guess what? You don’t even have to talk. You’ve probably been on your feet, talking, entertaining and directing everyone else all day long. A midday movie is a great way to escape away from phones and e-mails and reset for the rest of the day.
For me, sometimes shopping is a chore. I’m lugging around a baby or chasing around a toddler most of the time. I can’t zip myself, I tend to get annoyed by the large heaps of unorganized clothes and I don’t like crowds. What I do enjoy is when we use a weekday and we ditch the kid (usually he’s at daycare but if you’re a SAHM try swapping play dates with a friend to get away—"it takes a village.") These shopping dates double as fun and functional. We go off in search of an outfit for an event or wedding and it's fun because we get to laugh when things look horrible, he’s there to hold my things and even catch a glimpse of my nakie *insert winking face here*. Then, I get to help him pick out a coordinating outfit and if you’re particularly stylish (unlike myself) you get to dress him up. When you give yourself time to do this kind of shopping its actually pretty fun and light.
5. Test Drive Cars
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I find something particularly fun about test driving dream cars. My husband doesn’t have a multimillion dollar contract and that’s totally okay with me but, that’s not going to stop me from at least test driving the car of my dreams! Call me simple, basic or whatever but some luxury cars have features that are very cool to test out (I drive a 2016 Ford Edge so I may be easily impressed.) Keep in mind that these test drives don’t have to be at the dealerships. Many rental car companies keep dream cars in stock and you can use a quick Google search for exotic car rentals and rent one there. So why not rent one of those for the next time y’all will be out running errands? Take the long way home or head to a drive in movie together!
I may never own my dream car, we may not visit every place on my bucket list and there have been years where a trip wasn’t in the plans. In fact, we still haven’t gone on our “honeymoon." We spent a few days fishing at someone else’s lake house, eating horrible Mexican food and takeout for the days immediately following our April wedding. I laugh when I remember walking out of a dressing room to find my husband leaned against a wall asleep. My heart is full when I think about how hard he tried to make the perfect proposal only to have us sleep in a literal "roach motel" that night because he forgot to book a room in San Antonio (full disclaimer, we had to buy our own sheets and Lysol because it was so dirty).
Trust me, I understand the urge to want to escape to a beach far away, especially when so many of our friends are posting about their extravaganzas. But I’ve learned through the years that the time I spend with my husband isn’t any more special, domestic or abroad. We will continue to make sure we cater to our relationship as we strive to impact others and be supportive of our friends.
What are some things you are doing to make sure you get a little alone time with your guy? Drop us a comment and give your fellow WAGS some suggestions!
We have all heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses,” but for the NFL Family this can be very dangerous. One of the first things I tell my clients is “contrary to popular belief everyone in the NFL is not a millionaire.” Matter of fact, most players are not millionaires and most won’t ever be in that tax bracket solely based on their NFL contracts. From private flights to the infamous red bottom shoe wall, the stereotypical NFL life can be every family’s dream. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to fly private? No pesky security lines or stress of fitting your entire life into 50 pounds or less. But the reality is sometimes flying commercial now prevents you from being broke later. The Athlete
Immediately after players declare for the draft, they are propelled into a life of temptation. From expensive watches or loan advancements for new cars, the stereotypical NFL life seems to be a dream come true. Most players are instantly persuaded by agents, homeboys, family members and even some NFL teammates that they should live like a baller. The irony in this is that most of those influencers who push for the elaborate lifestyle would not be able to live the lifestyle without the generosity of the player.
For the athlete, the pressure to live a lavish lifestyle is very real. They must have the latest Jordan’s and designer brands including the famous Louis belt. Yes clothes, cars and bags are important but the true burden comes from nightlife spending. During the lockout, several players flocked to Miami to train but to also party. We have all heard of “Liv on Sunday,” and Liv was definitely aware of all of the NFL money that was in town. Players spending between $7,000 and $10,000 on a table every weekend was the norm, and complaining about it was simply unacceptable. No one cares about “how their accounts are set up.” If they are in the club, then they are buying tables because once they become a NFL player the expectation of high end living is the new standard.
The athlete isn’t the only one facing the pressures of living high. NFL wives are judged by their bags, shoes, cars and even eyelashes. Yes even eyelashes! From elaborate weddings and discussions about who has the biggest ring, the standards are high even if your accounts are low. Eyes are watching and unfortunately this is the downfall of a lot of NFL families. Wives aren’t the only ones who fall victim to the extravagant life, family members and homeboys who all of a sudden can no longer take care of themselves and assume the player is now responsible for their existence are some of the biggest culprits in perpetuating the bravado.
The truth is some players don’t learn that they can’t keep up with the Joneses until they are already knee deep in debt. Car payments, multiple mortgages, high credit card limits, and countless depreciating assets create unnecessary stress on both the athlete and the family. Someone who is making $500,000 a year can’t live the same lifestyle that someone who is making $10,000,000 a year without some pretty crafty investing. Unfortunately, I have witnessed it all from selling all they had to sending out mass texts to people they barely know asking for $20,000 loans.
The reality: Don’t let the time in the NFL be a waste. Become the Jones don’t try to keep up with them.
For more information on how to start a business or a nonprofit, email me at email@example.com.
Tenisha Patterson Brown, Esq.
Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless
As budding entrepreneurs or established businesswomen, we often push ourselves to the limit for the sake of the “grind.” We feel like there’s simply not enough time in the day although we know if we were given just another hour, we would fill it up with another task. By nature we are multitaskers and especially when we become mothers, but sometimes we spend so much time worrying about others and our respective businesses that we forget about ourselves. Yes I’m all about the grind but I have to constantly remind myself of the old age idiom “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
According to numerous research studies on occupational health overwork and the resulting stress, results in health problems include but are not limited to: impaired sleep, heavy drinking, depression and heart disease.
Several studies have been performed about the dangers of overworking but the one that stood out the most was conducted by the Harvard Business Review entitled The Research is Clear: Long Hours Backfire for People and Their Companies. This concept can be applied to business and to home life. Overworking is a common theme for our generation whether driven by personal success or the fear of being outdone.
We believe that by working longer or spending more time harping over a particular issue, that somehow it will result in a better outcome. However the opposite is true. According to numerous research studies on occupational health overwork and the resulting stress, results in health problems include but are not limited to: impaired sleep, heavy drinking, depression and heart disease.
Honestly, as I read through the article I was shocked. How is it possible that extending your hours into the late night results in such dramatic health issues? I quickly recalled that overworking is in fact the opposite of the doctor’s orders. Everything we have been told in the past to live a healthy life is the complete opposite of the constant grind mode. Our grind mode fails to account for necessities such as proper sleep and nutrition. If you are unbothered by the potential health risks, the fact that longer hours doesn’t always equate to better results should concern you. The purpose of working longer is to accomplish more. However, this is not always the case. Apparently, working too hard leads to diminishing returns simply because as you become more tired, you start making more mistakes (the kind of mistakes you don't make when your mind is fresh).
As an attorney and entrepreneur, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. My drive to have successful businesses was actually harming them. I was a one-woman show and when I was not at my best, neither were my companies. After months of late nights and neglecting my personal life, I realized that working well into the night every night was neither beneficial for my businesses or for my marriage. I was forced to develop boundaries because my passion was becoming my burden. When creating your own business, it's difficult to take a step back because it is your baby. You want to see it grow! However, it's crucial to learn when it’s quitting time.
I have heard several of my colleagues and friends say that they can enjoy life once they have achieved their goals. The problem with this mentality is that it lives for the future which is uncertain, not guaranteed. The here and now should take priority. After speaking with several successful people that are at or close to retirement age, the most common regret they had was not enjoying life when they were younger. So I challenge all “grinders” to continue your grind but take some time to enjoy it!
For more information on business devleopment or for business advice, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tenisha Patterson Brown, Esq.
Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless
This week's WAG Feature Wednesday is with Geeta Bishop, the amazingly talented and intelligent wife of NFL Super Bowl XLV Champ, Desmond Bishop. Geeta and I connected because of our similar entrepreneurial mission (which we discuss in the interview). She is the creator of The Better Half, a Wisconsin-based talkshow featuring the better halves of the Green Bay Packers. She also wrote and self-published a book with her husband called Life Actually. The two recently had a son and we have plenty of adorable photos to share! Look out for Geeta and all her big plans for the WAGS community. Read the interview below...
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Geeta Bishop
Husband: Desmond Bishop
Husband is Active or Retired: Active
Tenure in the NFL and Teams: This will be our 9th year. Drafted to the Packers (6 years), Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers
Children: Son, Desmond II (15 months)
Favorite Food: A really good salad!
Music on your playlist right now: I’m really into Priyanka Chopra who is the star of Quantico. She was Miss World 10 years ago and is a huge Bollywood star.
Hobbies: I don’t really have time for hobbies at the moment.
Interesting Facts: I’m the first in my family to marry outside of my race.
"I’ll do whatever it takes to allow him to live his dream because he’ll do whatever it takes to allow me to live my dream." - Geeta Bishop, NFL wife
LM: I started reading your book Life Actuallyso I'm learning of your upbringing. Tell the readers where you’re from and a little about your childhood.
GB: I’m from California. I was raised in a super strict and sheltered household where you had to get straight As or you would be in trouble. My parents were immigrants from India so their life goal was to make sure their children went to great schools and were successful. My siblings and I all went to UC Berkeley. I was President of my high school class and so were my brothers. My siblings and I were all Rally Commissioners. I didn’t even date anyone until I met Desmond. I liked other guys before him but I was scared to date.
For several years, I was super secretive about who I was dating. For one, it wasn't ideal that he played football. There's such a stigma that athletes are bad. What you see in the media is that these athletes are not good guys. It took a long long time for my family to see where I was coming from and who Desmond was. They wanted me to marry a nice Indian guy who understood the culture. It took them a long time but eventually they came around and now they love Desmond! You can’t meet Desmond and not love him. He’s seriously one of the greatest human beings alive. He’s the best dad!
LM: Give us the details on how you and Desmond met.
GB: We attended the same high school in California and met the last day of our senior year. He had seen me at the Senior Award banquet the night before and saw that I had received numerous awards and scholarships. He approached me and said, “Can I shake your hand because you had a lot of awards last night?” I responded, "Do you play basketball or something?" because he was so tall. He told me he played football. After we exchanged a few words, I told my friend, "I think that guy likes me" and she responded, "There’s no way he likes you. He's a big time football player. He's like famous.” I dropped it and didn't think about it any further.
At graduation, we ended up sitting next to each other because of our last names. After graduation, I went to grad night and he went too. Every time I turned around he was right there! He kept trying to talk to me so I finally said, “I’m sorry but I’m going to Berkely. I’m not interested.”He even had his friend try on his behalf: "Give my guy a chance. He really likes you." The funny part about this was that the friend who approached me used to bully me in junior high. I thought, "Desmond hangs out with this guy? There's no way I'm talking to him." I told his friend, “Tell him to come talk to me himself.”
When Desmond approached me, I repeated the same story: “I’m just not interested in dating guys.” I was really focused on my future at Berkeley.
He went on a search to find my phone number. I found out that my best friend gave given him my number. She was in our wedding. I was so mad at her at the time for giving him my number and she said, “Why? He has a girlfriend!” I called him and said I would tell his girlfriend. He pleaded with me and said they were no longer dating. After I heard that I never wanted to speak to him or have anything to do with him again.
Fast forward to the summer. I was taking summer classes to prepare for Berkeley and he was in the same class to make up credits. I would see him everyday but not talk to him. Then he started handing me poems everyday. One day, he handed me a CD and told me to listen to it. It was a song he made called "Someone To Love" and it ended up being our first dance song at our wedding. After that, we started talking and eventually dating.
To this day, we have a running joke about how we met. He claims I was into him first but everyone knows it was the other way around!
Read Geeta's interview with Pro Players Insider here.
LM: You're a new mom! How has motherhood changed you?
GB: Man. I can’t even look at the world the same anymore. I worry, love and care so much about this little human that has barely said words. It’s difficult to explain in words how we feel about this little boy. We had a tough time gtting pregnant and I had a miscarriage previously so we consider him our angel! There’s nothing better than being a parent.
LM: Talk about your mission as an entrepreneur?
GB: My mission as an entrepreneur has always been to do right by others. Why not feel good about what you’re doing and empower each other to be better! Imagine if all the women in the world supported one another rather than acting as competition. Instead of adopting the attitude "I'm better than you" or "I created this therefore I know more than you," how about supporting each other? Indian women have reached out to me because I married an African American man. It’s a tough road in our culture to date outside of our race. They'll message me about that and ask for advice. The clothing line I’m in the process of creating, Mini Me, will donate 50% of the profits to charity. It’s not about the money. Everything I do is based on empowering others.
LM: What is the most satisfying thing you have accomplished to date?
GB: My son! He's everything! He's my husband and I combined.
LM: What has been the most challenging part of being an NFL wife?
GB: I think the most challenging aspect is moving so much and not having stability in where we go, the unknown. That doesn't outweigh the greatness you feel when your husband is living his dream! Desmond is living his dream. I’ll do whatever it takes to allow him to live his dream, because he’ll do whatever it takes to allow me to live my dream.
LM: What about being an NFL wife gives you a life perspective unique to other women?
GB: My answer is two-fold. It’s different because we do have to allow our guys to put something before us in a lot of ways. I remember to this day that Desmond had a game when I miscarried. He didn’t have to but I wanted him to go to the game! There was nothing for him to do at home; I could handle it. Women are strong enough to handle any challenges God puts in our path.
At the same time we’re normal, we’re frugal, and we want to do what’s best for our kids. We’re different but we’re the same. You have to be selfless in many ways. That’s why you have to rely on the women. You have to rely on the other NFL women to be there.
LM: What do you hope will come out of your experience as an NFL wife?
GB: There’s nothing I hope will come out of my experience. I just really try to support my husband. That in itself is huge. Most people don’t even get to the professional level. My husband has been playing almost a decade.
LM: Tell us about any upcoming projects you have.
GB: I’m working on taking my show The Better Half national. I’m in the process of developing my clothing line Mini Me. We also have a burger spot we’re trying to open in San Francisco. My husband grew up in Bayview Hunters Point, a lower income area that is becoming gentrified. We’re taking it upon ourselves to give something great back to the area.
I’m also really into making my own products. I'm Indian so I have many home remedies. For example, my son had an ear infection one time and I didn’t want to give him the ear infection medicine because I have read bad things about it. My mother told me to fry garlic with mustard oil, let it cool, and put it in my son’s ear. I followed her instructions and when we returned to the doctor a couple days later, the ear infection was gone. This inspired me so much! I want to create products like organic diapers and shampoos (similar to The Honest Company). These are just things I enjoy doing.
LM: Where can the people find out more about you/follow you
GB: You can follow me on Instagram @geetacb or Twitter @geeta_c
This week I'm writing about myself. Upon request, I have dedicated this post to giving you an inside glimpse at my own life. I am answering those questions I have been asked quite often this year in a special edition Q&A with...myself. I promise to return to guest feature's next week, but if you have any interest at all in the founder of this site, read on... :)
NFL WAG Stats
Name: LeShonda Martin
Husband: Sherrod Martin
Husband is Rookie or Veteran: Vet! Sixth year (Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears)
Children: None yet
NFLWAG: 2 years (and counting)
Cities You've Lived in with NFL: Jacksonville
Off Season Home: Atlanta (Duluth)
Favorite Food: Oreo blizzard, Reese's, any dessert
Hobbies: Reading, listening to podcasts, writing, fitness, entertaining my dogs, basketball (watching, playing, coaching)
Interesting Facts: I was recruited to play Division I basketball; I played PG (point guard) in college; I lived in Bulgaria for three months
More than that though, I caught my first glimpse of what it means to work for someone else and be at the mercy of someone else's thoughts, feelings, and opinions of you. It was at 17 years of age that I discovered my first reason for wanting to be an entrepreneur. - LeShonda Martin
Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
I'm originally from Bloomington, Indiana (the Hoosier state and the basketball state). Quite naturally, I played basketball. I was blessed enough to receive a scholarship to play at the point guard position so I found myself traveling to Mercer University in Macon, Georgia at 17 years old. I transferred to Emory University (Atlanta) the next year and graduated with a degree in Psychology and minor in Sociology. Like the young, lost student-athlete I was, I had no idea what I wanted to do after school. I enrolled in grad school. It was right after I graduated from grad school in Atlanta that I met my husband.
How did you and your husband meet?
The infamous Atlanta nightlife brought us together. I had just graduated from Georgia State University with my Master's in Sports Administration. I was working an 8 to 5 type administrative job in the Athletic Director's office at GSU. I was nearing the age of "I'm so over this Atlanta club scene" but still desired to escape the realities of life from time to time. Little did I know, a gentleman by the name of Sherrod Martin was in the same club that night for a "low-key" good time. A friend of mine told me that he wanted to meet me. I had no idea who he was. She informed me that he played for the Panthers. DOUBLE NO! N-O! No athletes for me, please. She was persistent, and I eventually gave her permission to introduce us. We said hello and smiled at each other. Without hesitation we said, "YOU HAVE A NICE SMILE" at the exact same time! Fate. Well, kind of. We said five words to each other then went our separate ways. Truth be told, I was not exactly single and I consider myself a loyal person. We did not exchange numbers that night. Fast forward a year. I remembered Mr. Sherrod Martin. Social media brought us back together. Our first "date" was a meet up at La Fitness, the perfect date night for two athletes. We had so much fun at the gym that we went to dinner, dinner was so fun that we went for ice cream. We spent several hours with each other on our first date. The rest is history.
How did your husband propose?
So this is a short answer because I was featured on another website talking all things wedding and proposal. You can read more on that here. It was beautiful and perfect for us. He planned out the weekend but during the proposal there was no cameras and no show. Just the intimacy of the moment between he and I.
You are a newlywed! How is married life?
Married life is wonderful. Having a good man is so freeing. My marriage elevates me to new heights. We're best friends. We get on each others nerves but we bring out the best in each other as well. We have fun together and laugh a lot! I wouldn't want to be with anyone else. He is really quite special.
Being young, Christian and married, I recently answered questions for "Girls 4 Christ Rock" in an audio clip here (the clip is 30 minutes, not 2 hours as it shows).
Any advice for women who want to be entrepreneurs?
WAGS Redefined is technically my fourth business. I am not new to this risky entrepreneur life. A common mistake people make is not jumping out there and just doing it. I am a dreamer. I do not have the handicap of thinking too long or too hard about things. If anything, I have way too many random ideas floating around in my head that I want to pursue! To be successful with any business, you need a team. You need a great team of talented people who have strengths where you are weak. In order to go to the next level, you will need to outsource and delegate. Otherwise, your vision is too small. You must work on yourself and have confidence in yourself. Read books. Listen to podcasts. These days I don't really watch television. I don't listen to the radio. I read and listen to spiritual and business podcasts in my spare time. I've read that a common trait of successful entrepreneurs is that they love to learn. I have a thirst for more. Time is precious and we don't have enough of it. You have to be self-motivated. You have to renew your mind daily. There is so much to learn about being an entrepreneur and the best teacher is experience. Entrepreneurship is tough. It's a long, lonely road requiring patience and perseverance. If you want to go that route, good luck. Here is where I end by saying...it's totally worth it!
Want to know more about my husband and I? Comment below or email email@example.com.
This week's WAG Feature Wednesday is of the beautiful, smart, and funny Amber Miller. Amber was a personal training client of mine last year but we have kept in contact since, sharing similar interests in staying fit and supporting our NFL-playing men. Amber and I used the interview as a chance to grab a bite to eat and chat in her new home! Read what this Southern bride-to-be and high school teacher had to say about career and football life below...
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Amber Miller
Fiancé: Kevin Cone
Fiance is Rookie or Veteran: Going into his 5th season [Falcons, Dolphins (pre season), Arizona (pre season), Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Dolphins (pre season), Currently in CFL (Winnipeg Blue Bombers)]
NFLWAG: Going on 5 years
Cities You've Lived in with NFL: I've never moved.
Off Season Home: Atlanta
Favorite Food: Macaroni and Cheese is my favorite dish and lemon peels.
Music on your iTunes: I don’t have iTunes. I don’t listen to music besides Sirius XM. Right now it's on The Heat (Hip Hop). It’s nice to listen to trap music on the way to your professional job.
Hobbies: I love to paint and read. Generally, I use acrylic paint on canvas. I’m reading Charlaine Harris currently.
Interesting Facts: I was the first person in my family to graduate from college (Georgia Southern) and get a Master’s (UGA). I have a MAT in Science Education. I currently teach Biology to Freshman and APES (AP Environmental Science) to Juniors and Seniors.
Oftentimes, people want to define you based on what your significant other does. You can’t define me by someone else’s merit. - Amber Miller, NFL Fiancee
LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
AM: I was born in Decatur, Ga but was raised mainly in Stone Mountain, Ga. I got to where I am now through hard work and tears. I had to figure it all out by myself being a first generation college student. After I graduated from college, I moved back with my parents and worked at Home Depot in the electrical department. I would cut your wire and teach you how to install 3-way light fixtures. Then I realized that wasn't exactly what I wanted in life. I always felt most comfortable and safe at school. I attributed that to my teachers because they always made me feel special. Eventually, I arrived at the idea of teaching so I applied to UGA. I graduated from UGA in May 2011 and I've been teaching ever since.
LM: How did you and Kevin meet?
AM: [Laughs]. My sister and his sister are best friends. The first time we met, we went to the Stone Mountain laser show with our sisters. Ironically, our parents live in the same neighborhood but I didn’t meet him until my first year at UGA. Growing up, Kevin attended private school and I went to public school so I didn’t know he existed. My mom didn’t really let us leave the house so I wouldn’t have met neighborhood friends.
When we did finally meet, he had a girlfriend but I wasn't feeling him like that anyway. When he graduated from Georgia Tech, he invited me to his graduation party since we lived in the same neighborhood. We connected at his party and exchanged numbers afterward. I should mention here that things didn't work out with his girlfriend. I was still in school at that time and Kevin would be at home working out and training. He cooked lunch for me almost daily. I would walk to his house, eat, then go to school (UGA). That's how you get me! You get me with food. We really started off as friends because I like to eat. No romantic situation there. It progressed from there.
LM: How long have you and Kevin been together?
AM: Officially since August 9, 2011.
I read somewhere that the top occupation for NFL women is teachers.
LM: You are recently engaged! Congratulations! How did he propose?
AM: Well, the trip started off simple enough. We had planned to go to Niagara Falls, Canada for a long weekend before I had to start my summer Gifted Endorsement. I flew to Cleveland (where he was playing at the time) and we drove to Niagara Falls from there. SIDENOTE: Who knew it was so close! We got there and had a great first night sightseeing.
The second day we woke up early, drove across the border back to the states (New York) to do the Maid of the Mist boat tour. It was amazing, beautiful, wonderful, great...all those nice words. We drove back across the border to Canada afterward and I was ready for a nap. Turns out Kevin had made plans for lunch so instead of a nap I had to shower and change clothes (we were soaking wet from the Falls). We went to Skylon, a rotating tower similar to the Sun Dial here in Atlanta, and had a great lunch. Okay, so now I'm tired from the boat trip and from a huge lunch. I need a nap! As we're leaving, Kevin insists that we need to keep sightseeing instead of napping, as to not have a wasted trip. I reluctantly walked with him back to the Falls and I am semi-angry the entire way- full, hot, and miserable. We get to the sidewalk near the Falls and I proceed to get my tourist on, taking photos and enjoying the scenery- not paying Kevin any attention.
He calls my name and I respond without looking. He calls me again, so with my attitude (like we discussed earlier) I swivel around and say, "WHAT?!"...and there he is on his knee. Honestly, I thought he was tying his shoe so I turned back around. He gets me to look at him again and there he is with a little box. I didn't know what was going on for a second and then it hit me. Accompanied by some lovely words, he asks me to marry him. I'd completely blocked out all of the other tourists and people around; I swear the world was muffled for that moment. I could hear my heartbeating so rapidly.
Talk about speechless! All I could do was hug him and eventually got out the word, "YES!" The crowd went wild, and people were clapping and cheering.
I later found out he was walking around with the ring box in his sock (since lunch), and hired a photographer to follow us around and take pictures! Yes, the photog has pics of me being grumpy! We immediately took some professional engagement photos in a nice park across the street from the Falls. After the photos, we walked back to the hotel where I was finally able to take my nap! It was so unexpected as we said we would talk about marriage AFTER football. What I envisioned as just a nice weekend getaway turned out to be something super special that I'll never forget .
LM: Wow! What a great story! That attitude is too funny. I'm sure many women can relate. Sounds like a magical weekend. Let's get into what your days are like in Georgia. What is a typical day like for you?
AM: I wake up at about 6:30 a.m., play with my cat Sheldon for five minutes, get ready for work, and go to work. I have five classes (30-ish students in each class). From there it's Ms. Miller and serious face. School gets out at 3:30 p.m. and I’m not done yet. There’s always some sort of meeting after school related to my students or emails from parents and colleagues. There’s always something for me to do. I get to school early and I always stay late. I’m always there 2 to 2 1/2 hours more than I’m contracted to be. If I don’t work those extra hours, I’ll be behind and the kids won’t get what they need. That’s not fair. I’m there for the kids! Outside of school, I have meetings with students and parents, grade papers, make copies, and set up lab. I may spend 30 minutes to an hour daily grading papers. I get emails through the weekend. Parents will email me at 11:30 p.m. and all kinds of crazy hours. This semester I have 161 students. It’s stressful sometimes because you have to be cordial to everyone no matter what. I read somewhere that the top occupation for NFL women is teachers. I thought that was interesting because I don’t see teachers and football going together. They don’t match.
LM: You two recently moved into your new home. Congratulations! What were some of the factors you both weighed when deciding where to live?
AM: We want to have kids within the next two years so we looked into good school systems, enough bedrooms, and an area with low crime. I was living downtown in Vine City and that's one of Atlanta's high crime areas. I recently got a new teaching job so our new house is close to my job and in a good area.
LM: What are the pros and cons of being engaged to an NFL player?
AM: Cons right now would be the distance. I live here in Georgia and he’s in Winnipeg, Canada right now but he could be anywhere. The pros would be…I think it’s just his personality. He’s understanding of the demands on me. I understand that his work is demanding and he understands I have stuff to do and we’re both okay with that. I don’t work a 9-5. It’s whenever parents and students need me.
LM: What is your love advice to women?
AM: Always be kind even when you don’t want to be. I have a temper and can be moody sometimes but I have to step back a lot and think about if I would want someone to say that to me. Be mindful of what you say. If he asks you to send him banana bread 1000 miles away, just go ahead and do it. He texted me the other day and said, "Babe, I think that banana bread really made me do good in practice. You gotta send me some more.”
LM: Oh, that's funny! Nice of you to do that though. What do you think are the common misconceptions about NFL WAGS?
AM: Overall, most people on the outside looking in think we’re spoiled and kept women who can’t or won’t do for themselves. That’s a big misconception! Even my students will say, “If he’s in the NFL, why are you here?” and I’m like, "What do you mean, 'Why am I here?' This is my job!" Oftentimes, people want to define you based on what your significant other does. You can’t define me by someone else’s merit.
LM: Talk about what the NFL has meant for your family.
AM: For me, a lot of what it's meant has been financial. We were able to purchase this new home. Other than that, it’s meant traveling and getting to hang out in new cities for the Summer and Spring Break. Kevin is really big into charities, especially the team community outreach. He is the first one to sign up for those events and if he can bring me, he will. That’s always nice. We enjoy the events with kids (reading books to elementary school kids, etc). It’s nice to see the business side of it (banquets, donations, etc).It’s also been a lot of headache to coordinate my work schedule with Kevin’s. I know it's selfish to think this way but sometimes I wish he had an easier schedule.
LM: What would you like people to know about you?
AM: I am strange at times but it’s okay to be strange. You don’t have to try to fit into somebody’s box. That’s what I try to teach my students. Don't go out and do crazy stuff but if you’re within the law, it’s okay for you to be yourself and relax; don't be so uptight.
LM: What type of activities, specifically, do you do with your fiancé?
AM: We like to travel. We travel stateside mainly but if I have some time off , we’ll go anywhere. We like to go to vineyards. We’re part of wine clubs. We love to go out to restaurants. I’m not a big cooker but Kevin is. Kevin loves lists. His phone has a lot of lists. We use this app called Couple where you and your partner can create lists to view. Kevin makes lists about everything. He has lists titled, “Things I love about you” and “Dates we need to go on” for example.
LM: What are some of those date ideas he has?
AM: Apple picking, fishing, hot air balloon ride, Star Wars movie marathon, and making our own bread
LM: Has he mentioned what he would like to do in the future?
AM: I could see him being a PE teacher with little kids or working at a vet’s office. He’s a dog whisperer. It’s crazy! He wants to do some internships with the NFL. He wants to start up a nonprofit working with kids and sports. Right now he’s getting his Master’s at Georgia State (MBA) during the off season. He took 2 or 3 classes during the season when he was with the Falcons so that was hard. He always takes classes in the off season though. He’ll drag me to some of his group meetings when they do projects and it’s cool to see him in that element. Whatever he does, it’ll probably involve owning his own business dealing with kids, sports, or both. He did work for Westinghouse. He worked as an engineering intern with nuclear power plants. His possibilities are endless.
LM: What is Kevin’s degree in?
KC: His degree is in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech. He’s super into Math and all that.
LM: Impressive! What about you? What are your long term goals?
AM: Ideally, as far as work goals I want to work for the County as some sort of professional development coach or educational coach for teachers. I want to help teachers teach students. I don't want to be in the classroom forever. I want to be a classroom teacher for at least ten years though. I’ve been teaching for five years already so I'm halfway there. I also want to learn how to do nails even if I don’t apply it as a career because I love nails. I want to be a mom and raise decent people.
LM: Anything else you would like to add?
AM: I LOVE my cat Sheldon. He’s my first child.
Hilarious! What a fun interview! I'm excited to catch up with Amber later in the season to see what the Canadian Football League experience is like.
This week's WAG Feature Wednesday is of the beautiful, intelligent, and ambitious LaKisha Gunn. LaKisha and I were introduced by our significant others, who played together while on the Panthers and remain good friends today. I'll never forget when I was dating my husband, LaKisha's fiancé Captain told me, "Just make sure I'm invited to the wedding." A short time after that day, these two attended our wedding in Atlanta. I enjoyed catching up with LaKisha on her way to her nursing gig in Minnesota. Read more on career, weddings, and a fab proposal with this busy bride-to-be!
NFL WAG Stats
ame: LaKisha Gunn
Fiancé: Captain Munnerlyn
Fiance is Rookie or Veteran: Veteran. 7th season (Carolina Panthers for 5 years, 2 years with Vikings)
NFLWAG: 1.5 years
Cities You've Lived in with NFL: Charlotte and Minneapolis
Off Season Home: Charlotte
Favorite Food: I love seafood although I have a slight allergy to it. Crab legs are my favorite!
Music on your iTunes: The last thing I bought was Tyrese’s album but I have a wide variety of music from Lil Boosie, Adele, J Cole, Journey, Beyonce, Anthony Hamilton (my favorite), and of course Gospel music.
Hobbies: I enjoy reading but haven’t read anything recent due to working and planning the wedding.
Interesting Facts: I have been an RN for over 10 years. I went to Danville Regional Medical Center School of Nursing and then Winston-Salem State University in Winston Salem, NC to get my Bachelors (BSN). I am a little shy at times but easy to get to know.
Being that far away from family and friends is kinda hard." - LaKisha Gunn, NFL Fiancee
M: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
LG: I’m originally from Danville, VA. When I was 24, I decided it was time for me to leave my small hometown and I moved to Charlotte. I had a friend who lived in Charlotte and felt it was an up and coming city so I said why not? I was offered a job and within about three months I made the move. I’ve been in Charlotte six and a half years now.
LM: What’s your schedule like as a nurse?
LG: I’ve worked with the same long term care/ rehabilitation facility for about five years in Charlotte. My schedule was pretty flexible but once Cap [Captain] was acquired by the Vikings, I had to quit my job. That was tough for me because I had been there five years and had gotten attached to the families, patients, and my coworkers. Now that we’re in Minnesota, I am currently the Director of Nursing for a home care agency and my schedule is very flexible. I am able to make my own schedule and work from home some days. I’ve been able to work with some great people and climb the ladder. I’ve heard those words, “Your resume is so awesome. Can you start tomorrow?” It’s been a blessing. God has been so good to me. Moving to Minnesota meant putting my career on hold and essentially starting over but I’m able to find work wherever I go.
LM: How did you and Captain meet?
LG: We met three or four years ago at a night club in Charlotte. He tried to talk to me and I wasn’t having it. Unfortunately, due to the stereotypes, I was not trying to talk to a football player, plus I was in a relationship at the time. I told him, “I know how you guys are and what you say.” He was like, “Just give me a chance!” I was pretty firm and said, “Nope. Not doing it.” We didn’t exchange numbers or anything that night. Almost two years ago I ran into him again in a nightclub but this time I was single and my cousin was with me. Cap talked to my cousin and said, “I’m trying to talk to her and she won’t give me the time of day.” My cousin insisted that I should give him a chance and I finally gave in and exchanged numbers with him. The rest is history and it all kind of happened fast. Cap tells me he respected the fact that I didn’t care who he was.
LM: When you know you know! What was the transition into the NFL lifestyle like for you?
LG: For me, coming to Minnesota has been totally different from Charlotte. Being that far away from family and friends is kinda hard. One of Cap’s old college teammates is on the Vikings and his girlfriend is here and she’s from VA as well. We became really really close friends. Having her here helped me out and vice versa. It’s just easier when you know someone going through the same thing you are.
LM: How did your fiancé propose?
LG: Cap proposed on my birthday last year. I was working on my birthday and when I got off work, he had invited friends to a restaurant where we all met up.
Let me back up. Before we went to the restaurant, Cap was getting all cute and I was like, “Why are you looking so cute!" (lol) You know I had to change [clothes]. I felt like something was different because people were calling me all day who would usually text. I was thinking I’m turning 31 so it’s just another year. He had called my parents and asked for my hand in marriage so my dad was being all sentimental and I wondered why.
hen we arrived at the restaurant, a photographer snapped photos of us as we walked in. Cap’s response to the photographer was “Oh yeah, that’s what this restaurant does close to Christmas.” So the photographer is snapping photos the entire time and our friends are there. Captain has all the gifts by the table and he's giving our friends signals with hand gestures (which I didn't notice at the time). I’ m going through the gifts and the last one is a Chanel bag. I was so excited and thinking to myself he has made this such a special day for me.I’m such a simple person and Cap knows that. At this point, the whole restaurant was quiet. He said, “You have one more gift,” and bent down on one knee to propose. After I said “Damn Right” LOL (the non-typical answer…I still can’t believe I said that), we danced in the middle of the restaurant. I was shocked and there was so much going on. It was a surreal moment! It was awesome. He did great.
LM: I love it! Great story. How’s wedding planning going? What’s been your wedding inspiration?
LG: To be honest, I could have a small wedding. I could have a destination wedding or go to the courthouse. Captain is the one who really wants to have a big wedding!
LM: And you have to plan it!
LG: Yeah, and I have to plan it! I want it to be nice. I just want it to be beautiful for us and our family. There hasn’t been any weddings in a very long time on either side of the families. This is really huge for us both.
LM: Do you have your theme or colors?
LG: Yes, we’ve chosen our colors. We are going with my favorite color which is purple, his favorite color of blue, and a hint of silver. We set a date. Our wedding is June 25th, 2016.
LM: Nice! Our wedding was June 26, 2015. Seems like most football couples get married around that time.
LG: Yes, because of football season! That was the only date that really worked. Originally, I wanted to do something with a date of 10 because both of our birthdays are on the 10th but it didn’t work out that way.
LM: Oh, football! What’s a typical day look like for you?
LG: Typically, I wake up and head to the gym. After the gym, I go to work and get home around 5 or 6. Cap usually gets home right after me. I cook dinner. I check emails and straighten the house. Currently, I’m taking care of two houses since we still have one in Charlotte. We’re working on plans for building a house next year in Charlotte as well. It’s been pretty crazy and my days have been full! In the middle of all that, I’m taking care of Cap.
LM: What are the pros and cons of being engaged to an NFL player?
LG: The pros: It’s a blessing having financial stability. Cons: A con for Captain and I both is not being able to spend time with his two children: ages 4 ½ and 2. Football is a tough game and sometimes it comes with injuries...the name of the game is staying healthy. You have to be there as a support system for your guy and stay prayed up at all times. Also, going back and forth from Minnesota to Charlotte during season and offseason can be a lot; We close up one house to go to another house and then do the same routine all over a couple months later. Lastly, sometimes the fans and the women don't have any boundaries.
LM: What do you and your fiancé like to do for fun? What was the last movie you watched together?
LG: Captain and I like to watch movies. He loves the movie Friday so we watch that a lot and Bad Boys. When he has down time he likes to relax so we’ll watch Fresh Prince and Martin, classic shows that make us laugh. We have date nights too. We go out to dinner and movies. Straight Outta Compton was the last movie we saw in the theatres. We enjoy bowling even though I’m not that great at it. Cap is so competitive so it’s always, “I’m gonna beat you! Let’s see who can get a strike!”
LM: What are your long term goals?
LG: My long term goals are to have a healthy relationship, a great marriage, and eventually more kids. He has two children but I want one more I think. I want to open up my own home care agency. One of my fears of post-football life is living paycheck to paycheck. We both make sure we have other stuff [outside of football] going on. Captain has a trucking company he’s working on. You have your financial advisors but you still have to prepare yourself.
LM: What is your love advice to women (or women in the NFL)?
LG: My love advice…hmm…Well, I make sure I tell Cap every morning before he leaves that I love him and give him a kiss. I always say, “Have a great day!” Keep God first in your relationship. Pray for him every night. Pray together every night before bed. Don’t go to bed mad at each other. Those are things we try to incorporate in our relationship.
LM: Great advice! Talk about what the NFL has meant for your family.
LG: The NFL has provided us with a blessed life thus far. We are able to provide for ourselves, and ensure the children and family are taken care of. The NFL has afforded Captain the opportunity to live out his dream of playing pro football. I love watching him out there every Sunday becoming a beast on the field.
LM: What would you like people to know about you?
LG: I would like people to know I’m humble and down to earth. I’m true to myself. I don’t let my surroundings dictate what I do or make me become something that I’m not. You see different things in the NFL but I’m just always me.
This week's WAG Feature Wednesday is of the sweet and talented Quiana Fluellen. Quiana and I were connected through a fellow NFL wife who encouraged me to interview this amazing young mama. We discussed how her and her husband Andre met at FSU, her role as a "weekend wife", her career as a physical therapist and more below!
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Quiana Fluellen
Husband: Andre Fluellen
Husband is Rookie or Veteran: Veteran. Going into 8th season (Drafted to Detroit Lions in 2008, Dolphins, Bills)
Children: Daughter Lyric Malia (Born May 29th)
NFLWAG: 8 years
Cities You've Lived in with NFL: I’ve always been a working wife or a “weekend wife” which means I've always traveled back and forth to whatever city my husband is playing in. I love my career and patients so I’m always back and forth.
Off Season Home: Atlanta (John’s Creek)
Favorite Food: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Music on your iTunes: I LOVE 90's R&B music. I'm busy with the baby so I'm not up to date on many songs; I also LOVE Chris Brown
Hobbies: I like to do a lot of arts and crafts; my baby’s entire nursery is DIY and my wedding was DIY; I do acupuncture and practice on friends and my husband
Interesting Facts: I have a doctorate in Physical Therapy; I rehab my husband after games (in between games or off season)
I have to hold my family together. My husband wants to hold his daughter." - Quiana Fluellen, NFL wife
LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
QF: I’m from Gainesville, Florida originally. I went to Florida State and ran track, and my husband played football there so that’s how we met. I was so anti-athlete because I was an athlete. I said I would never date an FSU football player because of their rep. It’s a long story but we ended up dating. Andre went off to Detroit when he was drafted and I went to Tampa for my doctoral program. We married in July of 2013. He’s from Cartersville, Georgia so we decided to buy a house in Atlanta as our home base. I moved up here [Atlanta] after school and I travel back and forth.
LM: Very cool that you ran track in college. What did you run?
QF: I ran the 400m hurdles. I still run recreationally but I don’t do it competitively. I’m still active. I worked out my whole pregnancy and I still work out my patients so I’m always in the gym.
LM: You recently had a baby! Congrats! How has motherhood changed you? In what ways has it had an impact on your relationship with your husband?
QF: Motherhood has given me so much patience with my husband and other people! I have a better perspective about life and I don’t sweat the small things. My husband and I are closer because of Lyric. He never left my side during my 30-hour labor! I had a doula and we did different stretching and coping exercises. Andre did more research than I did during that time so I really saw that he was interested in my well-being. It was sad when he had to go to Training Camp because she was only 9 or 10 weeks old. This is our first daughter so he’s missed some milestones. I have a job here in Atlanta so I travel back and forth so she can see daddy and vice versa. We make it work. One adjustment of motherhood is having to be at the airport two hours earlier than I used to because I have my daughter!
LM: What’s a typical day look like for you?
QF: On Tuesdays and Thursdays I wake up at 5:45 a.m. and take Lyric to school, go to work and see patients, pick her up, wait for my husband to get off work to Skype, squeeze in some dinner, pump [breastfeeding], and go to bed. If Andre has a home game, we shoot up to NY on a Friday to see him, and fly back before I am scheduled to see patients on Tuesday. Currently, my days are scheduled around my daughter and building our business with the physiatrist I work with. We are looking to start a Sports Performance business here in Atlanta. I was in a position to put my career on hold and be a stay at home mom, but we prayed on it and decided to take the opportunity. This is my dream, our dream, to have a gym and train athletes. I know I put a ton of pressure on myself but this is what will better our family’s future since the NFL is so uncertain. It’s tough and I’m sleep-deprived but it’s worth it.
LM: What advice would you give to an NFL wife who wants to be a doctor or any other profession with a demanding schedule?
QF: If you truly truly want to do it, go for it! The opportunity may never happen again. I know a lot of people who regret not going to school or whatever they wanted to do. First of all, pray before you do anything! Of course, you should talk to your spouse. If you really want to do it, God will direct you in the way you should go. My husband respects me because of my work. Every household and person is different. I don’t judge any stay at home mom, working mom, or people without kids. We all have struggles. It’s tough to date or be married to a pro athlete.
LM: What are those advantages and disadvantages of being married to a pro athlete?
QF: As far as the pros, I’ve met so many awesome women in Detroit! Meeting the other NFL wives is my favorite. I’m still friends with some of the Lions ladies even though we’re on different teams now. We stay in contact. Last year, my job was more flexible so I was able to go to Detroit and do some of the charity events and Bible studies with Andre. People don’t see the behind-the-scenes. These guys [NFL players] do some amazing things. Having the opportunity to impact the community is very rewarding. The biggest con is the 53-man cut! Training camp…your husband stressed out…not knowing. I call it D-day, Doom’s day! Am I gonna get a phone call from my husband saying, “I’m coming home to get back to training and we’ll wait for somebody to give me a call”? That’s been my husband’s story the past few years. It can truly hurt a guy’s self-esteem. You get cut so many times and it can break you down. Thank God he’s a Christian man because that lifestyle tears some people apart.
LM: Very true! What is your love advice to women?
QF: I know social media can tear a lot of relationships apart. Don’t compare yourselves to other people and other wives. You don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. Try to let all of that external stuff go. That’s the main thing I’ve seen with wives. I try not to compare and that’s how my husband and I remain close to each other. LM: What type of activities, specifically, do you do with your spouse?
QF: We love the outdoors. We kayak. We fish. I’m a country girl. My husband likes that I’m not afraid to get sweaty or dirty. We love to travel. We did a babymoon in Hawaii. We’re going to Greece or Brazil for my 30th. I like to work out with him. He doesn’t like to run as much because he’s a big guy. We’ll also go to theme parks.
LM: What do you think are the common misconceptions about NFL WAGS?
QF: There are A LOT OF misconceptions. The biggest ones are: “Yall got it made. You have nothing to worry about. You don’t have to worry about bills. What are you doing working? You don’t need to work.” Sometimes I tell my patients my husband is an entrepreneur because there’s a lot of judgment if I say he plays football. Individuals assume you don’t have any issues because you have “money”. I have a life. I have a baby. I have a job. A lot of people judge because of where you live and what you drive. TV gives us a bad rep. I don’t have a nanny! I have a bonnet on my head right now [LOL]! We’re normal women. We’re blessed. I’m not going to let anyone make me feel bad about my husband, our careers, or my life.
LM: I’m familiar. I understand what you’re saying completely.
QF: Your everyday isn’t like my everyday. I am very blessed to be in my position, but I'm not with my husband everyday. I have to hold my family together. My husband wants to hold his daughter.
LM: Amen! Talk about what the NFL has meant for your family.
QF: To me, the NFL is life. It’s pretty much what we’ve been going through since I’ve been with Andre. Every season and off season our life revolves around the NFL. On a positive note, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the NFL (from insurance to traveling). It’s still been a blessing regardless of the cuts and trades. We’ve been able to sustain our lifestyle. The NFL has a program called the NFL happy babies. They assign you to a nurse case manager who calls and follows your entire pregnancy. She checks on you with each milestone. First, you call the hotline (your husband should have number) and they set you up with a nurse and help you find a nutritionist. At 28 weeks they get you an electric breast pump. They give you $600 after the baby is born which pretty much helps with copays. You can call the hotline any time you have questions about your pregnancy. If you don’t have a healthy and smooth pregnancy they have other resources. I had a healthy pregnancy so I didn’t utilize those resources. I did appreciate that program. It made my pregnancy easier.
LM: What would you like people to know about you?
QF: I love my husband. I really look up to him. He brought me closer to Christ. We’ve grown completely from college to now. We joined a church here and had a family. We are trying as a family to put God first. Whatever we were doing before Christ wasn’t working so something had to change. Also, I want people to know that I make it work for my family!
This week's WAG Feature Wednesday is of the beautiful and ambitious Nicole Jennings. Nicole and I connected through an NFL women's prayer group after she learned of my blog. Being two like-minded entrepreneurs, we decided to partner up by assisting each other in our businesses. Nicole is a mother of four, wife to a 10 year NFL veteran, co-founder and President of the Greg Jennings Foundation, and business owner. I was able to catch up with this busy lady to discuss how she manages to juggle it all! Read more below...
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Nicole Jennings
Husband: Greg Jennings
Husband is Rookie or Veteran: Veteran. 10th season (Drafted to Packers, Vikings, Dolphins)
Children: Amya (8), Alea (6), Ayva (4), and son Aice (2)
NFLWAG: 10 years
Places You've Lived in with NFL: Green Bay and Minnesota
Off Season Home: Minnesota
Favorite Food: Pizza (Supreme)
Music on your iTunes: I’ve got a worship mix (Christian), slow jams mix, old school Gerald Lavert mix, and Beyonce/Rihanna mix
Hobbies: Working out (cardio, weightlifting, road bike, spin class) and working on my business. I love what I do so I don't consider it work. It's fun to me!
Interesting Facts: I have a nursing degree and I started my Masters in Nonprofit Leadership; I'm now focusing on being a business owner.
We are afforded an awesome platform to project the things that are important to us like our faith, women empowerment, and youth and education." - Nicole Jennings
LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
NJ: I’m originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan. I’m in Minnesota now solely because of my husband.
LM: How did you and your husband meet?
NJ: We met in 6th grade and went to 8th grade and senior prom together. We attended Western Michigan together and got married our junior year in college.
LM: You and your husband have been married 10 years! Congratulations! That is a feat for anyone but definitely in this NFL life. How have you two been able to make it work? What makes you different?
NJ: Soon to be 11 years! I don’t think that we’re any different than anyone. Everyone has their own struggles. We’re really rooted in our faith. That’s definitely what has kept us going in tough times. Once we made that decision to spend the rest of our lives together, that was it. We’re in this. We grew up together. I know him and his heart and he knows me and my heart.
LM: What is your advice to NFL women as we head into football season?
NJ: As we’re taking care of everybody else, make sure you take care of yourself. That’s the premise behind my business. Women are always doing things for their husbands and kids and putting everyone else’s needs before their own. Before you know it, you’re not okay and you’re not fine. Never overwhelm yourself to the point where you forget about yourself. When you feel good, that makes you a better wife and mother. Self-care should be top of mind.
LM: What is your love advice to women?
NJ: My love advice is simple…it’s Scriptural. First Corinthians 13:4: Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous or rude…it’s gentle... keeps no record of wrongs…rejoices in the truth…If it’s honest and true, that’s how you know it’s love.
LM: Tell me more about your children.
NJ: They are some energetic little people who keep us on our toes. My oldest is 8 and wears the same size as I do. She’s my mini me. My second is most like her father (she’s very kind and particular about things). My middle child is the baby girl and she acts like the baby girl. My son is two and he’s a mommy’s boy. He knows when he gets in trouble to come to mommy because she won’t do anything about it. He always compliments me: “Mommy, I like your nail polish,” “Mommy, you so beautiful.” He’s a mini Greg so I know I’m in trouble.
LM: How has motherhood changed you? Has it had an impact on your relationship with your husband?
NJ: Motherhood has changed me because there’s more to care about than myself. It’s matured me and made me have to think outside the box, especially having four children. Traveling with four is no joke. It has made me extremely organized, and also helped me to realize I can’t do it all by myself. I needed help! We hired a nanny to assist me when my husband is gone. From a marriage standpoint, it’s made us more connected. If there was ever a reason not to throw in the towel, they [the kids] would be it.
LM: What’s a typical day look like for you?
NJ: There’s no such thing as a typical day! Every day is different. I wake up and get the kids up. I like to start my day with meditation or prayer time to get my mind right for the day. It doesn’t always happen, but I can tell a difference whenever I am unable to have that “me” time in the morning. I am an avid workout person. I try to exercise before I drop the kids off at school and before I head into work. After the work day, we pick up the kids and head to their extracurricular activities. Generally, we have to split up because of the kids’ age differences. After activities, we come home, do homework, dinner, bath, and they’re in the bed by 8:00 p.m. Saturday anything goes. Sunday is game day so we are either at the game or heading somewhere to watch the game. That’s a makeshift type of day. Sometimes I’m traveling.
LM: Tell me more about your online boutique, The Posh Mommy, and how it all started?
NJ: The Posh Mommy (TPM) started because of what I mentioned before about self care. It was our contract year in Green Bay and it was a fairly stressful time. I looked in the mirror and asked myself, “Are you only a wife? Are you only a mother? Who are you? What is your passion?” I felt like there were so many women out there across the various professional sport leagues who had to feel the same way. I reached out to some other football, baseball, and basketball wives and TPM was born! We consign designer wear and a portion of the proceeds go back to charity. Understanding where we come from, we’re blessed to be where we are and need to be a blessing to others. I wanted to be able to reach women who need a little bit of empowerment. A posh mommy comes from within, not the outside. If you look good, you feel good, if you feel good, you do good, and all is well.
The Posh Mommy is currently online but I have been busy preparing for the grand opening of our first storefront in Minnesota. We are offering different benefits like classes on styling for pregnant women. Being pregnant is a very awkward time for many. I know for me, I hated being pregnant. I loved having my children but disliked being big. Now, I have tips to share. We are looking into postpartum classes for moms and making sure there is balance there. The goal is to be a resource for women. The Posh Mommy is so important to me. I love it! I try to tell women: Follow your passions and don’t fall behind and get in a shadow. Follow your dreams as well as you help your husband and kids follow theirs.
**UPDATE: Look for The Posh Mommy storefront Grand Opening in Minnesota!**
LM: You are the President and Co Founder of the Greg Jennings Foundation. How have you been able to run the foundation and TPM at the same time?
NJ: Well, I handed over the daily operations stuff to my sister-in-law. I’m still the President and I make all the final decisions, but Greg’s sister now runs the day to day. That was challenging for me in the beginning because I’m a control freak, but she’s a lot like me so I know she can handle the role. I don’t think I could manage the Foundation and TPM without her. That’s been a blessing.
LM: What is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
NJ: I would say don’t go alone. Don’t dive into it alone. You definitely need a support group and a work life balance. For me, posh is my baby. I don’t want it to always be an investment and I want it to be profitable. However, because it’s my passion, I can get so enthralled with it that I feel overworked. Sometimes it’s like, “Oh, yeah the kids are home,” or “Maybe I should cook a meal.” It’s a blessing to have a husband who will remind you because mine definitely does. He called in a sitter the other day and we went to a hotel and hung out. He said, “You do NOT bring your phone,” to which I responded, “Well, what if I get an order?” He had to explain to me that potential customers would be fine for the next twelve hours or whatever. Definitely find that work life balance and get a support group.
LM: What is your advice for NFL families who want to start a business, or is it the same advice as above?
NJ: It wouldn’t differ. I try not to differentiate myself and NFL families from other families. It’s when people try to differentiate themselves that they think they’re better than others. That’s one thing that we definitely try not to do in our family. I don’t like to put a label on us. Football is what my husband does, not who he is. Our problems may be different because of what he does but issues are issues regardless of who you are.
LM: What are the pros and cons of being married to an NFL player?
NJ: Pros – We are afforded an awesome platform to project the things that are important to us like our faith, women empowerment, and youth and education. People listen and want to talk to us because of what my husband does. We’re trying to use that as much as we possibly can. Another perk is the fact that my husband is living out his dream. Being able to support him and having been there from 6th grade to see it all the way through…it’s like “Wow! Look at God!” To be as young as we are at 32 and have lived more than most people would in a lifetime is a definite blessing. We are able to support our family on different levels. We’re not in need of anything. We provide our children with the best we have to offer...life experiences...travel outside of the country...all of my children have passports. There are adults who have never left [the country]. That’s something that’s been huge for us to be able to pour into them.
Cons – Media perception in my eyes. The things that are portrayed to others. Stereotypes. I think that’s definitely not fair to put everyone into one basket. There were times in my life when I’m glad there was no cameras around. It’s not fair to exploit someone’s downfall and I think it happens to us [NFL families] on a regular basis. Another thing is boundaries. People are so enthralled with what the guys do on Sunday that they forget they are real people. They want time with their family. Women fans do some strange things occasionally. Boundaries can just become a little skewed and people forget these players are human.
LM: You and Greg are open about your faith and you even mention being a devoted Christian on The Posh Mommy website. What’s it like being a Christian in today’s world?
NJ: For me, it’s evolved. At first, you want to blend in. You don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. Now with the age I am and the year we are in this league, it is what it is. There’s a heaven and hell. It’s white and black; there’s no grey area with God. We enjoy being a light in a dark place. Are we perfect? Not by any means. We have lived and learned and can provide a testimony. We are striving to be more Christ-like everyday. It’s not hard for us but quite enjoyable because we know we’re doing the will of our Father. Greg's dad was a pastor but it's been nice developing our own faith for our family. We don’t do denominations. We’re about the Kingdom. It’s about doing the will of God. It’s been good to foster that with our kids.
LM: How has your faith played a role in the raising of your children?
NJ: It’s something that we have poured into them from day one. We talk about God and do prayer every morning in the car. We each say a prayer and some of them are quite funny. They pray for some funny stuff sometimes but hey, it’s conversation with God. We pray every single day in our house. I’m the one praying for the kids before school with blessed oil for their foreheads.
LM: What would you like people to know about you?
NJ: That is deep. I think the biggest thing is that I’m about unity across all levels, whether it’s women, families, etcetera. I feel like God is peace. Wherever there’s peace, that’s where God is. I try to foster that and cultivate that in whatever I’m a part of. You can be seen as standoffish if you don’t try to get down with the crowd. I feel like I’m caviar. I’m not for everybody. Everybody doesn’t like caviar but the people who do eat it, love it. I try to unify women. We’re all women. We’re all on the same team. Let’s win games and let’s win life. Even across the leagues, it’s a job. When it comes to football, God puts the man as the head [of household] and you should let him lead. There’s no need for me to get into locker room rift raft. I’m unique. I’m about unity, exuding that, and making it a way of life.
LM: Anything else you would like to add?
NJ: If there’s any other women interested in that unifying concept, The Posh Mommy is interested in having them as a contributor on our website. Or, if there’s anything you’d like to sell, we’ll get it sold and give a portion of the proceeds to charity.
This week's WAG FEATURE WEDNESDAY is of the funny, beautiful and incredibly sweet Alexis Hill. I met Alexis about five months ago through real estate. She was a realtor at a company in Atlanta I was interviewing with. The broker introduced Alexis to me as a "fellow NFL wife" being that her husband Tye had played in the league five years prior. I signed on with the same broker and connected with her right away. Alexis and I recently met up at a local Starbucks to discuss parenting, post NFL life and how she's adjusting. Read the interview below...
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Alexis Hill
Husband: Tye Hill
Husband Active or Retired? Retired.
Husband played from 2006-2010 (Drafted to Saint Louis in the first round; Atlanta; Detroit)
Children: Daughter Ariah (3) and son Tristen (7)
NFLWAG: Four years
Cities You've Lived in with NFL: St. Louis and Atlanta
Current Home: Atlanta
Favorite Food: Macaroni and cheese
Hobbies: I like traveling abroad; I'm a foodie (fine dining); reading; shopping (doesn’t matter what it is); love watching movies. Call me if you have movie trivia because I am on it!
Music on your Playlist: Currently Big Sean, Lil Wayne's "Nothing but Trouble", Chris Brown, Beyoncé, and Canon in D (I’m all over the place)
Interesting Facts: I speak Spanish fluently; I was in an emersion program in college with five teachers from different countries; I'm a Realtor; I have a degree in Communications (concentration in Cultural Relational Studies) from Clemson; I minored in Spanish; I'm a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (I've held positions as VP and President); I served as a mentor on an Educational Support Team; I was a member of Tiger Paws (assisted with recruiting)
Year five is when I’ve really started to feel the difference. It’s like, 'Oh wow! No more NFL.'"- Alexis, Former NFL wife
LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
AH: I’m originally from Springfield, Massachusetts. When I was 10 years old, we moved to Charleston, SC because my parents were both teachers and were recruited within the school system. Living in Charleston was quite a culture shock. I went to school with more people who looked like me. When I lived in Springfield, I went to a Catholic school and there were fewer minorities. My parents worked in rural areas with kids who didn’t have running water at home. My childhood days in Charleston helped mold and shape me. I am still close with my middle school friends to this day. I attended Clemson for college and that’s where I met my husband. We always knew of each other but didn’t start dating until our last semester there. His cousin dated my best friend. He claims he tried to come up to me one day at a step show and talk to me. He caught me in the wrong head space and I brushed him off [laughs]. I didn’t know who he was.
LM: When did things turn around for him?
AH: I had a talk with the Lord one day and said, “If you’re going to send me someone, please send me…” and I gave him a list. I also asked him to make it obvious to me who I was supposed to be with. I had this talk with God in October and in November, I had another run in with Tye (my husband). One night my best friend and I were out and we saw Tye’s cousin (the one she used to date). His cousin introduced us again and ever since that night the rest is history. I call him my pleasant surprise: serendipity! My line sister always says, “I never would’ve put you two together but it makes sense! You guys are good together.”
LM: How long have you and your husband been married?
AH: We’ve been married six years this year. Our wedding anniversary is June 27th. We usually try to go on vacation for just us two for anniversaries, whether its traveling somewhere abroad or stateside. We’ll at least do a date night. We always celebrate together apart from the kiddos.
LM: How long has your husband been out of the league and what has that transition been like?
AH: He’s been out of the NFL for five years now. With all the ups and downs of football that have occurred, under normal circumstances it could’ve been difficult. However, the transition wasn’t as tough as I expected because of our relationship. We dated and got to know each other first. I wasn’t even into football when I met my husband. The football players had a bad rep (unfortunately) but I was interested more in how he treated me. That’s what attracted me to him. I feel like because we became such good friends first, we learned how to communicate with each other and spent a lot of time together. He’s always done a great job of separating football from home. If he had a bad day with his job, I would always have to bring it out of him. Tye was always happy when he came home to see me and our son. Since we knew how to work together, we were able to get through the transition. It was a little difficult because I knew he missed it. I could sense it more than what he was telling me. Answering the question of what’s next after you’ve spent your life in football is inevitably challenging.
LM: What has life post-NFL been like?
AH: Compared to the NFL, life is pretty normal. We are both entrepreneurs. My husband and a former teammate of his bought into the Golden Coral franchise. At first, he was more of the investor, but then he became a certified manager and is now more hands on dealing with operations. During his playing days, it was tough for my husband to juggle football and the business. The Golden Coral concept was brought to him his rookie year and he invested then. My husband always knew football was not going to last forever. He’s still figuring out what else he wants to dibble and dabble in but wants to perfect the current business before moving on to another option.
LM: Has he found other passions?
AH: His passion is still football. I think it always will be. He flirts with the idea of coaching. It would be another adjustment for him because he likes being his own boss and having his own schedule. Coaching sports is similar to playing when it comes down to moving from city to city. He doesn’t necessarily want to uproot us and deal with the unpredictability of coaching. He doesn’t really want to get into that whole world again.
LM: What’s your career path been?
AH: I’m a real estate professional now. I was working hands on with the HR side of the Golden Coral business before. I spent some time as a stay at home mom when my kids were born. Getting back to work was a learning curve and somewhat of a culture shock. When you’re a stay at home mom, you can easily get trapped into your own little bubble. It’s interesting, you know, getting back out into the professional world. I’m trying now to do both real estate and HR for our business.
LM: Financial advice to current NFL families?
AH: I say have your own hands on your own money! Be vigilant of what’s happening with your money and try to plan ahead as much as you can. The transition between being out of the league one year and out of the league five years is completely different. Year five is when I’ve really started to feel the difference. It’s like, “Oh wow! No more NFL.” Plan to set yourself up for something after the NFL days. Obviously, the first step is finding out what interests you outside of football while you’re in the league. Prepare yourself for the inevitable. I don’t care if you’ve played in the league for three years or 20 years, I feel like it’s still the same. It hits you like, “Whoa! What happened?” Network and talk to business people! Transitioning from the NFL and going to work a 9-5 could be hard for some, so I say if you want to make your own rules, money, and way, go network with business professionals in industries you may want to join. I believe smart investments help as well to stream some kind of revenue down the road. Whether you like stocks or investing in businesses, look into some type of investment. Just be mindful of your money. Know your limits and boundaries of what you can and can’t do.
LM: What do you believe are the pros and cons of being married to an NFL player?
AH: Pros – The whole thing is kind of a dream! It passed by quickly! You’re put in a position where you can help others, whether that be financially or investing your time. Your significant other is looked up to so you can use that for good. If you have a cause you’re passionate about, it’s easy to reach people and get involved with the community. It’s also fun! It has its fun times. You get to see different places. I always like to see different places and meet new people. I met a few young ladies that I still keep in touch with and could call up to go out to eat. Most of them have moved on from football as well. Overall, it’s a good life experience. Regardless of what your situation is, there’s something to be learned and something you can impart on another because of it.
Cons – It is an unpredictable business. The whole perception that your life is perfect and that you have no worries is frustrating. As the wife or girlfriend, you’re often seen as a gold digger who’s with that man because he plays football. Another con is that with the click of a mouse, everything is on front street. I’ve adopted his private way of life. It’s difficult to be in the limelight with all your business out there. Lastly, the injuries: the injuries and the effect on your man’s health. Spectators see football as a form of entertainment but when it’s your livelihood, you cringe viewing games. My husband’s career was shorter than expected due to injuries.
LM: What were some of the injuries he endured?
AH: He tore his meniscus, broke a couple bones in his lower vertebrae, broke his wrist, and had several concussions. The injuries is probably the biggest con because you want them to play as long as they want to play, but you want them to have a nice quality of life coming out.
When you stop playing and stop training that’s when your body shows you what’s really wrong with it. That’s been the story with us anyway. His neck bothers him on one side because he used to tackle with that shoulder. He gets headaches every now and then. The result of his knee injury caused him to have an injury when he was running. Stuff just starts breaking down. It could just be because he’s not training the same way. Generally, he’s fine but does have some mechanical issues. We thank God it hasn’t been anything major but he has had some aggravations.
LM: What is your love advice to NFL WAGS?
AH: Make sure you know each other. As a woman, get to know the man, not the football player. If you do that and communicate, you’ll be fine. Keep a date night! If you have children, have family time with them too. Keep open lines of communication…that’s for all relationships. It may not be for everybody but keep God in your relationship. A family that prays together stays together. We used to have a devotional night where I’d read from my devotional book and we’d answer the questions at the end. We’ve also read from the Bible and discussed what it means. We were both raised in the church and we want to impart that on our children too and set a good example for them. Lord knows we need prayer with these children and the way society is today. We need to pray for guidance because we as parents don’t always know what to do.
LM: How are you navigating parenting with the NFL lifestyle?
AH: The lifestyle allows you to give certain luxuries to your kids. I don’t want my children to be too spoiled. It’s hard teaching them at such a young age. You have to kind of show them. We will donate a meal for Christmas and get involved with Habitat for Humanity; we talk about feeding the homeless and homeless shelters with our son. We try to preach the importance of giving back and helping others in need. You definitely have to lead by example so I’m working on doing a better job of incorporating those things.
LM: What would you like people to know about you?
AH: I’ve always been the type of person to try to see the good in others because I believe there’s good out there. I do have a big heart. I am generous. I like to have fun. I do like to meet new people. I’m a pretty laid back person.
LM: What is your advice as a former NFL wife to current NFL wives?
AH: Wives or girlfriends? The two are separated depending on what team you’re on. Be open and welcoming, especially if you’ve been on the team for awhile. Even if you haven’t, be open to not just wives but girlfriends also! You just never know what they might need. I found a good support group in Saint Louis. We had Bible study and girls night where we would get together during away games. Being a support system to fellow WAGS is important because a woman could be coming to the city and not know anyone or be by themselves and it’s just nice to know someone who is in a similar situation. Leave the cattiness aside. We all have different stories of how we got into this life, but that doesn’t make your story any better than the next.
LM: What type of activities, specifically, do you do with your spouse/kids?
AH: We go to the movies. We go on family vacations, usually to Myrtle Beach or Disney World. My son plays soccer so we go to his practice and games. He’s not in football yet.
LM: You’re okay with your son playing football?
AH: I am. I at least want him to be open and introduced to it. I’m all about my kids experiencing different activities to see what they want to do. I always say you can’t say you don’t like something until you try it. I certainly don’t want to pressure him into football though. LM: What would you like people to know about NFL families or the NFL lifestyle?
AH: I feel like we’re the same as any other normal family it’s just that we have a lifestyle that’s on front street. It’s public or can be public. Personally, I don’t think I ever felt celebrity status so from my experience we’re the same as any other family. We just had a different schedule.
LM: Why’d you agree to do this interview?
AH: I appreciate what your beliefs are and what your motives are for even starting something like this. It’s positive and inspiring. We do get a bad rep as women who love and support athletes.
Well said, Alexis! Thank you for the perspective of a retired NFL family.
This week's WAG Feature Wednesday is of the sweet, beautiful Southern belle Jessica McClendon. Jessica and I recently connected through an NFL wives prayer group. Although our husbands played together on the Jaguars last year, we never actually met. Our paths crossed this year and we have mutual WAG friends. I was so excited to get to know Jessica, and learn more about her and her beautiful family. This NFL wife and mother is as kind-hearted and selfless as she can be. Read more from the interview below...
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Jessica McClendon
Husband: Jacques McClendon
Husband is Rookie or Veteran: Vet. Going into 6th season (Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins)
Children: Daughter Madison
NFLWAG: 6 years
Cities You've Lived in with NFL: I personally have lived in Detroit, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Miami
Off Season Home: Tennessee
Favorite Food: I love frozen grapes & Italian food
Hobbies: Running, kayaking, fishing, camping (anything outside)
Music on your Playlist: Mix[ture] of everything. I have some Lauren Diagle (Christian artist), Drake, Florence & The Machine
Interesting Facts: My absolute favorite time of the year is FALL and I watch Hocus Pocus three to four times by the end of July. I'm a kid at heart! Typically, I like to try to go to Disney one time during the Fall because they have it decorated. Disney is like my favorite thing ever!
I choose to focus more on the positive and the blessings." - Jessica, NFL wife
LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
JM: I’m from East Tennessee. Jacques and I grew up in the same town and attended the same middle school. In college, he went to play football at UT and I ran cross country at a private Christian school in Tennessee. We had the same close friends and became best friends before we started dating. We were engaged right before training camp started in 2011 and married in 2012.
LM: How has the transition from Jacksonville to Miami been?
JM: The transition to Miami has been new. I fell in love with Jacksonville and the people I met. I have never met such an amazing group of women. Some were football wives and others were from Bible study or girl’s nights. I’m taking life friends from Jacksonville. It was a sad departure. We haven’t gotten a chance to meet anyone in Miami yet. Things are different now that I’m traveling with a baby.
LM: People may see Miami as a city you wouldn’t want your husband to play in just because of the nightlife and what Miami is known for. How has your experience been?
JM: I mean I’m sure Miami is cool when you’re going for vacation. It’s a gorgeous place and it’s fast. I’m from a small town so life in Miami is fast to me. We don’t stay near South Beach though. Jacques and I have awesome date nights. We’ll do dinner and go see the best the city has to offer but we don’t live the fast life. The driving...the people…it stresses me out. In your welcome book [from the team] they tell you you need to be very defensive when you drive here.
LM: Have you ventured out much in Miami or met any of the other wives of the Dolphins?
JM: I was welcomed to the city. Lauren Tannehill (QB Ryan Tannehill’s wife) reached out to me and was awesome. She took time out of her day to share valuable information. Lauren is from Texas but has been in Miami for awhile so she’s more established and has some great friends. Even though her and Ryan don’t have kids, she found out about her friend’s pediatrician. She suggested great areas to live in and even printed out recommended churches. She was very inviting and I appreciated that. Especially going from team to team to team. We are modern day nomads.
LM: How long have you and your husband been married? How many years have you been an NFL WAG?
JM: We married in March 2012 and recently celebrated our three year anniversary. I have been an NFL WAG for six years.
LM: Congratulations on another anniversary!
JM: Thank you! People will tell us, “I look at your relationship and it gives me hope.” I want to be different with everything I do. I don’t like where the norm is going.
LM: What type of activities, specifically, do you do with your spouse?
JM: As far as date nights? Anything spontaneous! We do whatever we feel like doing. We’re super close with my family so my mom can watch our daughter. There is a jump park in Tennessee next to a brewery with a bowling alley. We go to that area often.
LM: What are the pros and cons of being married to an NFL player?
JM: It’s like a shooting star! It is a blessing. The places we are able to go and the people we are able to network with is a benefit. However, it can be extremely stressful. I carry the stress of health. I think about my husband’s health, my closest [NFL] friends and their husband’s health. It’s a tough job doing what they do everyday. As a wife looking ahead 50 years from now I worry about my husband’s wellbeing. The decisions you have to make and the frequent travel is different. The amount of people who live this lifestyle is very limited so that part is difficult (not having many people to relate to what we go through). I choose to focus more on the positive and the blessings.
LM: You recently had a baby girl named Madison. Tell me about her.
JM: Oh Madison! She’ll be one year in September. Docile is never a term I would use to describe this child. She’s crazy, curious, happy, always waving at people. She’s everything I imagined a mix of my husband and I would be. She’s expressive. She’s fun. She’s awesome! She’s the biggest blessing we’ve ever received.
LM: How has motherhood changed your life?
JM: Motherhood has been a huge adjustment to say the least. I’m used to traveling, packing a bag and flying on a whim. If we were headed to London next week I’d say okay! Now, going to new areas has been a big deal. You have to find a trusted sitter just so you can have date night. I have to think about late night emergency care, pediatricians, and all these elements I never thought of before. It’s also changed the way I look at Jacques. The way he is with his daughter, how he looks at her and how he expresses providing for us makes me fall in love with him all over again.
LM: That’s so sweet! Let’s talk about your daily schedule since motherhood. What does your day look like?
JM: I usually wake up at 6:30 a.m. and get Madison changed. My husband goes to workout. Madison and I go run before it gets too warm. I come home and feed her, get our laundry done, go to the grocery (healthy foods), check any emails from the pediatrician, and pick up any suits from the dry cleaners. If Jacques has anywhere to go then I make sure he is packed and ready. At night, we have dinner and get our family time in, give Madison a bath, bedtime story, and put her to bed. After our daughter is asleep, we take some time to talk to each other about the day. He studies film and goes to bed early and we do it all over again the next day. Its chaotic but it’s fun. I love it.
LM: What is your love advice to all women and women inside the NFL? Is there a difference?
JM: Love your man. Support your man. Be there for him. Tell him the things he needs to hear. Be his #1. I think that’s why he married me. Jacques tells me I went above and beyond 24/7 and do the things that make him want to be better.
LM: Talk about what the NFL has meant for your family.
JM: It’s afforded my husband many opportunities. The NFLPA has given him the opportunity to do internships. It’s given him the chance to network and connect with important people so when he’s done with NFL, he’ll have something to fall back on. His post-football career is extremely important to him. We’ve been able to travel to new places and meet incredible individuals who have taught us things. He’s made great relationships with some of the guys he played with. The level he’s getting to play at is a cool experience. The average career for players in the NFL is 3 years. It’s been a huge blessing and I love to see him succeed.
LM: You mentioned that your husband was able to do some internships while active in the league. What were those?
JM: He interned with an Athletic Director at a university and also with the NCAA headquarters. When he was in school he received his Master’s in Sports Administration. He wants to help athletes.
LM: What are your hobbies?
JM: I like to be on the river a lot. I grew up in mountain area. I also like being fit, running and biking.
LM: You seem like an avid runner. Does your husband run with you?
JM: That’s NOT happening at all. He’ll ride the bike but tell me, “I am NOT joining you on that long run.” I try as much as I possibly can to run. I’m not running on the treadmill; I’m a point A to point B kinda person. I’m setting goals and looking into my cadence and heart rate. I want to do 5k, 10k, and half marathons. I hope to do them with my little girl and save the t-shirts to make a blanket out of them. Plus, in the future when she’s a big teenager and mom isn’t cool then maybe she will have some fun memories to look back on and she’ll think of all the things we actually did together. I want her to grow up having a fit and active lifestyle.
LM: What would you like people to know about you?
JM: Umm…I don’t know. I think it would be obvious that my heart’s in the right place and I absolutely adore my family. I try to show those things anyway so I hope that it would be obvious.
LM: What would you like people to know about NFL families or the NFL lifestyle?
JM: That it is NOT what people think. It’s not what you see on TV. There’s a small percentage that is like that but that’s for all realms: basketball, Hollywood, etc. The cattiness that you see on television is not real life. We want each other to do well. We’re watching out for each other. It’s not the dramatic stuff that you see. It’s not as glamourous as they make it out to be. It’s not what it seems.
LM: Being a football WAG who has experienced different teams, what has been your experience with other NFL WAGS?
JM: Jacques was first drafted to the (Indianapolis) Colts. There was an age gap between us and the other families and we weren’t engaged yet. I was the girlfriend. A lot of the guys had been there for a long time and they had wives and kids. They were very inviting but I didn’t meet girls my age or in my situation (Jacques and I were long distance). In Detroit Jacques and I had just gotten married and I met Robs wife Natalie and she was awesome. She reached out to me and gave advice. She explained things to me like, “This is your responsibility now. You’re a wife now. This is what he needs from you.” That advice has never left me. Her dad was in the NFL also so she had lived that life. Her counsel left a lasting impact. Then we moved to Atlanta and I didn’t meet anyone for almost an entire season. I was back and forth in and out of Atlanta so I may have separated myself more. Once I became a part of the NFL wives prayer group, I connected with some women in Atlanta the night before my husband was released. Then we got a deal with the Jaguars and made the move to Florida! Jacksonville embraced me more than any other place, but overall I have not had any negative experience. I do know there is cattiness. One of best friends in Jacksonville had to move to another team. She told me It was a lot harder for her to get involved. All of my experiences have been positive though. I’m such an include-r. I want everyone to be a part. Honestly, the women I have had the opportunity to be around really have been incredible. They are intelligent, driven leaders. They are engineers, nurses, they work for PR firms. They are hard-working moms with Master's degrees. Some of them are life long forever friends and we are all WAGS out here supporting our better half.
Great attitude and insight, Mrs. McClendon! Thanks for being a noble example of an NFL WAG. Good luck in Miami this season!