This stunning wedding was featured on Martha Stewart Weddings —planned by WAG Alexis Allen and Shayla Hawkins Events
Meet Nina Thomas. Wife to Seahawks six time Pro Bowler Earl Thomas, mother to Kaleigh, NOLA born and bred, quintessential Southern Belle, and possibly related to Beyonce (“her Mama and Daddy Louisiana” so you never know). Most significantly, Nina radiates love and light and we can see why her husband-her King, made her- his Queen.
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!
My first time entering Kleinfeld Bridal in the center of Manhattan New York, I was in awe. It was the beginning of winter and the entire boutique was decorated for Christmas. I was there to interview for an internship position as I needed the credentials for college graduation. Sure, I could have chosen an internship somewhere closer to home in Florida but I was in love with the television show “Say Yes to the Dress” and once I found out that Kleinfeld offered internships- it was simply a matter of getting my mom on board. Once she agreed to accompany me to my interview and of course support me financially during my stay, I was ready!
The boutique itself was like a winter wonderland. As I walked in I couldn’t help but stare at all the beautiful merchandise the store had to offer. I was offered the position as a bridal consultant assistant for the duration of my internship. I had the opportunity to learn about the different types of gowns, fabrics, veils, shoes; you name it and it was there. I was honored to meet several bridal dress designers such as Pnina Tornai, Lazaro, and Jim Helm. And as a bonus, “Say Yes to the Dress” was being filmed daily and I was able to see first hand how their filming process worked and meet the producers. It was amazing! Each day Kleinfeld’s had roughly 100 appointments made by women all over the world. I was able to gain firsthand knowledge of what dresses best fit certain body types. Many of the brides we encountered would bring in magazine cut outs of their dream dresses that they HAD to try on before anything else. Upon trying on their “dream dress” they would soon reconsider realizing that the model in the picture wasn’t always a realistic expectation. In reality, most of the dresses on display are a size 2 or 4 in sample sizes, which translates to a size 0 or 2 in bridal. But, with the help of the correct undergarments and accessories- a bride’s dream dress is never too far gone. It could be hiding right under your nose depending on your budget and most importantly your own personal style.
A woman with a slim waist and slim hips can wear several different bridal styles. One being a sheath like dress, usually made of really soft material such as silk, satin, or lace. This dress may look and feel more like a gown but, is perfect for a evening wedding on the beach or an upscale New York nuptial. Another great style can be an A-line or ball gown. This dress cinches at the waist while also giving the bride an illusion around the hips of a full bodied skirt.
A woman with a slim waist and curve of the hips. This bride’s body type is best when paired with a dress that may show off the bride’s curves. A mermaid or "fit and flare" are great styles for this bride. This type of dress will hug your body and should fit like a glove.With the correct undergarments that evenly smooth over the waist area this style of dress can be considered very sexy and glamorous.
The “All over curvy” bride may feel most beautiful in an A line or ball gown. Also, a mermaid with a corset back. The corset back is able to pull and cinch to the fit you desire without feeling like you may pass out. This will give the bride the illusion of a smaller waist and will celebrate the curve of her hips. For this bride or any other bride with a larger chest, the bra will be the most essential item to splurge on as well as the waist cincher/girdle. It is important to get fitted correctly so that you’re not constantly having to adjust your gown and you definitely don’t want to be uncomfortable on your special day.
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget about undergarments! The right undergarments can seriously make or break your entire bridal look. You don’t want to wear the wrong bra and/or Spanx because it can cause your dress to look bunchy and it may not lay flat as it should against your body. Try to remember to take your undergarments with you to your fittings to be sure that your look is everything you desire. Please remember that I am not an expert! But, do keep an open mind when looking for your wedding dress because dresses almost always look amazing on the hanger. It is important to try on all of your options and be sure that it truly is the perfect dress you’ve always dreamed of!
Quote: “The dress is made to fit me, not the other way around.” – Jennifer Lopez (Monster in Law)
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
1. Répondez S'il Vous Plaît
No one understands the importance of an RSVP until they have planned a wedding. I used to never return the little card tucked into each wedding invitation. But once you've experienced how frustrating and disorganized it can be, you will make sure to get back to the bride. If you haven't had the pleasure (sense my sarcasm?) of planning a wedding, please send back the card...and on time! It takes one minute.
Tip: With the technology we have today, there is absolutely no excuse you cannot find two seconds to contact the bride (not the groom because he will forget to tell the bride, haha!). Email, Facebook, call, text, something!
2. Stop Wearing White
Times have changed a bit when it comes to wearing white to a wedding. It used to be considered rude to show up in a white dress – to avoid 'upstaging' the bride. Recently, wearing a white dress –that doesn't necessarily emulate a wedding gown– is considered acceptable (that means no lace or beading!).
While it may be a new trend that white is acceptable at a wedding, your bride may still be old-school. Take me for example. I was offended by the women who showed up to my wedding in white. My word of advice: it's her wedding! Let her be the only one wearing white. You have hundreds of other colors to choose from.
Tip: If you absolutely feel the need to wear white, ask yourself : "could I wear this dress to my own wedding rehearsal?" If the answer is 'yes', you should pick a different dress.
3. "Best Wishes" to the Bride
With all the engagement and wedding announcements on social media, I am appalled by the overwhelming amount of people that were never taught this. Congratulations go to the man and well wishes to the bride-to-be/bride. Apparently, the background to this is the idea that the man is considered the 'lucky one' so he should be congratulated for pulling the girl. Haha strange, right?
4. No One Wants Your Kids at Their Wedding
It's a rarity that your children are invited to the wedding. A wedding is a celebratory time–with usually a lot of alcohol–and not an ideal spot for the kiddos. It's quite annoying when kids are screaming during the ceremony (ruining the couple's wedding video) and running around at the reception. Not to mention, you're costing the happy couple $20+ for each child to eat chicken fingers.
Tip: Unless your invitation is addressed to the "_____ Family," your entire family is not invited. Take a date night and leave the kids with someone.
5. Stick to Your Word
Depending which state the wedding is in, the bride and groom are shelling out a minimum of $50/plate. If you and your guest, for whatever reason, decide not to go, you've just cost the couple $100.
A lot of couples have a budget. They decided to invite you over someone else. When you don't show up after saying you would, it's rude.
Tip: If you don't make the reception, consider sending a check or gift equal to what you cost them. It's obviously not required, but it will 'make-up' for your faux pas.
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 beautiful Sarah Losasso Brown. Sarah and I connected through the NFL Praying Women Groupme chat. I saw Sarah's plea for help when she told the group her husband had been a victim of identity theft. I wanted to know more about how that experience was for their family and was able to connect with her a couple weeks later. We discussed life in the NFL, interracial relationships, and motherhood. Read our conversation below...
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Sarah Losasso Brown
Husband: Chykie Brown Husband is Rookie or Veteran: Veteran. This is his 5th year (Ravens, Giants)
Children: Jada (2) and Dakota (1 month)
NFLWAG: 5 years
Places You've Lived in with NFL: Baltimore and New Jersey
Off Season Home: Texas
Favorite Food: Chicken Fingers
Music on your iTunes: Kanye west “Only One”, James Bay, Ed Sheeran
Hobbies: Working out (I used to teach BARR)
Interesting Facts: Majored in Dance and Journalism; Taught dance at an elementary school (ballet and hip hop)
He came home one day and said, 'They released me. We’ll find out in 24 hours where we’ll be.'” - Sarah Losasso Brown
LM: You recently moved from Baltimore. How’s life treating you in NY?
SLB: We’re currently right outside the city and it’s been pretty good. It was a weird transition from Baltimore to New Jersey because last year was his contract year and six weeks out from the season they released him. He was picked up by the Giants within 24 hours. Oh, and I was pregnant! They put us in this two-bedroom apartment where all the players stayed. I didn’t go to any of the events or try to meet anyone. I was in my own bubble during this pregnancy. Looking back on last season, I wish I would’ve talked to the girls more. I’ve met a few of the ladies here though. Another Giants wife is my personal trainer.
LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
SLB: I’m from Boston and I attended Arizona State for college. My friend was dating one of Chykie’s teammates, Aaron Williams (Buffalo Bills); they played football at the time for the University of Texas. My friend said, “Oh, you have to meet Aaron’s friend [my husband],” and I was like, “No. I’m not dating an athlete. They have such a bad stigma.” Chykie continued to pursue me and I eventually started to hang out with him. I didn’t think it would go anywhere because he was on his way to the NFL Combine, but it ended up going somewhere! We just never left each other. It’s funny because Aaron and my friend broke up about a month after they introduced Chykie and I. She always says she was the match maker.
LM: How long have you and your husband been married?
SLB: We are getting married in April but we are legally married in Texas (Common law).
LM: I’m excited for you two! Tell me about the wedding.
SLB: We’re having a decent sized wedding of 130 guests at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin. I didn’t know anything about weddings until I started to plan. I love our venue because they take care of the food, cake, and set up. When I found that out I said “I’m in!” I went to Kleinfeld’s recently to look at dresses.
LM: How did you decide on the venue?
SLB: My husband is friends with Aaron Ross and attended his wedding. Aaron and his wife [Sanya Richards-Ross] were on the show Million Dollar Wedding. Chykie said it was the best wedding he’d been to and he loved the venue so he was set on having our wedding the same place. I agreed but I will say weddings are ridiculous! Since having my kids, I don’t even see the point of spending so much on a wedding.
LM: I hear ya. We spent a year planning our wedding and I’m happy it’s over! You recently reached out to the Praying Women NFL group about a fraudulent account of your husband. Tell me more about that.
SLB: That was really crazy! My husband is not a social media person at all and when he had a Facebook page, he never posted. We were headed to the Superbowl and I was pregnant with our first child. My brother was with me and all of a sudden he said, “It’s so weird that Chykie’s posting on Facebook right now. Shouldn’t he be in game mode?” I asked my brother what Chykie posted and he said, “He’s working on his victory dance in the locker room.” I thought that was strange because my husband wouldn’t even say anything like that or be on social media during the Super Bowl. My brother showed me the Facebook account which had hundreds of followers and multiple posts. I was angry walking into the Super Bowl!
This fraudulent Facebook account had photos of our family and all this activity. I said to Chykie after the game, “You have this Facebook account I didn’t know about?”and he responded: “What are you talking about? That is not me.” I kind of just blew it off and decided to enjoy Super Bowl weekend. The account was disturbing. There were photos of my entire family, his extended family, and people from our church. My husband swore up and down the account wasn’t his and I believed him. When Jada was born, the account had a photo of her with the caption “Welcome to the world, Jada Brown” and included her weight. The guy had stolen a photo from my profile immediately after I posted it.
He had every photo I had ever posted on social media. His captions didn’t even sound like anything my husband would say. He wrote: “Held my baby girl for the first time. Her eyes are so beautiful” . I messaged the fraud and said: “I know this isn’t Chykie. You’re stalking us. We would appreciate it if you didn’t post about our kids.” The guy responded, “I’m sorry Mrs. Brown. I’m your #1 fan. I’ve been following your husband since high school. I just love you guys so much. I didn’t mean any harm by it.” He blocked me after that so I thought he took the page down. Chykie’s not one to overreact about anything so we left it alone.
Well, two years later my brother wrote me during the whole Caitlyn Jenner media coverage. He said, “This stuff can’t be posted. It’ll be on ESPN and make Chykie look bad.” The fraud still had the Facebook account and had commented on Caitlyn Jenner saying, “I don’t believe in Bruce Jenner. God doesn’t make gays.” It was clearly a hate post. Chykie would never say anything like that. He was posting really ignorant stuff. I logged on this year and he had photos of me pregnant and Easter photos of our family. The guy had been messaging people asking for money for “charity”. He was interacting with others pretending to be Chykie. A security guard who worked at the football facility had been talking with this guy via Facebook to try to give him Jada’s sock that had fallen off at one of the games [thinking he was Chykie]. We told Chykie’s agent and he supposedly contacted Facebook but they didn’t respond. We reported it probably 60 times on Facebook between us and our family members but the page remained active.
I was finally fed up when I learned the guy was writing things like, “Why is this b**** asking me for money in my inbox? Me and my wife think it’s ridiculous.” I wrote the Praying Women NFL chat group about the situation and the fake page was taken down the same day! Now I know the power of women coming together. The Giants had an open practice that day and one of the ladies who worked for the team came up to me and said, “Are you Sarah? A wife from a different team called me and we had that page taken down immediately.” I was so thankful for these ladies because I don’t know how else it would’ve been resolved. Facebook just didn’t care. I felt like all of our privacy was taken from us. I’m fine with sharing photos to the public but I want to do it myself. I didn’t like not knowing who was looking at my daughter. This is not the life she chose. She was put in a vulnerable state. When he put up a photo of my newborn I was livid. So glad that’s over!
LM: How scary! That sounds awful. Thank you for sharing that experience because some people may be unaware of what can happen. I’m so happy that NFL women were such a powerful force. Don’t mess with us!
I am the result of an interracial relationship. My parents had it tough 20 odd years ago but I’ve always wondered what it looks like these days and inside the NFL? What has been your experience being with someone of a different race?
SLB: Umm…I think that being in the position that we’re in, it’s not as difficult as if he wasn’t a football player. My parents are extremely traditional and Italian. Growing up, there was one black person in my entire school and he was adopted. When I had a mixed [biracial] child my mom said, “Do you know how hard it’s going to be for you to raise these kids?” I was confused and didn’t understand. I’ve never received any hate or anything. My daughter Jada has a super light complexion so some people can’t tell that she’s mixed but they know she looks different and will ask, “Is that your daughter?”.
I remember a time we went to Dave n Busters as a family and an Asian man was staring at us. Finally, Chykie said “What’s your problem?” The guy responded, “Does this thing really happen in America?” We asked the man what he was referring to and he said, “You two together.” Crazy! I did have another experience within the NFL. One of the other girls on the team made a comment like, “Does Sarah think she’s black because she has black babies?” Unfortunately, she said it to a group of girls I was close with and it got back to me. Most of my friends on the team are black. They all laughed at the comment like “Sarah is the whitest person alive.” I’ve never tried to act like something I’m not. The funny part about that story is that she wasn’t even black herself. That situation caught me off guard. Some people ask me if I know how to do my daughter’s hair. When I bring my kids to my hometown they look different from everyone else (my town is like 100% white). When I bring Chykie to my hometown he feels uncomfortable. I took Jada to a daycare there once and they asked me, “How do you do her hair?” Thankfully, we want to settle down in the diverse city of Houston. My daughter’s daycare here in New Jersey is really diverse as well.
Ironically, the day before I was scheduled to post this feature, Sarah contacted me and said that her and Chykie's photo had just been posted on the popular gossip site BallerAlert. Unfortunately, one innocent photo of them turned into a rather nasty discussion in the comments involving race. Here, I have only included a select number of comments that I felt were appropriate for the mission of this site. The others were simply too nasty to post. I am choosing to report on this, with Sarah's permission, to display the fact that race is still relevant in 2015. Read more after the break
A simple photo and caption elicited unwanted responses on race:
Unfortunately, there were hundreds of comments and most were negative and revolved around race. After situations such as this, it's clear to me that there is so much hate in the world and much work to be done. The judgment of Sarah and Chykie yesterday was disheartening Thankfully, the two are in good spirits. She just found it funny that we were just discussing her interracial relationship and she previously mentioned never really having a big issue with it. God is love, people! On another note, kudos to Sarah and Chykie for an awesome date night! Moving on...
LM: Let's talk about something positive like your beautiful daughters.
SLB: Well, Jada’s two and she’s in her terrible twos. She’s extremely active and loves her baby sister. We have no problems with jealousy or anything. She loves football. They’re very much daddy’s girls.
LM: How has motherhood changed you? Has it had an impact on your relationship with your husband?
SLB: Having two young children has been an adjustment. When I was 5 months pregnant, I worked as a boutique manager. I was tired often because I would close the store and get home late. Motherhood changed everything I thought I was going to be. I was so attached to Jada when I had her. I was terrified of leaving her. We just recently put her in daycare because I needed a break and really want to go back to work. As far as Chykie and I, it was tough at first because I had never even held a baby before. I didn’t know what to expect! Jada had really bad baby colic and was really fussy and challenging to take care of; she would projectile vomit on everything. It was difficult in the beginning because it had been just the two of us for so long. All of a sudden we couldn’t have alone time, watch a movie, or go to sleep together. By the time Jada was 9 months, we started to go out on date night. We told ourselves we would make it a point to put our relationship first. We made necessary changes and it’s been easier with Dakota. Now I know it’s okay to leave her with a sitter.
LM: What’s a typical day look like for you?
SLB: I usually wake up at all hours of the night. This morning I was up at 5:00 a.m. and got my daughter Jada ready. I drive her to school and stay with our newborn all day. In the evenings, I cook dinner and Chykie and I attempt to have some alone time. I usually go to bed at 8 o’clock. I’m trying to fit exercise into my schedule to get in shape for this wedding. Chykie’s hurt right now and he’s never been injured before so this is new to us. He slightly tore his LCL so he’s been at home rehabbing and helping me with the girls more.
I sold our entire house on Craigslist in two days.
LM: In your opinion, what are the challenges of being married to an NFL player?
SLB: I think moving is the biggest con for sure. And losing friends. I was so close to all the girls on the Ravens. I got here [with the Giants] and everyone has all their friends. Having children, it’s harder for me to meet people and tough to find sitters you can trust. We had a nanny in Baltimore we developed a great relationship with. She’s like part of our family and we had to leave her. I have to start that process over now and interview people here in New Jersey. When Chykie was released, it was seemingly out of nowhere. He was starting on the team and doing pretty well. He came home one day and said, “They released me. We’ll find out in 24 hours where we’ll be.” Sure enough, he got a call the same day and had to leave for the new team the same day. I was left at home being pregnant and had a toddler. Many of the Ravens ladies came over to help me pack. I sold our entire house on Craigslist in two days. My friends on the Ravens would come to our house and wait for the person to pick up whatever item they purchased off Craigslist. I’ll never forget one of the wives, Angie Forsett, prayed over me and we got a call from the Giants an hour after that prayer.
LM: What is your love advice to all women and women inside the NFL? Is there a difference?
SLB: Keep your relationship first and never compare your relationship to others. I had to learn never to compare my husband with the other players who are married. That was our biggest issue. If I knew that another wife’s husband came home earlier I might say “so and so’s guy came home at 8 and you came home at 9.” My husband would have to defend himself by explaining that he stayed to do hot tub/cold tub or a massage and that the other guy didn’t need to do those things. Also, don’t worry about a ring. Your relationship is yours and no one else’s.
LM: What do you think are the common misconceptions about NFL WAGS?
SLB: I think the show WAGS is pretty much exactly what most of the girls aren’t. We don’t just fly in private jets all day and have black cards. We manage our money just like everyone else if not more because of the nature of the NFL career. My dad is on us because he’s a doctor; he says he can practice until he’s 80 years old and make the same amount of money until retirement. In the NFL, you may get to play until your 32 or 35.
**UPDATE: Chykie is currently a free agent with the NFL. My prayers are with The Browns as they embark on the next chapter!**-LM