Women who want to work in the sports media industry have a very tricky balancing act that they have to maintain if they really want their success to take off. As a baseline, they have to overcome the awful stereotype of "girls don't know sports". This usually entails not only working as hard as their male counterparts, but often even harder, just to overcome that stigma. They have to prove to the athletes and coaches whom they cover that they're not just there to waste their time. But on top of all of that, at some level, they do have to determine how to best leverage their physical appearance on camera, if that happens to be one of their assets.
Because the sports media industry does happen to be very male dominated, whether it's fair or not, that's just the way the industry works. Some women are unfortunately only going to get noticed - or promoted - because of the way they look, and not because of the work they accomplish.
As a result, there are plenty of cases where these women have gotten to this point in their career having made decisions in the past that might not have been the best idea in hindsight. Sometimes, it might be as simple as showing off their looks, while in other cases, it might be an embarrassing social media faux pas.
That's why we wanted to put together this list of the top 15 things these female sports personalities may not want you to know:
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15 Mia Khalifa: Rejected By Quarterback Baker Mayfield
Don't worry, we're not asking you to admit that you've seen one of her films, or for you to go search for one on the internet. But after making her name in the "film" industry, Mia Khalifa successfully rebranded herself as something of a sports personality, including rebranding herself as "the DC Sports Girl" (she's from the Washington, DC area). She's also gained notoriety on social media for putting several athletes -- including former Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly -- on blast, when they've tried to "slide into her DM's."
But as irony would have it, she got put on public blast after making a somewhat suggestive comment on Twitter to University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield, who ended up winning the Heisman Trophy this year, publicly responded to Khalifa's comment, indicating he was quite happy with his current girlfriend, and had no interest in reciprocating Khalifa's interest.
14 Jimena Sanchez: The Mexican Kim Kardashian
Jimena Sanchez is a television host for the Latin American broadcast of Fox Sports. While most television personalities in the sports field work hard to be known more for their work than their looks, Sanchez has no problem allowing her killer looks serve as the reason she continues to get more and more publicity. To that end, publications overseas have actually started referring to Sanchez as "the Mexican Kim Kardashain," thanks to her rapidly-growing social media following, fueled by the incredibly revealing photos she posts of herself on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. She has over 2.4 million followers on the former, and 3.2 million followers on the latter.
Sanchez has described herself as a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, and Oakland Raiders, and her fans know that through the combination of apparel she wears while repping those teams, and not much else with it.
13 Britt McHenry: Verbally Attacked A Tow Truck Driver
Brittany May "Britt" McHenry has carefully and shrewdly morphed her professional persona from an up-and-coming sports journalist to a politically-charged sports journalist who prides herself on attacking the viewpoints perpetuated by what those with conservative-leaning views derisively refer to as "the mainstream media." But while she's become increasingly popular based on this new platform, especially in today's politically-charged world, she originally gained online infamy after a public meltdown and subsequent verbal assault she performed towards a towing company employee.
Security camera footage showed McHenry relentlessly insulting and mocking a middle-aged woman who worked for the company that had towed McHenry's car, making numerous disparaging remarks about the employee's appearance and perceived lack of education or sophistication (in McHenry's eyes, anyway). She was suspended by ESPN after the incident, and was one of the numerous reporters laid off by ESPN in late April of 2017.
12 Leeann Tweeden: Modeled for Hef And Friends
In fairness to Leeann Tweeden, she makes no apologies about the fact that while she's currently an American radio broadcaster and sports commentator, she was first discovered, and able to build the career she now has, because of her looks and her work as a model. Growing up just outside of the Washington, DC-area, she pursued a career in modelling right after graduating high school. She worked at Hooters, where she not only appeared in one of their annual calendars, but also won first place in the Venus International Model Search.
That opened doors for more modelling work on a national level, including working as a model for women's lingerie company Frederick's of Hollywood, and appearing as a fitness model on the TV show Fitness Beach. Tweeden even appeared in Playboy magazine on two separate occasions.
11 Inés Sainz: Had Catcalls Made At Her By The New York Jets
Inés Sainz is a Mexican journalist who works for Azteca Deportes, the sports division of Mexico's TV Azteca television network. She's covered major sporting events such as the Champions League tournament, NBA Finals, Olympics, and World Cup. But Sainz made waves in the US when she appeared at training camp for the New York Jets prior to the 2010 season, wearing skin-tight jeans that left absolutely nothing to the attention. Her attire turned heads of the players and assembled journalists alike, but Sainz later alleged that those same players, and other members of the Jets organization, made suggestive "catcalls and rude comments" towards her.
That later prompted the conversation as to who was more at fault in the situation: the players, for making comments and gestures that bordered on harassment, or a woman wearing suggestive clothing in a male-dominated environment known for testosterone and chauvinism.
10 Molly Qerim: Dating Former NBA Player Jalen Rose
Molly Qerim is the attractive brunette woman that sits behind sports television personalities Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, as they senselessly shout hot takes at each other as part of ESPN's First Take television show. The New Haven-native has paid her dues in the sports world.
But another reason she's become somewhat infamous is because of the fact that she's dating former NBA basketball player - and fellow ESPN employee - Jalen Rose. Things got a bit "interesting" in the fall of 2017 when someone purported to be a friend of Querim's posted a photo online that showed Querim sitting somewhat intimately with a man that was not Rose. Querim and Rose both publicly stated that the woman in the picture was not, in fact, Querim. The two of them seem to be doing quite fine together, as of this posting.
9 Erin Andrews: Voted America's Most Attractive Sportscaster
Erin Andrews might have gotten her original popularity because of the fact that she looked like your prototype beach blond model, but she's continued to work very hard to be known more for her work as a journalist, and less for the fact that avid sports fans see her as a modern day pin-up girl.
Despite this, in 2007 and 2008, she was voted America's Most Attractive Sportscaster by Playboy magazine. Because more and more sports fans began to objectify her for her looks, that's what led to the infamous stalking incident where a man used tiny cameras to film Andrews while she was in her hotel room, and post said videos of her walking around with no clothes on, onto the internet. Andrews was awarded $55 million in damages after the trial for said incident.
8 Sara Carbonero: Voted Most Attractive Reporter In The World
Sara Carbonero Arévalo exploded onto the world's scene after the 2010 FIFA World Cup when Iker Casillas, the goalkeeper for the Spanish national team, kissed her on national television after Casillas' team beat the Netherlands in double overtime to win that World Cup. That single gesture not only made it to YouTube, but also skyrocketed the number of people searching for her on the internet.
Shortly after that, Carbonero was voted The Most Attractive Reporter in the World by the American verion of FHM magazine, and has become a fixture among internet lists of "hottest WAG's (wives and girlfriends" of professional soccer players or athletes in general. After marrying Casillas, the two of them moved to Oporto, Portugal, when Casillas joined Futebol Clube do Porto.
7 Michelle Beadle: Huge Fan Of Professional Wrestling
Michelle Beadle isn't one of those women who simply relied on her looks to get a job at the "mother ship" of worldwide sports coverage. She's as knowledgeable and passionate about sports as anyone you'll meet, which is reinforced by a career progression that includes having worked for Fox Sports Net, the Travel Channel, Fine Living Network, NBC Sports Network, and CSN New England.
But one "sport" in particular that Beadle happens to be very passionate about is professional wrestling. She's not shy about being a fan of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Even after admonishing the company in 2016 for its public support of Floyd Mayweather Jr, prior to his bout against Manny Pacquiao, Beadle attended a WWE event where she posted a photo alongside "Triple H" and Stephanie McMahon, indicating she's "buried the hatchet" with the company.
6 Heidi Watney: Competed In The Miss California Pageant
If they were being honest, even if they're trying to capitalize on their looks, most women who work in the sports media world probably want to disassociate themselves from the stereotype of vapid and ditzy pageant girls. And in the case of Heidi Watney of the MLB Network, she's got more than just her looks going for her. In high school, she participated in the hurdles, diving, and gymnastics, and went to the University of San Diego on an academic scholarship.
As a professional, she's covered the Boston Red Sox while working at New England Sports Network (NESN), and worked as a weekend television sports anchor in Fresno, California. Yet, Watney was also one of those pageant girls herself. She competed in the Miss California pageant in 2002, where she won first runner-up.
5 April Rose Haydock: Winner of Maxim's "Hometown Hotties"
It's fair to call April Rose Haydock "a pretty face," as long as you don't just end the sentence there. Before her official foray into the world of sports journalism and broadcasting, Haydock was voted Maxim's "Hometown Hotties" winner in 2008. That helped her launch a career that included regular appearances on MTV's "Guy Code" and "Girl Code," and even in an appearance in the film Grown Ups 2, where she portrayed the girlfriend of a character played by WWE legend Stone Cold Steve Austin. Most recently, Haydock hosted and co-wrote for the show "Chicago Face-Off with April Rose," which featured a different member of the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks each week.
Plus if you ever get the chance to meet her and find yourself in a medical emergency, don't worry; Haydock also happens to be a certified emergency medical technician (EMT). Like we said: a pretty face, and more.
4 Katie Nolan: Had A Show Called Garbage Time
Katie Nolan's career began in a very similar manner to so many others wanting to break into the sportscasting world: by starting a blog (called "Bitches Can't Hang") that showcased her own personality while discussing current pop culture events and news. From there, she gained entry into the sports world by joining up with FoxSports.com, starring in a web series called "No Filter with Katie Nolan," which later evolved into her famous eponymous web series and podcast called "Garbage Time with Katie Nolan."
The soaring popularity of the latter is what led her to win a Sports Emmy for "Outstanding Social TV Experience" in 2016, and eventually, after rebuffing previous overtures, accepting an offer by ESPN in the fall of 2017. She recently published the first episode of her podcast hosted by ESPN,, titled "TBD with Katie Nolan," in December of 2017.
3 Lauren Thompson: Appeared In Two Country Music Videos
Lauren Thompson has made her presence known in multiple industries, thanks to her good looks. Her career started as a model, where she appeared in print ads and appeared as contracted eye candy at national conventions. That was essentially the springboard for her making two music video appearances: in the videos for Jason Aldean's song "Hicktown" and Sevendust's song "Praise." She was eventually hired by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) as a backstage interviewer, and eventually as a recurring character involved in multiple (kayfabe) story lines.
After her stint in TNA, she made her way over to the Golf Channel, appearing in several shows on the channel before settling in on the channel's daily morning show called "Morning Drive." Her and her husband Richard Frucci have been married for almost eight years, and have two sons together (born in 2014 and 2017).
2 Megan Olivi: Involved In 2008 Presidential Election
Megan Olivi currently hosting the Ultimate Fighting Championship's "UFC Ultimate Insider" televisions show, where she profiles mixed martial arts (MMA) athletes and aims to give viewers "unprecedented access" to the UFC and MMA. But if you look at Olivi's background, you wouldn't have guessed that she'd end up covering a combat sport in Las Vegas.
Olivi graduated from Seton Hall University with a degree in Political Science, and she got the opportunity to work as an assistant to former Fox News journalist and political commentator Megyn Kelly during the 2008 United States presidential election. Her work during the campaign was good enough to where Fox kept her on to work on different online assignments and opportunities, which eventually led to her work with the UFC, for which Fox Sports 1 has the exclusive broadcasting rights.
1 Lisa Ann: Parodied Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
Whether you're familiar with her work or not, most people know that Lisa Ann is basically the Michael Jordan of the grown-up "film" industry. In 2013, the New York Post reported that she was "the most popular female star" in that industry according to data provided by a free online video site. She's been named to the "Hall of Fame" by basically every top film production and associated organizations that exists.
But her real "claim to fame" is when she starred "Serra Paylin," a parody of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in a video produced by Larry Flynt's Hustler Video company. Even after retiring from the "film" industry, and successfully pivoting to a radio sports personality, most people are still familiar with Ann for her on screen work - a fact that she openly embraces.
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