As the NFL season kicks off, there's one name you're bound to hear almost as often as the players themselves: Erin Andrews. In addition to displaying her impressive interview skills on Fox Sports, the 36-year-old broadcaster will show off her toned bod as co-host of the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars. We caught up with Andrews, who's a spokesperson for Florida Orange Juice, to find out how she became a household name in sports, how she stays cool on-camera, and who she's really texting from the sidelines.
Shape: What made you decide to go into sports broadcasting?
Erin Andrews (EA): Growing up, I spent a lot of time watching football on the couch with my dad. He’d tell me stories about the players, coaches, and the games, and I loved learning about his favorite teams. He helped me become a fan of the sport, and I wanted to able share those stories on-air with viewers for a living.
Shape: Your dad is an on-air reporter too. Does he give you tips about your job?
EA: Oh, yeah. I’ll still text him while I’m on the sidelines, and he’ll give me advice, like slow down, talk louder, or ask the coach about this or this. I’m fortunate that my parents and my friends have been a huge source of support for me. They’ve helped me grow a thick skin and deal with negative feedback on social media, and taught me how to take it all with a grain of salt.
Shape: What was the breakthrough moment of your career?
EA: I started my career with the Tampa Bay Lightning as a sideline reporter. For the three months they were in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2004, it was kind of a three-month tryout for ESPN. After the Lightning won the Stanley Cup, ESPN offered me a three-year deal, and from there my career really took off.
Shape: What's the number one piece of advice you have for women who want to make it in a male-dominated field, whether it’s sports, law, or finance?
EA: Prepare. You have to know what you’re talking about. Do your homework and study. I’ve never studied this much in my life—if I had in school, I would have made much better grades! And there are always going to be people testing you, but their voices don’t matter. What matters is what the people you work with think.
Shape: You've handled some tricky situations with a huge amount of grace—such as your interview with Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman. What tips do you have for recovering after a jarring or awkward incident on the job, whether or not you're on air?
EA: First of all, I thought the Seattle interview with Richard Sherman was awesome. I’m a big fan of his. That didn’t put me off in a negative way at all. Everyone wants an interview when an athlete just gets so excited and shows his emotion like that. It is hard when the cameras are rolling and you’re live, and something throws you off. But Joe Buck [a Fox Sports announcer] told me something that’s really helped: It’s not brain surgery. If something happens, just take a deep breath and react like a normal person—after all, the people at home are only human as well.
Shape: You've been called "America's sexiest sportscaster," but you've also dealt with some criticism about caring about your looks. Do you feel like the media places too much attention on your appearance?
EA: A lot of this stuff I just have to brush off my shoulder. People make a big deal when women in sports take pride in their appearance and look nice on camera, but I work with some of the best-dressed men in sports broadcasting—those boys get their hair and makeup done, and their clothes aren’t cheap. So I just have to laugh about that double standard.
Shape: Speaking of which, you look fantastic and fit on the cover of Health magazine this month. How do you stay in such great shape on the road?
EA: I have to work out to stay sane. Of course, there are days when I’m not able to fit in a workout, but then I’ll get in 30 minutes or an hour of exercise the next day—even it’s just a walk on the beach. I’m a big fan of Physique 57 and I really enjoy Pilates. My boyfriend [Los Angeles Kings player Jarrett Stoll] is really into yoga in his off-season. It’s a little slow for me and a lot of times, I’ll just look around the room, but then I think to myself, if Gisele does yoga and has that body, I’m going to keep doing it!