Kicking It with Soccer Star Alex Morgan
The next FIFA Women's World Cup doesn't start until June 2015, but Alex Morgan is already prepping to help the U.S. women's national soccer team nab their first World Cup victory since 1999.
The famous forward and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, who scored a pair of goals at the last World Cup, is hitting the gym and field to do her part to maintain her team's current world ranking of numero uno. But she's not all work and no play. Below the 5-foot-8 brunette, whom teammate Abby Wambach calls "the face of women's soccer," shares her game-day beauty secrets, favorite body part, and Halloween antics with SHAPE, who caught up with her at the ChapStick "Put Your Lips First" ad shoot.
SHAPE: How are you prepping for the new season?
Alex Morgan (AM): The national team has a training camp coming up in a week. That's pretty much the start of getting ready for World Cup qualifiers, which is a year from now. We haven't won the World Cup since 1999, so we're not really taking many breaks.
SHAPE: Is there anything you're doing differently to train?
AM: No, I think everyone's training regimen is set. Right now, I'm just getting back into training twice a day for three to four hours. My regimen includes not only being in the gym and on the soccer field but also going to spin classes, doing yoga, going on runs-just making sure I'm fit and mentally in it. I'll also occasionally go for runs with my boyfriend, Servando Carrasco. But he kills me. I'll say, 'Wait up for me!' He's a defensive midfielder in Major League Soccer, which is a completely different position from mine.
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SHAPE: How do you mentally push yourself during training?
AM: I try to push myself a little every day. For me, it's doing 10 more seconds of whatever I'm working on. So if I'm on the treadmill sprinting my butt off or doing a grueling core workout, I think to myself, 'You can do 10 more seconds, and you'll be that much mentally stronger.' After a while, those 10 seconds add up!
SHAPE: What are your beauty secrets on game day?
AM: I've been a big Chapstick fan since I was a kid. I love lathering it on. I probably use a bit more Chapstick than necessary. I have some family members who will say, 'Okay, that's enough, Alex,' because I'll go around my lips like seven or eight times to really lock the moisture. I'm really obsessed with Lip Shield 365 and Hydration Lock right now. With built-in SPF, they're perfect for the sun even if you're licking or biting your lips. Other than that, I just wear mascara.
SHAPE: That pink headband you wore throughout the 2011 World Cup became your signature accessory. Do you still wear it?
AM: Oh yeah, every game. I started wearing it six years ago so that my family could spot me on the field. It's become a staple in my pre-game routine. It's always pink because of my boyfriend's mom, who is a breast cancer survivor.
SHAPE: Any other quirky rituals?
AM: Ninety percent of the time when I put on my headphones, I forget to turn on my music. Literally 10 minutes will go by before I realize that there's no music. Because I travel so often, it's become a ritual for me to put on my headphones, pull on my hoodie, and just mentally check out.
SHAPE: What's your favorite body part?
AM: Probably my quads. I'm pretty big into lifting. Not too much, but enough for my sport-and it shows in my quads. They are lean and muscular, but not bulky. So many people come up to me and say, 'Are you an athlete? I can tell by your quads.' People can even spot them through my leggings!
SHAPE: Would you ever pose nude for ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue?
AM: I haven't done it yet, but I have done Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue, and I loved that. They body-painted on bikinis. That was something that was daring and fun. I was definitely outside of my comfort zone. I was like, 'Really, nothing? On? Just paint?' Fortunately, it was a woman body -aint artist. The photos came out better than I had hoped. I would definitely do that again.
SHAPE: You dressed up as one the 2012 Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnasts last Halloween. Was that your idea?
AM: Yeah, my teammate Sydney Leroux and I were trying to think of what we wanted to be for Halloween because we were going to be in L.A. together. She suggested Team USA's Olympic gymnasts McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas. I thought it was an amazing idea. It was the simplest costume. Now we're in the process of trying to figure out better costumes for this year, which I don't think is possible because that was the best costume ever. Going as Miley Cyrus has come up, but we didn't love the idea of one of us going as Robin Thicke.
SHAPE: Did you wear your real gold medals?
AM: Yes, but then we took them off after the photo. We wore fake gold medals outside of the house.
SHAPE: Do you think it's taboo when people ask to put on your gold medal?
AM: It's weird because I'll meet some people who are like, 'I can't touch that.' Then you have some people who are like, 'Can I put that on?', and they're ripping it off of your neck. I have some teammates who don't let people try theirs on. After I got my gold medal, I thought, 'This isn't just me. It belongs to my team, my friends, my family, the fans, everybody who's impacted my life-this is our gold medal.' So when someone asks to try it on, I'm like, 'Sure, why not?' I might be a little too relaxed about it, but why would I keep it to myself?