In 2006, Arianny Celeste had no idea that a simple trot around the Octagon would change her life for- ever. Now, more than six years later, the dark-haired beauty has become the cover girl for the UFC and is popularly recognized as MMA’s top ring girl.
The addition of 20-year-old Arianny was a block- buster gain for the UFC in 2006, but it also served as a career-launching opportunity for her. It came at a time when the sport was steady, but certainly not amongst the mainstream. UFC president Dana White was in the process of building a global powerhouse— one that would forever change the way we view mixed martial arts. Through it all, Arianny was able to sit cageside—fight by fight—and see MMA and the UFC become something she never thought was possible.
“I’ve seen the UFC blow up, and we’re going all over the place now,” says Arianny. “When I first started, it was just fight cards in Vegas and California. If you look at us now, we’ve gone global, and it’s expanding rapidly. For me, it was just being at the right place at the right time. I went from a casting room with 40 girls to walking around the Octagon in front of thousands of people. It’s easy to throw around the word ‘amazing,’ but that is exactly what this experience has been like for me. I’m so proud to be a part of the UFC. These people are like my family.”
Recently, Arianny’s family has expanded, as she joined Authentic Sports Management and the Blackzilian Team out of Boca Raton, Florida. With superstars Alistair Overeem, Rashad Evans, and Vitor Belfort, the addition of Arianny as a Blackzilian has been the perfect complement of beauty to the brawn.
“Everyone in the MMA world was talking about this new agency and this new team and that all the big fighters were joining it,” she says. “When I was finally ready to take on a full-time manager, that’s the first place I went. It turned out to be the best decision I could have made. I love being the first female Blackzilian. I feel like I’m the baby sister that CEO Glenn Robinson and all the guys look out for. Professionally, I feel lucky to be a Blackzilian because it means you have the best of the best when it comes to sponsorships, career management, and guidance.”
With the UFC’s recent signing of Ronda Rousey, Arianny and co-ring girl Brittney Palmer won’t be the only ladies in the Octagon anymore. The UFC’s expansion of its roster bodes well for female fighters, highlighting the evolution of the sport. It’s a good time to be a woman in the MMA industry—and Arianny has been blazing the trail for the last six years. While Arianny doesn’t plan to put on the gloves, she is thrilled for what the future holds for women’s MMA.
“It has been so exciting to watch the rise of Ronda Rousey,” says Arianny. “I think she is a great role model for young women and espe- cially for girls who aspire to be athletes. I think any woman who can break through traditional barriers—whether it is sports or business or human rights— deserves to be celebrated. In MMA, we finally have a female athlete who has done exactly that.”
As Arianny’s busy schedule continues into 2013 and her fame continues to skyrocket (she’s been on the cover of countless magazines, including Playboy and Maxim), the one constant in her life has been her love of music.
“I’ve always had a deep passion for music,” says Arianny. “My family is very musically inclined. We have singers and musicians down the lines. When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming a singer, but it has taken the back- burner the last few years. Right now, I’m getting back into it, and I’m also going on a lot of auditions for television and film. Of course, I’m still thrilled being a UFC Octagon girl.” Garrett Derr contributed to this article.
Last concert you attended?
Guns N’ Roses in Las Vegas. It was awesome—I cried when they played ‘November Rain.’
Last good movie you saw?
Skyfall. I’d like to be a Bond Girl in a film someday. Casting?
Favorite place to travel?
Anywhere by the beach. I love Rio and Sydney.
Being alone. I think family is so important, so one day I hope to be married with kids.
Ryan Gosling—he’s handsome, tough, and romantic. HOT.
My 2013 calendar is out. You can purchase it on ariannyceleste.com.