So Natasha, were you ever expecting to be a UFC girl?
Oh no, absolutely not. It was definitely something that you would love to do and you see and you go, ‘oh, that would be fun!’.
How did that happen, did you just show up for the Maxim thing and sign up?
Yeah. Well they had the Maxim and UFC, a combined contest advertised online and all over the place, but I didn’t even know until a friend of mine called and said, ‘you’ve got to try out for this thing; you’d be perfect!’ so, like all the other girls, I went online and sent in my pictures and my bio and then you wait for them to give you a call back or an email back saying that you’re going to be in the final 40. They just said you’re one of the top girls. We didn’t even know how many girls were in the event—in the actual competition—until the day we showed up. There were women from all over the United States.
That was pretty exciting I can only assume.
Oh absolutely! I was so excited! I couldn’t stop smiling. I was shaking; my jaw hurt after that. I have a really big smile and it was even bigger.
What was your first duty as the UFC’s newest ring girl?
My first thing ever was the Maxim shoot, that one’s going to be out in October I believe. I’m just so excited about it. I’m just like, “Yay, Maxim!” It’s like every girl’s dream.
I know you mean FIGHT! is every girls dream but I’ll let it slide this time. So did you have any interest in the UFC before all this?
Oh yeah, definitely! I like it because it’s not just boxing. It actually involves all the different forms of martial arts and that makes it a lot more interesting. I really love watching it.
Do you have a favorite fighter?
Everyone always asks me that and for me, they all have qualities that makes them a good fighter and enjoyable to watch. Like the first fight that I watched with Forrest Griffin, and of course I’m a big fan of his, but after this past weekend [UFC 102], I’m a huge Randy fan. That was probably one of the most amazing fights I have ever seen — especially up close and live. The crowd was so loud! It could not get much more exciting. People were crying at the end of it. It was intense.
Tell me a little about your background. You grew up in Las Vegas?
Yes. I grew up in Las Vegas with a non-typical upbringing. I was homeschooled all the way up until high school. All through middle school we lived on a farm—we had everything but the cows! I ran cross country and track in highschool and was good enough to earn a scholarship to Northern Arizona University. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do though so I decided to take a break and join a missionarytype program that helps disaster victims. I helped after Hurricane Katrina. I kind of wanted to live a life that wasn’t all about me for a while. After that I lived in Hawaii for a year.
What’s was a typical day like living in Hawaii?
Oh, you wake up, eat some eggs and Spam and you snorkel and surf and lay out and get a tan, and eat the freshest fish ever. I loved it. Then I moved back to Vegas. I had always wanted to do modeling, but I’m short and then I figured it doesn’t hurt to try and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work. I never want to look back and regret, you know? So since then I’ve been here modeling and I gogo dance at a lot of the different clubs and I was a bunny at the Playboy Club.
You’re tiny. How tall are you, 5’2”?
Yeah, I’m 5’2”. I’m definitely short!
Well you look tall-ish on TV.
Oh nice! I haven’t even seen any of the filmings of me so I have no idea what I look like. I like being short. I have no complaints. I can run fast.
Apparently! So how fast do you run say, a 5K?
My last 5K was around 18 minutes but I’m more of a long-distance runner. In college, my best 10K was about 36 minutes. I definitely like to give people a run for their money. I just got back into running. I was out for five or six months because I broke my foot. I never run in the gym. I never run on a treadmill. I have to be outdoors. In the gym I just do weights and core. I never do cardio in the gym. I get bored after a half-mile. I need to go out on the trails.
So, have people started recognizing you yet?
Not really, no—and I’m fine with that. I don’t mind being in the cage for a while. Old friends and acquaintances do and then they text you and say, ‘are you walking the Octagon right now?’ I don’t mind getting recognized, though. It’s an honor.
Where would we see you on a Friday night?
Friday through Monday I’m usually at XS, the club at the Wynn. I dance there.
What about a night when you’re not working?
Well the rest of the week—like tonight I’m going over to a friend’s house and we’re going to swim and have pizza and hang out. Long boarding is pretty much my favorite thing to do. I have it in my car at all times.
Long board as in skateboard?
Yeah—skateboard, long board. It’s something I adopted from Hawaii. It’s like that whole feeling of cruising and gliding—kind of like riding a wave, so it gets addicting. It really does. It’s annoying to some people, but— I don’t want to kill myself, but I like the feeling. On Saturday ,some friends and I are going to go hiking. I like to get outdoors and be in the open air and be active.
Sound like you’re a very outdoorsy person.
Yes, and that’s the funny thing—I’ve never broken anything rock climbing, running, hiking, kayaking, surfing, long boarding—and then I tripped walking down two little steps and I broke three metatarsal bones in my left foot. It’s not even a cool story. It would be a cool story if I was long boarding down this huge hill in California, but no—
So I have to ask the question: Are you single?
Yes, I am single.
What kind of guys are you attracted to?
I know a lot of girls say this, but it’s completely true, I don’t go for the typical gym rat or extremely good-looking person. I’ve always gone for personality. I love to laugh. I love someone who has the initiative to go out and do stuff and to take life by the handles—I love that! I don’t care about hair color, eye color or body type. You just have to be fit enough to keep up with me because I am very active, but I don’t have a certain type.
Humor is definitely a popular trait.
Oh yeah. I’m weird. I’m a goofball. I’m definitely very uninhibited and very true to myself and not worried about what other people think of me. I do plan on wearing a giant banana costume to the party tonight—that’s like the weird funny stuff I think of that I do.
What was it like being homeschooled and then going into the public school system?
I had such a big family that it was never a problem and I was always able to make friends very easily.
So you weren’t like a super-sheltered, innocent girl coming out into the big wide world?
Actually, I was. I wasn’t to the point where I wasn’t able to function or be myself but I was definitely very innocent. I mean, you ask any of my college teammates and you would be shocked because when I first went to college, I was so naïve. I’d never had a boyfriend all through high school. When people see me now they are like, ‘you are so different!’ because I always wore comfy clothes and no makeup and I was very much into my sports. I never went to parties. I never had my first drink until I was 21. I’m definitely a lot of fun, it was just I’ve never been one to succumb to society or feel pressured into anything. My mom was pretty religious so that played into the whole not dating or drinking.
Well, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we are glad you decided to take some risks. We look forward to seeing you around the Octagon again soon! “