As if we needed another reason to love our military even more—Shannon Ihrke is Minnesota Nice and a former U.S. Marine to boot. This 23-year-old blonde bombshell is a straight shooter who would make Carlos Hathcock proud and has us shouting “OOH-RAH! Thank you MARINES!”
What was it like growing up in Minnesota?
I loved it—The Land of 10,000 Lakes. I grew up on the water, out in the boondocks, so I really love the outdoors.
I was in my second year at St. Cloud State University, working two jobs, and I was burnt out. I asked my academic advisor what I could do to stay out of debt and get my schooling paid for. She said to have a baby [laughing] or join the military. Well, I was 19 years old and didn’t need a baby, so I went to the Air Force recruiter office. I was about to sign up when the Marine recruiter offered to buy me lunch. At that point, I wasn’t going to turn down a free meal, and one week later, I was on a plane to Marine boot camp.
What’s the coolest part about being a Marine?
You are part of a family for life. It’s the total bond of being part of a fraternity—like a team.
What was the hardest part?
All the yelling at boot camp. I wasn’t used to that growing up in Minnesota. I was afraid to ask to go to the bathroom the first week [laughing].
Is the Minnesota Nice thing just a stereotype, or do you find it to be true—the polite, reserved, mild mannered characteristics?
It’s so true. It’s the only place where two people driving past each other stop to wave. Everyone says hi to everyone— total strangers. I live in Chicago now, and people can always tell that I’m not from Illinois. There’s just something in the water up in Minnesota.
What have you been doing in Chicago to stay busy?
I was a 2011 Maxim “Hometown Hottie” finalist, so I’ve been doing a lot of promo work for them, going to different parties and hanging out. It’s a good gig. I’ve also been doing ring card girl work for ProElite and King of the Cage. I love being close to all the action and being able to interact with the fans and the fighters.
Who’s your favorite fighter?
I’m sticking with my ProElite boy, Andrei Arlovski. With that beard and physique, he looks like a Spartan from 300. He scares me. If I was the guy fighting him, I’d tap after touching gloves. But, he’s actually very nice, shaking hands with fans and signing autographs after he fights.
How do you stay in such good shape?
I do a Marine workout that incorporates P90X and some Navy Seal stuff that one of my drill instructors used to make us do. I do a lot of long-distance running and a ton of ab work.
What’s your favorite physical feature?
I take a lot of pride in my stomach. But guys would say that it’s my butt. The Maxim photographer said that he was going to make my butt famous, and in the next issue, it was on the back cover—just my butt [laughing].
How do you like to kick back and have fun?
I love to be outdoors, sitting on the back of a pickup truck, drinking beer at a bon fire. I grew up riding horses, and I even had a miniature pony named Monty. He was albino white—the coolest horse in the world. I’m such a dork at heart [laughing].
Do you have a boyfriend that likes dorks?
Yes, for about two months.
Too new to last. How is the next guy gonna impress you?
[Laughing] The biggest thing is to be confident. You can work at McDonald’s, as long as you have confidence, you will get my attention. No cheesy pickup lines.
What’s the lamest thing a guy has done to get your attention?
Facebook stalkers are the worst. You get that creepy message from a stranger that says you are hot and that you have a lot in common. Complete strangers say the weirdest things and think I’m going to respond. Just say, ‘Hi’ and ‘I liked your pics,’ and we can be friends. Don’t get all creepy and stalk me.
Too late Shannon, we’re already stalking you on your Facebook page ShannonIhrke-Model and on Twitter@ShannonIhrke.
That’s ok [laughing]. You’re not creepy…anymore.