Interview with LFL football player Niki Ghazian Interviewed by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - August 2009
CRITICAL BENCH: Niki Ghazian plays for the Lingerie Football League. Niki is living her athletic, business, social, and modeling dream all at the same time. Not many people can ever live their dream as a model, or through business or as an athlete and Niki is doing all three! Let's see what Niki has to say about her life as a Lingerie Football player on and off the field.
CRITICAL BENCH: This is Ben Tatar from Critical Bench and I am here with Niki Ghazian today. Niki, before we begin, tell Critical Bench readers about yourself.
Niki Ghazian: I'm a Swimwear / Lingerie Model and a Lingerie Football Player for the Los Angeles Temptation. I'm also in my second year of Law School.
CRITICAL BENCH: That's a very impressive resume you have. Niki, what exactly is the Lingerie Football League?
Niki Ghazian: The Lingerie Bowl is a half-time pay-per view game of 7-on-7 tackle football, played by lingerie models. In the past it was just a 4 game thing, but now it has expanded into the Lingerie Football League with an entire season consisting of games every Friday night played by teams based in every major city in the US.
CRITICAL BENCH: Everyone, please visit the Lingerie Football League site to get tickets and keep up with Nikki and the action at http://www.lingeriebowl.com/ ! Niki, what position do you play?
Niki Ghazian: I'm an offensive lineman, right guard. I also play defense when needed.
CRITICAL BENCH: Niki, what is your favorite part about being a Lingerie Bowl player?
Niki Ghazian: I get to knock the hell out of people without getting in trouble for it. No really, I'm serious. I can be really aggressive and intense, and this is a really good outlet for me.
CRITICAL BENCH: It's definitely entertaining watching you take other football models out in Lingerie! Let me ask you, do you believe that the Lingerie Bowl could be a future mainstream sport? What do you think it will take to make the Lingerie Bowl a mainstream sport?
Niki Ghazian: I don't believe it, I know it. In the history of sports no other league has garnered attention like the LFL has been getting in its inaugural season. And not just here in all over the United States, but in places where American Football was ignored, like Europe and South America. LFL is making headlines all over the world. It is going to be huge.
CRITICAL BENCH: I agree! Do you have any real sick tackles that you would like to tell us about?
Niki Ghazian: I don't want to compromise the confidentiality of the plays we have on LA Temptation, but I'll just say as an O-lineman, there are things I do on certain plays that go beyond just blocking on the line and I love it because it brings out my versatility as a player. As far as tackles, you are going to have to keep your eyes peeled during the season. I make it hurt.
CRITICAL BENCH: Everyone watch out for Niki Ghazian in the LFL season as she hits other models in lingerie with fury! Niki, away from the LFL, you have an intellectual side going as you are in law school. How is law school going?
Niki Ghazian: Law school is going good. I'm in my 2nd year now and it has been a challenge. It's very time consuming and demands a lot of discipline, which I think will help me beyond graduation in various areas of my life. Law School has definitely helped me build the tenacity in my character.
CRITICAL BENCH: Back to the LFL! How and when can people watch you play in the Lingerie football league?
Niki Ghazian: Well the LFL will have games every Friday night starting in September. The full schedule is on LFLus.com. Tickets are available at ticketmaster and stub hub.
CRITICAL BENCH: Awesome, so now we have LFL football on Friday Nights, NCAA football Saturdays, and the NFL Sundays! Niki, is there anything that you would like to see change in the Lingerie football league?
Niki Ghazian: I'd prefer to play on real grass over turf, and the home arena we are playing in is turf. That's about it.
CRITICAL BENCH: How have people responded to you being a Lingerie football player?
Niki Ghazian: I honestly haven't heard anybody say anything bad about the LFL. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback and attention, from a lot of men, and surprisingly, from a lot of women who really look up to what we are doing out there.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you think we should have the LFL in high schools? Do you think more girls will start playing football?
Niki Ghazian: I think this will definitely bring a new perspective to the role of women's sports. I believe what we are doing is ground-breaking for women in sports and will definitely change things at a collegiate level as well as high school level. When I began playing water polo we only had a men's team, which then expanded into a women's team. Water polo was a men's sport, just as football is today... and hopefully we can help be a part of a new movement.
CRITICAL BENCH: If we told you back when you were 16 that you would be a Lingerie player what would you say?
Niki Ghazian: I was playing Varsity Water Polo at that point in my life, so I would think duh I'm athletic of course I'd believe it.
CRITICAL BENCH: Niki, since you're an FHM model and a Lingerie football player do people treat you differently at Law School?
Niki Ghazian: Yes. I love the people I go to Law School with, but there have been a few who have found out what I do outside of school who started treating me differently and becoming very resentful towards me, because you know, they don't have it in them to be more than what they are. Love the haters because they will always be your biggest fans.
CRITICAL BENCH: That's the spirit! How did you get involved with FHM?
Niki Ghazian: The first time I did FHM was very early on in my modeling career. I was contacted by them, their Senior Photographer Laurens Antoine and asked to do a small feature after he had seen a small portfolio of my pictures.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is it like getting hit on 24/7?
Niki Ghazian: I've become numb to it. It doesn't faze me anymore. Although I'll admit there are days where I'm just not feeling good, and different guys will harass me, or stare, and the staring gets really annoying and I at times feel like going home and just hiding. Then I think to myself, how miserable must super famous celebrities be? Feeling like a fish in a fish bowl gets old after a while, especially if you're having one of those days where you want to be left alone.
CRITICAL BENCH: For men out there reading this, don't stare at girls, talk to them and tell them about the LFL! Right on! Niki, where are your favorite places to travel as a Lingerie football player and why?
Niki Ghazian: I love Vegas and Miami, although that has nothing to do with the LFL.
CRITICAL BENCH: You play many teams. Do you have a favorite team that you like playing against?
Niki Ghazian: My second favorite LFL team after LA Temptation is the Miami Caliente. They are the nicest girls that I am the friendliest with outside of my own. Plus their uniform colors are rockin'. I would say LA is the best in the Western division and Miami is the best in the Eastern division.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your advice for a girl who looks up to you who would one day like to become a lingerie football model?
Niki Ghazian: Do lots of squats and bench daily. Just kidding. I'd say to them, "Stay healthy, stay active, start playing team sports as soon as possible to build your athletic experience up, and start watching football religiously. Sports memory is so induced by visual learning."
CRITICAL BENCH: Would you like to play men's high school teams with your Lingerie team?
Niki Ghazian: A few of my teammates and I have trained with college teams, but not to the point of getting hit by grown men. No thank you.
CRITICAL BENCH: Niki, do you have any regrets in life?
Niki Ghazian: Yes. Leaving the house on the night of March 5th 2005, and blowing off Tom Brady to stay loyal to my undeserving ex. These are the only 2 regrets I have in my life.
CRITICAL BENCH: That's cool that Tom Brady showed interest in you! Sorry about the ex thing. What are your future goals?
Niki Ghazian: My biggest future goal is the same as it was 10 years ago. I just want to be happy and stable in my life and I believe once my roaring 20's are over I will achieve that serenity in life.
CRITICAL BENCH: Would you ever like to be a WWE diva? And if you could main event against any person in the world at WrestleMania who would it be?
Niki Ghazian: You know I have seen and heard about that, and it definitely seems like my cup of tea, I'm waiting for the call! I would love to beat the crap out of Heidi from the Hills because she seems like such a b*tch and a priss. She would need another nose job by the time I'm done with her.
CRITICAL BENCH: You definitely have a lot of character! Can you tell us about your child hood? Were you athletic back then?
Niki Ghazian: My childhood... well I was always athletic as a child. I started swimming competitively when I was 9 years old, so every day after school I had these crazy swim practices for 3 hours. I got into it because I had childhood asthma and the doctor told me a great way for me to expand my lungs would be to swim. Next thing you know I became this great swimmer and was doing it competitively. I was a great swimmer but by the time I was half way through high school I was over it and in love with Water Polo, which I played in high school and in college for a season, D-1 NCAA. That is pretty much what I bring to the LFL, serious athletic experience.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you enjoy doing during your free time? Also, since you travel everywhere where are your favorite places in the Country?
Niki Ghazian: I love the beach, so I'm always at the beach laying out between surf sessions. During the winter I love traveling to snowboard. My favorite cities in the US outside of LA are Miami and Las Vegas. I love going to the Keys every time I'm in Florida-I think it's the most chill place to be in the world.
CRITICAL BENCH: Away from relaxing, I'm sure your intense workouts make relaxing that much more blissful. Niki, give us your intense training routine and your diet!
Niki Ghazian: Well there is football practice which is gruesome and tough, but off the field I do lots of cardio, running distance since I get the sprints in at football practice. I don't like to torture myself with diets, so I eat what I like, in moderation and in consideration of other things. So if I have something really bad I'll have a small portion of it and make up for it by eating good foods consecutively. There are some things I abstain from completely, like ice cream and french fries. They do not taste good enough to be as bad as they are. It's as simple as that.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your cardio routine like?
Niki Ghazian: The key to cardio is mixing it up. First of all if you do the same work out routinely, your body plateaus and you stop getting results. I always mix up my cardio. I run these huge stair cases on a cliff over looking the beach. Sometimes I run the track, run the treadmill, or run a route around the city to keep it interesting and new.
CRITICAL BENCH: Wow, I love your cardio advice, very true! Niki, what adversities have you had to overcome?
Niki Ghazian: I feel like my whole life has been one big obstacle, and I don't say that to complain, I'm thankful for it because I would never be where I'm it if it weren't for the fact that I felt challenged every day of my life. For one thing, I was brought up by a single mother who worked very hard. I never had anything handed to me, so I appreciate the art of being a hustler day-to-day. As I mentioned, I had childhood asthma, to the point where I would be in the ER every other night with an oxygen mask, something that I still deal with just not to the same gravity it was when I was younger. I could go on and on, but like I said, I am thankful for the difficulties I have faced in my life because that which didn't kill me made me stronger, and built my character and experience up.
CRITICAL BENCH: You definitely have developed the strength to be successful in many environments. So, what is your favorite thing about yourself?
Niki Ghazian: Where do I begin? Just kidding. My favorite thing about myself is that I am comfortable in my skin at all times, I think that is a rare quality for a person to be endowed with. I am aware of my strengths, weaknesses, beauties and flaws, and I accept them all as a whole that I appreciate. I'm confident with myself, even with my flaws. A lot of my friends are super self conscious about their flaws. I think flaws are so beautiful on beautiful people because they are a physical manifestation of the fact that humans, by their own nature, are inherently always somehow flawed.
CRITICAL BENCH: You're as authentic as they get. How do you want to be remembered?
Niki Ghazian: As someone who was always good to people, out of the sheer principle of being kind to others. As someone who always kept it real, honest, and sincere 100% of the time, and as someone who had the ability to make you laugh, cry, and puke (too much drinking) all within the span of one night. I'm quite the character, I think if something ever happened to me people who have a hard time forgetting me.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us a interesting secret about you.
Niki Ghazian: I'm scared of the dark. I'm also scared of bugs and spiders. They make me scream. No seriously I am.
CRITICAL BENCH: Well, Niki. It has been very interesting talking to you. Before we wrap this up, I am going to say a concept and just respond.
Niki Ghazian: Ok
I drive- I have 2 cars-a Mercedes CLK 500 and Toyota 4runner
Aside from the Super Bowl, my favorite athletic event during the year is- The US open of Surfing in Huntington Beach California.
Favorite NFL Team- Oakland Raiders
My ideal vacation- The beach plus white sand
An amazing personal characteristic about myself is- I say what I want when I want and feel no need to censor it, if you don't like it too bad, I keep it real, that's how I roll, take it or leave it, you can like it or love it.
The physical activities that I like to do are- Football, Snowboarding, Running and Surfing
Two heroes of mine are- My Mom and my Grandmother
I would like to have blank ___ kids- I'd like to have 3
In men I look for- Honesty, Character, Integrity, Sincerity, Athleticism, Smarts, and a sense of humor.
My favorite quote or motto to live by- "Love the haters because they will always be your biggest fans!"
When I am stressed I- Drive really fast and run really hard.
Luck is- When preparation meets opportunity.
Love is- Unconditional, considerate, and unwaveringly loyal.
CRITICAL BENCH: Niki, it has been great interviewing you today about your life and journey through the LFL. In closing who would you like to thank?
Niki Ghazian: God! Like I always say, "When God is with you, who could be against you?"