by Gabi Duncan | Fri., Jun. 24, 2016 12:56 PM
If you want to snag a baller, pay attention!
Whether you're married or dating, being with a professional athlete comes with plenty of perks, as the stars of WAGS, Nicole Williams, Natalie Halcro, Olivia Pierson, Autumn Ajirotutu, Sasha Gates, Barbie Blank, Sophia Pierson and Tia Shipman, already know very well. It's all about private jets, five-star vacations, exclusive parties, glamorous photo shoots and black cards with no limit. Hmm...where do we sign up?
But despite all that privilege, it's still not easy to maintain a successful relationship in the big leagues, especially when your man has to deal with travel, a demanding schedule, media scrutiny, pressure and attention from other women. It might seem like an intimidating lifestyle, but these women have found a way to make it work—and luckily, they're sharing their top rules for becoming and, more importantly, staying a WAG.
Do you think you have what it takes to get in the game? Keep reading to avoid making a foul on the play!
RULE #1: Be Cool
Even though athletes are cheered, worshiped and revered for their skills on the field or court, they're all just human beings at the end of the day. "Don't treat them like they're a big somebody because we're all somebodies," Sophia says. "We all have great things to offer. I would just say, be cool."
In fact, Nicole confesses her "cool" demeanor is what keeps her boyfriend, football player Larry English, always coming back for more. "He's like, 'You are just too cool. That's problem,'" she says. "He's like, 'Your swag is unreal and it just really keeps me on your ass. You're not needy. You're not a nag. You're my best friend and you're cooler than the other side of the pillow. You're the coolest person I know.'"
Autumn is quick to agree with Nicole's man. "She would come to the games when we first saw her in San Diego and we were all like, 'Oh my god! She is so bomb!'"
Nicole explains, "It's just a personality you have to have. I'm just very trusting. I feel like you just have to be self-confident. They love that."
RULE #2: Trust Your Relationship
Similar to the first rule, you have to be secure within yourself if you're ever going to be secure in a relationship with a pro athlete. "I don't think about groupies," Sophia admits. "I don't think about that kind of stuff. I'm confident in my relationship and that's why we're in a relationship."
"Be very secure," Autumn adds. "Trust yourself and trust your heart and just make sure you're loving them or liking them for the right reasons. Being married to or dating a professional athlete is very hard. Their job is extremely time-consuming, so you need to be a selfless woman. When you're secure within yourself, they're able to thrive within their career."
RULE #3: Be a Ride or Die Chick
Commitment and loyalty are also everything in the WAGS world. "He needs to know that you're in it 100 percent because it's not easy being in this life," Sasha explains. "You have to deal with groupies, him being on the road—you have to have trust in your other half because if you don't, there's nothing without it. It's very different from being with somebody that works a regular nine-to-five job. You just got to have thick skin for whatever comes your way and just know why you're in it."
That's the exact philosophy Sasha follows within her own marriage to San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. "If you're in it, you're in it. You're going to ride or die," she says. "You just jump off the building and figure it out on the way down. I'm not going anywhere and he knows that I'm there for him and vice versa. Whatever comes, bring it on!"
RULE #4: Do You (and Your Man)
If you want to date a professional sports star, it's also important to have a life outside of your relationship. "One thing I admire about Nicole is that she has her own," Autumn says. "You have to do you and your man at the same time—literally, physically and mentally! Have your own identity is basically what I'm trying to say."
"Definitely be you," Nicole agrees. "Keep busy. I've always been a hard-worker and just because I'm with somebody where I don't necessarily have to work, I still continue to just have my own career."
Tia admits her modeling career helps her avoid moments of insecurity and anxiety in her relationship with her football beau. "I try to stay busy and it's a good thing that I'm a model because it's like, 'Hey, I have groupies too!' People have seen me in a swimsuit, people have seen me naked. I have groupies too. It's one of those things where it's like we're not on some hierarchy. We're equal, which is nice."
RULE #5: Know Your Worth
Just like Drake raps on his song "0 to 100," you have to know yourself and know your worth before anybody else can—and Tia wholeheartedly agrees. "Know that you're good enough because once you know that you're good enough then I swear everything else will fall into place," she says. "Otherwise, you're a mess."
"It's something that I've learned too, especially being around such motivated, strong people that are all career-driven," Sophia adds. "You have to believe in yourself because nobody else will. If you stop believing in yourself, then that's it. You lose. As long as you know that, you'll be fine. You'll be able to pursue anything in life."
"Obviously, there's a lot of hustle and bustle around your man and what he does for a living, but don't lose sight of yourself," says Natalie, who dates retired NFL linebacker Shaun Phillips. "Really treasure, honor and support what you do first and you'll always be okay, no matter what happens with your guy. Just stay focused on yourself."
RULE #6: Show Him You Care
Just like in any relationship, it's always nice to do little things for your man to show him how much you appreciate him. For example, Autumn loves to prepare food for her hubby, NFL wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu.
"I always like to think of him first," she says. "I always cook a meal. I'm always cooking for the team or I'm always baking goodies to bring. Those little things that I guess mom would do to make him feel special before he goes into work. Doing those extra touches, I say. Every man loves to walk in with fresh-baked cookies or whatever for him and teammates. It makes him happy. I want to do that because he puts his neck on the line for us on Sundays."
Sasha enjoys doing similar gestures for her husband. "I cook him a meal and I tell him how amazing he is," she says. "I never forget to tell him these things and never take anything for granted. I appreciate him and our relationship."
RULE #7: Stay on Your Game
Beauty may only be skin deep, but WAGS always make the extra effort to look good for their ballers. "I think a woman should never let herself go," Sasha says. "I think that women get too comfortable and they're like, 'Oh, my man loves me. He's not going anywhere. We have kids.' But a man is a man. They're human beings. They're hunters. How can you expect him not to look at another beautiful woman?"
She continues, "Always be on top of your game. No matter how many kids we have or how busy I get, I always try to keep up myself and spice it up. My hair done, my nails done—try to get it right! I always want him to look at me. Even though he loves me no matter what, I think that's a major part of it.
Autumn likes to make it a fun contest with her husband. "I've been with him since I was 19 and he was 21, so I only want him to have eyes for me after all these years," she explains. "I compete with him because I don't like him to look better than me! He's just so cute. When he goes to the gym, I'm like, 'No, I'm coming too!' I got to look good for my baby, so I'm running on the treadmill!"
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