Check out http://rebeccahleigh.proelite.com for more photos, info, and a voting link for Rebecca Leigh.Ever since she can remember, Rebecca Leigh has always been extremely active. Always playing outside with the boys as a kid, whether it be flag football or softball, on the swim team, captain of her field hockey team in high school, and eventually the dance team in college. After graduating from college, she realized she missed that intense physical routine and she joined her local gym. It started out innocently enough, two or three times a week, but then she’d realized, the more she went, and the more she pushed herself, the more she liked it. Thus she embarked on a successful and adventurous career as a fitness model appearing at some of the country’s foremost fitness awareness events such as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s annual Expo in Columbus, Ohio. However, what sets her apart from most of her spokes modeling colleagues is her down-to-earth good nature and penchant for watching MMA. Possessing the fight knowledge of most men and a real passion for mixed martial arts, it was only a natural union when Rebecca became part of the OTM family in early 2006. A year later, she won the coveted OTM Model of the Year honor and has been synonymous with OTM ever since.
Bevois: Rebecca, I want to start by saying, I’m excited about seeing you in the EliteXC’s current Ring Girl contest: http://www.proelite.com/contest/15886/page/4 What got you interested in Mixed Martial Arts? Rebecca: Thank you so much! I’m very excited to be part of EliteXC’s search for their next ring girl! As far as how I became a fan of MMA, I’d have to say it probably first started with an interest in traditional boxing at a very early age. I remember being very young and always enjoying watching boxing matches. Then, when I was in high school I started taking kickboxing classes at a local martial arts academy. I started competing locally within the first year of starting and absolutely LOVED it. I competed for about 2 years and then unfortunately, an unrelated knee injury ended my training. Somewhere around this time I saw my first PRIDE fight and I knew I was hooked for life.
Bevois: Your profile at Pro Elite: http://rebeccahleigh.proelite.com shows that you really know the sport well. It also has B.J. Penn listed as one of your favorite fighters. Have you always been a fan of jiu-jitsu stylists and submission fighters?
Rebecca: Absolutely. I am completely in awe of these fighters who can come in and consistently win fights against guys who are 50 plus pounds heavier! We have all seen more than our fair share of fights where one guy who’s kicking and striking skills are unbelievable and all hope seems lost until the fight goes to the ground. And we all know, odds are at some point, the fight’s going to the ground. That’s when it gets fun!
Bevois: Besides B.J. who are some of your all-time favorite MMA fighters? Rebecca: Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva are another two of my top favorite fighters, for sure. Also a big fan of Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes.
Bevois: This contest that Pro Elite is doing will determine the next ring girl is for their MMA promotion EliteXC, which is the first MMA event ever to be aired on Showtime. Are you excited to see that MMA is finally going more mainstream and is being accepted by the general public? Rebecca: I think its great! The more popular it becomes, the more schools will open. New and original fighters will be coming into the sport. I think the UFC/Zuffa buy-out of PRIDE was huge! Now, we will see the best of the best fight each other. I’m super excited to see the results of this. However, I think we all have the little worries in the back of our heads that it will become too commercialized, maybe to character-ie, too WWE, but I think that all the people who don’t have it truly in their hearts will be weeded out quickly. Bevois: You have All-American looks due to your Swedish-American ancestry. Would you consider your looks a blessing by giving you a successful modeling career or a hindrance due to guy’s being intimated or stereotyping you as just another blonde? Rebecca: There is not a day that goes by that I don’t realize how lucky I am to be able to enjoy the kind of life I have been living, but I have worked VERY hard for this success. I never take anything for granted and any stereotypes that I encounter are pretty quickly blown away within the first 5 minutes of talking to me. I think that if someone wants to stereotype me without giving a few moments to get to know me, than its their loss!
Bevois: You are really tiny standing a whopping 5’1″ on a good day. Do you enjoy destroying the stereotype that all successful models have to be tall? Rebecca: One of the very first modeling gigs I did was a runway show that also involved a hair show. The stylists were judged on the appearance of the model, hair, etc. I came in 13th out of over a hundred models. When my stylists were able to talk to the judges after the show, they told them that the ONLY reason I didn’t place higher is because I was so much shorter than anyone else. They said that if I was a foot higher I’d be walking the runways of Milan and Paris (not quiet sure about the truth in all that!). At that point, I made it a goal to make it in the modeling industry, regardless of my height. Although I do get booked for fashion and runway shows, most of my jobs are fitness and swimwear shoots – which are a lot more friendly to “height-impaired” models. I think that if you have the right personality, attitude and look, it doesn’t matter how tall you are – especially if you are proportionate. Bevois: One of your trademarks are the swallows tattooed on your lower back. Do they have any special meaning? Rebecca: My family has a lot of Navy/military heritage. My uncle is a Navy SEAL, my father is a civilian government contractor for the Navy, the list goes on and on. I love traditional tattoos, the way they look, the stories they tell. Traditional swallows, like the ones on my back used to represent a certain amount of miles a sailor had traveled on the sea. I believe that the ocean is part of me, its in my blood. So that, plus how important my family is to me, it only seemed fitting to get the swallows.
Bevois: You’re originally from China Lake, California, but grew up in the Annapolis, Maryland area. So what kind of guys are more your speed, surfers or soldiers? Rebecca: How about soldiers that surf? Hee heeh.
Bevois: Your new website www.rebeccahleigh.com has a member’s section people can join to see 1000’s of your exclusive photos, yet none of them are full on nude. Is being tasteful and classy your way of bringing sexy back? Rebecca: Absolutely. I believe that there is something so much more sexy when something is left to the imagination. Even if its a very TINY something, its still more interesting and exciting than full on – in your face. Its like a magic show. Once you see it all, the magic of it is gone, there’s nothing left. It’s better to keep some of that magic hidden – at least in my opinion!
Bevois: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the OTM readers before we wrap this up? Rebecca: I just want to thank the entire OTM family for all the love and support that you guys have given me for the last year or so. As we all know, MMA fans have the biggest and best hearts and it means the world to me to have such a great team supporting me! THANK YOU!