Rarely can a woman balance beauty and brawn as gracefully as Mikaela Mayer. She’s a beautiful 22 year old former model and oh yeah she can kick your ass! Mikaela started as a model who quickly gave that up to purse her true dream of competitive boxing. Her drive to be the best pushes her to work harder than her rivals. Her work has paid off. She’s ranked #1 in the world in Olympic Boxing and her goal is to win the gold in the 2016 Olympics. But don’t let the boxing gloves fool you; Mikaela is a girly girl with manicured nails and matching workout attire. Join us as we learn more about her passion, her goals and those things she absolutely loves and hates in men.
The Perception of Women In Boxing
Victor: Do you feel that the perception of women participating in combat sports like boxing is changing? And if so, how?
Mikaela: Definitely. I remember when I first started, I’d go to a tournament and I would be lucky to get a fight. Now I go to a tournament expecting to fight four, five, six times. The competition has grown. The respect for the women in the sport has definitely grown a lot over the last couple of years. I think one of the major things that really helped people to be more open and accepting to it is that the Olympic committee allowed for women to compete in the Olympics. They let us have three weight classes, so that was huge. It was the only sport in the Olympics actually that didn’t have women included. That was huge. That was one of the biggest reasons.
Victor: Wow. That’s amazing, and for you to be ranked number one in your weight class must be an amazing feeling.
Mikaela: It is an amazing feeling. I think about it, and I probably should be a lot more excited about it than I really am because, although maybe to someone like you or an outsider, it may seem like I’ve accomplished a lot, but there’s so much more that I want to accomplish. I really don’t feel like it’s that awesome. I won’t feel that awesome until I get a gold medal, then I’ll feel awesome. I try to remind myself, ‘stop and enjoy your journey.’ I really do have an amazing life. I wake up every morning and I do what I love. I can support myself doing what I love, you know? I’m really actually really lucky because a lot of people get up every day and they go to a job that they hate. So I count on myself to just stop and be thankful and realize that the journey you’re on is probably the most amazing part of the whole thing. So I try to do that a lot, but it is hard, because you have such huge goals and nothing’s ever good enough. You won this tournament, but I didn’t make the Olympic team, so it really wasn’t good enough, you know? I got myself number one in the world but I didn’t make the Olympic team, it’s just never enough. There’s always so much more to push toward, that’s what keeps the drive going, keeps you ambitious, so it’s good, too.
Victor: How do you mentally prepare before a fight? Do you have any pre-fight ritual, anything you kind of go through?
Mikaela: You’re not the first to ask me that, but I actually don’t have a pre-fight ritual. I’m a very strategic fighter. Before every fight, we’re in the hotel room the night before and we’re going over strategies, because I don’t fight every opponent the same. Obviously every style is different. I go over the strategy, I wake up in the morning, we go over it one more time. We warm up, with doing the strategy we have planned, and that’s it. I’ll go in there thinking, ‘Okay, I’m going to go in there, I’m going to execute what I’ve been training and that’s it.’ I don’t really have any… A lot of people do, a lot of people will read or listen to some music. I really don’t, I just kind of stay focused and go in there and do my thing.
Victor: I know it changes a lot, but what does a typical training day look like for you?
Mikaela: It does change a lot. When I’m in camp for a tournament it’s obviously a lot more intense. I can’t train 100% year-round because I need to peak myself for the tournaments. So if I’m in camp… We’re 3, 4 weeks out, obviously training is intense. I’m training 2 to 3 times a day. I usually get up maybe around 6:30, 7:00, do my interval running. I have a boxing workout around 1:00. And then I’m back in the swimming pool in the evening, or some type of strength training. Yeah, it’s pretty much just eat, sleep, train, eat, sleep, train.
Balancing Beauty & Brawn
Victor: How do you balance your femininity with the toughness of boxing? It must be an interesting balance.
Mikaela: It is a little interesting. I think it’s a little rare to be so, maybe ‘girly’ as I am, just ‘girly,’ that’s just the best way to put it, and then in be in such a male-dominated aggressive sport, but I don’t know. It’s just me. I grew up doing a lot of kind of rough things. My dad had me snowboarding, taking surfing lessons and we raced motocross, so I’ve always kind of done some extreme things. And my dad raised me since I was 12. So I think it was just how I was raised. I was never really babied growing up. My dad always threw me into crazy situation, I think I’m just tough in that sense. But then again I’m in touch with my femininity.
Victor: What made you transition from a model to a boxer? Was it a tough decision?
Mikaela: No, it wasn’t tough at all. I obviously wasn’t that in love with modeling, because I was just feeling this kind of emptiness, and not really feeling like I was on the right path. But when I found boxing, that whole mindset changed. I fell in love immediately. And giving up modeling wasn’t even… I didn’t even have to think twice about it. I told myself months into boxing, I want to be the best female boxer in the world. And that was everything to me, immediately. I cut off my friends that didn’t serve any positive purpose towards my life. Every day I was in the gym after school, and that’s all I wanted to do.
The Drive To Be The Best
Victor: What advice can you give somebody that needs focus and wants to aspire for something greater?
Mikaela: Having that focus and that ambition, I think that’s probably one of the hardest parts, because I think that there’s tons of people who could do what I do. There’s tons of people who could be great at something. But what separates these people are the people that actually take the time and have the discipline and the focus to do it, and those who don’t. Naturally I don’t have to try to be focused, it’s something that I love and I’m so happy that I don’t have to try, I immediately wake up and the first thing on my agenda is hitting the gym. If I have to give advice to somebody, I don’t know, because I think it’s either in you or it’s not in you. I definitely know that if you spread yourself oto thin, you’re trying to do all these little things, you’re never going to be great. If you want to be great at something, you really have to put all your energy into it. You really have to zone in and focus on it.
Victor: What is your Female Standard? What’s your motto or a creed that you live by?
Mikaela: My motto is definitely, ‘Look good, feel good, do good.’ I feel like you get up and you do a little extra… I like to get up, I like to put on a matching purple sports bra and purple shorts and tie my hair back in a cute ponytail. Literally I spray myself with perfume before I go to the gym, and I feel good, I feel ready to take on things and just get better, more fit. If you look good, then you feel good, and when you feel good, you do good. You’re motivated to do good.
Victor: I could just imagine being your sparring partner and having you smell like girly perfume as I get punched in the face.
Mikaela: Some people, if they feel comfortable like that, fine, but for me, if I wake up in baggy clothes and my hair is dirty and not brushed out and I just don’t feel fresh, I don’t feel into it. I just don’t feel into it.
Victor: It is very rare to have the looks as well as toughness. Do you find that men are intimidated by you because you possess both of these things?
Mikaela: I don’t know if that’s really the aspect. Someone asked me that the other day. I don’t know if that’s what the intimidation factor is. I have a really strong personality. Obviously to be in the career that I am and the sport that I’m in I have to be very confident. So I have a very confident and aggressive, dominant personality. I think that’s what most people are intimidated by.
Victor: What are the biggest differences between Olympic style and professional style boxing?
Mikaela: Well, that’s a big question. Olympic style boxing is only eight rounds. Professional boxing is 10, 12 rounds. There’s that. And up until a month ago there was the scoring system. The scoring system for Olympic style boxers were done where a scoring blow would give you a point, and that would add up throughout the fight. The person with the most points at the end of the fight would win. But they recently changed that, so now the Olympic boxers have a 10-9 pro scoring system, just like the pros. And they also took the headgear off. I think they’re really trying to make the Olympic style boxing more commercial and more appealing to the public, so they’re trying to make these small changes. Other than that, as an Olympic boxer you compete against other countries. As professional, the United States is really the only country that has professional ranks. Not the only, but one of the very few, not every country has professional ladders to climb. Pros will compete the best of the best in the United States. As Olympic style boxers travel the world and we fight the best of the best in every country.
Victor: Tell me a little bit about your involvement with Dr. Pepper, and how that whole commercial came about.
Mikaela: Dr. Pepper called me right after the Olympic trials of 2012. So I had just lost in the finals of the Olympic trials, I was pretty down, but Dr. Pepper definitely boosted my spirits. They called me, they simply asked if I was interested in doing something with Dr. Pepper/Snapple, they couldn’t tell me what it was, and I was like ‘Duh!’ And then they called me three months later, I totally forgot about it, they called me three months later. I turned them over to my manager, it was about a campaign for unique people. They were choosing four of us, or a few of us. I thought it was a really awesome campaign idea. I definitely felt like I fit it well, I feel I’m a unique individual. I was excited about it. I was also excited about helping to commercialize my sport. Like I said, not a lot of people know about Olympic style boxing, so whatever we can do to promote the sport and let people become aware of it, I thought it was cool. So now I think more people who have seen that commercial are like, ‘Oh my gosh, females do box.’ A lot of people don’t even think women box. Some people say to me, ‘I didn’t know women were allowed to box.’ So I think it was just kind of a good, educational commercial.
What Does She Like In a Man?
Victor: Beard, or clean-shaven?
Mikaela: Oh, it so depends on the guy, but, clean-shaven.
Victor: What do you think about a guy that waxes or shaves his chest and back and body hair?
Mikaela: I don’t think shaving is necessary, because you’re a man and you’re supposed to be rough. But I would have to go with clean versus hairy.
Victor: What about men getting manicures and pedicures?
Mikaela: I actually dragged some of my teammates to go get pedicures with me. If you look in my Instagram there’s a picture of that. I don’t know, if it makes you feel good and better, I think that’s okay, yeah. Pedicures feel good.
Victor: What about eyebrows? There are some guys that will pluck their eyebrows or wax them.
Mikaela: Definite no on the eyebrows, totally unnecessary, totally unnecessary.
Victor: What about hair, are you more of a long or a short hair kind of girl?
Mikaela: On guys, definitely short hair.
Victor: What about a guy that has thinning hair? Would you tell him to keep it for as long as possible, or just shave it all off?
Mikaela: Shave it.
Victor: What’s the first thing that you notice in a guy?
Mikaela: Probably if they work out or not. That’s probably the first thing I notice. Working out is such a huge part of my life, so if you look at somebody and you can immediately tell that they do not spend any part of the day in the gym, it’s probably an immediate turn off for me.
Victor: Now do they need to be fit or are you looking for somebody that looks like GSP (George St.Pierre) or somebody like that?
Mikaela: A little more than average tone. I definitely need a little more than an averagely toned guy.
Victor: What can we expect from you in the near future?
Mikaela: Well, I always have things going on. I always have high expectations for myself, so I expect a lot of things to happen for me. I expect you to hear my name again, but I don’t know exactly where or when.
Victor: Where can we learn more about you?