ESPN2 Host Cari Champion on Style in Sports: "I Refuse to Apologize for What I Look Like"
When you're a dignified lady in an industry dominated by men, dressing oneself can be a challenge. You can opt for the skirt set and orthopedic shoes, the ones you purchased at Talbots that scream, "I'm all brains and no style. Please take me seriously!" Or you run the risk of dressing for yourself (and your bangin' body), with a fifty-fifty chance of being wrongfully judged by your salivating male colleagues for being paid to sit there and look pretty.
But Cari Champion of ESPN2 apologizes to no one "for style." And she's certainly no wuss when it comes to taking risks.
The sassy host of First Take is a rare breed, infusing beauty and brains into one fabulous package. The lofty, svelte 38-year old has reported for just about everyone in the field of broadcast journalism, including Florida's very own WPTV in West Palm Beach. And while we respect her for being exceptional at her craft, it's her steeze that sets her apart in the realm of sports entertainment.
The First Take crew is in Miami this week, doing live shows during the NBA Finals. Between covering perhaps the most gut-wrenching round of Finals games Miami has ever faced, Champion met up with us for a little Shopping 101 tutorial at the South Beach retail hotspot, Atrium. But instead of picking her brain about a possible Game Seven, we got her to dish about what she'll be wearing. Go on, call us superficial.
Having just walked through the inviting doors of the coed boutique, Champion instantaneously yielded in front of the first rack, boasting a hefty pile-up of Clover Canyon pieces. There was, however, one piece that intensely whipped the Champion in: a white neoprene crop top.
"Here's the thing about having a crop top," she says, enthusiastically ripping the scuba-textured piece off of the store's welcoming rack. "I hesitate to get them sometimes, because when you're a professional you go back and forth, especially for women in entertainment."
But, as previously mentioned, she's a risk-taker. And while the top does expose a large canvas of skin, Cari still manages to find a way to make it camera-appropriate. "For me, I love a pencil skirt with this," she said, unable to put her soon-to-be future, closet-dwelling member back on the rack. "There's almost a professional vibe to it. It doesn't push that envelope."
She does have a point there. Though we have to admit, we were surprised by her decision to go for the simpler choice -- a white, spaghetti-strapped crop -- and not for one of Clover Canyon's more signature kaleidoscopic-printed numbers instead. But the trippy amalgam of dynamically bold colors might be a little too signature for Cari. "I am really big on prints. The only thing about Clover Canyon is that you don't want to wear the same thing over and over again," she says. "You know right away that it's Clover Canyon."