Angel Reese shared how she views her newfound fame in a conversation with celebrity stylist Law Roach for Interview Magazine. The 21-year-old has helped women’s college basketball gain traction since she helped Louisiana State University secure the 2023 NCAA championship last April. She says the win came as an unexpected surprise.
“When I first came to LSU, I just transferred to get a fresh start. I went 17 hours away from home,” Reese said. “I had no expectations of winning a national championship. I’m being completely honest. Going into our year, we didn’t believe that we were national championship-worthy. But we won, and everything came so fast.”
Reese’s interactions on the court with her opponent, Caitlin Clark, went viral. It marked the early stages of her having a public platform. Today, the basketball star is the top NIL earner in women’s college basketball. Her valuation is estimated at $1.7 million, according to On3. Reese has inked partnerships with brands such as Reebok, Mielle Organics and Tampax. She also started her own foundation, the Angel C. Reese Foundation, with the goal of empowering girls and women through sports, education and financial literacy.
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Reese is aware that her words and actions now have an impact. Fame comes with a sense of responsibility, and the attention can be overwhelming, she says.
“I’m still young, and sometimes it is overwhelming,” Reese shared. “I have so many people coming at me, and I know everything I do or post is looked at, posted, reposted. Knowing that my life isn’t normal anymore, I have to be mindful of everything I do. I’ve never posted anything vulgar or anything that my mom wouldn’t approve of. But just knowing everything I do inspires other people — I’ve always been confident. I’ve always been outspoken. I’ve always been the tallest girl in the class, so I had to be confident in who I was.”
Being in the public eye as a young woman but also an athlete means she is often the target of online hate. Reese sees it as a signifier of her success.
“If you don’t have no haters, you ain’t popping,” she said. “I learned to ignore by looking at all the people that are inspired by me. I don’t really pay attention to haters because they’re going to say what they want to say. I have a voice, and I’m not going to stop using my voice for the people that know that I am making an impact.”
Reese is carving her own space in both the public sphere and as an athlete. She decided to show up authentically. For her, this means getting her nails and lashes done while training for a new NCAA championship win and, eventually, a WNBA draft. Reese explains that her love for beauty and fashion is why she received the nickname of Bayou Barbie.
“The Bayou Barbie just comes from Baton Rouge, the Bayou. And the Barbie part is because I always have my lashes, my nails, and my hair done. That’s just my thing,” she said. “I like to be girly on the court, and that has helped make me who I am. I mean, I’m about my business on the court, and I want to win, but when I’m off court, I’m a girly girl. I like to shop and get my nails done. I like to show both sides.”
Reese adds that her grandmother taught her never to let anyone mess up her mascara, nails or lashes. Ultimately, she wants to combat the stereotype that women in sports cannot express their femininity.
“I’m trying to change the stereotype that women in sports can’t be girly and have fashion off the court,” she added. “I love high fashion, and thrifting is my thing too.”