Synopses & Reviews
Her name is Gabrielle, but mostly she is called Gabby or Gab. She possesses a look that conveys both athleticism and feminine beauty. She is 27, 6'3", and a Nike spokesperson for women's athletics. A professional athlete (Women's Beach Volleyball Leagues 4-Woman Tour), Gab's face can be seen on the cover of Outside, Shape, Elle, Fitness, Volleyball, Self, Men's Fitness, Harper's Bazaar, and Vogue, as well as other magazines. Big Girl In The Middle, her first book, co-authored with Karen Karbo, explores her life as a professional athlete and beyond. From 1994 to 1995, Gabby was a contributing editor at Elle magazine, writing her own sports and fitness column. In the fall of 1997, she will begin writing a column for Conde Nast Sports for Women. On television, Gabby won a huge number of fans by taking risks while road-luging, white-water kayaking, drag racing, and much more on MTV Sports (1993-1996), and The Extremists(1995-1996).
A Florida State star turned pro, Gabby is now in her fifth season as a team captain, and her fourth captaining Team Nike in the W.B.V.L. Gabby's peers voted her Offensive Player of the year in 1995 and 1994, and Most Improved Player in 1994. She was only a sophomore at Florida State University when Elle named her one of the five most beautiful women in the world in 1989, the same year her coach said that "Gabby likes to hit the ball hard and put it back in somebody's face." The lure of the smash is still with her: in 1992 she was named MVP of the 4-Woman Volleyball Tour, in 1993, League blocks leader, and, in 1997, she's the League kills leader for the fourth consecutive year. "I enjoy getting the ball to go exactly where I want it, at the speed I want it to go." says Gab.
She was born in California to a mother from Long Island and a father from Trinidad, who died when she was five years old. Her trademark piece of jewelry (copied from a tattoo inside her right ankle) is a stylized silver cross like the one he wore on the day he was killed in an airplane crash. Raised on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Gabby didn't take up volleyball until she was sent to high school in St. Petersburg, Florida. She won an athletic scholarship to Florida State, where she majored in Communications (Media Performance) and played two seasons of volleyball before accepting any offers from the modeling world. In January 1989, she took off to model in New York. In August she was back at Florida State for the volleyball season. As a junior, she was named the nation's Most Inspiring Collegiate Athlete by the Dodge National Athletic Awards Committee, and All-Metro and All-South Region at FSU.
In its first television spot with Gabby, Nike introduced her as the "female Bo Jackson" in a tongue-in-cheek commercial that poked fun at the differences between being a model and an athlete. In the ad, directed by David Fincher, she offers modeling tips while striking poses on a bed. Each tip is contrasted with sweaty, grueling athletic footage. "The Nike girl is me, just a bit extreme" says Gabby, who strongly believes that being athletic is not unfeminine. She is also Nike's first ever female athlete to help design a shoe: the Air Trainer set was launched in 1994, the Air Patrol in 1995, and the Air GR will be launched in the Fall of 1997.
About the Author
Gabrielle Reece lives in Los Angeles.
Karen Karbo is the author of two novels, including Trespassers Welcome Here, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the year. Her journalism has appeared in Esquire, the New Republic, and other publications. Karbo lives in Portland, Oregon