How WNBA's Skylar Diggins Inspires On and Off the Court
The pro basketball player talks growing fame, her workout go-tos, personal style and the side of her people don't see.
Skylar Diggins still isn't used to seeing her face everywhere. The WNBA player and point guard for the Tulsa Shock has starred in spreads for Vogue, Sports Illustrated and Nike billboards across the world—she knows because her 550k+ Twitter followers constantly send them to her. "It's so strange! Especially when I see it in person. I get embarrassed," she reveals while telling us a story about spotting one of her campaigns while shopping with her mom, who insisted she take a picture next to it. "It's special knowing people pay attention all the way from Japan to Germany, places I've never been before. I'm taken aback sometimes, but I want to keep growing my brand."
There is no doubt that Diggins has staying power. She is, so far, the only woman part of Roc Nation Sports (recruited by Jay Z himself) and she's got a list of impressive accolades in the sport: 2014 WNBA Most Improved Player of the Year; the only player among both Notre Dame's men's and women's basketball teams to score 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals; and five-time USA Basketball gold medalist for the USA women's team. When she's not on the road, she also spends her time working directly with kids in her own traveling basketball camp, Shoot 4 The Sky. On top of that all, she keeps up active social media profiles and is in-demand for partnerships. In fact, she recently joined BodyArmor's roster of athletes.
We chatted with the rising star about her growing career, fitness tips and her favorite off-court beauty and style trends.
When did you first fall in love with basketball?
"I started playing really young but I fell in love with the game in '97, when I was about seven years old, when the WNBA started. I could see that wow, we have a league, and if I keep playing I could play professionally. My favorite players were Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. Those are some of the all-time greats who really shined in our league when it first started. '97 was the year that I fell in love with the game and knew I could go to the next level, play in college and eventually in the WNBA."
What's best workout advice you ever received?
"I always use this in my camp: just do your best. Be your best. You don't have to be the best, but you have to be your best. Just competing with yourself is so important. Test your limits—see if you have a limit you didn't discover. Can you go one more rep? One more second? One more minute? Ten more pounds? Can you last a little bit longer?"
When you're off the court, what kind of training regimen do you do?
"I love kettlebells, battle ropes, stability balls and med balls. I do a lot of Tabata-style workouts, circuit training, high-intensity training—that is my style. What I love about it is you don't have to spend hours in a gym. You can do a 45-minute workout and be really productive."
Any favorite pre- or post-workout snack?
"I try to get something in before a workout whether it's fruit or a protein shake or oatmeal. I love boiled eggs, I eat boiled eggs every day. During my workout, I drink BodyArmor to help me stay hydrated—it's all natural, no artificial colors. I really go by the motto that my body is like an ATM—you get out what you put in. If you put good things in, you're going to get good out. Post-workout, it depends: grilled chicken, salmon, I love fish...but I also love pizza, too, so don't get it twisted. I'm not trying to act like I'm 100 percent clean all the time. I do have my cheat meals and favorite snacks that I indulge in. Just like everybody, I do it in moderation."
What's your favorite gear to workout in?
"I'm a leggings girl. I love tights. I'm a Nike athlete so I wear a ton of Nike tights: capris, designs. I love the fun colors like volt green and fuchsia pink, and my shoes are always really bright. My sports bras are really bright. I like to put some style in my workouts, too—if you look good, you feel good and it's going to show in your training."
What gym bag beauty essentials do you have?
"I sweat so much, so I like to make sure I keep my skin clean and washed. Wash, toner, moisturizer. Not anything brand-specific because everyone has different skin and connects with different brands, so I just make sure to have face wash and moisturizer. I always keep a lipgloss and mascara which is so random but if I have somewhere to go, you never know. It's quick."
How does it feel to have a lot of young fans tweet you pictures of them wearing your favorite Nike headbands?
"Headband nation is what they call it! That's probably the most important accessory for me as far as working out. I love the styles we keep coming out with. It represents me. When people think of me, they think of the headbands. When I see people tweet it, it's dope. I didn't think it'd be this big. But I'm going to keep growing it and see what we can come up with to keep it fun."
How would you describe your personal style off the court?
"It is definitely tomboy-chic. I am a tomboy at heart but I so, so, so love being a woman. That means I love getting mani-pedis and getting my makeup done. I love the contrast of coming off the court with that beast mentality and switching it up. Being versatile. I feel sexy in basketball shorts, but I'm also able to put on boyfriend jeans with heels, maybe throw a leather jacket on top and be able to rock that as well."
We see you try a lot of different beauty looks on Instagram, any particular favorite makeup?
"I've been falling in love with the plum lip. I've worn that the most this fall and winter. I love plum, dark crimson, those color lips. I also let my eyebrows grow really thick because that's in and I like how it looks. My hairstyles change for different seasons. I always take a look at the magazines, I'm on Instagram, on hair blogs and what have you. Overall I just love a nice lip, mascara, nice lashes, maybe a little bronzer and I'm out the door. If you put a lip on—everything is alright."
You get written about a lot, but what's something people don't know about you?
"I'm actually very, very quirky. I'm always joking. My biggest quirk is probably how I like to quote different movie lines and song lyrics in my everyday conversations. I watch a ton of movies. I listen to a song one time and know the lyrics, and then if we're talking and you say something that triggers a memory, I'll just say the line and crack myself up. People look at me like I have three heads! A lot of times, people don't see that funny side so I try to show it. If they see me on the court, they think, 'Oh my god, she is intense, passionate, competitive,' but off the court I'm fun and quirky."