Arielle Chambers is a true visionary. Waldo founder Ashleigh, who sat down with Arielle for a chat last week, is about to tell you why.
Before sitting down with Arielle, I predicted that we’d have a few things in common. A quick dive into her social media accounts revealed we shared a passion for business, a love of New York City and an appreciation for education (she has attended both Harvard and Oxford with a deep interest in literature). I was excited for this interview - I knew we’d have a lot to talk about. What I didn’t expect though, was to be so surprised by what she had to tell me about the inequality in the WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association).
I’d been aware of the inequality present in women's versus men's sporting salaries for a longtime, but didn’t understand the extent to which this existed in women’s basketball. I was struck by Arielle’s desire and dedicated action to make a difference for women who have long experienced this mistreatment in sporting careers they’ve (literally) poured blood, sweat and tears into. Arielle is a deeply interesting and interested woman and we are super excited to have her kick off our brand new visionary series.
At school, Arielle was a keen cheerleader. Besides becoming a successful model in her 20’s (as a young model she graced the cover of both Cosmopolitan and Vogue Italia), Arielle was also talented sportswoman. Her involvement and professional achievements in cheerleading eventually led her to basketball, and Arielle’s naturally inquisitive nature prompted her to find out what it meant to be a professional female figure in the sport. Arielle told me she soon found that, “even if you are in the Top 100 as a woman, the most you will earn is $111K per year in WMBA, whereas the men’s league will range from $800K - $100M”. She was right - shockingly, WNBA players earn 20 percent of an NBA player’s minimum salary, according to CNBC. Listening to Arielle explain how hard she worked to become a successful female sportswoman, I could sense her frustration with the inequality still present.
Through her work as a professional cheerleader, Arielle began seriously considering the idea of working to promote women’s basketball. She started to ask the question, “why does no one cover Women’s NBA?” and soon decided, “I’ll just cover them”. With no time for inequality or glass ceilings, Arielle could see an opportunity to take advantage of this unique platform and change things for the better in the sporting world. With that, she set out to amplify the progression of women's basketball on behalf of female sports women everywhere.
Soon enough, Arielle’s involvement in the notoriously male-dominated sporting space started to make a difference. Just by starting to cover the WMBA and to tell the players’ individual stories, she noticed people becoming more invested in female basketball players and an increasing level of care about their well-being. She uses her social presence (14k followers and counting) as a way to further publicise womens' sporting achievements in an engaging way; and has even caught the attention of non other than Snoop Dogg. Arielle soon realised how rewarding it felt to promote women in sport. Not content with stopping there, Arielle has since taken the journalism world by storm by becoming a host for the Women’s National Basketball Association and NCAAW, covering the WNBA All-Star game, NCAA Women's Final Four, ACC Women's Basketball Tournament and various NCAA women's basketball games- with emphasis on the Atlantic Coast Conference. Additionally, she’s a content developer for the Bleacher Report, as well as a contributor for High Post Hoops. Looking to the future, Arielle one day wants to become the ‘Oprah of WMBA’, with a talk show featuring other women with inspiring sporting stories.
Almost an hour after we started chatting, I left our conversation feeling overwhelmed by the story Arielle had to tell. As founder of a brand that empowers people to follow their vision and discover their own daily superpower, I was interested to hear what Arielle felt her own superpower has been over the last 20 years. Her answer was "My superpower is my audacity. I have the audacity to never be silenced. The audacity to pursue my dreams wholeheartedly. The audacity to repel negativity. The audacity to be unapologetically me-no matter what. That is my superpower.”
Superman - you’ve met your match, and then some.
Find Arielle: @ariivory