8CN Exclusive: Corona ring girl Caitlin Leahy interview and photos

8CN’s David Hopper caught up with Corona ring girl Caitlin Leahy, who can be seen working many Golden Boy fights on Showtime. The 24-year-old Chicago native graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in theatre and, about two and half years ago, moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Caitlin has since landed a number of high profile modeling and acting gigs, including a role as a reporter in an episode of the popular soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Outside of boxing, Caitlin is perhaps best known as the gorgeous bikini-clad brunette next to actor Danny McBride on billboards nationwide advertising the fourth season of the hit HBO show Eastbound and Down.

DH: You are one of the most recognizable Corona girls as you have worked a number of big fights on Showtime. How did you go about getting involved as a ring girl?

CL: It’s kind of vague now. I think I’ve been doing it for a year and a half. I want to say I was cast for it. The first event I did was a press conference in Indio, [Calif.] They brought me out for that event then they tried to decide if they wanted to use me for bigger events. They must have liked me because they use me all the time. I got lucky. They liked my look. Another big part of it is personality. They want to make sure they can fun with the girls. It’s been good. They liked me right after that and they’ve kept me busy ever since.

DH: What has the whole Corona girl experience been like so far?

CL: I love it. I have so much fun doing it. When I first started, I didn’t understand how big the boxing world was. I didn’t grow up in a family that was really involved in boxing. I grew up in a family that had a love of sports in general but boxing was not one of them. It took me by surprise. I didn’t understand the rules of the game and I didn’t understand how much passion the fans have for it. But it’s been such an exciting ride being able to go to Vegas and going to fights all over Southern California. Men think it’s the most fascinating thing to be a ring girl. For my acting jobs it’s always interesting to the casting directors when they find out I do the boxing events for Showtime. It’s very memorable to them and a lot of them will recognize me once they realize that. I forget how many people are into boxing and watch Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy boxing fights.

DH: As a Corona girl, do you just do fights and boxing-related events, or do you make appearances at other events?

CL: Yeah, well, they have press conferences and weigh-ins and then fights. I would say the majority of the events are actually press conferences. Obviously they want to build attention on the fights and get more viewers. I do usually, depending on how big the fight is, several press conferences prior to the fight and then also the weigh-in and the fight. The fights I do are always in southern California or Vegas. I could go to New York with them in the near future. They have several fights in Brooklyn. They used me for a couple other things as well. There have been golf tournaments. They used me for autograph signings with boxers. I did one with Abner Mares. They just had my posters and I was just signing it for fans. That was cool. They sort of celebritized me in a way.

DH: I remember seeing you at the Abner Mares-Jhonny Gonzalez fight on Showtime. You said you got to sign autographs with Mares. Mares seems like a nice guy. What’s it been like getting to know the boxers? Do you talk to them some at events?

CL: Absolutely, that’s been really, really nice. The boxers are so humble and so nice. A lot of them grew up with 11 brothers and sisters so they’re very down-to-earth people. They don’t come from much. It’s hard to get where they are. They’re very appreciative of their fans and everybody that goes into making these spectacular events. There’s a lot of downtime before the press conferences and after the press conferences. I always talk to all the fighters and they are the nicest guys. Abner Mares is extremely nice. A lot of them are married with kids. Their wives are just as nice as well. I would say my favorite fighter is Leo Santa Cruz. A big part of that is because of who he is as a person. He is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. When I first started, he was also starting with Golden Boy around the same time. I remember when he was first introduced. I think I was the ring girl for his first fight. We’ve sort of been on the same journey and now he is a world champion and he’s just as humble and sweet and kind. He doesn’t get lost in the whole ego that some of the boxers get into. He doesn’t put on a show before the fight. A lot of the boxers try to get into it before the match actually begins. He’s very kind and very professional and he’s a real sweetheart.

DH: What are some of the more memorable big fights that you’ve worked?

CL: I would say I like the fights at the Staples Center. The Staples Center is just awesome. It’s huge. There’s so many people. The energy is unreal. It was Amir Khan and Danny Garcia. That was an interesting fight because I did the press conference for it as well. During the press conference Garcia was trying to fight with Amir Khan and it was kind of silly because Amir Khan is very professional and he goes to press conferences in a suit. He looks very sharp. It’s a business arrangement for him and for Garcia it was a little bit different. It was a little dirtier. It was sort of interesting to be standing on the stage and have these sort of fighters going at it and thinking I’m going to get punched [laughs]. That’s always a little scary when you’re in a bikini and you’re wearing ridiculously high heels on a very small stage. That was sort of a funny experience for the press conference, and the fight was shortly thereafter at the Staples Center and that was really cool because there are so many people.

DH: Danny Garcia’s dad Angel Garcia is known for being outspoken. Did he happen to go on a rant at that press conference?

CL: He did. It was interesting. His dad is very outspoken. There seems to be a lot of competition between Puerto Rican fighters and Mexican fighters. In general, the rivalry there is very funny to watch because they’re feisty. They both speak Spanish obviously but the Spanish is different. They try to differentiate themselves from each other. I think that’s one of the most entertaining parts is these boxers have their posses. I don’t know what their posses consist of, their brothers, their dads, their trainers, their friends. They all show up to all these events and it’s like their gang or something. They try to hype up the press conference and get more viewers and more people to watch the fight. I’ve noticed that with Mayweather as well. I didn’t understand when I first started working for Corona and Golden Boy why these boxers would get so riled up and say things that would get them in trouble and cause these ridiculous reactions. But after doing several of the Mayweather press conferences I would, being in the back behind the stage, I would hear Mayweather talking and I would talk to some of his ex wives and girlfriends and they would laugh at the things he would say and he would laugh as well. I realized that he was doing it on purpose. It’s not that he’s a bad person. It’s just that he loves to give the fans something to talk about. He loves to get people riled up. These people are not just saying these things because they’re not thinking. They think it through before they do it. They know how to get the attention. They know how to get the fans into the fight. With Mayweather, obviously he’s a great fighter, but people have to pay 80, 90 dollars to watch it. He really gets everybody riled up to the point that they’re going to pay that kind of money to watch it. He’s pretty smart for doing it I guess.

DH: I saw that you have been doing some events promoting the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo fight.

CL: Yeah I did the press conference downtown for that. Angulo was there and he donated his hair to Locks of Love so it was kind of an interesting press conference. I’m not sure yet if I will go to Vegas for that fight but I’m sure there will be more press conferences and weigh-ins and things in the L.A. area that I’m going to go to. I try to be available in L.A. for acting related jobs. It makes it difficult to go to Vegas. Vegas is hard. It’s fun but it is exhausting. I pick select fights to go to Vegas.

DH: Canelo is immensely popular in Mexico and with Mexican-Americans. I think his fight with Angulo is one a lot of fans are looking forward to. From being a part of the promotion, do you get the sense that anticipation is very high for this fight?

CL: His fans love him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other fans as crazy about a boxer. He’s the next Golden Boy. The women love him. The men love him. He’s a great fighter. He’s really, really strong. It should be a really interesting fight. I keep thinking about Angulo. I remember his fight with (Erislandy) Lara. That was in Carson. When he was in the fight with Lara something happened to his eye and there was tons of blood and it was extremely traumatizing for me. He lost the fight because it was called, for obvious reasons. His eye was so swollen that it looked like a baseball was in his head. I’m thinking this is probably his first fight since then. It should be interesting. They’re both Mexican fighters so it will be a very passionate group of fans at this fight. I know that Angulo is a really great guy. He does a lot of charity work. He’s got some strong supporters as well. It should be interesting. I don’t know who is gonna win [laughs].

DH: Like you said, you didn’t grow up in a family that was into boxing. But you’ve been learning about the sport since you started as a ring girl. Do you now consider yourself a boxing fan? Do you enjoy watching the fights?

CL: Definitely, I love it now. It takes a while to understand everything. I’ve understood it after my third fight or so. Usually there are about eight fights and only two of them are televised. We’re sitting there and ring carding. Usually the undercard fights aren’t as exciting. But once you get to the main card you’re holding on the edge of your seat and at the same time waiting to hop in that ring and not slip and fall [laughs].

DH: I read that you studied theatre in college and have a good bit of acting and modeling experience. Talk about your acting and modeling experience and goals.

CL: I come from Chicago, which is known for its theatre. I went to Columbia College Chicago and I got my degree in acting. The college that I went to has a very strong film department. It’s one of the largest in the world. I was very involved with a lot of the film students. I always made lots of short films and pushed myself really hard throughout college. Shortly after I moved to Los Angeles and began the dream of acting. I had a little part in the Bold and the Beautiful. I’ve had several commercials. I have a commercial coming out in March. It was through Funny or Die and they teamed up with Adult Swim so it will be on the Adult Swim network. You can spot me because I’m in a red one-piece swimsuit so I kind of look like a Baywatch girl [laughs]. I’ve had some great jobs modeling out here. I’ve modeled as the face of a cosmetic and skin care company called Votre Vu, a French company. I’m also the poster girl for Eastbound and Down Season 4, the HBO show. That was an awesome gig to get because it was a nationwide print campaign. They had huge billboards in Time Square. The biggest buildings of Los Angeles had them, they were all over New Orleans. They were on taxis and throughout subways. That was probably my biggest gig in terms of having people recognize me on the street. Before that it was more lots of random Facebook messages from people in Mexico who would recognize me from the fights [laughs].

DH: I saw the Eastbound and Down billboard. Did you get to meet Danny McBride during that shoot or was he not present?

CL: You know what? It’s so funny. He was not even present when they actually did it. They hired a stand-in for him, and they Photoshopped his face in [laughs]. Isn’t that so funny? The things that you can do with a PhotoShop nowadays [laughs]. It was interesting. We had some very funny situations where he was autographing my butt and doing all these ridiculous Kenny Powers things [laughs].

DH: Talk about the impact being a ring girl has had on your acting and modeling career.

CL: Being a ring girl for Showtime Boxing gives me the platform to generate a fan base. My fans can then follow my acting and modeling career. In the entertainment industry exposure is key. It's always good to be a familiar face and to stay in the spotlight. Casting directors, producers, and directors love that I am a ring girl. They often times immediately know who I am after I tell them about the fights. It makes them feel like they know me and we instantly find a connection. People are drawn to the fact that I am part of the show and add to the overall experience of boxing. It's an exciting and fun job and makes me unforgettable. When going on castings it helps me stand out from other models and actresses. Being a ring girl is a great conversation starter and puts a lot of guys at ease. It brings an element of fun and familiarity to a room. 

DH: Which type of film and TV roles interest you the most?

CL: Coming from theatre, I love extreme character changes. I typically don’t want to play the hot girl. I don’t want to play myself. It’s hard to say that because in L.A. in general, with film and television, you’re going to play whatever you look like. My goals down the road would be to play characters that involve heavy physical transformation. My favorite movie is La Vie en Rose with Marion Cotillard. She won the Oscar for that role. She plays Edith Pilaf from the age of 18 to 40 and when she was 40 she looked like she was 80. Her physical transformation was extreme. You couldn’t even recognize her.  That’s when I have the most fun with acting. I like indie films. I like French films. I prefer drama to comedy.

DH: That reminds of Charlize Theron in Monster. I believe she won an Oscar for that role. That’s another example of extreme physical transformation for the role.

CL: Yeah, that movie was obviously based on a true story but there was a play that came out before that called Self Defense and it premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. When I was in college I actually did that play and I played that part. I bleached my hair and I gained 20 pounds for it. I loved it. That’s exactly what I wanted to play. I actually have that in my acting reel.

DH: Anything you’d like to add or tell the boxing fans out there?

CL: I’ll be seeing everyone. They’ll be seeing me. Thanks for the support and the great energy. It always makes for a fun work environment.

Follow Catlin on Twitter @TheCaitlinLeahy and Instagram @CaitlinLeahy. Find her on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/CaitlinLeahyActress. 


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