Explore Atlanta

Sideline Star

For sports fans, the stunning Erin Andrews needs no introduction. The former host of ESPN’s Saturday telecast “College GameDay,” and now a member of Fox Sports, her expertise and charm are welcome additions to a busy weekend of athletics. Much of the rest of the world was introduced to Andrews when she competed on the 10th season of “Dancing With the Stars” and waltzed, tangoed and fox trotted her way into the finals of the competition. As the daughter of Tampa-based investigative reporter Steve Andrews, you could say journalism is in her blood, but the Maine-born, Florida-bred Andrews isn’t just a natural in front of the camera–as a huge sports fan, she knows her stuff.

When she’s not interviewing players or traveling, Andrews can be found working tirelessly to get tougher anti-stalking laws put into place (stemming from her highly publicized 2009 incident), and enjoying the sights and sounds of her adopted hometown of Atlanta.

You are a beautiful woman working in a male-dominated field. Has that helped or been a hindrance career-wise?
Yeah, clearly, there are different ways to look at it. It’s pushed me really hard to be as competitive as I am. People that don’t know me very well don’t get it, but I’m cutthroat. I want to be the best at everything. I want to be at the biggest games, and if I screw up in an interview, I beat myself up about it. I’m really scrutinized because of the way I look and dress and present myself, but I think it’s good for me, because it pushes me harder to be better and want to do well. The other side of things is you have to be careful if you say, ‘it’s hard to look a certain way in a male-dominated industry,’ because it did open a door for me. [Hall of Fame Sportscaster] Lesley Visser told me one time that how you look opens the door, but you don’t stay there because of how you look.

What’s the most uncomfortable thing that has ever happened during a sideline interview?
I fall pretty much every game, because there are so many wires on the field, and I’m a klutz. I have two left feet, and I’m always running around, so I usually take a spill no matter what. I’ve been knocked over by a player before, too, as I’m trying to swim up stream to talk to someone.

What is your best physical attribute?
It’s funny, because I hated it growing up, but my height. I’m 5’ 10” and I was always the tallest, even in high school. My mom spent so much money on my prom dress, but I was slouching the whole time, because I was so embarrassed by how tall I was. But now, I like being eye level with these athletes and taller than some coaches. Women like Marisa Miller and Brooklyn Decker and Gisele [Bundchen] have made being tall very glamorous. I used to be afraid to wear heels, but now it’s fun to wear them as high as possible.

If for some reason you had to stop being a broadcaster, what would you want to do?
If I couldn’t work being a broadcaster, I would probably do something charity wise, or work with a sports team. Sports is just my life, it’s just the way I am.

What made you move to Atlanta?
I was hired by Turner Sports, and even though I no longer work for them, it’s so easy because this is a hub. I can get in and out to whatever city I need to be in for any game without taking a connecting flight, which is great for me!

What are your favorite stores in Atlanta?
Nordstrom is all-purpose. I can get in there and get what I need pretty quickly, and I like Sage and Luna and Fab’rik. I always stop in there if I have a minute.

What about favorite restaurants?
I always love The Flying Biscuit, which just takes me back to living in the South. I don’t even care how many calories my meal there has. I always love Twist, which is great for lunch, and I love South City Kitchen. I’ve taken some of my co-workers there when we’re all in town together.

If you had a friend come to Atlanta for a visit, what would you suggest they do here?
You know what I like? The Silver Comet Trial. It’s a good workout and that’s really fun, and of course everybody likes the Aquarium and Piedmont Park is always a good time, and Park Tavern is there and you can sit outside. I also love Vinings—the restaurants are so great.

What’s the best sports bar in the city?
I actually enjoy Stats, and I go to Taco Mac! The food is good, and they always have whatever game you want to see on.

What was the hardest part about being on “Dancing With the Stars?’
Just the training. I’m not a pro athlete, and those dancers are. It’s the most activity I’ve ever been involved with physically. I broke my foot, and it’s still broken. I don’t think my body will ever be the same! I have a vein issue going on because I wasn’t getting circulation down one of my legs; it’s rough for your body. It’s three months if you make it to the end—which I was thankful to do—seven to eight hours a day, seven days a week. It’s a lot to put on your body, but I did it, because I wanted to do well, and I wanted to win.

Do you watch each new season?
It’s hard with my schedule, but absolutely. Once you’re a part of the show, you’re invested in it. I don’t follow it as closely as I wish I could, though.

Do you cheer on your old partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, or the various pro athletes who are competing each season?
Once you spend all that time with your partner, [you always want them to win]. And Maks has been close for so many years; I’ll always pull for Maks.

You are involved with several different charities. Tell me about them.
One of the latest ones is TAPS, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, and it’s for children, well, really anyone who has lost someone who is a service man or woman. One of the things that they do which really attracted me to the charity is provide camps for these kids and it kind of helps them to grieve properly, and find comfort in other people who’ve gone through it as well. Also, my dad is a prostate-cancer survivor, so we have aligned ourselves with On the Line to create prostate-cancer awareness. One in six men get it, so it’s all about early detection, and finding out you have it. I’m also working as an advocate for stalking awareness. After what happened with me, I know it’s going to happen again to someone, and no one takes it seriously in law enforcement. The DA and FBI had to bend over backwards to put the man who stalked me in jail and he’s getting out soon. So I’m continuously working to get lawmakers to understand what a big deal this is.