Monique Gaxiola wants you to know she’s not just a pretty face.
She wants you to know she’s serious about the sport of football and a force to be reckoned with on the field.
“I have four brothers that are near the same age. That’s what it was always about, playing football, in the streets,” Gaxiola told Fox News Latino.
But Gaxiola, 26, has taken her recreational play from her youth to a whole other level because her team for the past three seasons is the Los Angeles Temptations and her league is the Legends Football League, formerly known as the Lingerie Football League.
"We want to lose that focus on just sex appeal," Gaxiola said of the league’s recent name change. "We want people to start focusing on how athletic we are."
Originally launched as a halftime gimmick and a Super Bowl Sunday pay-per-view event, the Legends Football League is now in its fourth season.
The women play 7-on-7 football on a 50-yard field wearing shoulder pads, elbow pads, and modified hockey helmets.
Oh yeah, their uniform consists of essentially underwear but Gaxiola says that’s not really a big deal.
“So what? We’re wearing a two-piece bathing suit,” said Gaxiola. “You see beach women’s volleyball. No one’s judging them because of what they’re wearing.”
A self-described “tomboy,” the Mexican-American Gaxiola grew up in the Los Angeles area. She dabbled in football during high school before concentrating on soccer.
In 2007 she won a national championship with the women’s soccer team at the University of Southern California before graduating in 2009 with a degree in communications.
A Crossfit trainer, Gaxiola may be exactly the type of football player the LFL may be looking to showcase as they transition from a gimmick-based football league with beautiful women to a more serious athletic event… with beautiful women.
“Something about women not being allowed to play football made me want to play even more,” Gaxiola said of her interest in the sport. “We’re athletes, so what if we’re beautiful. That’s just a bonus.”
The Temptations have won three championships in a row, something Gaxiola and her teammates are proud of.
When asked if the LFL was a “real sport,” Gaxiola said it shouldn’t even be a question.
“Of course it is,” said Gaxiola. “I’ve got bruises from a game last week, my body is still in pain.”
She added: “It’s not an easy sport.”