Andrea Calle is an on-air personality for the premier Hispanic mixed martial arts organization, Combate Americas. The professional model and actress talks about her start in the MMA industry where she garnered the attention of many years ago becoming the first Latina to cover the sport.
You’ve been in involved in the entertainment industry for a number of years having been on Telemundo and BET, several commercials and music videos. and much more, but how did you get your start in the world of mixed martial arts?
“I was introduced to the guys that started El Octágono, they wanted a female to be the face of the show. That was 8, almost 9 years ago .. I told them I had no experience on camera or with MMA. They scheduled me for an event at Fight Time Promotions to interview Hector ‘El macho’ Camacho and Clay Guida .. I felt the biggest butterflies ever and I knew then this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and here I am.”
You were the first Latina covering MMA with your show El Octagono. Is that something that you were aware of as it was happening? That you were going to become a trendsetter, a first in the industry? And what was the overall experience like for you as others have since followed in your footsteps?
“No, the guys Camilo Ortiz and Randall Villafañes, I think they knew when they said they wanted a Latina female to be the face of the show but I never thought about it. When I went to cover the UFC and Strikeforce it was Karyn (Bryant) and me, the only females, and I have to say it was really cool. Being a female at the time made it so much easier to get the interviews and the guys have always been super nice and respectful towards me. So I always felt I had an advantage over the rest.”
You are currently a host and commentator for Combate Americas. What separates Combate from many of the other MMA promotions out there?
“Combate is an amazing promotion, they value their fighters, they value the Hispanic culture and really focus on helping us grow, and I really value that. I have been with Combate Américas since the beginning four years ago and I love every single person that is part of the organization. It has grown so much and it just makes me so proud and happy to see all the incredible achievements.”
You are an extremely busy hard working young lady. Aside from all your MMA media obligations you are also a bodybuilding competitor, a model, and you also have a clothing line. How do you manage your time effectively for all?
“I always say I’m great with time management, when you really want something you make time for it. I love what I do and I just find a way to make it work. I have my priorities established and that is what I focus on.”
You moved to the U.S. from Colombia in 1998. When you look back at all that you have done in the 20 years since then it seems as if you had no problems adjusting to the big move. But what was it like for you to move to another country and basically begin a new life?
“I have been blessed. USA has offered me so many opportunities, I had the chance to graduate from high school, go to college and do my Masters. I have my dream job and I am truly happy so for me this big change was just a blessing.”
More and more women are becoming familiar with the sport of MMA and venturing into media roles whether it be on TV, podcasts, print, or on the web. Being the first Latina to breakthrough you are a pioneer of sorts. What advice would you give to women starting out in the industry?
“To focus on what they love, make sure to not burn bridges, respect everyone around you and give your best.”