New York, NY – August 31, 2015 – Oxygen Media takes a page out of its playbook for the new docu-series “Pretty. Strong.” premiering Tuesday, October 6 at 10pm ET/PT, featuring the fierce and fit women of the Legends Football League, the fastest-growing, all-female American football organization. Following the league’s two-time reigning champions the Chicago Bliss, this series delves into the lives of eight women of the gridiron as they navigate life both on and off the field. Wide receiver Alli Alberts, center Jamie Barwick, offensive lineman Deena Fagiano, quarterback Heather Furr, running back ChrisDell “Chrissy” Harris, offensive/defensive lineman Nneka Nwani, defensive lineman Yashi Rice and defensive lineman Chantell Taylor have full-time careers by day, and are breaking gender barriers playing tackle football by night. With a work hard, play hard mentality, these women are on a mission to inspire, blaze trails and defy the odds.
“The fearless, adrenaline-fueled women of the gridiron featured in ‘Pretty. Strong.’ are aspirational for our young, female-driven audience,” said Rod Aissa, Executive Vice President of Original Programming and Development, Oxygen Media. “They prove there are no limits in life or sports and lay bare the heart and hustle it takes to be their true selves despite social norms.”
As the Chicago Bliss go for the coveted three-peat championship title, this sisterhood must overcome personal differences in order to be a unified team. With real jobs and real lives, these female athletes are juggling careers as dentists, lawyers, receptionists, and moms, but come game time, they put everything aside to focus on the field. From the starting roster to love triangles and everyone’s need for the limelight, the players must sort out their drama in order to work together and remain the best team in the Legends Football League. One thing they can all agree on – winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
MEET THE TEAM:
Alli Alberts is the freespirited, wild child of the team. She is a General Dentist and Prosthodontic Resident by day and one of the league’s top wide receivers by night. She was an All-American collegiate athlete who played volleyball and ran track at Washington University in St. Louis. Alli is dedicated to the sport so much so that her dentistry career is at risk if she injures her hands or fingers in any way. Alli is one of a few top, featured players for the Chicago Bliss, but as much as she loves the limelight, she fears it will change her attitude on the field and alter the dynamic of the team.
Fighting to keep her spot in the starting lineup, Jamie Barwick is shifting to a new position on the Chicago Bliss playing center for the upcoming season. Her coach fears she has reached the pinnacle of her football career, and Jamie knows she is one bad snap away from being benched. A single mother, Jamie’s son is the true love of her life and as he begins to play football, she questions whether she would rather be a cheerleader mom on the sidelines or risking it all for herself on the field. In addition to her league commitments and motherhood, Jamie must also balance her job in Pharmaceutical Sales and the financial constraints of owning a home.
Deena Fagiano is a former competitive cheerleader who picked up a football one day and is now a major part of the offensive line for the Chicago Bliss. Once the favorite on the team, Deena’s coach is concerned she has lost her competitive edge and is just along for the ride. Known as the life of the party and social butterfly of the group, Deena is universally liked and brings a lighthearted spirit to the field, but needs to approach the game with a more serious attitude this year.
A natural leader, Heather Furr plays quarterback and safety for the Chicago Bliss and has worked her way through the ranks over the past four years becoming one of the top players and a two-time MVP. Growing up with six siblings in a blended family, Heather has always strived to be the golden child in the eyes of her parents. Heather works as a personal trainer and bartender, but feels a looming pressure to “grow up” and start checking off the boxes of life’s checklist including a long-term career, getting married, moving to the suburbs and starting a family.
ChrisDell “Chrissy” Harris is one of the captains of the Chicago Bliss and a standout running back known as “The Ferrari.” She is the heart and soul of the team and well-respected among her teammates, but isn’t afraid to tell the ladies how it is and interject in conflict. When times get tough, Chrissy is the key player that leads them to victory both on and off the field. After growing up as a polite, country girl in Wichita, Kansas, Chrissy moved to Chicago with nothing but a backpack and a competitive drive to establish herself in one of the biggest cities in the country. She views life as a game and herself as the ultimate player fighting for success with a no-nonsense attitude.
One of the toughest, strongest and fastest women on the team, Nneka “Nani” Nwani, plays on the offensive and defensive lines for the Bliss. She is a former college basketball player with a reputation for being outspoken and determined, and is working hard to brand herself as a personal trainer. She craves the spotlight and her seemingly selfish behavior and attitude occasionally rubs the other players the wrong way. Nani is a rising star and while being the new kid on the block once had its perks, her newfound success has created tension. She is learning that separating herself from the pack may be her own undoing.
Yashi Rice is an alpha female with a lot to prove. Growing up as the youngest of six in a home of athletes, including her Super Bowl Champion brother, Simeon Rice, Yashi knows that she has big shoes to fill. She has emerged a true team leader and is one of the best defensive linemen in the league. However, her confidence on the field rivals her true passion of musical super stardom. A struggling R&B artist, Yashi’s talents have led her to work with key industry figures, but she still needs to find success and prove she is worth her brother’s investment. From the gridiron game all the way to the stage, Yashi has an endless work ethic, tireless drive for success and is determined to prove that anything is possible.
Chantell “Telli” Taylor is a tough girl with a heart of gold. She grew up in a rough neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago and will not allow herself to be defined by the stereotypical life in the hood. As the defensive lineman on the Chicago Bliss, Telli lives and breathes football, but with high walls around her heart, she finds the field is the only safe place to vent her frustrations. Working in security and modeling on the side, Telli is eager to experience new things in life with determination to rise above her roots and make something of herself.
For more "Pretty. Strong.," fans can visit the official show site to see exclusive videos, photos, bios, and cast blogs about fitness, dating and other general lifestyle topics. Additionally, fans may participate in the eight-week “Pretty. Strong. Get Fit Challenge,” which includes beginner and advanced workout videos by Chicago Bliss players on Oxygen.com as well as bite-sized instructional and inspirational videos and graphics on the network’s social accounts. To celebrate fans’ participation, we’ll feature their #PrettyStrong fitness-relatedpics during broadcasts of the show, on social accounts and on Oxygen.com. On social, viewers can check out the official Facebook page to watch sneak peeks, follow @Oxygen for exclusive memes and snackable clips and join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #PrettyStrong.
“Pretty. Strong.” is produced by Relativity Television and Ellen Rakieten Entertainment with Tom Forman, Brad Bishop and Ellen Rakieten serving as Executive Producers.
About Oxygen Media:
Oxygen Media is a multiplatform entertainment brand that targets young, multicultural women. The network’s relevant and engaging content reflects how real women with real stories see the world – vibrant, optimistic and bold. Oxygen is the destination where women can come together across multiple platforms to have fun and encourage each other through their individual and collective journeys. The growing network’s unscripted original programming includes “Sisterhood of Hip Hop,” “The Prancing Elites Project,” “Like A Boss,” “Create Your Day Job” and the popular “Preachers” franchise. Available in over 77 million homes, Oxygen is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Watch Oxygen anywhere: On Demand, online or across mobile and connected TVs.