I'm being truthful when I say I've never watched a televised sporting event from start to finish—baseball is boring, football too complicated, and I tend to lose interest in the frenetic back-and-forth of basketball, soccer, and hockey. Even so, I've known who Erin Andrews was since the early 2000s, when she started working as a sideline reporter for ESPN, probably because there were so few women in her field that she became news-making by virtue of just existing. Since then, I’d argue that she’s risen to become one of the most well-regarded, influential sports reporters in the game, and the fact that she landed a hosting gig on Dancing With the Stars in 2014 speaks to her mass appeal with American audiences.
For her episode of What I Wore When, Andrews wanted to talk about a sweater. Specifically, the three-quarter-sleeve V-neck she chose for her first major on-air job: Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Calgary Flames. A monumental opportunity for any burgeoning sports reporter, and one that seemed to call for neon green.
"I'm from Tampa Bay, and it was a huge game," Andrews tells me. "I was like, 'I really, really need an awesome shirt to wear.'" And so begins the story of how she and her parents went to the mall to find her something perfect. "We went to Ann Taylor, and it was in the front of the store, the front table…. It was bright fluorescent green. I remember there was a yellow fluorescent one [and] a pink one. For some reason, that green one was calling my name."
Fifteen years later, the sweater is long gone, but it still looms large: After that series was over, ESPN offered Andrews a three-year deal to become its main sideline reporter, and footage of that particular game still circulates.
"The visuals of it now are hysterical because they always replay [that game] on the NHL Network, which we have in our house because my husband's a retired hockey player," Andrews says. "The shot of me in—and you have to remember the shots that they take, I'm up against the white ice—so you just see fluorescent green and this badly dyed blond hair."
And larger still: "When I go back and visit home, the Tampa Bay Lightning has a huge photo in the main entrance of their arena, and it's a look-down on the ice when they won. You just see all these players in black jerseys, and then you see this green shirt. It's awesome."
During our conversation, Andrews is also remarkably candid about the unthinkable violation that made headlines in 2008—she was secretly filmed while nude in the privacy of her hotel room, and the videos were posted online a year later. In 2016 she was awarded a large sum in a lawsuit over the video, but she admitted that moving on from that wasn’t easy, and said the ordeal impacted her for years, particularly around something as seemingly innocent—though nonconsensual—as fans snapping pics of a celebrity they're excited to see.
"I was a real bitch to people who were trying to take my picture and would see me at a bar and hold their phone up," she reveals. "I used to go up to people and grab their phones out of their hands and say, 'Delete it. Delete it right now. You don't have my permission to do that….' Well, that was PTSD from someone taking video of me and putting it on the internet and me not having a choice."
We also talk about her 2016 diagnosis with cervical cancer and subsequent IVF treatments, height insecurity—mine around the fact I’m 5'2" and hers around the fact that she was 5'4" in the third grade—what it’s like dressing for a ballroom competition show compared with dressing for the sidelines, finding style inspiration from supermodels Gisele Bündchen and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and how her new clothing line, Wear by Erin Andrews, is setting out to redefine typical game-day apparel. Listen and enjoy!
Originally Appeared on Glamour