Let’s address the obvious immediately, since this is what so many people see in WNBA star Skylar Diggins: she’s gorgeous. So gorgeous that Drake writes poetry about her. Gorgeous enough to land a pictorial in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. You get the idea: she is an extraordinarily pretty lady.
Can we get that out of the way? Great, because there’s so much more to Diggins. A five-time USA Basketball gold medalist, she smashed records during her years shooting hoops at the University of Notre Dame (where she simultaneously kept her GPA above 3.0). After college, she landed with the Tulsa Shock; this year, during her second season, she set a new franchise record for most points in a single season. No wonder Nike snapped her up early and Jay-Z signed her as the first female athlete to join the Roc Nation Sports roster—she’s a superstar in the making.
She’s fierce on the court, but in day-to-day life, Diggins is down-to-earth and warm. We caught up with her to talk motivation, style, and nerding out.
You won this year’s WNBA Most Improved Player award. How did you work to improve your game?
I learned a lot from my first season in the WNBA, and I took that experience to the offseason. Coming from college straight to the league was a huge learning curve—to play at that level where everyone is so much better! My first year was the most I’ve ever struggled playing basketball before. I looked at my film and my numbers and focused on my struggle areas.
Diggins on the court this year.
What motivates you?
I’ve always wanted to do my best at everything. So I’m competitive with myself; I’m always challenging myself to do one more rep or to last one more minute or shoot one more shot. I want to discover a new level of myself in every workout.
Speaking of pushing yourself, let’s talk about the Zoom in 5 workout you made for Nike. Be honest: Is this something we non-pros can really do?
Absolutely. That’s who it was made for! It’s quick—it targets your legs and core. No matter if you’re a beginner or someone who works out five times a week, you can work your way into it. Go at your own pace and push yourself. As you get more comfortable, you can do it a few more times a week. It’s definitely a workout you can jump into and feel the results right away.
I heard you tweeze your eyebrows before a game. Any other pre-game rituals?
I’m huge on keeping myself together, so it’s not uncommon for me to be clipping my nails before a game. It’s happened before.
Diggins’ Nike campaign.
When your hair goes up during halftime, does that mean you mean business?
I don’t know! In college, I would just switch my hair up, but I don’t do it as much now. People took it as a sign: “She played better when she wore her hair like this.” I didn’t look at it as a thing, I just switched my hair because I’d be sweating or wanting to get it off my neck.
A lot of articles have talked about how beautiful or hot you are, and less about your basketball skills. How does that feel?
You know what? I can take a compliment. But I’m not just a pretty face, and I don’t feel like I have to prove that—the numbers show that already. I really don’t understand the fascination of speaking about my beauty, but I am flattered. I just handle every situation as it comes my way and try to remain Skylar. Do I wish people would write articles about my game? Yeah. But I’m visible and relatable and I don’t post things [online] just about basketball. Those articles come from all of that stuff.
A move from Diggins’ Nike workout.
You’ve gotten some attention for walking in a runway show.
Yeah, I got to walk in the Michael Costello show with my best friend. I was just going to the show to support my best friend, but when we talked with Michael, he asked me to do the finale walk. I have a lot of respect for models. You’re not playing in front of thousands of people every night, but it’s still stressful.
Are you interested in fashion?
I am just beginning to dive into it, exploring different designers. I think that your style says a lot about you. It’s great when you step out of the athlete mode and can get into things outside of workout clothes—into fashion and away from sports attire, if you will. That’s fine when I’m working out, but I love the contrast. Dolce & Gabbana are among my favorites, and then Diane Von Furstenberg, Richard Chai, Gucci, Hood By Air, and Michael Costello. The list goes on and on.
Your Instagram feed has all of these no-makeup selfies. What do you do to have such gorgeous skin?
I wash, tone, and moisturize twice a day. That’s it. And I try to have a clean face as much as I can. When I don’t have appearances or anything, I don’t really wear makeup. Mascara and lip gloss, and I’m out the door. But I try to keep my skin as fresh as possible. I work out twice a day, so I have to make sure I’m on it as far as cleaning my skin from all that sweat.
What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?
The advice I live by is all about being comfortable. People are comfortable in different things, you know? Some people like dresses every day and that’s fine. Me, I’m more sporty-chic or tomboy-chic. I like my boyfriend jeans and off-the-shoulder tees, graphic tees, leather jackets, leather pants. It’s all about showing your personality through your fashion. It’s your personal style and nobody else’s. That’s the beauty of it.
Where do you want to be at age 30?
I have no idea. I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m so excited with the course I’m traveling so far. As far as basketball goes, God willing, I hope my body holds up for six more years. I hope I’m still playing and doing philanthropic things—camps and clinics and impacting younger generations. Then there’s the business world: marketing and branding and using my business degree from Notre Dame. I hope I’m being positive and making a positive impact.
What’s it like when little girls come up to see you, the famous basketball star?
It feels great. I will never get used to how certain people look at me. I don’t look at myself in that sense. People ask for autographs and pictures and I haven’t wrapped my head around it. When a young girl comes up to me, I just try to be Skylar. I don’t change who I am. I’m under the microscope and girls are watching, which gives me a platform to do positive things that can help the next generation coming up.
Okay, last question. I’ve heard that you love to read, and you’ve called yourself nerdy. So what’s the nerdiest thing you’ve done this week?
I haven’t been very nerdy this week—the NBA started, so I was watching the NBA. But I did look up the vocabulary word of the day on Merriam-Webster. When I used to study for the SATs, I would try to expand my vocabulary and add a new word every day. Wasn’t that pretty nerdy? I wouldn’t know the second-nerdiest thing I’ve done. That one takes the cake.
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