EXCLUSIVE: Mexican Diver Paola Espinosa Strikes A Pose for Nike

Mexican Olympic diver Paola Espinosa is not only a fierce competitor – she can work the camera as well! Joining other athletes to model the Nike Spring/Summer line, we caught up with the diver to talk fashion, competition and getting the perfect fashion shot. Take a peek at the shots, debuting here first!

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

“I am originally from La Paz, Baja California Sur. My parents were both athletes; my dad was a swimmer and always encouraged me to try that sport. I have a sister named Fernanda who I had my first dive with." 

What got you interested in competitive diving?

“It was a hyperactive kid, and my parents didn’t know what to do with me. They began putting me in various sports,but it wasn’t until I tried diving that I found what I really liked.”

What's the difference between individual and synchronized diving in terms of how it feels or special difficulties there are to consider? Is there more pressure in doing one or the other?

“In individual diving all the responsibility is on you; the execution and degree of difficulty have greater importance. In synchronized diving you have a partner and you need to be very coordinated with your partner because the greatest importance is synchronicity and nailing the dive. The degree of difficulty is important, but above all it’s the synchronization." 

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment thus far - competitively or otherwise?

“The two Olympic medals. I am the first female Mexican diver to win two medals, and also of my country; the bronze in Beijing 2008 and silver medal in London 2012. But individually my best accomplishment, and the one I value most, is the gold medal at the 2009 World Swimming Championships in Rome.”

How did it feel to compete in 2008 in the Olympic games? In 2012?

“They were two best competitions of my life. In 2008 I arrived with more experience, I was national champion of my country for those games and enjoyed it. But in 2012 I was already an Olympic medalist so anything that I would achieve was good for me. My partner Alejandra Orozco and I won the gold medal; that made me very happy. I think I enjoyed this second medal more than the first.” 

How would you characterize your fashion style? 

“I like to be different but elegant, casual yet stylish.” 

How did you become involved with Nike? Were you always a fan of the sports brand?

“I have always liked Nike, especially for its fit, and the diversity of its style of clothes. For me as a diver it’s very important to look good. The platform is a run way, like a fashion show where everything starts from the way that I feel to the confidence I have.” 

How does Nike fit with your lifestyle in terms of aesthetic or function? How would you describe the brand?

“For me it’s the best. Nike is part of my life in and out of the pool, both for my workouts at the gym and in the pool, and also in my daily life – it’s the clothes that I feel most comfortable and fashionable in. It makes me feel strong, gives me great confidence whether it’s doing sports or in everyday life." 

What was it like shooting with Nike?

“Super fun. I had never done [that] before. It was difficult to get the perfect position but jumping is what I do, so that was not so hard. I make a living jumping.”

What are your plans for the future? What's on the radar?

“After some vacation and thinking about my future, I am determined to keep going and looking towards the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. So that's my long term goal.”

Who would you consider your career icons? Your fashion icons? 

“I really don’t have a fashion icon. I am very special in that sense. I wear what I like; it has to do a lot with me andmy tastes. I am very finicky when it comes to fashion!”

Which athlete has the best style? 

“Me. (laughs) Of all of the athletes that I know, without sounding conceited, I like to be different and at this moment I think I have managed to be the most stylish. I would love for more athletes to care about what they wear!”

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Samantha Leal, Senior Editor

Sam edits and oversees all site content with a focus on fashion, beauty and lifestyle. When she's not working, you can find her watching way too many YouTube videos and reading (YA novels, mostly). Follow her on Twitter @samanthajoleal.

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