"I was flipping through People
magazine at the airport and I saw the ad and thought, 'That's weird, that's me,'" said former U.S. and world ladies champion Kimberly Meissner
, who appeared in an incredible two-page advertisement for Under Armour performance apparel and footwear, in a look decidedly different than the elegance of figure skating.
"Figure skating is a very athletic sport," said Meissner. "As you watch, you can see the ladies division is getting even more technically demanding. We are jocks. I like that look."
The ad was shot on a frigidly cold day last November, and in addition to the print ad, she appeared in an Under Armour television commercial shown during the Super Bowl. What you see in the ad is real, not photographed in a studio.
"I was literally on a rooftop," said Meissner. "They had that whole thing all set up on top of a roof. Because the building's stairwells were condemned," Meissner had to be hoisted to the roof on an exterior lift. "That in itself was an adventure, because it was really windy."
The pipes she jumped over were real and quite high. "They asked, 'Are you sure you can do it?' I said, 'I'm pretty sure I can do it,'" she recalled. "It was fun, but it was freezing. They had to give me ice cubes to chew, because my breath was showing. I thought, 'Thanks for adding to my freezingness.'"
Around the same time Meissner also shot a spot in a Subway commercial, where she joined in congratulating Subway spokesman Jared Fogle for maintaining his weight loss for a decade. At a time where figure skaters aren't getting as many commercial endorsements as in the past, Meissner is honored to have such great opportunities.
"I'm glad that I can hopefully bring figure skating to people's attention, so they can see figure skaters almost in a different light," she said. "It's an honor to be in these high-end commercials. The other athletes that were in the Under Armour commercials are so amazing in everything they've done. I'm so happy to be included with them."
For the jock in her, there is plenty of Under Armour gear. "I have one room in the house that is like the Under Armour store," she joked. "I go in there and think, 'What color do I want to wear today?'"
After her seventh-place finish at the 2008 ISU World Figure Skating Championships
, Meissner, 18, joined the Smucker's Stars on Ice
tour for its final nine shows. It is a perfect motivator after a tough season. "The people on tour are like a big family," she said. "Behind the scenes before the show everybody is laughing. It's so relaxed. I'm so glad to go from intense competition to this fun, relaxed atmosphere. It's exactly what I needed."
Meissner's final event of the season is the Japan Open on April 20, where she and teammates Todd Eldredge, Evan Lysacek
and Mirai Nagasu
will take on teams from Europe and Japan.
"We are looking to going there," said Meissner. "After that, I have time to really think about what I'm going to do. I want to take my time with the decision."