The art of sports writing has evolved over the last ten years. One thing that has remained a standard in the industry is the fight for minorities to break through the cracks and prove that we deserve the same opportunities as our peers. The continuous fight for equality within the field of sports writing is something that attracted me to Erika Fernandez aka Curls & Sports. We sat with Erika to talk to her about her journey in sports and what’s next for her brand.
What was the vision behind the name Curls and Sports?
The vision behind this was a very random one. I remember speaking to a friend and he told me that for branding, make sure it’s something memorable. I literally sat on my couch with a notepad and then bam, the name came to me.
Being a woman/minority covering professional sports can you talk about some of the difficulties you face in the industry?
It has been tough considering a few sexist things I’ve been told such as “Try to not be a groupie in the locker room.” One male reporter told me that and the irony behind that was I saw him as a groupie in the locker room. At times, I’m usually the only girl present so I have a big duty to make sure that my voice is heard and remembered. I’m representing many people while there. But on the flip side, I’ve gotten so much great advice from terrific reporters and journalists. I’ve also made some good friends in this industry. Every day is a new day and you can’t get stuck on what happened 24 hours ago. I just take mental notes and keep it moving.
Do you feel that enough is being done by the establishment to insert minorities into the sports reporting industry?
Considering the rooms I’ve entered and been apart of, definitely not. But that also means that somewhere down the line, a few of us stopped giving up. I think the NBA and the NFL are doing great jobs meanwhile the MLB is mediocre at it. It all starts from the front office and they (MLB) don’t quite see it yet.
How did you start working for Black Sports Online and 1340am Fox Sports?
The power of social media is major. I met my colleagues and bosses through Twitter. From there, blossomed this terrific relationship. Twitter is my all time favorite social media platform.
Advice for young sports journalists looking to break in the business?
One of my favorite mottos is “hard work pays off” and as cliche as it sounds, it’s literally that. I worked hard to get these contacts and cultivate relationships. You have to make sure that you’re willing to sacrifice things for the better good of your career. If you’re not on social media by now, you’re already making a big mistake there. I would also suggest to record as much video as you can. Content is key in this industry because that’ll all be apart of your portfolio. You’ll never stop learning in this industry and just make sure to stay a pupil of the game.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Jets?
This past season was a travesty and it was tough to even watch. I’m sure Jets fans are happy that this season is done but the off season matters so much more. Right now, the Jets have an opportunity to get a good player in the upcoming draft. I feel that Bowles isn’t done in NYC just yet. He’ll probably have one more season to show that he could work with this team.
1st Take or Undisputed?
I’m going to say neither and select both Around the Horn and PTI. I remember rushing home from school and watching them in HS. I learned so much from these panel of journalists.
Knicks make any legit noise in the East?
It’s crazy to see that the Knicks are in this terrible spiral. They were doing so good up until a month ago! I think that coach Jeff Hornacek is doing a terrific job. He’s utilized the lineup and his bench in a great way. Some players need a few more playing minutes however. It’s still early January so it would be great to see them back above .500.
What’s next for Curls & Sports?
Next on my plate is to god willing, be on the air. I’m climbing the ladder currently and working hard to be an on air reporter. So, I’m gathering my footage and piecing it all together. As I’m doing that, I’m saying a prayer because faith moves mountains. This is a saying in Spanish and it sounds so much more prettier in Spanish but without faith, nothing is possible. Faith should be pumping through your heart much like blood is. You got to be able feel it in your veins.