Woman Quits Marines For a Career That Nobody Could Have Imagined

Published on 08/17/2020
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Shannon Ihrke is no stranger to what it takes to survive during a recession. A full-time college student with two part-time jobs to make ends meet, she quickly realised that her debt would become unpayable in the long run given the economic climate, so she needed another option. This led her straight to the U.S Marine Corps, which raised a lot of eyebrows at the time. Most people didn’t even think she would get through boot camp, let alone start climbing the ranks and eventually be promoted to sergeant. When she eventually left the Marines, Shannon turned to something that nobody could have imagined she would do. A revelation about her own dreams would lead to her changing the direction of her life completely.

Minnesota Girl

Shannon was raised in a town called Walker, which is located in the North of Central Minnesota. Surrounded by nature during her childhood, she was exposed to many physical activities and sports, including fishing, hunting, boating and horseback riding. This was unique for someone of her age, as well as because at the time girls were expected to play with dolls inside all day. All the skills she learned in childhood would eventually help to build the foundation for her to join the Marine Corps, although at the time her family could not have understood where these skills might take her as she entered adulthood.

Minnesota Girl

Minnesota Girl

A Busy Student Life

With such a modest upbringing, Shannon was looking for a different kind of experience once she left high school. Enrolling at St. Cloud University, her academic interests now spanned into the marketing arena, so she pursued a degree in the field. As with most students, cash flow was a problem, and in a bid to make ends meet she ended up taking on two part-time jobs to support herself. These jobs barely earned her enough to pay her bills but helped her to learn discipline and be more resilient in a difficult time. These skills would come in very hand in her future.

A Busy Student Life

A Busy Student Life

A Challenging Economic Climate

Studying towards a degree is time-consuming enough, but working a side job, which is all the norm for most students these days, gives you even less time to get to everything you need to in a given day. The process was even more difficult in a recession, which Shannon encountered first hand after finding out that her manager at the clothing store she worked at actually had a law degree. This got her to think about what life after university might be like, and she worried that she wouldn’t be able to pay off her student loans by entering the “normal” job market like everybody else.

A Challenging Economic Climate

A Challenging Economic Climate

Advice From The College Counselor

The thought of leaving university with no job and a stack of debt scared Shannon a lot, and she knew that she should talk to someone about it to get a bit of advice on what she could do. The college counselor told her that two people get to go to college for free: single moms and those in the military. Realising that she only had one of those two options, she decided that she’d take some time to learn more about the military, and planned on going to a recruiting fair to see if it made sense for her to enlist.

Advice From The College Counselor

Advice From The College Counselor

Exploring The Marine Corps

Not one to sit back and wait for life to happen to her, Shannon decided to research for all the different branches of the military to get a better sense of what might she may be better suited to. The Marine Corps caught her eye right away, especially once she talked to a recruiter at fair a short while later. It’s safe to say that Shannon was a little out of place at the recruitment fair, mostly because she doesn’t look like your typical military recruit. Irrespective of this, she learned as much as she could that day, and felt instantly that the Marine Corps would be a good possibility for her to explore.

Exploring The Marine Corps

Exploring The Marine Corps

Little Faith In The Blonde

As it turns out, the Marine Corps recruiter took one look at Shannon and told her that there was no way that she would be able to make it. He told her that boot camp was double as hard as the other branches and that he couldn’t imagine a girl making it through. Never one to shy away from a challenge, and with an inherent need to prove naysayers wrong, Shannon decided to sign up on the spot. As it turns out, and once she experienced boot camp, she realized just how hard it was, even residing herself to the fact that this certainly wasn’t something that was suited to everyone.

Little Faith In The Blonde

Little Faith In The Blonde

Off To Boot Camp We Go

Having signed up to join the U.S Marine Corps, Shannon soon found herself traveling to South Carolina to take part in boot camp. Over the next 90 days, she trained in a variety of fields, including rifle training, mixed martial arts, and more. She would later call this the toughest experience of her life, pushing her both physically and mentally like she could have never imagined. This was not a deterrent, however, and she wanted to prove to everyone, including herself, that she was able to take on such a hard task and get through it anyway.

Off To Boot Camp We Go

Off To Boot Camp We Go

Not All Bad

While certainly a challenge, Shannon ended up finding enjoyment from the experience of being in boot camp. After she completed the process, she realised that she actually had a lot of support from the people around her, who were especially proud of her. She went back to the recruiter after completing the camp to let him know that she loved the experience. He knew she would be fine, especially as she had what he called an “alpha personality”. As it turns out, he was using a technique to encourage her to take on the challenge, which clearly worked.

Not All Bad

Not All Bad

Boot Camp Empowerment

Looking back now, Shannon recalls that boot camp was nothing short of an empowering experience, especially considering that she is a woman, and women are looked at a certain way in a male-dominated industry like the military. She learned that she is physically and mentally strong, and she cites the beautiful and smart drill instructors (who were also women) as motivation and inspiration for her to keep going. In spite of this, joining the ranks alongside male counterparts would have its fair share of obstacles too. Many males were out to bring her down, but she was not about to let her guard down.

Boot Camp Empowerment

Boot Camp Empowerment

Working Twice As Hard For Equality

The first thing that comes into everyone’s mind when they think of a Marine, is that of a man. When Shannon first showed up to her unit, many of her male counterparts assumed that she wouldn’t be able to keep up with, or be perfect as them. Not one to be deterred, she continued to push herself, staying patient in the process, and doing whatever she could to prove to them that she could show up as their equal, and at times, perhaps even operating at a higher level than they could.

Working Twice As Hard For Equality

Working Twice As Hard For Equality

The Alpha Personality Comes Through

Physical challenges aside, Shannon was quick to discover that mental strength was one of the biggest obstacles that anyone in the army will face during their course of service. After graduating boot camp, she knew that he had to project mental strength and an alpha personality right from the moment she arrived at her unit, in order for her to be taken seriously. She was not about to be brushed aside, or pushed around. Later, she called this approach an absolute necessity, recalling how quickly it changed the dynamic between her and her peers.

The Alpha Personality Comes Through

The Alpha Personality Comes Through

One A Mission To Prove Everyone Wrong

Many of the other Marines initially assumed that Shannon would not be able to keep up physically, making the assumption that she wasn’t as strong as them to begin with. She did everything she could, including training longer and harder, in order to prove to them that this wasn’t the case. Initially placed in an administrative role in South Carolina, she continued to approach her service with determination and the right attitude. In no time, she started to climb the ranks, gaining special skills along the way that enabled her to get promoted with a quicker turnaround time than usual.

One A Mission To Prove Everyone Wrong

One A Mission To Prove Everyone Wrong

Home Is Where The Heart Is

As time went on, Shannon was transferred to Rock Island in Illinois, which was a blessing, as it allowed her to be a short distance away from her home, friends and family. A big challenge for many military professionals is that they have to spend an extended period of time away from their loved ones. Being stationed so close to her family meant that she was around for a lot of milestones in their lives. Continuing to excel while in Illinois, she spent two years getting better at her job, and taking any opportunity to show the rest of her peers what a great Marine is made of.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Shannon’s First Promotion

Twenty four months after joining her unit, Shannon landed her first promotion, from E1 to E4. Ascending from private, to private first class, all the way to lance corporal across the span of only two years, she was on a path to greatness that many others can only dream of. Typically, this type of trajectory took closer to four years to achieve. With that big change came a new set of responsibilities, including learning skills to develop her leadership capabilities. Often on inspector-instructor duty, this was but one part of the wide range of duties that turned Shannon into the strong and independent woman that she is today.

Shannons First Promotion

Shannons First Promotion

Other Skills She Acquired

Few people could anticipate just how good Shannon was going to be as a sharpshooter. This was a skill that she had first been taught as a young girl, especially considering the natural environment she grew up in. As it turns out, Shannon loved shooting guns and loved going to the rifle range with her fellow Marines. This is an example of the wide range of skills she acquired during her time as a marine. These skills would come in handy once she started pursuing her other interests, and would eventually lead to the unconventional career change she made after leaving the Corps down the line.

Other Skills She Acquired

Other Skills She Acquired

That’s Sergeant Ihrke To You

By the turn of 2016, Shannon had been promoted to the rank of sergeant, a great honor for anyone in the Marine Corps. This was a major feat, and a clear indication of the blood, sweat and tears that had gone into her work, especially in the wake of criticism based on early judgments around how she looks. She showed up and proved to her male counterparts that she was an equal. Four years into her military service, Shannon was starting to realize that she wanted to try out other things. The first was to pursue the completion of her college qualification that started the entire process.

Thats Sergeant Ihrke To You

Thats Sergeant Ihrke To You

Making A Difference In The World

While initially having her doubts about enlisting in the Marines, after a couple of years of proving to herself that she had the discipline, skills and tenacity to do so, and having been promoted to sergeant, Shannon knew that this was one of the best decisions she had made in her entire life. She often recalls that people spend their lifetimes wondering if they made a difference in the world. For Marines, this is a given. Shannon felt that she was destined to bring about change in the world, which led to a somewhat surprising decision about her next career move, which was right around the corner.

Making A Difference In The World

Making A Difference In The World

Starting a New Side Hustle

Roughly around the same time that she was promoted to sergeant, Shannon decided to try her hand at some modeling on the side. Attending photo shoots while she was still on active duty required getting clearance and meant she was only allowed to do so over the weekend. This was a career move she had always thought about, and once she did a couple of test shots and got feedback from agencies, she realized that it may become a viable side hustle for her. Before she could turn it into a full-time career however, she had to give it some time to see if it would be practical to pursue in the long run.

Starting A New Side Hustle

Starting A New Side Hustle

Entering a Modelling Competition

When popular men’s magazine Maxim held a contest to find “Hometown Hotties”, Shannon decided she should try her hand to see if she could get any valuable feedback to further herself in the field. She was chosen to be a part of the competition Top 10, and flown to Las Vegas for a shoot. As soon as the production team learned that she was part of the military, they booked her for a second shoot. Little did she know at that time that she would eventually be crowned the overall winner of the competition.

Entering A Modelling Competition

Entering A Modelling Competition

A Flirty Salute?

While her Maxim cover was certainly a hit with her colleagues, a lot of them questioned what they called an irregular salute on the photo’s. She explained that the photographers wanted her to be more “flirty”, so they changed it from the conventional one. She was a little uncomfortable doing so and knew she would face a bit of backlash, but at the time she was only happy to have landed an opportunity to do a cover shoot for one of the biggest magazines in the country.

A Flirty Salute

A Flirty Salute

Heading Back To School As a Priority

After the success of the cover, Shannon decided that she wanted to pursue modeling full-time and ended up being honorably discharged following four years of service with the marines. Her first priority was to complete a degree, as had always been the plans, so she enrolled to graduate from Elmhurst College with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Her plan had come together, and she could finish college without an ounce of debt. Now with a degree by her side, some modeling experience and four years of being in the marines, she was set up for a successful career that could be undertaken on her own terms and at her own pace.

Heading Back To School As A Priority

Heading Back To School As A Priority

Shannon’s Big Break

While she was studying, Shannon made it a priority to keep pursuing any new modeling opportunities. Chicago’s top rock radio station held their annual “Loop Rock Girl” competition in her first year of studies, and she ended up entering and winning the competition. The win would result in the station asking her to stay on permanently as the “Loop Rock Girl”, which turned what was meant to be a quick competition into a full-time job overnight. Talk about a big break!

Shannons Big Break

Shannons Big Break

Starting To Gain More Prominence

The Loop Rock Girl gig gave Shannon a fair deal of exposure and helped her to really establish herself as a model. Her online following started to grow as well, and she was turning into an overnight celebrity. The gig helped her to land shoots and appearances around the country, and even gave fans the chance to make her a part of their day through the yearly calendar shot by the station. She also had to create a weekly blog, alongside being featured on the breakfast show, which helped her showcase her skills in marketing too. She later referred to it as a dream job.

Starting To Gain More Prominence

Starting To Gain More Prominence

Taking On Her “Girly Side”

Shannon later recalled that it was the first time she started embracing her more feminine side, having not considered her looks to be anything out of the ordinary for a long time. Being a part of the Marines also meant that she wasn’t able to show a different side to herself, which modelling was allowing her to do for the first time in ages. She rarely wore makeup or dressed up being a part of the marines, but now it was time for her to take on another layer of who she was. She enjoyed the glamorous side and referred to it as fun and different across various interviews she did.

Taking On Her Girly Side

Taking On Her Girly Side

Once a Marine, Always a Marine

Now a model, Shannon has often thought about the friends and colleagues she left behind at the Marine Corps. Many of them found it strange to come to terms with the fact that the sergeant who used to yell orders at them was now a cover model for Maxim magazine. Shannon has also said that some of the Marines she worked with in the past have asked her to sign calendars and magazines, which she calls a strange turn of events, but is happy to see as she believes they are doing it to show their support. Being a Marine will always be an important part of who she is.

Once A Marine Always A Marine

Once A Marine Always A Marine

Facing Backlash From Her Parents

While her fellow Marines may have been supported, Shannon’s parents were not altogether keen on the change of career, mostly because they involved a string of racy photoshoots. Coming from a conservative, a Christian family from a small town in Minnesota was not exactly helping her cause. Her parents wanted her to stay in the Marine Corps and questioned her decision to pursue modeling full-time. These days they’ve come around to the idea, especially since they’ve seen that the change has brought a fair amount of joy and happiness to their daughter too.

Facing Backlash From Her Parents

Facing Backlash From Her Parents

Always Chasing Her Dreams

Shannon was certainly not one to sit back and wait for her dreams to happen to her. Her motto was always to try something, rather than to live with regrets later on. She calls the marine Corps experience a life-changing one, which she will never forget. Shannon even goes as far as saying that even though she is no longer on active duty, she will always “bleed green” like the rest of her former colleagues. She refers to her change of career as part of a long list of dreams that she has for her own life and for what she wants to accomplish in the coming years.

Always Chasing Her Dreams

Always Chasing Her Dreams

The Marine Corps Family Stays Strong

Looking back on her time with the Marine Corps, Shannon talks fondly about her fellow Marines and how meeting and working with them was the best part of the job. These days, she considers them to be like family and likes to keep in touch whenever it is possible to do so. As boot camp and active service showcased, the people around you end up spending their full days with you, not dissimilar to how a family setup is. Shannon says that she is always willing to do anything for her fellow Marines, even now that life has taken a bit of a different turn.

The Marine Corps Family Stays Strong

The Marine Corps Family Stays Strong

Training Never Stops

Marines are known for their rigorous workout schedules, and as Shannon learned early on, this was something that was part of the territory of the job. When she was honorably discharged, Shannon knew that she wanted to keep working out as much as she did in that time she was in service, especially as it would benefit her modelling career too. She admits that she added horseback riding to her routine in a bid to make training a little more enjoyable. As her childhood suggests, Shannon has always been an athlete, and continues to be one even as a model.

Training Never Stops

Training Never Stops

No Room For Dieting

One thing that Shannon was keen on changing when she left the Corps was what she called “living a little” when it comes to the things you do, and eat. While important for her to maintain her weight and physique for modelling, that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t enjoy indulging herself from time to time. She works out four times a week, so she is allowed to have her day from time to time. She is also vocal about focusing on keeping active, rather than following a diet. She loves cooking and baking too much to limit herself, especially after years of pre-prepared meals in the service.

No Room For Dieting

No Room For Dieting

Going Beyond The Call of Duty

Now that she is a veteran, the U.S Marines will always hold a special place in Shannon’s heart. Acting as a spokesmodel, she takes a lot of pride in working with military charities to keep up with the former part of herself, as well as to do her duty to try and encourage others to enlist. She also still works closely with the Chicago Marine Corps Foundation, which supports providing scholarships to kids who have lost their parents through military service. It’s clear that Shannon likes seeing the bigger picture, wanting to help out beyond just her modeling appearances.

Going Beyond The Call Of Duty

Going Beyond The Call Of Duty

For The Love of Horses

As an result of her small town upbringing, Shannon will always be somewhat low-key in how she leads her personal life. Aside from her modelling work, she continues to work as a horse trainer too, as an ode to her Minnesotan roots. In recent interviews, she has mentioned that she has about six horses at the moment, which she is preparing for roping competitions. Aside from horses being a lifelong passion for her, the training also helps her keep in shape for any upcoming modelling contracts that require her to be in tip-top condition.

For The Love Of Horses

For The Love Of Horses

Making The Transition To Regular Civilian Life

While from the other side it may look like her transition from being ‘Ihrke in the Marines’ to once again being ‘Shannon the civilian’ was seamless, there were certainly a couple of bumps along the road. After some years of being told what to do, the power of making her own decisions proved to be somewhat overwhelming at first. From how much she ate through to when she had to work out, her schedule as a Marine was rigorous and unyielding. These days, Shannon pays careful attention to her decisions, and even appreciates the fact that she can make her own decisions each day more than she did before she enlisted.

Making The Transition To Regular Civilian Life

Making The Transition To Regular Civilian Life

Inspiring and Encouraging Other Veterans

There is a common misconception that it’s easy for young veterans to return to a regular job after they’ve been discharged from military service. Shannon agrees that there are some benefits, but it is not like any opportunity is handed to you. She says it is up to the person themselves to put together a CV and to continue working as hard as they did when they were in active service. Shannon tries to encourage and inspire other marines by showing them how it can and should be done.

Inspiring And Encouraging Other Veterans

Inspiring And Encouraging Other Veterans

Being a Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself

Shannon is quick to reflect on her time in the Marine Corps, and to voice how it has changed for the better her life. Grueling, absolutely, but through perseverance, it landed her a memorable experience that will last a lifetime. She recalls that while some marines fight for politicians, most are out there doing it for friends, family and other loved ones. Her time being of service to her country is not something that she will ever forget.

Being A Part Of Something Bigger Than Yourself

Being A Part Of Something Bigger Than Yourself

Continue reading for another inspiring story of an unexpected career change…

A Track and Field Warrior

Allison Stokke was one of hundreds of students competing in track and field events in 2007. She was one of the many trying to make a name for themselves. Pole vaulting was her event of choice, and in high school she broke countless school records. It wouldn’t be this that got the attention of the world, however. When a photographer captured a near-perfect image of her, her life would change forever, and suddenly she found herself a sensation across the country.

A Track And Field Warrior

A Track And Field Warrior

Allison’s Story

Born on the 22nd of March 1989, Allison Stokke grew up in California alongside her parents and her brother. It’s very safe to say that she was surrounded by sports throughout her youth, especially so as her brother was a national level gymnast. It would be his success that would compel her to think about entering the world of gymnastics, but after a couple of months, she realized that she was going to need to look elsewhere if she was to find something that would be better suited to her abilities.

Allisons Story

Allisons Story

Finding The Right Sport For Her

As most of us will know, finding our passions takes a fair amount of trying different things. For Allison, the search was a lot simpler, and after just one try of pole vaulting, she was hooked to the sport. You might even go as far as to say that she “picked up the pole and ran with it”, so to speak. Right from the start she believed that she could be a terrific pole vaulter, and in no time at all, she was one of the youngest and most successful vaulters in the country. At 15, she cleared 12.5 feet, which got the attention of talent scouts in a major way.

Finding The Right Sport For Her

Finding The Right Sport For Her

Developing Her Skills in Freshman Year

Allison knew that to maintain a high level she was going to need to push herself to train hard and get better at her craft. In her freshman year, she took things to a whole new level, which paid off in a major way when she started breaking her own records. She continued to raise the bar over time, eventually clearing 12 feet and 8 inches, followed by 13 feet. This is somewhat more impressive than her U.S title-winning jump from when she was only fifteen.

Developing Her Skills In Freshman Year

Developing Her Skills In Freshman Year

The Sizzling Senior Vaulter

As soon as she entered senior year, the pole vaulting sensation had a lot to juggle. From studies, to family time and retaining a rigorous training schedule, she was quick to learn about the power of multitasking and prioritizing. Nothing was to slow her down, however, and as indicated by how quickly she was working through her leagues and collecting medals, it was clear that she would soon be in the running for national titles. She topped her pole vaulting record once again that year, clearing a staggering 13 feet and 6 inches.

The Sizzling Senior Vaulter

The Sizzling Senior Vaulter

The Million Dollar Picture

The infamous picture of Shannon was to be taken at an event in 2007, while she was waiting on the runway for her turn. Reposted by then popular blog With Leather, it wasn’t long before she acquired a serious male following. While the website wasn’t well known for its tasteful selection of images, it certainly got the internet buzzing and not long after, she became well known in circles around the country. Once you’re viral on the internet, there’s not much you can do about the attention that follows.

The Million Dollar Picture

The Million Dollar Picture

Allison The Internet Star

To make matters worse, the blog had used a demeaning caption with their photograph, which didn’t exactly speak to her skills as a pole vaulter. Only 17 at the time, commenters were quick to suggest the inappropriate nature of the image. While Allison couldn’t have known this at the time, the picture would end up having a negative impact on her life too. The photographer saw the traction it was getting, and tried to sue the website to take it down. As the internet had already “claimed” it, it was far too late for any real possibility that it would be deleted forever.

Allison The Internet Star

Allison The Internet Star

Fan Clubs Start To Emerge

As hard as it may be to believe at first, the picture had such an impact that fan clubs and websites started popping up all over the internet from the single shot. This led to fans tracking down more pictures of the athlete, which would eventually be seen by millions of people around the world. A lot of men referred to Allison as their “internet crush” and in a strange way, she was caught in the middle of being immortalized for her looks, rather than people focusing on her actual talents as an athlete.

Fan Clubs Start To Emerge

Fan Clubs Start To Emerge

Allison Gets International Attention

Before long, the power of the internet and social media would be in full force. In next to no time, Allison’s name started popping up on international publications, which created an international fanbase for her. Blogs and websites continued to share her pictures, and eventually, even the New York Times and Washington Post shared stories about here. The coverage spanned as wide as the UK and Germany too. An Australian talk show wanted to get her on the show as a guest!

Allison Gets International Attention

Allison Gets International Attention

Trying To Regain Control

The sudden attention and interest left Allison somewhat disturbed, especially as it was going to her looks, and not her talents. She could hardly believe that all the years of hard work were being overshadowed by a single image, which would forever be the primary reference that people have of her. Worse yet, this happened without her permission! Realizing that it was impossible to stop the spread of images on the internet at this point, she decided to hire a manager, in an attempt to take back control and pursue opportunities that had been vetted by her “team” first.

Trying To Regain Control

Trying To Regain Control

The Interview To Change It All

In an attempt to take control of the situation, she decided to agree to an interview with a large media outlet, in order to prevent her name from being circulated only for her looks. The discussion only served to give her more attention, stoking the fire and growing her fan pages even more. She tried to discuss pole vaulting and addressed how she wanted to encourage other young women looking to break into the field. Unfortunately, commenters on social media were mostly bringing up her beauty and her physique.

The Interview To Change It All

The Interview To Change It All

Dad To The Rescue?

As a practicing lawyer, Allison’s father was quick to come to the defense of his daughter, marking specific comments on Youtube as threatening and starting a list for people he considered may be harmful for his daughter to interact with in her career. He did due diligence, checking to see if any of the comments were illegal. As it turns out, thinking only about the short term would not actually help with the longer term problems, and as the machine kept churning, Allison found herself right in the middle of common judgements faced by attractive people online.

Dad To The Rescue

Dad To The Rescue

CBS Comes To Allison’s Defense

While Allison was dealing with the media storm, CBS decided to take another angle to all the attention she was getting. They looked to promote the dangers of viral images, issuing a warning to other younger women. At that time the social media was only just starting to take off, so people were not as used to its pitfalls as they are today. The broadcast was well received by viewers, and was one of the first instances where social media was highlighted as an avenue for trouble in the near future.

CBS Comes To Allisons Defense

CBS Comes To Allisons Defense

A Shadow Over Her Hard Work

Athletes can understand the constant scrutiny they face a little better than typical civilians, especially as many people are jealous of their skills, often unfamiliar with the sacrifice, dedication and discipline it takes to be the one of the best in the world at something. As Allison learned quickly, the viral photo would cast a shadow over her achievements on the track in a big way. In next to no time, people were more interested in what she was doing and wearing, rather than focusing on the records she was breaking regularly from all her hard work.

A Shadow Over Her Hard Work

A Shadow Over Her Hard Work

Out of the Limelight at University

Unwanted attention aside, Allison was keen to get out of the limelight a little by attending university. She was on a full scholarship, she could keep a low profile at UC Berkeley, especially as it allowed her to stay close to her circle of friends and family in the process. Some might suggest that she completely fell off the map during this time, avoiding social media posting and doing whatever she can to focus on her training, and her studies. To some fans, she was out of sight, out of mind for a couple of years, but never quite forgotten.

Out Of The Limelight At University

Out Of The Limelight At University

Continuing To Excel At Pole Vaulting

Although she did what she could to stay off the radar of the media, Allison did everything she could to be sure she was working hard at school, as well as in her pole vaulting training. With a lot of dedication and energy, she was able to excel at both, competing at many competitions and setting new records, all the while also completing a masters degree in sociology as well. Regardless of what she decided she wanted to pursue after college, it was clear that she had a bright future ahead of her.

Continuing To Excel At Pole Vaulting

Continuing To Excel At Pole Vaulting

An Olympic Hopeful in the Making?

Sharpening her pole vaulting skills while at university, the 2020 London Olympics were fast approaching. For any track and field athlete, this is the golden ticket they work their lives for. She trained even harder than usual and prepared to try out for the qualifications. Unfortunately, this was not meant to be her time. She narrowly missed the mark to compete on the American team. While she had cleared 14 feet previously, this was not the case during the tryouts. Soon, other opportunities would be presenting themselves.

An Olympic Hopeful In The Making

An Olympic Hopeful In The Making

A New Career Direction Awaits

Some couple of years later, and realizing that her peak athletic time was slowly coming to an end, Allison decided that she wanted to thrust herself into a new path of modelling. This wasn’t altogether unfamiliar to her, and she was used to the attention already. At long last, she responded to the many requests she had received to take part in shoots for various brands. As fate would have it, she will end up in Nike’s spring and summer collections that year, taking the industry by storm as many predicted she would years earlier.

A New Career Direction Awaits

A New Career Direction Awaits

A Match Made in Heaven

By 2016, Allison was not averse to making a fuss on the internet, especially so when she announced that her and professional golfer Rickie Fowler were more than friends on her social media accounts. The pair were first spotted by photographers at a Motocross Grand Prix. Soon enough, there were more pictures of them out and about sprawled over blogs and on socials. When they first posted about each other, fans realized that they were serious about each other, making things official in the modern way we’ve grown accustomed to in the 21st century.

A Match Made In Heaven

A Match Made In Heaven

Starting To Get Serious

It wasn’t long before the PGA champion and the now-famous model were getting more serious about the relationship, and fans speculated that they might be close to getting engaged. As it turns out, the pair also bonded over the unwanted attention they each received through a viral photo – a shared experience that may even have solidified their love for each other. After months of speculation, one of Rickie’s colleagues spilled the beans on their relationship so to rest, and to speak, as they say, is history.

Starting To Get Serious

Starting To Get Serious

Engagement Follows Suit

On June 8th of 2018, the paid announced that they were engaged, after about a year’s worth of dating. Allison posted an image on her Instagram post showing Ricky down on one knee, asking her to be his wife. She referred to him as her best friend, an ode to the fact that the very day of the proposal was “National Best Friend” day sound the world. Fans were thrilled to see both happy, and preparing to spend the rest of their lives together. On October 5th of 2019, they married in a private ceremony.

Engagement Follows Suit

Engagement Follows Suit

Allison The Avid Golfer

As she is a naturally talented athlete, it should come as no surprise that Allison was quick to pick up a golf club and to try out a new hobby alongside her soon to be hubby. Many golf pro wives have the same passion for the sport, and she saw it as a great way to connect with her partner while he competed throughout the year. Next thing you know, Allison will be joining the LPGA, and making the same splash for herself as she did when she was still an active pole vaulter!

Allison The Avid Golfer

Allison The Avid Golfer

Going Above and Beyond For Love

While playing in the Augusta Masters in 2018, Ricky unexpectedly needed a spare set of hands to help out with caddying duties at the last minute. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Allison was happy to don the uniform and help out her man with a big smile in tow. A couple with this kind of attitude is surely building a solid foundation for future married life. Better yet, by being playful like this, they show that they’ve both retained a nature of being down to earth, which is always good to see from public personalities.

Going Above And Beyond For Love

Going Above And Beyond For Love

Making The Move To Florida

Born and raised in California, Allison was keen to explore other parts of the country as she started to plan where to settle down with her soon to be husband. Ricky also grew up in the same region, so when the idea came up for them to reside in Florida, they were both quick to jump at the chance to make it on their own. The pair now lives very near the beach, enjoying the climate and the great outdoors at every moment they get between their respective work commitments.

Making The Move To Florida

Making The Move To Florida

The Couple That Trains Together

There can be no doubt that the athletic abilities of both Ricky and Allison play a big role in their shared passion, drive and discipline to exceed at what they do. The couple often enjoys working out together, pushing the other to get the most out of their workouts and simultaneously getting some quality time in together. This can be useful on days when motivation and morale are a little low, and as they can both perk each other up respectively, they make a mean match.

The Couple That Trains Together

The Couple That Trains Together

A Recognised Voice For Women’s Sport

Although her days of serious pole vault training may be over, Allison still does what she can to be a voice for women’s sports. She knows all too well how much of a struggle it can be to be a young athlete, especially as a female, and as research suggests, there is a lot that can be done to help up-and-coming athletes to realise their potential through a gentle mix of being pushed and supported. A recent Instagram post references that girls are twice as likely to drop out of sports when they turn 14 than boys are. She mentioned that she wants to inspire young girls to redefine what it means to persevere, be powerful, and to excel in the field they are passionate about.

A Recognised Voice For Womens Sport

A Recognised Voice For Womens Sport

Using Her Social Profiles For Good

Now that social media has a foothold in society, a lot of people are turning to platforms like Piterest and Instagram to get their fitness inspiration. These days, the #fitspo tag has over 60 million photos on Instagram. While the hype is real, Allison doesn’t like to play into that. Rather than flaunting herself during her gym workouts, she opts for photos that inspire people to lead more active lives for the benefit of their overall health. Her social media power, which once was the source of great frustration for her, has now turned to a platform she predominantly used for good.

Using Her Social Profiles For Good

Using Her Social Profiles For Good

You Are The Company You Keep

You are an average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with. If this is the case, Allison has certainly surrounded herself with the right people. Hubby Ricky aside, she is often seen spending time with athletic friends who also have a zest for life. One of her more notable friends, Shaylah Simpson, is a professional pole vaulter, and the pair regularly push each other to be their best through strenuous workouts, but also during the course of their daily activities as well.

You Are The Company You Keep

You Are The Company You Keep

29 Years Young

In the space of a short time, Allison Stokke has proved that she has an energy and enthusiasm for the world that can only be found in some of the best athletes out there in the world. At just 29 years old, she has accomplished a lot and continues to raise the bar in her efforts to empower and encourage other women to lead a more active lifestyle and to be the best variant of themselves that they can possibly be. Her future looks bright in spite of the challenges she has faced in the past, and family and friends are proud to be associated with such a bright, strong, independent woman.

29 Years Young

29 Years Young

Reaching For The Stars

While the road is wide open for Allison as she enters her thirties, she has set herself up for success and paved a path for herself through hard work, commitment and discipline. As a model, athlete and influencer, she is bound to be making many more splashes in the years ahead, all the while enjoying a more settled life as a wife, and perhaps even a mother. Her journey from that infamous picture that was taken of her and immortalized online, to now, where she does the things on her terms, is inspirational and continues to show others that resilience in the face of misfortune is the best way to tackle whatever life may surrender at you.

Reaching For The Stars

Reaching For The Stars

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