There is a huge assortment of female athletes who should be recognized for their abilities to compete in the sport they've made a professional career out of being a part of. Skill alone should often get them the recognition they deserve. They have the talent and skill to be singled out for that level of success alone, but it doesn't always work out that way.
For every female athlete that becomes famous simply for dominating the game, there are more who are using certain assets to sell the sport they love and, in turn, making a career out of being good, but not great. That is not to say that all the women we're including on this list below aren't the best (some of them clearly are), but many have seized opportunities afforded in the new sporting landscape of social media and sponsorship to become famous for more than just their raw talent.
Part of what makes these women so famous is how they choose to market and brand themselves. A big portion of that decision-making is the clothing they choose to wear. Whether it's branding themselves in bathing suits or more conservative wear, even just posting photos of themselves in their respective sports attire, every photo or video brings in more fans. It's a combination of looking like an everyday fan, someone who can walk the red carpet or a competitor who simply puts in the amount of time required to become great.
No sport is immune either. From MMA to tennis, golf, wrestling, the Olympics, and track and field, we've covered a ton of ground. Undoubtedly, we've surely missed some too. The following 15 women have done a masterful job of "dressing the part." They are true ambassadors for their sport.
15 Paige Spiranac
Perhaps no other female athlete has dressed in a more controversial fashion than Paige Spiranac. Her choice in wardrobe has gotten her in hot water with the LPGA tour and forced professional golf to reexamine their dress code. All the while, she's attracting new fans by the boatload.
Paige is the queen of social media when it comes to golf, and she's an apparel company's dream as she's posting photos on a regular basis in all sorts of golf and non-golf-related outfits. Some of it is racy, some of it is tasteful, and some of it is completely illogical for what she's doing while wearing it but it attracts fans and that's good for the game of golf, even if the tour doesn't want to admit it and they shun her in the process.
14 Anastasia Ashley
Anastasia Ashley is a pro surfer who truly understands that her image brings in fans. A spokesmodel for all sorts of brands, if you take one look at her Instagram account, she's an ambassador for the sport in a major way. Posing in her surfing clothes to letting her fans follow her on adventures such as cruises or everyday workouts, she's comfortable letting fans in and helping peak interest in a sport that doesn't really get a lot of mainstream media attention.
She keeps a regular blog that allows fans to keep up with her, and of course, there are a ton of great photos in all sorts of different outfits. Outside of her blog though, don't go to her site for good reading material. There's not much there beyond pics.
13 Lindsey Vonn
Lindsey Vonn is an extremely talented Olympic Skier, and as much as she's famous for being one of the most winning competitors in her sport, she's also widely known for drawing in fans for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with her performance on the slopes.
Known for dating pro athletes that put her front and center in the media, she's also extremely attractive and dresses the part of someone who is ready to walk the carpet on a regular basis. From ski outfits to workout clothing, she's often posting pictures of her daily routine, and it works. She's often a walking billboard of sponsors, and if she stays out of trouble with her relationships, the ski industry won't have anything negative to say because it's all good for the sport.
12 Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is an interesting juxtaposition to most of the women you'll see on this list. While many of the athletes wear less outside the game to sell their sports, Sharapova actually has her own unique sense of style that she shows off on her social media accounts. Very elegant and stylish for most of her shots, it's her attire on the tennis court that seems to be where less is more.
Her conservative attire and fashion sense show that there are multiple ways to sell the game. She adds an aura of dignity and class to the game, and there are many tennis fans who like that. She also happens to be one of the better players in the world
11 Michelle Jenneke
She's the track star who went viral when she jumped around before her race. The images of her bouncing up and down were meme'd all over the world, and it brought attention to track and field like perhaps nothing before it. Since that warm-up dance, she understands how to sell the game and her brand, and she's not shy about doing so.
Her social media posts contain a lot of her in track attire much like the outfit she wore in the video, and she seems happy enough to take photos of her doing daily activities that fans are eager to see her do. Underneath the surface, Michelle Jenneke is an Australian hurdler and model who won a silver medal for the 100-meter hurdles at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics.
10 Sasha Banks
We could have chosen a number of WWE stars for this list but we went with Sasha Banks for a couple of reasons. First, she's got one of the most colorful personalities in the WWE Women's Division right now. Her "Legit Boss" character made people fall in love with her in NXT and they cheer for her to break through in a major way on the main roster.
She's also not shy about showing off some of the assets that fans everywhere love so much about her. She's a clear-cut "10" when it comes to female wrestlers in yoga pants, she's a good representation of athletic and not too phony, and while she's had some issues with fans in the past, she knows what they want to see.
9 Blair O'Neal
She might not be the best golfer in the world but she's good enough to get our attention. She's also a drop-dead gorgeous model who knows how to sell herself which, in turn, sells the game. She's turned her looks and personality into a regular gig on the Golf Channel and her social media accounts like Instagram could keep you busy for hours if you were looking for an attractive female golfer in a wide variety of outfits.
O'Neal actually funded her desire to play golf by modeling, and while her golf career on the course didn't work out exactly as planned, she transitioned well into a more behind-the-scenes role and is doing quite well, all while selling the game and bringing in new viewers.
8 Eugenie Bouchard
Who doesn't love the adorable Eugenie Bouchard? She, at one time, was ranked very high in professional tennis but has since fallen off the radar a bit. Her game hasn't produced the results she'd probably hoped. That said, she's still drawing in fans to tennis by being front and center when it comes to tennis media, outside appearances, and simply staying in the spotlight. Much of that has to do with her branding as the very cute, neighbor-next-door type athlete.
Check out her media feeds and you'll see a mix of attractive, hot, tasteful, and fun photos that make you feel like you sort of know her. That she might now be dating a fan who won a bet and got a date with her makes her feel even more accessible.
7 Paige VanZant
Paige VanZant is so attractive and smart about the way she sells MMA, it can be argued that she got a deal with UFC when she probably didn't deserve one. She's caused some controversy over some of her posts. But at the same time, all of it has led back to promotion for MMA and the UFC, and as a result, Dana White gave her a shot and a pretty healthy contract to boot.
She's smart about her branding too. She's got a book coming out, knows how and when to post the right photos on platforms like Instagram, and understands her draw to a lot of UFC fans. I'm sure she'd like to be respected as a fighter, but you can't argue or ignore what brought you to the dance.
6 Kacy Catanzaro
She's an American Ninja Warrior and was a hopeful for a transition into a WWE career, and along the way, she became one of the most famous female athletes on television, partially because she knew how to sell herself, her brand, and the fighting spirit of someone smaller making it big in a primarily strength-related sport.
She's the spunky one with a ton of energy and a smile that can make a room light up. You can't help but cheer for her to succeed, and she dresses in a way that sells that image. Catanzaro was likely the main reason shows like American Ninja Warrior became as successful as they did. If you were to ask any random person to name a competitor from the sport, they might not be able to, but if you say her name, they could probably associate her image with the sport.
5 Leryn Franco
Would you care much about watching a javelin throwing match in the Olympics if you didn't know the competitors were extremely hot? Yeah, we probably wouldn't either. But Leryn Franco is a javelin thrower for Paraguay, and she might have us changing our channel to check it out next time it comes on.
Definitely more know for her modeling, it's amazing how, even though we've never found anyone that has seen her throw an actual javelin, we're all of a sudden interested. Check out her Instagram feed and you won't be disappointed. It's an assortment of red carpet, beach, and workout shots. Nothing to complain about, really. What sport is she in again?
4 Natalie Gulbis
Natalie Gulbis learned a long time ago that it might be more financially rewarding to understand the industry than it would be to be the best female golfer in the world. While Gulbis has been on the LPGA scene for years now, she was one of the first women to really mix the idea of modeling and golf, and it started a whole generation of women looking like a million bucks and selling the game that way.
She is known for her good but tasteful looks, and she draws people in by letting them interact with her and see her routine. Apart from that, she also sells a crap load of calendars and other merchandise. She may be one of the smartest women to brand herself a golf beauty that the game has ever seen.
3 Serena Williams
Serena Williams is a huge draw for fans to female tennis. In fact, she's a huge draw for tennis in general. Perhaps more famous and popular than any other athlete in the sport, Williams is often the epitome of dressing the part. Her attire during matches is among the most colorful and her physique is unmatched.
Even when she's not playing the game, she understands that her life outside the game is something fans follow, and it keeps them tuning in. Before she flooded her Instagram account with photos of her pregnancy, she took a photo like the one above Yes, just because she knows how to keep the attention of her fans. Williams has built a huge brand for herself, and it's great for the game of tennis.
2 Danica Patrick
Name a million ways an attractive female athlete can tastefully make money and Danica Patrick has probably done it. From modeling to commercials to spokesperson and everything in-between, at the end of the day, Patrick is a race car driver and everyone knows it. She's one of the most popular female athletes in the world, and she brings in millions of fans to the racing scene by both being wildly attractive and competitive.
She's not just a pretty face but she's a very good driver, and her photos show a mix of that talent. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know who Danica Patrick is and by association know a little bit about car racing, even if you know absolutely nothing about car racing.
1 Camille Leblanc Bazinet
Despite what the average Joe might think about CrossFit and its very faithful following, Camille Leblanc Bazinet is a CrossFit competitor who, after you take one look at her, makes you wonder why everyone isn't a part of the sport in an effort to obtain a fraction of her looks.
Bazinet is a shining example of what dedication, hard work, and CrossFit can do for your physique, and she's not afraid to show it off wearing the outfits she wears and posting her photos and workout routines on social media. There's no better way to demonstrate the advantages of CrossFit than to show the results, and she has some pretty amazing results. She's pretty successful at the CrossFit games too, having won in 2014. If you were a woman wanting to get in shape and show others you weren't to be messed with, Bazinet might be enough to steer you to CrossFit.