Some female athletes celebrated for their incredible skills have also surprised their fans with appearances on TV shows and movies. With this jump in their career, they have reached a broader audience. People who may have never known about their sports endeavors fell in love with them.
Whether it was a small role as a guest actor on a TV series or a movie, these women have proven how multitalented they are. Some have even used their athletic abilities as part of their appearances onscreen. Here are five female athletes who became TV and movie stars.
Esther Williams was widely known as a professional competitive swimmer who earned several awards for her immense talent. As a teenager, she broke regional and national records while on the Los Angeles Athletic Club team. However, when the 1940 Summer Olympics rolled over, Williams had to shift her career due to World War II. It was then that she became a performer.
Williams started as part of Billy Rose’s Aquacade show and later moved on to participate in several movies. Many remember her as the female athlete in Take Me Out to The Ball Game, Neptune’s Daughter, Million Dollar Mermaid and On an Island With You.
When people hear Gina Carano, many picture her as the actress on The Mandalorian, Deadpool, Haywire and Fast & Furious 6. Her talent in big franchises has captivated audiences since she first appeared onscreen in 2008. However, many TV and movie fanatics may not know Carano is also a former athlete.
Carano used to compete in mixed martial arts. Some of her most well-known competitions include EliteXC and Strikeforce between 2006 and 2009. She competed for several years until retiring after losing her first professional MMA match to Cris Cyborg.
McKayla Maroney used to compete as an artistic gymnast. Before retiring in 2016, Maroney won several medals, including a gold medal as part of a team in the 2012 Summer Olympics and an individual silver medal. She also participated in the World Championships, winning several awards.
But many may not know that even before retiring, Maroney started her acting career by appearing on several TV shows. Some of her appearances include Hart of Dixie, Bones and Superstore. In 2020, she expanded her creative career by releasing two singles.
Serena Williams is probably one of the most famous female athletes in sports history and among the most popular tennis players. Her professional career started in 1995, when she was only 14 years old, until 2022, when she played her last match. Throughout the years, she was ranked the number one female player on more than one occasion.
Even though her primary focus has always been her athletic career, she used her creative talents to appear on TV shows and movies starting in 2001 when she voiced her own character on The Simpsons. Her filmography includes Law & Order: SVU, ER, Drop Dead Diva, Ocean’s Eight and Glass Onion.
Like Maroney, Nastia Liukin’s career as a former female athlete includes multiple competitions as an artistic gymnast. Before her retirement in 2012, she became an Olympic medalist, a World Champion and a US National Champion. Her fans may say the highlight of her career is her talent on the balance beam.
In the same way Maroney began acting before retiring, Liukin started appearing on different projects in 2006. Her most-known projects include Stick It, Olympians at Heart, Hellcats and Make It or Break It.