Danielle Demski can do it all. She is a model, TV host, a former Miss USA finalist and was even a cheerleader for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals. Now she's co-hosting the Tennis Channel's "Fit to Hit" series, which aims to inform viewers about sports nutrition and fitness while revealing the tenis secrets that can give any weekend player an edge.
Demski brings her love of the game to the show and has even picked up a few new skills of her own.
"I implement [new techniques] into my game with friends. I was just playing with my friend the other day and she was like, 'Wow, great backhand!' " Demski told Headlines and Global News in an exclusive interview.
The Arizona State graduate spoke to HNGN about her passion for the sport, how she stays fit and healthy and reveals the one tennis player she'd be terrified to go up against!
You recently started a new job at the Tennis Channel hosting a show called "Fit to Hit." How is that going?
It's good, it's great! It first started airing on August 16th and it airs every Sunday on the Tennis Channel. It is a really fun show to work on, really interesting! I am not a professional tennis player, and I am not somebody who has toured. But for your average tennis player or your weekend warrior, it is a great way to improve your game. It is also for people who just picked up a racket for the first time. Honestly, even if you are not that into tennis, there is a lot of fitness and nutrition information that is really interesting.
How did you get involved with the show?
Well, I grew up playing tennis and I am very into fitness and nutrition, and I have been hosting for a long time now. The Tennis Channel got in touch with my agent and I came in and I met with them, and it ended up being a really good fit. From there, it was an awesome first season, so hopefully there is a second one.
Have you already finished filming for the first season?
Yes, we just finished up so we are all done with the first season. It was fun!
How many episodes did you guys shoot?
We shot six episodes.
Can you take me though what an average episode of the show is like?
We are traveling around the country to different tennis hotspots and tennis destinations – like this season we were in Florida, New York, Palm Springs and all over California. We are meeting with pros; I got a chance to meet with Tim Smyczek and John Isner and actually go through their pro workouts with them, which has given me a whole new appreciation for what they can do. I was dying trying to get though these workouts with them. It's so funny because they just make it look so simple. It was super cool to see a day in the life of a pro and to see what they do on a daily basis to up their game and for their nutrition and fitness.
We also met with a lot of trainers who are working with the pros and found out what the cutting-edge techniques that they're using right now with the players that they are working with. We met with brain health experts, not just body but also mind. Mind as in how you can keep your mental capacity really sharp, the different foods you can eat too as well. We are meeting with the pros but also the people who help them up their game and then relaying that information to our audience so they can hopefully take some of that and use it in their own lives.
Have you had a favorite episode or segment on the show?
I have had a lot. I interviewed a neurologist and a brain health expert in New York, actually he was an author. He was a New York Times-bestselling author and he covers mainly food and nutrition and the way that the U.S. deals with all their food and the regulations. It was really interesting to hear his perspective on the foods that we are eating on an everyday basis. The foods that are in our grocery stores that are so bad for us, or on the other hand the foods that could be so good for you, for brain health, so I thought that segment was really interesting. Also watching John Isner play and getting a chance to get on the court with him was also awesome, so that was really cool!
What is your history with tennis?
My mom has played tennis since she was in high school and college. She was very into tennis and played competitive tennis all while I was growing up. I kind of got into the game through her love for it and played through junior high and high school. Now, I am just kind of your weekend warrior, I get out on the court when I have a chance with friends or just for fun. The great thing about tennis is you can play when you are 15 or 50.
That is a good point. I feel like the only other sport like that is golf.
Yeah, exactly. It is something you can play at any stage and it is also something that pretty social, it is a social environment. Whether you are playing singles or doubles, it is a very social sport. It's nice to get on the court and laugh and have fun with your friends and then you know go out for cocktails afterwards! That is one of my favorite parts!
Speaking of doubles, do you have a dream doubles partner?
I would have to say Serena Williams. You always want Serena on your side!
Who are some of your all-time favorite tennis players?
Well of course Serena Williams. What she has done for the sport is truly amazing, she is always super fun to watch. Billie Jean King, she did so much for women in the sport of tennis. And then a third one would have to be Andre Agassi. I grew up watching him, so I have to pick him!
Has your game gotten better since you started working on "Fit to Hit?"
Absolutely it has! Working with the pros and their trainers, people who have the best experts available to them and the most cutting-edge techniques, of course it is going to help you up your game. When you are out there working with these people and they are showing you techniques, I implement them into my game. When I play with friends they're like "you get better." It is so funny, I was just playing with my friend the other day and she was like "Wow, great backhand." I was like "thank you!"
You mentioned earlier that you are really into nutrition and fitness. Why do you think those thing are so important?
A lot of people go to the gym because they want to see physical results, which of course we all want, but fitness and nutrition also affects your energy level, your mind and how you are able to think and do whether it is in the workplace, when you are out with friends or whatever. When I was growing up, my parents, especially my dad, he still works out to this day and eats really healthy. Growing up I was always like "that is so lame, pizza is good!" As I got older I was like "Oh, OK, I get it now."
You know, I treat myself all the time. You do not want to cut that stuff out of your life for good. When I am working out, eating healthy and doing things that I enjoy, it just gives you a better quality of life.
What is your go to treat-yourself meal?
I love cheese! Any format of cheese I love. I love a cheese plate, cheese pizza, a cheese quesadilla, I love cheese in any form. It is my favorite food!
I competently agree. There is no way I could ever give up cheese!
I know! I could go vegetarian, it would be hard, but I could do it. I could however never give up cheese. Cheese and wine, I could never give them up!
You seem to live a very busy life. Do you have any tips for people who say they don't have time for fitness and nutrition?
Like anyone else I go through time periods when I am super busy and times when I have a little bit more downtime. When I am traveling for a show like "Fit to Hit" and going from this hotel room to that hotel room, when I don't have my food in my refrigerator at home, I think you can always find healthy options even when you are traveling. Even something like fast food, there are healthier options. Look at the salt. You are trying to stay away from the salt in food. Fat is not something that I worry about too much now, but staying away from salt and a lot of processed foods. I try and do that. I think that no matter how busy you are or whatever city you are in you can find faster, healthier options.
For working out, if I am on the road or traveling, I love exploring places, especially if I have not been there before. Just something simple like taking a walk or jogging around the city that you are in. You can get cardio done while exploring the place.
Do you see yourself staying in the hosting area with sports or are you looking to branch out and do other things?
I love what I do for a living. I am very lucky that I get to do what I do for a living. I really, really love it. I got my degree in broadcast journalism, so I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do and got lucky in actually doing it. Mainly in my career I have done a lot of entertainment and a lot of sports, hosting and reporting. Those are my two favorite genres to work in. I love sports, I grew up playing sports. Entertainment, I have done a ton of entertainment and red carpets and that sort of thing. Those are my two favorite things to work in. Hopefully I continue doing exactly that.
What is your favorite sport to play versus your favorite sport to watch?
My favorite sport to play would have to be tennis, of course. I love playing but I actually do love watching it too. I think just one step above watching tennis is football. I love the NFL.
What's your favorite NFL team?
The Cardinals, the Arizona Cardinals! I was actually a cheerleader for them for four years. It was so awesome and so cool. I have always been a huge football fan so it was cool to be right on the sidelines for every game watching them up close and personal, it was very cool.