Nicole Arena: From Fenway Hot Dogs To Maxim Hotties
If you happen to be attending a Red Sox game at Fenway Park this summer and go to buy yourself a hot dog, chances are good that you'll catch a glimpse of the girl asking you for $16.47. And if you do see her - she's only 4 foot 8 1/2 (four-nine if you round up) - you may recognize her. With a name like Nicole Arena, the name is hard to forget. Her story is hard to forget as well. But, let's be honest, there's another major reason why she's someone you'll remember for most of the next three eternities combined. She looks pretty good.
Nicole Arena (real name, it's Italian) hasn't always looked like what you see in her photographs. Over the past three years, she has lost 72 pounds. All while selling dogs at Fenway. Oh, and going for her doctorate at Northeastern. Oh (again), and planning the release of a series of workout videos.
Let's tackle this stuff.
You know how some people are "self-made?" I'm talking about the poor guy who worked his way up through the mailroom before becoming CEO and buying the company 15 years later. Or the dude (or dudette) who worked all night long in his/her basement writing some incredible novel or software code that changed the world. These are the people who have some inner drive that makes them HAVE to succeed at whatever their goal is. They won't stop until they have conquered and declared outright victory.
That's who Nicole Arena is.
She was unhappy with her weight, with her self-confidence. She'd never had a date in her life. So she made a change. With a little inspiration from the Boston Marathon, she decided to try to "embrace that buzz." She'd walk up her street. Then run up the street. Then run a little farther. Then run a loop. Then two loops. Then three. She started feeling better about herself, went to the gym, and changed her lifestyle. She changed how she ate and became more aware of what she was putting into her body.
How'd she change her lifestyle? She kept moving. She'd record her classes and walk at night, listening to the lectures. Or take stairs or ride the bike while listening. She incorporated resistance training into her workouts, researched what constitutes a good exercise program from her studies at Northeastern, and, after three years, got the weight off and learned how to keep it off. Nicole weighs 98 pounds now. She's finishing her Doctorate in physical therapy and will have it in May, 2010.
She really is a self-made woman.
For the last six years, she's worked for Aramark at Fenway, serving up dogs to the Fenway faithful. "People will wait in line for 5 hours for a hot dog with a smile," she says. You can tell she likes Red Sox fans.
After she and her two other food sellers set up her stand - they get to the game 3 hours before it starts, she can go on the field and catch batting practice. A gig at Fenway Park is not an easy one to get. Even for hot dog girls. A friend referred the job to her and, to get seniority, she has to work at least 50 games in a season,
She's friends with the security guards at Fenway, the ushers (Nicole told a great story about Al, a former Red Sox employee who used to drive Ted Williams to games and just retired after 60 years working for the team). Yes, some of the players know her. She doesn't congregate with them (they're not allowed to ask for autographs), but they've said hi and she's said hi. It's gone no further than that. She doesn't want to lose her job. And there's another reason:
She's still never gone on a date.
Her self-esteem is still evolving. This wasn't an overnight change. She's gone from the invisible girl to someone who gets noticed. It was awkward at first, and in her mind she'd think she was going crazy after being acknowledged by these world class athletes, but she's grown more comfortable with it. That comes with the territory now, doesn't it? But never gone on a date? Really?
That makes this third part even weirder. Photographer Stewart Smith thought Nicole would have a good shot at winning a contest in Maxim Magazine called Hometown Hotties. He snapped a bunch of shots of Nicole at his studio in Maine, Nicole entered, and now you can see her competing against 99 other women to be the Maxim Magazine Hometown Hottie.
Jimmy, you say after clicking on the Maxim link, tongue hanging out of your mouth, how do we vote for Nicole? We love her like a (short) sister.
Here's how. You just click HERE. That's all. Did you do it? Good. Then it says, VOTE FOR ME. Click on that. Then, at the bottom of the next page, it says SUBMIT. Click there. Now guess what? You've successfully voted. America is proud of you. (Yes, I voted for her twice.)
Here's something neat about Nicole. She's a very nice person. She's been a big sister mentor for the past 5 years. She's been a Wish Granter for the Make A Wish Foundation for the past 5 years. And she's heavily involved in childhood obesity prevention, designing exercise programs for children in the Boston area.
We haven't mentioned her videos yet. Nicole is also putting together a plan to train women to be the best they can be in their own "Arena" of life. Physical fitness, life fitness. Generating an "exercise prescription" for individual women, specifically tailored workouts for individuals, since everybody's body is different. It sounds complicated. For Nicole, it's part of her evolving passion for making herself, and others, healthy and fit.
You can find Nicole Arena on Facebook, at class, or this summer at Fenway Park, the girl behind the dogs and the smiles, the girl who can't see over the register. She's four foot nine, but packing a major punch. You never knew you'd know so much about a Fenway Hot Dog Girl, future Maxim Hometown Hottie, did you?
It looks like we're all better for it.
Quick Note: I'm not trying to get into dirty, immoral "You know you're going to hell for this" territory here by posting an article purely for T&A porpoises. Because Nicole works at Fenway Park and also has an inspiring story, it made sense for Jimmy Scott's High & Tight. Then again, I won't totally lie. She does look good (don't tell Vanessa about this). Who knows, maybe our collective, America The Beautiful efforts will turn Nicole Arena single-handedly into not just Maxim's Hometown Hottie, but the Hometown Hottie for the entire country.