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This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Apollonia Llewellyn, a 23-year-old model and influencer from England. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
I have been in the modeling industry since I was 14. I had a lot of friends who were older than me doing lots of promotion work. One of my older friends was a ring girl, the girl who holds up a sign during the fights showing what round is coming next. When I was around 16 or 17 she helped me get into it.
I started working at local matches called Ultimate White Collar boxing, which is a charity boxing night held all over the UK. I remember I used to get paid £100 for one evening. At that age, it was great money.
I regularly did ring-girl gigs at local matches until I was around 19, when I stopped to focus on modeling and building my social media presence. I was making more as an influencer – ring girl was never a full-time income.
I got the job as a ring girl for a new boxing night this summer through an agency
I’d been working with an agency for Instagram and modeling jobs for around six months. The agency had advertised a couple of other ring girl jobs but they weren’t suitable or I was busy. I hadn’t been a ring girl for a few years.
This summer, the agency circulated an opportunity to be a ring at a new boxing night called Misfits. It’s a promotion run by the influencer KSI. I applied on a whim.
Apollonia Llewellyn in the ring at a Misfits boxing match. Apollonia Llewellyn
Within a day, I got the job. My first fight was scheduled for the following weekend. It all happened really quickly.
As a ring girl, you are usually expected to attend two events: the weigh-in and the fight itself. The fights are usually on a Saturday night, and the weigh-in is on Friday evening. On Friday, the ring girls are on stage, but it only takes one or two hours. On fight days, you usually have to be ring-side from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. when the fight’s over.
Misfits boxing matches only happen once every eight weeks, so I can still spend most of my time working as an influencer and model. I post two Instagrams and three TikToks every day. During the week, I’ll have modeling shoots.
I’ve done three matches with them so far, and have another coming up soon. The first time, I was paid £300 through the agency, which isn’t great. I wouldn’t normally work for that amount, but I thought the exposure was worth it.
Now I am working with Misfits directly because they want to keep the same girls for every fight. I get paid around £900, which is about $1,100, per match. They’ve also mentioned that they will put us on a salary going forward.
Taking this ring-girl gig paid off almost immediately. I posted promoting the first Misfit fight I did on Instagram and TikTok and my follower count went up by nearly 10,000 across both platforms.
I’ve also noticed that when I post pictures in my ring-girl outfits, they get more interactions and usually it’s KSI fans in the comments.
Misfits fights are definitely different from local charity matches
Misfits is a boxing promotion for vloggers, TikTokers, and famous gamers. These internet celebrities have massive fan bases which draw big crowds – I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into.
There were around 20,000 people in the crowd at the first fight. When I used to do it locally, there would usually be a couple hundred people in the crowds, so this was a major jump. It was also televised which is a lot more pressure, but also more fun.
Logan Paul, an American Youtube influencer, was at the first Misfits fight I was a ring girl for.
Llewellyn is standing behind Logan Paul and KSI at the first Misfits match. Apollonia Llewellyn
When you go into the ring for the first time at a match you always get a good reaction
It’s so loud and there are people whistling. When I was younger, I used to get some negative comments, mainly from girls. But after the Misfits fights, I’ve only had positive reactions – women have even come up to me after the fight and said, “you did really well.”
There are usually between two and four ring girls for each match. Some do promotion work full-time, some are models, and some have never done it before and have normal jobs.
Apollonia Llewellyn, far left, and three other ring girls working at a Misfits fight. Apollonia Llewellyn
There is no plan for what ring girls have to do during a match other than to hold the flag for the main event. We just figure it out between ourselves before the fight starts. We usually will wait ring-side and practice walking from one side of the ring to the other in between rounds while everyone else is getting ready.
Sometimes, we get a dressing room backstage, but not always. Waiting ring-side and practicing can be really helpful for the girls who have never done a fight before.
I don’t get nervous before a fight because it’s similar to modeling. While I’m in the ring, I’ll just switch off and not think of anyone watching.
KSI and his fan base add a new dimension to my experience as a ring girl
The power of KSI’s fanbase has also impacted my recent experiences as a ring girl. The fans will ask to take pictures with me after a match even though I just hold the ring card.
My brother watches all these guys on YouTube and told me to get a bottle of Prime – an energy drink brand that KSI and Logan Paul own – while I was there. I took a picture with the bottle and now Prime has sent me 10 cases. I feel like a lot of brand deals will come out of this work as well.
My family has been really supportive of my ring-girl gigs, especially my dad because he loves anything to do with sports. My nephews were allowed to stay up past their bedtime to watch the matches on TV.
I love being a ring girl because it’s so different from modeling
No one labels you as an influencer. Everyone I work with is really normal – there are no strict diets or bitchiness. It’s like being at home.
My tips to someone breaking into doing it is to sign with an agency because they can help you get the contacts you need. I’d start with the small charity fights. That’s how I learned the ropes and prepared myself for the bigger fights.
Social media also really helps. I know lots of girls will post when they’re a ring girl and it can boost their following.