Ashley Callingbull-Rabbit moves from Sports Illustrated to Sask. Sports

Former Ms. Universe Ashley Callingbull-Rabbit to join Saskatoon Blades and Saskatchewan Rush as ambassador

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Ashley Callingbull-Rabbit is emerging from the two-year pandemic healthier, fitter and ready to take on a new Indigenous outreach role with two sports teams in Saskatchewan.

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At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Callingbull-Rabbit never took a break and didn’t know what to do.

Two years later, she is now married to hockey coach Wacey Rabbit, a former Saskatoon Blades captain now returning to the Blades organization as an assistant coach. Callingbull-Rabbit will also join Blades and Saskatchewan Rush as an ambassador. Both will participate in indigenous outreach.

In the spring of 2020, the former Ms. Universe decided to focus on her fitness, a journey that led to her landing a coveted photo shoot in Sports Illustrated magazine and being named game host for the Edmonton Elks football team with CISN Country. Chris Scheetz.

A Cree woman hosting the game is a monumental moment for all Cree women and a first for Canadian soccer.

“As a proud member of Treaty Six, I have always been a fan of Edmonton’s sports teams,” said Callingbull-Rabbit. “I’m excited to join one of my hometown teams with the Edmonton Elks.”

“Having Ashley be the voice of the Elks on game day is not only a source of pride for Enoch, but for all of the Treaty Six First Nations,” Enoch Cree Nation Chief Billy Morin said.

His fitness journey began in 2020, at the start of the pandemic.

“I thought I needed to make a change,” he said. “My lifestyle is busy, like flying, traveling and working constantly. But when the pandemic started and it was time to go into quarantine, I felt lost.

Lost and sad.

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“I was sitting on the couch eating cheese. I didn’t feel as ambitious as before because everything was so uncertain, so I thought, I don’t feel good mentally right now.

He decided to start with small workouts and gradually increase his exercise routine. “And now I’ve been doing it for almost two years. I’m in the best shape of my life. I feel amazing,” she said.

“It feels good to take care of myself physically because it helps mentally and I feel stronger overall.”

It also paid dividends. In May, the former Ms. Mundo became the first indigenous woman to grace the pages of Sports Illustrated magazine’s swimsuit issue.

It was an incredible opportunity, Callingbull-Rabbit said, because thousands of women applied.

She had created a video for Sports Illustrated that showed who she was and what she stood for. She received a message that she came to the casting round with 50 other models, all from different backgrounds, with different stories and achievements.

“And then I remember it was almost 6 a.m. on March 1 and no one calls me at 6 a.m. unless it’s an emergency.

“I answered the phone, I was half awake and they said, ‘We’re calling from Sports Illustrated and want to let you know that we’ve selected you and you’re free to fly to the Dominican Republic.’ ‘

“I said yes and I was crying. I thought it wasn’t real,” she recalled.

“I thought maybe I would wake up, like a dream. And then within days I was in the Dominican Republic filming for Sports Illustrated, it happened so fast.”

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It was a wonderful experience and a true honor, he added. “I have always pushed myself and I have always worked to achieve my goals.”

One of its goals is to help vulnerable and exploited women. “One day, I hope to open a women’s shelter because my mom was escaping domestic violence,” Callingbull-Rabbit said.

“It is essential for me to give women a second chance in life and especially to help their children,” he added. “I don’t want them to go through what I went through.”

She challenged others to add movement to their lives, both for their physical and mental well-being: “Movement is medicine.”

• Chevi Rabbit is a reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative with the Alberta Native News

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