A couple of days back, a PR firm contacted us out of the blue wondering if we'd be interested in an interview with Ines Sainz
. You might remember or know her best from this description, offered by the PR folks' press release: "The TV Azteca reporter drew attention earlier this NFL season when she sought an interview with NY Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez in the team’s locker room, which led to a few of his teammates behaving inappropriately in her presence."
Sainz is helping cover Saturday night's big fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito at the Cowboys' new stadium in Dallas. Her primary gig is working for Mexico's TV Azteca. She's interviewed some of the most famous athletes around: Peyton Manning, Ronaldo, Derek Jeter and plenty of others. On Friday morning, she was kind enough to take some time to speak with us. Here we go:
RandBall: Regarding the Mark Sanchez/Jets locker room incident, there are plenty of people who have plenty of opinions about how that played out. How would you describe the incident and aftermath – which included you saying you don’t want to do interviews inside the locker room anymore?
Ines Sainz: Well, at the first moment I didn’t realize what is exactly happening. I didn’t realize why people were making so much noise about it. As I say all the time, I wasn’t the one who made the claim. ... I was thinking about my interview and everything. But when I come back to Mexico, and I start to see everything around the media, people calling around the world – Brazil, Argentina, England, a lot of places – and try to talk to me about it. That opened my eyes. I have a really good chance, a lot of publicity right now – a chance to show the world how my work is. Everybody knows me by the incident in the locker room, but no one knows about my job. I have a new challenge. I truly believe this is my time to show the people why I am a very respectable journalist in Mexico.
RB: The whole thing certainly added to your celebrity profile. How do you feel about the attention?
IS: I know that everybody has different opinions. I believe it’s very good for me that I have my chance to explain exactly what happened inside the locker room. I think now people know I wasn’t the one making the claim and I’m really only concerned about my work. But as you say, you never know the publicity: You never know if it’s going to be good or bad. I must tell you that it was bad in some points and good in other points. When I came back to Mexico, everyone supported me. But I was the (spokesperson) for one of the biggest banks in Mexico. They talked to me and preferred to finish my yearly contract. They said there was too much noise around me … and that was very painful for me. … But I think that if you have lived something bad, why not try to keep the best opportunities to make it right?
RB: The PR group that set this interview up and represents you referred to you as “Mexico’s sexiest sports journalist” in a press release that later stated, “Although known for her looks and curvaceous body, Sainz is a legitimate journalist.” First, the sexiest sports journalist line – is that how you think of yourself?
IS: No, actually no. I don’t even know why they would say that. I must speak with them. I didn’t know that. The people know me as the girl inside Jets’ locker room, but I want everyone to start to look for my work. I think I’m very different than the sexiest reporter in Mexico. That’s not a good adjective for me. (Laughs)
RB: That said, the contrast between your looks and your professionalism: Do you feel like your appearance gives you an advantage in the business you are in, and are you comfortable being so open about it?
IS: Well, I truly believe the Latin people – we are proud to be attractive. It’s nothing to punish if you try to be feminine or attractive. And also, as you know, television is all about image. People not only want to know something. They want to know and to see something and they like it. I’m like this. I really take care of myself, my body, my everything. And also I’m very well-prepared with my work. So I think it’s a combination of both things.
IS: I can explain the whole history. With Terrell Owens, I met him many years before when I interviewed him at a Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Then I took a vacation in Los Cabos, and he was also in the same hotel. I saw him and it was in the preview of the season. I asked him if it was possible if I came to Dallas to make an interview. He said yes, of course, whenever you want. When I made my schedule, I contacted him and … I told him in a couple of weeks I was going to be there. As soon as I arrived, he looked at me and said, “OK, yes, I know she came here only for this interview.” He keeps his word. He knows that my travel was only for that interview. … I never bothered to explain that to anyone because no one asked about it.
RB: You jumped in the ring with Manny Pacquiao in preparation for this fight you are covering Saturday. What was that experience like?
IS: Well, actually it was a very easy thing. The last week I was training camp. I followed him for the whole day, and we went into the gym … he’s so fun and easy-going. He is determined to be very very, how do you say, appreciative of all the people.
RB: Last thing, and I’ll let you run. Predictions for the fight? IS:
Well, actually I think it’s going to be a really interesting fight. I think Margarito has a very good chance to beat Manny. Margarito punches harder and he is the strongest. We all know Manny is amazing. But if Margarito can wait 2, 3, 4 rounds and start punching, he could win this fight. And I’m also Mexican. Manny was beating a lot of Mexican people. We truly believe this is a time for revenge.