Thursday, November 15, 2007
From Canada's National Post
A former Toronto Argonauts Cheerleader turned kickboxing instructor, Nicky Ryann is a self-described girly-girl who loves to kick butt. A huge fight fan, Ryann is co-creator and host of Rough, a new show described as “Entertainment Tonight meets ultimate fighting.” She spoke to Dave McGinn:
Kung foo fighting: I started taking kickboxing lessons at the New Toronto Academy of Martial Arts (2918 Lakeshore Boulevard West) about five years ago. It’s basically a jiu-jitsu school. Once I got in there and started to get into the training, I got completely addicted to it. Besides the physical benefits of training, the emotional and spiritual side of being involved in a martial arts school is something I was really surprised by. I actually started teaching a Sunday morning kickboxing class there about a year ago.
Go west: I’m a real west end girl. I’ve lived on the Lakeshore for about five years now. I absolutely adore living down here. I have two dogs, both poodle mixes, a girl named Abby, and a little boy named Billy. They’re my babies. I spend a lot of time walking them along the Lakeshore. And I have a great bike. I have a really great bike, a nice Trek Lance Armstrong, and I love biking out by Ontario Place and all the way out to Queen’s Quay to hang out there and check out the lakefront.
Three downs for her: I love football. When I was 18, I moved to Toronto from London and that’s when I started cheerleading for the Argos. It was awesome. I just loved performing. Still to this day I love going to Argo games or Ti-Cat games, sitting at Ivor Wynne stadium in Hamilton. Normally I try to go to three or four Argos games each year, and I always go to the Labour Day game in Hamilton. That is a must. You have to go to that game. Grab a beer, try not to get beat up on your way out if you’re an Argos fan. I’m a huge CFL fan. I do not watch NFL.
Glitz and glamour: People tend to think that because you’re involved in fighting and you like to be fit and busy that you tend to be a jock. I am definitely a glamour girl—full hair, full make-up, high heels, but still kick a little ass. My favourite place to shop is Sherway Gardens. I looove Sherway. They just opened a great Mac cosmetics store, which is obviously one of my favourite things. I could spend hours in there. It also has great shoe stores. Obviously, being a girly-girl, I love my shoes. Sexy shoes are a must. When I first started kickboxing I practiced in high heels for balance. I figured that if somebody is going to grab you on the street, you’re not going to be in bare feet. Nine times out of ten, I’m going to be in high heels, so I better know how to do this stuff in stilettos. It helps your balance a lot.
Hot buns and cool drinks: Being a west end girl, I love Bloor West Village. And my favourite food ever is hamburgers. It’s my favourite guilty indulgence food. There’s a really cool place in Bloor West Village called The Yellow Griffin, and it has over 35 different kinds of gourmet hamburgers. I’ve tried about 12 of them. There’s a few that I always go back and have the same thing. You have to go. It’s like an old English pub inside, but when you read the menu you will pee your pants laughing. They have one burger called the “Be my valentine” that comes with broken artichoke hearts. That would probably be my favourite one, because I love artichokes. They also have sweet potato fries, which is another of my favourite things. The other place that I love to go to is in Port Credit. It’s called Ten (139 Lakeshore Rd. E). They have these beef tenderloin tips that are really, really good. And they have an incredible wine bar in there and the menu is just amazing. They serve my favourite drink, which is champagne and cassis.
Down But Not Out: I’ve been to a lot of mixed martial arts events this year. You’re out late, you’re doing all kinds of crazy stuff, you’re running from one place to the next. I love to just come home, put on my Fight Network track pants and a T-shirt and chill out with my dogs, my friends and my family. Other than that, I’m heading to the dojo to do some training and kick some butt.