Over the last decade, the popularity of the UFC has risen in meteoric fashion, and the career of Arianny Celeste has been along for the ride. As the longest-running Octagon girl in the history of the promotion, Celeste is a recognizable and indispensible part of the live fight experience, like the tenor of Bruce Buffer or the play-by-play by Joe Rogan.
A successful model and television host, Celeste has traveled the globe, promoting fights in Brazil, Japan, and Abu Dhabi. Her trademark blown kiss, seen by millions of viewers every month, is a little hint of pleasure before the bell rings and the pain begins.
Cat Begovic: Where were you born? Where does your exotic look come from?
Arianny Celeste: I was born and raised in Las Vegas. I went to Eldorado High School and UNLV. I’ve been living in Los Angeles for the last seven years. I’m mixed Spanish, Mexican, Apache Indian and Filipino.
CB: How did you first start model-ing, and how did your career develop?
AC: I started modeling when I was 16 years old, but I didn’t work much because I lived in Las Vegas. In Vegas, most jobs required girls to be over 21. Also I was rather shy. When I turned 21, I entered in the 2006 Octagon Girl contest because I was a student and I thought I would be able to win some money to help pay for tuition. I was surprised but super excited when I booked the job. As the UFC grew, I grew with them.
CB: You’ve been on several magazine covers, including Playboy. What was that like?
AC: When Playboy asked me to shoot, I was in a really great place. I had been with the UFC for a while and was really happy with my body and confident as a model. Of course, it’s little nerve-racking any time you have to shoot naked. But everyone there was so professional I felt super comfortable. Somehow in that environment, it seemed normal to be photographed naked. I had always admired girls in Playboy, so it was an amazing experience to shoot for them.
CB: Have there been any funny or awkward moments behind the scenes at the UFC?
AC: During the weigh-ins, the guys are almost naked. I have to stand there while being filmed live as they get undressed. Sometimes when the guys are overweight, they keep taking off their clothes and get more and more naked. Then, all of the sudden, they drop their shorts and are completely naked in front of the crowd. I have to stand there and try to look away while still posing for the camera!
CB: Over the years, there have been a lot of UFC Octagon girls. Why do you think you have become the most recognizable?
AC: I am very proactive and try to think of modeling and any opportunity as a business. I think sometimes models get used to people handing them things because they look pretty, but I take a more businesslike approach. With every job, I talk to people and network, and see if there are any new projects I can get involved in.
CB: Do you like all traveling that comes with the job? Is there any specific spot that took your breath away?
AC: I have been able to visit amazing places with the UFC staff, who are like family to me. I love traveling anywhere tropical with a beach, but Italy really took my breath away. The food, the people, the architecture is all so different than the US.
CB: Have you been involved in fitness your whole life?
AC: I was a competitive cheerleader and gymnast for 15 years. We always had to work out and stay in shape. I was the one they threw around in the air.
CB: What is your training philosophy like?
AC: I get bored easily, so I maintain my physique by switching it up between weight training, Pilates, cardio kickboxing, cycling, and circuit training. I’m not afraid to lift weights. In fact, it’s necessary for my petite frame.
CB: What’s your favorite body part on a guy?
AC: The ass and the obliques.
CB: You are surrounded by so many macho men, does that mean your romantic doors are closed for more sensitive guys?
AC: I like intelligent guys with drive and, yes, who are romantic. Macho does nothing for me.
CB: Who is your favorite fighter of all time?
AC: I’m an old-school girl. I love BJ Penn and Randy Couture. Both are talented with true fighters’ hearts.
CB: What’s next for you and your career?
AC: I host a TV show called Overhaulin’ on Velocity TV, and I’m a regular guest on Guy Codeon MTV. I’m always interested in the business aspect of modeling. I would like to manage girls who want to make a career in modeling. I only recently got a manager, so for most of my career I managed myself. I was the one making phone calls to promote myself, book gigs, and was involved in marketing myself. I think because I’ve done that for myself and have been successful, I would be a great manager.
CB: Are you on social media. If so, where can our readers follow you?
AC: I am all over social media. They can follow me here:
By Dr.Cat Begovic • Photos By Per Bernal