There is no question who the hardest-working and most visible ring card girl is in Quebec. Mary Pearl’s beaming smile has become a very familiar sight to fans of live combat sports in Montreal and elsewhere over the last few years. But Pearl is much more than a pretty face, as she told The Fight City when she sat down to talk about her passion for her work, her efforts to support local charities, and her background in athletics and combat sports. Read the interview and find out how there’s more to being a ring card girl than most people realize.
Fight City: So you’ve been a prominent figure in the Montreal fight scene for a while now. How did this all start?
Mary Pearl: It began in 2013 at Club Soda when I got called in to replace another ring card girl. At first they didn’t want to take me because I didn’t have much experience. But I continued doing the same show, and eventually just got contract after contract with other events and promoters.
You are incredibly active, not just as a ring card girl but in many other projects. How do you keep up?
It’s all about time management. I have a regular, full-time job which requires a lot of travelling and tending to the needs of my sponsors and promoters, and on top of that I have my second job as a ring girl, which also involves promoting and finding sponsors and so on. I also have my team of girls who work for me, so I have to coordinate them. I also do modelling and photo shoots, and I am involved with charity work too.
So between juggling a full time job, getting involved with charities and your busy schedule, what does being a ‘Ring Girl’ mean to you?
It means a lot actually because I’m also a martial arts specialist. I did taekwondo for six years, so I was also a competitor. So when I’m part of the fighting events as a ring girl, I feel like I have the VIP seat. And like the fighters, I need to follow a strict diet and workout routine to stay fit and maintain my shape. Also, I try to be a ‘different’ kind of ring card girl. I wanted to change people’s attitudes about it. Most just think of it as a ‘sexy thing’ but I wanted people to see it’s more than that. I am also a business person and involved in fitness modelling and, as I mentioned, charity work. In fact, every year I make a calendar for people to buy and all funds raised go to the Autistic Children Foundation. So there’s more to it than many people realize. And with my team of girls, I make sure they are always smiling and stay classy and professional and work to maintain good relations with the promoters and organizers. We even help find sponsors or support staff. So I bring an added value to being a Ring Girl.
So that’s like the ‘Mary Pearl Style,’ your signature, so to speak, when it comes to professionalism.
Yes. I always say that Mary Pearl is unique. We offer more.
Which is why promoters keep booking you and asking you to come back. We hear you even get double-booked sometimes?
Yeah, it happens a lot. They sometimes ask last minute, even when they know they have to book me in advance. Since I can’t be at every show, I send my girls to represent me.
Tell us about ‘The Pearl Team.’
It’s going very well. We are even branching into the U.S. where there are plenty of opportunities. But I’m a perfectionist, so I want my girls to be number one. I usually take girls younger than me, 20-years-old or so, because I remember being that age and not having confidence in myself to do it. It’s rewarding because they appreciate what I teach them about being self-confident and professional. I don’t want them to be exactly like me, but I feel I’m unique and I do things a certain way. Most importantly, I want to interact well with the fans. The contact with the crowd is important. So it’s not just about being a ‘Ring Girl,’ it’s also about what they do before, during and after. They have to enjoy what they do and have a passion for it. I also prefer girls who have a passion for MMA or boxing.
What makes you so passionate about what you do?
I think it goes back to my experience as a fitness model competitor, where I was told I wasn’t good enough and was criticized for being too shy. So I used that as motivation to learn how to become more comfortable presenting myself. So when I watch myself on video doing the shows and I’m happy with the way I’ve presented myself, I feel very proud. You know, I encountered many people who said I was just a dreamer, that my goals were impossible. But I kept going, I pushed my limits and this is where I stand today. So my message to everyone is, even if people do not believe in you, even if you are rejected, just be patient, believe in yourself, keep going, and you can be successful. — Wes Derequito
Follow Mary Pearl on Facebook, Twitter (@ring_pearl) and Instagram (@ringpearl).