When you tune into UFC 194 to see Conor McGregor clash with Jose Aldo Saturday night for the featherweight title, there’s a high probability that one of the Octagon girls will catch your eye: gorgeous Ford Agency model Vanessa Hanson.
“It was really random actually,” Hanson says when asked how she became a UFC babe. “They actually found me at the beach; they had a booth for the US Open of surfing and were looking for girls. The girls that I was with entered and made me enter. I got a call three months later. I had no idea about the UFC at all.”
But now, having sat ringside at countless match-ups, Hanson counts Ronda Rousey and Robbie Lawler as her favorite fighters. Of Lawler, she raves: “His fights are just really action-packed. His bout against [Rory] MacDonald was the craziest fight ever.”
But the MMA-loving model isn’t always getting blood splattered on during televised brawls. When she’s not working for the UFC, you might find her indulging her passion for good food.
“When I first started modeling, I was going to college to be a psychologist but right now I’m not so sure,” she explained. “I’m more interested in the entertainment industry now. I think I want to do something more with food", Hanson said, adding that prime rib, sushi and nachos are among her favorite dishes.
With that in mind, we chatted with Hanson about her favorite places spots in New Orleans, the famously fun town and culinary stronghold where she celebrated her 21st birthday. “I really liked all the culture and good food,” she says. “I like that it has a lot of history, but I'd definitely also advise going during one of the festivals.”
Best Place for Dinner: Cafe Amelie
Dec 9, 2015 at 9:25am PST
“They have really great outside seating, sort of like a garden. The shrimp and grits is very delicious!”
Best Dive Bar: Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
Dec 9, 2015 at 5:16pm PST
“It's the oldest bar in the US. It's dimly-lit and they’ll have live piano. I like cocktail or red wine, and I'm a big fan of margaritas. But they're known for their Hurricanes.”
Best Live Music: The Spotted Cat
Oct 24, 2015 at 3:06pm PDT
“Anywhere on Bourbon Street is great for clubbing but this is more up my alley. They have some good jazz music and is a little more relaxed”
Best Late Night Eats: F&M
Oct 16, 2015 at 8:36am PDT
"You definitely have to get cheese fries, who doesn't want those when you're drunk?"
Best Brunch Spot: Stanley
Nov 30, 2015 at 5:56am PST
"They have an eggs Benedict po' boy that's really good."
Photos by Courtesy of Vanessa Hanson