Her nickname is Gabby and though born in La Jolla, California, she was raised in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands until she came back as a junior in high school in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she played sports. After graduating high school, Gabrielle Reece attended Florida State University on a volleyball scholarship. She majored in communications.
Her father, who was of Afro-Trinidadian descent, was killed in a plane crash when she was five. Gabrielle Reece has a tattoo of a silver cross on the inside of her right ankle to commemorate him. She is an only child.
In 1989, Gabrielle Reece moved to New York City to pursue a career in modeling, as well as continuing her career in volleyball. By 1997, she was inducted into the Florida State University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Gabrielle Reece spent a few years on professional volleyball tours, including Captain of the Nike team. In 1993, she became Nike’s first ever female cross-training spokesperson.
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She has said, “People are already pissed off at me because I’m athletic and beautiful; to be smart in addition to that…it’s like, too much.”
Gabrielle Reece married pro surfer Laird Hamilton in 1997 and they have to children, Reece Viola Hamilton and Brody Jo Hamilton. After she gave birth, she took up golf, with hopes of making it in the LPGA. She said, “With young children, I simply didn’t have the time for such a demanding game [of volleyball].”
She is also concerned about the environment. She eats organically, and they don’t own a microwave.
When asked what her greatest achievement was, Gabrielle Reece said, “I hope I haven’t achieved it yet. Ask me in another 50 years. Up until now it’s been child’s play. I will say 10 years of marriage is nothing to sneeze at.”
In 2001, Gabrielle Reece appeared nude in Playboy. She also appeared on the covers of Outside, Shape, Elle and Life, among others. She has since written a book about her life, “Big Girl in the Middle,” and was a spokeswoman for Yahoo-Health, as well as some acting gigs, including a role in “Gattaca.” She also has her own line of health and fitness products.
Gabrielle Reece splits her time between Malibu and Hawaii.
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