TAKING 5 WITH LIZ CAMBAGE
Liz Cambage has home court advantage as she opens up about her multiple career paths, her femininity, and what it means to win.
Step into Liz’s home, and onto her court, and she lets down her walls and discusses her path as a female athlete and entertainer. With many interests and hobbies throughout her life, it’s easy to gloss over the trials it took Liz to get where she is today. Join us as she opens up about her personal and professional struggles, her support system, and her belief in herself.
How the odd one out became the leader of the pack
Liz Cambage is coming for you, but not before she has her morning smoothie. When asked what the five things she needs every day to be at her best, the WNBA player and DJ tells us, “as long as I’ve got good sleep and coffee, my smoothie after whatever I've done, a hot shower to end the day and a good dinner, we good. That's all I need.”
Need to do what, exactly? Win, and the self-described larger-than-life Australian transplant is full of the passion to do just that. In discussing what it means to win, her drive shines through, “if you're not first you're last, baby. That's winning. I don't care about second. I don't care about third. I've either won or I've lost. That's winning for me…” She’s quick to add, “that's sport winning” and that there’s also winning in life, which for her, is about being happy and being surrounded by good people and good energy. Liz credits the good people in her life continuously throughout our conversation, telling us joining a basketball club at the age of ten to avoid bullying was her first taste of teamwork.
But basketball doesn’t define her and certainly isn’t her only thing. This was true especially in her youth. Standing at 6’8” she tells us, “I just fell into basketball. I wanted to be an architect, I wanted to be a marine biologist, I wanted to be a fashion designer… Basketball was never on my radar as a kid. So that's why I've always had drive and ambition to chase so many other avenues and careers.” And what exactly are those other outlets? Cambage owns a gym and is co-owner of an Australian vitamin company. She’s also a DJ and a model, and gives lectures and community talks as well. “I’m very blessed.”
If you're not first you're last, baby. That's winning. I don't care about second. I don't care about third. I've either won or I've lost. That's winning for me…
So how does Liz balance her multiple careers? She considers each one to be a source of inspiration for another, is quick to credit her support system, and gives a nod to her star-sign. “I’m the most Leo Leo you’ll ever meet. You should just Google Leo and I pop up. That's how Leo I am.” She approaches basketball in the same way, even preferring to practice with male athletes, “I don't care who you are, you're not going to beat me. You're not going to talk shit to me. Yeah, you're going to dunk on me. I got dunked on like 10 times today… I don't care, I'm going to score on you back. Two points is two points. That's the Leo in me, don't get me started.”
But this fire also comes from a darker place. Liz tells us growing up in Australia as a Black girl, especially one with a white mom and grandmother, was alienating — plus, she was a bigger kid. She was constantly bullied. “I was always the odd one out… sticking out like a sore thumb. I was always the target.” Liz credits this experience with toughening her up and giving her a quick mouth, though that can sometimes get her into trouble. She considers it mostly an asset though; it’s given her the strength to stick up for herself and hold others accountable for the things they do. “I’m lucky that growing up made me so tough… It made me become a woman that stands up for myself, and everyone else around me that's being disrespected as well.”
I'm thankful to the powers above for all the trials I've been through because it's made me who I am today. But if it wasn't for that darkness, there's no way I'd be able to appreciate the light.
Coming off as so sure of herself, Liz wants others to know that she’s been lost, too. “I went through a few really dark years of depression, you know — going to sleep, hoping you don't wake up. That's a really dark place.” But she credits these hardships for making her appreciate all that she had and everything she was capable of. “[Now] I wake up, I breathe, I feel the sunshine on my skin, that's a blessing right there. So I'm thankful to the powers above for all the trials I've been through because it's made me who I am today. But if it wasn't for that darkness, there's no way I'd be able to appreciate the light.”
Alongside her personal struggles, Liz recognizes that as a female in both the sports and music industries there’s still a lot of work to be done. When asked what she would like to see change within her field, Liz offers a poignant and all-encompassing answer, something we’ve come to expect from such a multi-faceted woman: “I just want women to have a bigger platform. It doesn’t matter if they're an athlete, it doesn't matter if they're a CEO. It doesn't matter if they're a doctor, if they're a nurse, I think every woman needs to be put on a bigger platform.”
So what’s Liz’s driving mantra? Don’t get caught up in what others think of you. “As long as you’re staying in your lane, doing your thing, and focusing on being your best every day, you don't need to worry about what anyone else thinks of you… I’m living my life, y’all can live yours.”
‘Taking 5 With’ is an all-new video series profiling athletes redefining what it means to be a woman in sport. The episodes curate intimate portraits of athletes who have found their flow state by being true to themselves.
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