There is an entire legion of DFW sports fans who became Leila Rahimi fans the first time they heard her on The Ticket, Sports Radio KTCK/1310 AM. She did the Ticket Ticker updates on weekends and was known simply as "Leila." Her picture was nowhere to be found on the station's website, and so her appearance (and most everything else we knew about her) was left up to a little thing known as the "theater of the mind."
We were hooked.
The UNT grad left The Ticket in 2005 and stepped in front of the camera, covering the Oklahoma Sooners as well as the Dallas professional teams for a TV station in Sherman. These days, you can catch her on KXAN/Channel 36, the NBC affiliate in Austin, talking Texas Longhorns football and covering stories in Dallas and Houston.
With her star on the rise, we decided to check in with Leila, and chat her up about sports, Sprinkles Cupcakes and the genius of Anchorman.
Place you were born: Denton (at Flow Memorial Hospital)
Current city: Austin
Day job: sports reporter/photographer/occasional anchor, KXAN-TV
Dream job: sports anchor or sideline reporter at a network or a nice place in Texas ...
Where did you go to college? University of North Texas. (Go Mean Green!)
First professional experience: Two weeks after high school, she started interning for Dallas Mavericks announcers Wally Lynn and Mike Fisher. A few months later, Leila had her first paying job, producing the Mavs radio broadcasts.
Favorite sports team: 1993 Dallas Cowboys. She says that season was her inspiration to become a sports journalist. That year, the Cowboys ran the table after losing the snow-filled Thanksgiving game at Texas Stadium to the Miami Dolphins.
Favorite athlete: I really admire what Drew Brees has done. He's from Austin, and there was a time when he wasn't even supposed to start for Westlake. Not only did he start, but he won that school its last state championship. He wasn't recruited by Big 12 schools but flourished at Purdue. Then after an injury with the Chargers, he lived with Dr. James Andrews to rehab. From there he goes to the Saints, and the rest is history. He continued to prove people wrong, and he won every time.
What's your favorite movie that made you laugh? Cliché for a newsie, but how do you NOT love Anchorman? One of my greatest professional regrets is that when I met Will Ferrell in Round Rock recently, I didn't take a picture. Fail!
What's your favorite movie that made you cry? I loved Million Dollar Baby.
What's your favorite TV show? E:60 on ESPN is a fantastic sports magazine show that not only has great stories bridging sports and culture, but the way it's produced is very cutting-edge.
Ideal place for a summer vacation: Any beach. I'm not picky. Well, maybe without jellyfish.
My favorite place in DFW to hang out is: Anything within a mile radius of West Village, and for a good dinner, I love The Porch.
My favorite place in Austin to hang out is: The Lady Bird Lake hike-and-bike trail. Not only do I use it as a good route to go places, but I'm burning calories no matter what I'm doing there.
Favorite food: My mom's lasagna. I really miss not having it more often.
Favorite junk food: Sprinkles Cupcakes. The Frosting Shot is particularly druglike.
Hobbies: I took dance classes for many years and still enjoy it very much. I've just taken up running, but I'm terribly slow, and it's embarrassing. I love to watch sports, even when I'm not working. I've been known to drive a few hours to watch a Big 12 Tournament game on my day off.
Who is the person you most admire and why? My grandmother, Joy "Bebe" Wright. She worked at UNT, and though she did not teach English, she was a published author of short stories. She said she missed her calling, and thanks to her inspiration, I did my very best not to miss mine.