SBOTD Presents: Alyonka Larionov, Barclays Center Television Host
So what do you think of when you hear “blonde hair, blue-eyed babe who knows sports and is fashionable too”? Well if you don’t think of Alyonka Larionov, then you may want to get your head checked.
Some of you may know her as Igor Larionov’s daughter. I mean, he did win a couple of Olympic gold medals and several Stanley Cups. He’s a pretty big deal. Others of you may know her as “that girl who was cooking with Evgeni Malkin,” or “that girl who showed up on Alex Ovechkin’s arm at the NHL Awards.” If that’s how you think of her though, shame on you because she is much more than “that girl.”
You should know her as that very babely broadcast girl that you’ve seen on TSN, Hockey Night in Canada, HBO, SauceTV, tons of NHL programs, and more recently, Barclays Center TV. She can be found typically interviewing some of your favorite players, keeping you updated on behind the scenes details, monitoring the social media activity, and other fun segments.
Here is some of her work:
Teaching Russian Culture to the Brooklyn Nets as part of BCTV…
Coupled with being a highly sought out TV host and producer, and knowing her sports, she has an amazing sense of humor.
Blonde hair, blue eyes, a sense of humor, AND can speak sports?? It doesn’t get much better than that. So sit back and get to know today’s Sports Babe of the Day, Alyonka Larionov!
20 Questions with Alyonka Larionov
1. What inspired you to break into the world of broadcasting?
A breakup- which in turn gave me the freedom to reinvent myself. It allowed for me to look back on the things I’ve done in my life and pick out the pieces I excelled in. Through out all the moves & changes, I found one common thread; my genuine interest and curiosity for people and my love for storytelling. I put them together and then the goal was to find an outlet. Broadcasting made the most sense as I feel most comfortable in front of a camera – it’s a good friend – plus it allows for me to be able to share what I learn. That’s the most important part of my life; being able to share the things I’ve learned along the way
2. You have worked with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Hockey Night in Canada, the NHL, HBO, SauceTV, BCTV and many more. What was one of your most memorable moments from hosting?
You forgot TSN! They were great supporters of mine. I owe a lot to them. They gave me a chance to produce & host content but also gave me unparalleled experience in terms of live television. Plus, they launched me into the social media stratosphere; during the NHL All Star Show James Duthie & I trended worldwide and I added close to 30k followers on twitter in 1 hour!! It was insanity.
3. How was the transition from hockey to basketball for you?
I didn’t know much prior to joining the Nets but all thanks to my brother, Igor, it was smooth. He put me through Basketball 101 before I left for Brooklyn.
As I mentioned, I see myself more as a storyteller. I care more about the personal stories of my subject as opposed to their ‘job’ but it’s been enjoyable to learn about the game. There’s a ton of pride and history that’s filled with great storylines and colorful personalities. One thing basketball has over hockey is its ability and success to market and brand their players. The NBA is on point in terms of that and it makes a tremendous difference in the popularity of the sport. I hope the NHL reaches that platform. The players and the fans deserve that acknowledgement and popularity.
4. What is your favorite part of your job?
Coming into work everyday and knowing that there is something or somebody new and exciting I get to research, meet and interview.
Working for Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets has allowed for me to interview all kinds of people. From Oscar de la Hoya, LeBron James, John Legend, Fabolous, Russell Peters, The Lumineers, Stephen A. Smith, the Brooklyn Nets, people of the Brooklyn community and eventually the New York Islanders…it’s a colorful palette!!
Plus, being able to produce the content is thrilling. In broadcasting it’s imperative to have creative freedom to shape a story and I’m blessed to be able to have that in my current job.
5. Which are some of your favorite arenas to be in?
Barclays Center is special. It’s gorgeous inside and out. It’s sleek and sexy. The food is delicious. The staff is exceptionally kind. It has a fantastic vibe to it.
But I would be lying if I didn’t mention Joe Louis Arena. That place was like a second home to me. I will never forget its’ smell (both good and bad; good stands for Little Caesars and popcorn, bad for the locker room hallway), the cold of the ice, the energy of the crowd, the hidden corners where us hockey kids would spend hours during games playing hide-and-go-seek or tag. It’s the first arena where my sister, Diana and I, performed the National Anthem. The first time I saw my Dad cry – when he won his first Stanley Cup. The first time I felt part of a family and a community. It’s a place of a lot of ‘firsts’ for me, so it’s incredibly dear to my heart.
6. How many dresses do you have to try on before you find the right one for work?
I’m pretty good about that. I usually play off of my mood or the subject. If it’s a recording artist, I’ll dress a little more ‘hipster-chic’ as my BCTV team calls it. When I interview the Brooklyn Nets, it’s usually something black and white. Fancier evenings I’ll wear a sleek Calvin Klein dress or something from Reformation. But, on a regular, non-shoot day, I’m in ‘grandma-sexy’ (another BCTV team term) which means it’s a lot of layers, sweaters, and scarves. You can see these via my instagram feed.
7. Do you have any advice for girls that ask you how to become a TV host or social media guru?
Cliché but true – be you. Don’t strive to be anybody other than yourself. It might not be the “norm” but it’s better to be unique. Of course, without the hard work that includes research, practice, and an open mind to accepting any task at hand, the ‘unique you’ can only go so far. In this business, you have to be willing to take risks and to take on projects that might seem overwhelming at the time, but they are imperative for growth. Have a deep toolbox; meaning, know as much as you can about everything. Ask questions. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They will be your greatest lessons.
8. What would you be doing if you weren’t in television hosting and producing?
Honestly, I have no idea.
I don’t believe in the ‘if I weren’t doing this, I’d be doing that’. Everything that has happened thus far in my life has brought me to this exact moment.
To paraphrase Steve Jobs, ‘the moments along the journey don’t always make sense, but when you look back and connect them, they align perfectly”.
I am a firm believer in that philosophy. I make choices based on my instincts. It’s important to trust yourself.
9. I heard you started you’re a singer. Any tunes in the works these days that we should keep a look out for?
I pursued singing, yes, but nowadays all my singing is done during my outtakes. The end of the year BCTV bloopers reel will be pretty special. Some of my most embarrassing moments and my BCTV crew –Jeff, Brendan and Arya – are not afraid to take advantage of those moments…
10. Any particular songs or artists on repeat right now?
In no particular order:
Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire
Blackmill – Let It Be (feat. Veela)
The XX – Infinity
Future Islands – Inch of Dust
Ghosts – On An On
Apparat – Arcadia
A Tribe Called Quest – Luck of Lucien
Gang Starr – Code of the Streets
Apparat – Candil de la Calle
Moderat – Rusty Nails
Massive Attack – Black Milk
Little Dragon – Twice
Rihanna – Skin
Mumford & Sons – Ghost That We Knew
Jay Z – Real As It Gets ( feat. Young Jeezy)
Rick Ross – Diced Pineapples
Miike Snow – Black Tin Box
Miike Snow – Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)
M83 – entire album “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” & “Digital Shades” & “Saturdays = Youth”
Fleet Foxes – album “Helplessness Blue” & “ Fleet Foxes”
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are you experienced?
Pearl Jam – Indifference
Jonsi & Alex – Stokkseyri
My Morning Jacket – Knot Comes Loose
The Black Keys – The Flame
The National – England
11. Being a resident of New York City, where are some of your favorite spots to go?
I lived here two years ago, so a lot of my favorite spots have remained as such. I love the MoMa, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the IFC theatre on West 4th for recreation. Restaurants; Casa Mono, Perry St. Café, Laconda Verde, ABC Kitchen, Serafina, and the EMM restaurants are always delicious and entertaining. Dancing?…Finale or LAVO. Lounge? Rose Bar.
12. What is the craziest thing you’ve done lately?
I’m sad that I don’t have a good answer for this one. Come back to me during the summer. I usually partake in riskier things during the warmer months.
13. If you won the lottery today, what would you do with the money?
Divvy up amongst my family and closest friends, invest, purchase property and pick a non-profit organization to work with closely.
Then, I would travel for a very long time, explore, throw big bonfire dinner parties in the outdoors and tell stories. Travel show, anyone?
14. When someone finds out you are Russian and asks you to say something in Russian, what is your go to phrase?
Privet, menya zavut Alyona – or – Hello, my name is Alyonka. Then I usually get, “Wow, that’s so cool! How would you say my name in Russian”…it’s usually the same as it is in English.
15. Any guilty pleasure(s) we should know about?
I never know how to answer this question! I don’t understand it. Why would I feel guilty about something that gives me pleasure? Life’s too short not to indulge.
16. What was the coolest thing about growing up with Igor Larionov as your dad?
That, after he retired, he started a wine company and now we have a super wine cellar with delicious wines…kidding, kind of.
I think the fact that he was able to separate hockey from the real world & family – we never felt second place to him or less than his job. It says a lot for an athlete, especially one that’s as successful as he is because they put so much of themselves into the game. Balance is difficult, but he always found time to be a great father to us kids and a loving husband to my mom, Elena.
17. If we peeked in your refrigerator right now, what would we find?
Mustard, whipped cream, pickles, chocolate and a bottle of wine. Attractive, right? Freezer – Russian pelmeni from Brighton Beach.
18. What is something about you that most people don’t know?
One on one, I’m shy.
19. Who would YOU feature as Sports Babe of the Day?
Check out my good friend Melanie Collins. She is a sports broadcast guru.
20. And finally, the question that all of our fans (and your fans too I’m sure) are wondering, are you single, dating, or locked down?
Very single. Very picky. Deadly Combination.
Yes guys, you read that correctly. Alyonka is single! But between hosting and producing at BCTV, she’s got a lot on her plate. If you’re lucky, and she’s not busy interviewing players, coaches, and musicians, you may be able to catch her at Barclays Center taking in a game or a concert. But in the meantime, you should definitely follow her on twitter at @AlyonkaLarionov and check out her youtube channel to see all her latest segments.
(Feature and Interview by Morgan Ryan, @MrgnRyan on Twitter)
(Photos Courtesy of Alyonka Larionov)
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