During working hours, Red Dela Cruz had always been a data geek who will put in the hours behind her desk, before clocking off and heading back to her Sydney home in the evening.
But when the offices closed and the UFC rolls into town, Cruz’s alter ego clicked into gear. Her classic professional suit was switched for the jet-black UFC bikini, the keyboard and mouse cast aside for the sign, and the quiet, but serious, surroundings of her office switched for the ear splitting chaos of the UFC.
Such is the difference in the surroundings you would think the two professions are completely paralleled. Fortunately for Dela Cruz, she always knew how to live, what some may consider to be, a double life.
READ MORE: 'I'm an MMA ring girl but you won't catch me on OnlyFans – my fans can see it for free'
“When I am working I stay quiet, no make-up, work hard,” the ring girl who is in London for UFC 286 previously told Daily Mail Australia. “I get to live these two very different lives and I know how lucky I am.
“Back home in Sydney I can live really quiet, normal. Then with the UFC it's bright lights and very exciting. Growing up in the Philippines my mum told me she had dreamed of being a model or a beauty queen.
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“Now, I am living that dream. I followed this path for myself but also to make her proud. Now, when young girls ask me for advice, I tell them to dream of the impossible. It might just happen.” The presence of ring girls is a very contentious topic.
Legendary UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has frequently expressed his desire to see ring girls eradicated from the fighting division, while several feminist groups also believe ring girls are objectified and exploited.
However, Dela Cruz certainly does not believe it is the case. “They think it is an awesome job,” Cruz added, when asked what her colleagues feel about her role. “You get to travel the world, meet new people and big stars as well.”
Dela Cruz picked up a hefty UFC contract after progressing through several audition stages to become one of the best ring girls in the company.
“I was already a huge UFC fan before and of UFC rings girls such as Arianny Celeste, who is such a huge superstar,” she said.
“There were just so many applications that I never really thought I had a chance. But I made it to the top 20, then the top 10, then the top five. My head was spinning but when it went then to a fans vote I won, and here I am. Sometimes I can't believe it but I have such a great life.”
In 2018, she was greeted with raucous cheers when she appeared at UFC 221 IN February 2018. The huge event, which saw Yoel Romero overcome Luke Rochkold in the main event, was the first time the UFC was ever held in Australia. It was there when she realised the level of her popularity.
“At first when I got up there it was nerve-wracking,” said the OnlyFans star, who also boasts 414,000 followers on Instagram. "There are just so many people and you can get nervous under the bright lights. But the buzz is unbelievable.
“Hearing people call out to you and just being part of the whole show is so much fun. They go mad when I wave or blow kisses – even though I can't really see them because of the lights. But I feel like a superstar.”
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