More often tlocations of Thhan not, most of the significant others of professional athletes are hardworking, self-made women who are making a difference in their communities. As the saying goes, "Behind every great man is a great woman," and perhaps that is why many of these modern women have made a name for themselves without flaunting maroon and gold and shouting their association with the Nation’s team, but rather by forging ahead with their own talents and identities.
Google “Manjanique Alexander” and she appears as the doting wife, strikingly beautiful arm-candy flanked by her husband (Redskins linebacker and special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander) at area benefits and galas. But scroll down further and you'll see a top realtor with Golston Real Estate, an avid philanthropist, and a new business owner. Delve even deeper and stand alongside this Salt Lake City, Utah native, and you will soon see every stereotype of a successful athlete’s wife blown out of the water.
Landing an assignment to interview a Redskin’s wife can be quite intimidating, but not with Manjanique. She quickly set the tone by saying, "I'll be working all day at the studio and will still be in my workout clothes, so I hope you don't mind.” And upon entering her new Pilates studio located in Ashburn, VA, one will quickly see that this mom of three makes sure her family lives their lives as regular Joes,saying, "I wake up early, fix my kids’ breakfast, and have a kink in my neck because I slept wrong just like anyone else."
During the interview at Manjanique’s new pilates studio, it was apparent that many Redskins’ wives do share a common bond and try to make the most of their prolific lifestyle – but in a very genuine way. Kedric Golston's wife – and Manjanique’s business partner, Christal Golston – was manning the front desk even though she was due with a baby the very next day. Derrick Dockery's wife, Emma, stopped by to drop off the newest book for their Bible study group – even paying Manjanique for her copy, in quarters, to which Manjanique joked, "For real, I don't want these quarters, give me my dollar!" And the "realness" didn't stop there. Manjanique chatted about buying Groupons, vacationing at Smith Mountain Lake, visiting Great Wolf Lodge, and even became giddy when she realized she could give a shout-out to her favorite restaurants in print (Hello, Lauriol Plaza and Rasika). She demonstrated that they don't take anything for granted and enjoy events that they get to attend and even co-chair, often using these as their date nights. "We try to do a lot with the platform that we have now, because we know in a few years no one will care about having us," she said with a laugh.
"Because of social media like Twitter and Facebook, people are able to feel more connected to players these days. We do have to maintain some level of privacy." But with that being said, the Alexanders have chosen Loudoun County as their home base and have invested their interests in the suburbs where they want to raise their family and stay – even long after football ends. And to ensure life after football, Manjanique has grounded herself as a local businesswoman.
"People assume we live an extravagant lifestyle and live like those players that they see on the news ticker, but while we are very blessed, in reality we live a modest lifestyle.” When asked why she does work, Manjanique wasn't offended and point blank said, "Because I enjoy it! And I’m still young, so there's no reason I shouldn't!" And work she does. With the main motivation of "giving back to a community that's been so good to us" coupled with the goal of having something to leave to their children, Manjanique's latest endeavor is the opening of an all-inclusive Pilates/Dance/zumba/TRX/ preschool/you-name-it place of well-being called The Studio, Mind. Body. Soul. Inspired when she saw firsthand the many benefits of pilates, including improving her husband's core and game during the off season; toning, and helping with her sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy. She jumped at the opportunity to purchase equipment from her instructor who was relocating, and the studio was born. Manjanique said, "Owning and running your own business is like a brand new baby, it is dependent on you 24-7, you are up all hours of the night, and you give it your all." Clearly, she possesses a keen business sense and can hold her own, never feeling like she needs to rely on the Alexander name.
When not studying current market trends and showing homes as a realtor, Manjanique also fi nds time to help give back to area children through the ACES foundation. A charitable organization that started with the hope of using football as a platform to springboard their passion of helping and inspiring youngsters, Manjanique also wears many hats to allow ACES to succeed. Whether it is planning the annual bowling event, soliciting donations, or coordinating a back to school giveaway, she is right there in the mix.
Slowing down doesn't look like it will happen any time soon. Manjanique hopes to help grow Golston Real Estate to the number one firm in Loudoun County and envisions many locations of The Studio in her future. "As long as it remains fun, and it works... Lorenzo and I make a great team, at home and in business.”
Sometimes an interview is moving. Sometimes it's a glimpse into reality – like when Manjanique's three year-old ran out of dance class because she wanted mommy to take her potty. And sometimes an interview can change one's opinion. It can teach you the true meaning of misconceptions. Manjanique joked how some of their friends think they need to do a reality show with everything they have going on but she says, “No way –because no one would watch. We're too boring. Who wants to watch me run home on my break to clean house or watch Lorenzo pulling bath duty with the kids at night?" That's where she might just have it wrong. Boring can be good when it shows firsthand how it's not always about what happens on the field, and that winning off the field is what life is really all about. HAIL!