ANYONE who has been to a big fight week in Las Vegas recently will have seen Janira Kremet [above, far right] wearing very little, and smiling a lot. A model by profession, Kremets is employed by Tecate – the huge Mexican beer brand who sponsor this weekend’s showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan – to stand immaculately on the side of the stage and look pretty during press conferences and weigh-ins.
On Thursday night, as Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins addressed the media, the ornamental Kremets stood still, and smiled the same smile for over an hour.
“Oh boy, that was hard but we managed to pull through,” the ‘Tecate Girl’ told Boxing News. “I was okay for the first 45 minutes, but after that I was done.
“You know what, for the first 10 minutes that you’re standing there and smiling it is really hard. After a while you just focus on one blank point and it just comes naturally, you just have to do it. Is anything going through my mind? Yes, ‘hurry up’!”
Anyone who has spent more than 10 seconds attempting to smile for a photo will agree that beaming for an hour must be tough.
“Yes, my cheeks hurt,” Kremets says, her bright white teeth illuminating her mouth. “I’m practising smiling right now for you. Am I good?”
Kremets was on duty during last year’s Floyd Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown – by the far the biggest event she’s worked on – but this weekend’s battle between Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan means more to her.
“I think this event is more important for me. I’m Mexican, so it’s a big, big deal to be supporting Canelo. This is a bigger deal for me.”
Often found on the opposite side of the stage to Kremet is fellow Tecate girl, Elizabeth Smith [above, far left]. She reveals that being a boxing fan is essential, although being sprayed by fighters’ blood and sweat creates mixed emotions.
“Tecate definitely want to know that we love boxing,” Smith explained. “There are a million beautiful girls out there but they want someone who are going to represent the brand perfectly. After you get hired, you go through a huge training programme and they teach you all the ins and outs. We’re right there during the fight, so close, sometimes we feel the blood and the sweat on us and it’s kind of gross but awesome at the same time. We have to know what we’re doing. We don’t have an extensive training programme like the boxers themselves but we do have to be athletes ourselves, constantly maintain our bodies – we want to look our best and being fit is a part of that.”
Smith and Kremets both spoke of their respect for the fighters, yet their presence has occasionally been known to steal the attention of some notable names.
“There is this photo and it’s one of the funniest photos I’ve ever seen,” said Smith. “It’s Manny Pacquiao staring at Jesse [another Tecate girl] when he’s supposed to be facing off. She is just standing there smiling and he is literally eyeing her up from the side. Other than that, the boxers are so focused and they’re always very respectful.”
Gustavo Guerra, the Brand Director of Tecate – who have been sponsoring boxing events since 2007 – emphasised the importance of what the girls do.
“The fans are shouting for them and we’re known for bringing the best girls,” Guerra said. “We have been strict in the process to find the right girls and we found girls like Janira and Elizabeth who are helping us right now. We’re sticking to that because the strategy is working beautifully for the brand. Not only is it a beautiful face, but also their personality. The way they express themselves, the way they interact with fans and consumers. They are smiling all the time and people love that. They are a great asset.”