Her fans know that Diana Flores is a slippery, moving target that leaves opponents gasping and gasping for air. But it took a Super Bowl halftime ad to see why the Mexico City native is not only flag football’s biggest star, but also an emerging emblem of female empowerment.
In the two-minute commercial that aired during Super Bowl LVII, Flores, quarterback and captain of the Mexican national team, strikes up an apparently casual conversation with Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews, who suddenly grabs one of the flags that hang from the waist of Flores. . That sets off a madcap run for the elusive Flores, replete with cameos from celebrities like NFL star Jalen Ramsey and tennis great Billie Jean King.
Read in Spanish
What stands out most in the choreographed chase is Flores’ speed and agility, as he dodges parking lot guards, a guy dressed as a bird, and an actor playing Flores’ mother. Nothing can stop her. “To the women who move soccer forward, we can’t wait to see where they take this sport,” she reads the final caption.
Conceived as an attempt to push flag football as an official Olympic sport in 2028, the ad is as much a nod to the NFL’s global marketing ambitions as it is to third-wave feminism. However, Flores’ seriousness and determination shine through. If her amazing athleticism has made her a champion on the field, her natural charisma has made her a persuasive ambassador for the NFL and a heartthrob for Latinas throughout the hemisphere.
“For me it is an honor to be a Mexican, a Latina woman who represents women all over the world,” she said in an interview with The Times. “Representing our work, our discipline, our heart, I think it was a very important moment. We are rewriting the history of women in sport and I feel very honored and blessed to be where I am today.”
Although many Mexicans were surprised that the diminutive 25-year-old could dominate a sport usually ruled by giants, Flores attributes her success to the confidence her parents instilled in her. She was told from a very young age that she was capable of achieving anything. Her father, Jaime, who played football in college, told her: “It doesn’t matter that soccer is still unknown in Mexico. Keep practicing and don’t listen to the naysayers.”
“My father used to tell me, ‘You’re powerful,’ and that’s something I grew up with,” Flores said. “It is important to remember the power of words and the impact they have on our boys and girls for the next generations.”
Jaime Flores, who played quarterback, running back and defenseman with the Águilas Blancas of the National Polytechnic, taught his daughter the importance of knowing how to handle different positions. He wanted Diana to learn the game by emphasizing the positive way, rather than the punitive way she had been taught when she was young.
“I don’t know if it’s just us or our culture, but you always see the bad side more than the good side, the side of ‘You were wrong, it’s not done like that, I’m going to teach you.’ Jamie said. “With my daughter I always focused on the successes. She probably had like three things that she didn’t do right, but another five that she did, and I congratulated her on those successes.”
Since she was little, Flores adored team sports, which is why she ended up abandoning her first loves, ballet and dance, in which her parents signed her up, as well as piano, gymnastics and karate classes. She then found her true calling.
“The flag caught her and did not let go. It is her passion, it is her life,” Jaime said.
At 10 years old, Diana was competing mainly with older girls. When she reached her teens, her skills were so advanced that she would travel abroad to play matches. In 2012, at the age of 14, she was called up to the North Penn High School team in Pennsylvania, which she captained to a regional championship organized by the NFL.
At the age of 16, she was called up for the first time by the Mexican team, to play the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Grosseto, Italy, where she was the youngest player to compete in the tournament. To date, she has participated in four World Cups and has won a bronze, silver and gold medal, most recently when Mexico defeated the USA by a lopsided score of 39-6 last year in Birmingham, Alabama. Flores completed 20 of 28 passes for 210 yards and four touchdowns.
Last fall, his exploits went viral during the collegiate flag football championships in Mexico. It was the third championship won by the Borregos of the Tecnológico de Monterrey, where Flores graduated with a degree in Marketing and Communication.
Pride was already boiling over in the Flores family home when its members first saw the Super Bowl promo, tears streaming down the faces of Flores’ mother, Josefina, and her younger sister, Monserrat.
“We have worked a lot since she was very little. I never imagined this at this level; I never dreamed of it,” Josefina said.
Flores said that two of his favorite parts of the bilingual ad were when King “accidentally” opens his car door right into the path of one of Flores’s pursuers, and the part where Flores speaks in Spanish to the actor playing his wife. mother. Flores said that moment “filled my heart a lot” because it sends a message about the unity of two cultures.
Flores’ next dream is to represent his country in the 2028 Olympic Games.
“It will be in Los Angeles, where we have a great Latino community,” Flores said. But first, flag football will have to be accepted as an Olympic sport by the International Olympic Committee.
Flag football was recently approved as a high school sport for the 2023-24 season by the California Interscholastic Federation, in an attempt to get more girls involved. In 2018-19, some 11,000 girls played flag football, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. With the sport approved for CIF competition, those numbers are likely to grow.
To further her career goals, Flores has partnered with SMAC Entertainment, a Marina Del Rey-based talent management, music, brand and production company that has worked with such talents as soccer’s Deion Sanders and WWE stars Brie and Nikki Bella.
“My parents were born in Mexico; I am a first generation American. Having a Latina was very important to me,” said José Díaz, his representative at SMAC. “But more importantly, what attracted us to having her on our list is that she will follow the pattern of our clients. Our talents don’t like to stay in one aspect, they don’t want to be just athletes, just actors or just musicians, they all have different interests, they are breaking barriers. And that’s what Diana is doing.”
And, Flores hopes, it’s what other women can do by following her example.
“I want to remind all the girls and women that you are powerful. You are strong. You are smart,” Flores said. “You are capable of doing everything you set your mind to.”