Elizabeth Vagianos started helping her dad with his Boston dry cleaning business in 1994. Among her tasks: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s dress shirts.
“My mom was a Buffalo Bills fan, but Dad said, ‘He’s our client and we have to support him,’ ” she recalled.
It was Vagianos’s mom, though, who taught Elizabeth and her three sisters to appreciate the beauty of football. Every Sunday, they would gather to watch the game; soon Vagianos became an avid Celtics fan as well. Fast forward to adulthood where Vagianos, her sisters, and female cousins compete in a fantasy football league.
“We play for shoes. Everybody puts in $100, and the winner buys a pair of Christian Louboutin heels,” she said.
The intertwining of style and sports led Vagianos (pictured) to launch Hera, an online community for female fans who love Tommy Hilfiger as much as Tom Brady.
“I’m of the school of thought that we do enjoy it differently. Some women cheer like a guy and talk like a guy. I’m representing the other women. There’s a whole lifestyle piece to being a sports fan. Maybe it’s having dinner before with your girlfriends, or wearing a stylish outfit,” she said.
Launched this month (www.hera
sport.com ), Hera has tackled fluffy topics (Five Hairstyles to Rock Under a Baseball Cap, 10 Best Sports Films of All Time) and, more seriously, the state of sports radio.
A former special-education teacher, Vagianos believes women should be able to enjoy sports in a judgment-free zone.
“I’m not a bedazzled kind of person, but I have a pink Red Sox hat,” she said, referring to the “pink hat” designation used by some to belittle female fans.
“Women fans are often talked down to. It can intimidate them from being more of a fan. I’ve seen it, and we want to bring people into this community. We want to honor the female experience.”
Jill Radsken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.