Brenna McGuire (Col ’07) has never been camera-shy. Playing for the University of Virginia’s women’s basketball team (where she finished second in career three-point shots made in school history), McGuire was familiar with courtside photographers. During her time as an undergraduate, she also did a few spots for a University TV show. “I was nervous about memorizing lines and being in front of the camera,” McGuire recalls, “but then I realized I was only talking to a camera and two or three people on set. The people producing the show really made the experience fun.”
McGuire’s family has a history with basketball: Her grandfather Al McGuire played professionally before becoming a Hall of Fame coach and TV analyst; her father and great-uncle both played for the Knicks. While growing up, Brenna tagged along with her older brothers to play sports, and from an early age she knew that she wanted to compete. “My parents told me I didn’t have to play basketball if I didn’t love it. But if I did love it, I should give it 100 percent. And that’s what I did,” says McGuire.
After graduating, McGuire saw modeling as an opportunity to start a new chapter in her life. “I always wanted to play basketball at a great college in a great league, and I fulfilled that dream.” Once she set her mind to becoming a model, McGuire moved to New York and faced the new challenges of city life and an unpredictable schedule. When she became discouraged, she recalled what her father said about basketball: Not every shot will go in, but always keep shooting. “It’s the same with modeling. I’m not going to get every single job I try out for,” McGuire says, “but I know that hearing the word ‘no’ is not personal. I keep going to castings and realize that I will get jobs, that my time will come.” In New York, she was picked up by an agency and has since found success in magazines, appearing on the cover of Brides twice, and in spreads for Fitness as well as Self.
In spare time between modeling and planning her upcoming wedding, McGuire occasionally shoots a round with her fiancé or plays a game of pick-up at a neighborhood park. She misses the feeling at the end of a close game when everyone on the court has the same goal of winning. “I still work with a team every time I do a modeling job,” says McGuire, “but I miss that moment when you win a hard-fought game, and you know that you couldn’t have done it without the other girls on the court.”
McGuire has learned to embrace a more relaxed schedule than she had when she played college basketball. Still, she says that it isn’t always easy to be in front of the camera. “With modeling you have to perform no matter who is around you. Certain photographers make it easier than others, and certain shoots are definitely harder than others, but the challenge of it is what makes it so fun.”