By Debra Wallace
Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 04/7/2022 — There is clearly no stopping “It Girl” Katie Kearney from continuously reaching new heights in her career, while at the same time she inspires girls and young women with her drive and unending energy each and every day.
As a model, golfer, former Miss Missouri USA, host, reporter, entrepreneur, and advocate for human rights, Katie’s impressive roster is one that will mark her down as an icon in the golfing industry.
Katie has combined her beauty, education, and passion for golf to establish a notable career in this industry. Over the years, Katie has taken on hosting a variety of events such as golf tournaments, fashion shows, and the PGA Championship, all while continuing her passion for modeling. “Life is truly never boring,” explains Katie.
Despite having shy tendencies growing up, Katie always had it in mind to be a working model. Signing her first contract at 15, she fell in love with being in front of the camera as she felt it made her be more comfortable in her own skin. In 2012, Katie competed in Miss Missouri and went on to take the crown which led to her competing in Miss USA.
Before modeling full time, Katie attended St. Louis University and studied Broadcast Journalism.
During her time at university, Katie worked for Fox 2 News and hosted a variety of Sports Talk Radio Shows. Valuing the importance of having an education, Katie’s parents pushed her to seek her degree, for which Katie remains extremely grateful.
After graduating, Katie went on to sign a contract overseas in Athens, Greece which was only the beginning of her impressive career.
While in Athens, Katie was able to live out her lifelong dream of being a working model as she got to travel all over the world for 10 years. Traveling to places like South Africa, Milan, and Stockholm, Katie recalls one of her most memorable experiences being the time she shot for Maxim in Mozambique. “It was after this experience,” she says, “that I felt like I had accomplished a big dream of mine.”
Due to some economical roadblocks that South Africa was experiencing at the time she was working there, Katie resorted to an old sport she used to play when she was younger. She started playing golf in her free time, a hobby from her youth, rekindling her passion for this game.
Soon enough Katie was flooding in sponsorships and moved back to the US to continue this path. Recently, she collaborated with Precision Pro to create her own line of rangefinders.
The designs will be more fun and have bright colors that reflect her own personality. She is also active in mentoring a younger generation of girls with her coaching abilities in the golfing industry through the Youth League for juniors.
Being a prime figure in her field, Katie doesn’t take her platform lightly as she hopes to inspire young girls and women. A cause that Katie is a huge advocate for is human trafficking and hopes to continue to make a big impact by advocating for the victims affected by this.
As a small-town Midwest girl who took a chance on herself and flew overseas to follow her passion, Katie hopes to inspire women to follow their dreams despite being told no.
“I didn’t start working full time as a model until I was 23 or 24, which is really late as most people stop working at that age,” she says. “My hope is for young women to not give up and keep following their dreams; you will deal with criticism but it’s so important to still have a strong backbone and not lose sight of who you are.”
With all that she does, there’s no doubt Katie will remain a prominent figure in the golfing industry for women to look up to. There is a strong drive within her that has steamrolled her goal to not only inspire more women into the industry but to also make a name for herself and prove that women could also gain respect in this male-dominated sport.
Nowadays, Katie is still the boss babe as she continues her life as a model, travel editor, reporter, and golf host. Finding peace in molding her career and home life with her fiancé professional race car driver Cooper MacNeil, Katie looks to the future with exciting plans to expand her brand. With her dedication and determination, there is no doubt “It Girl” Katie will go down in history as a true icon.
Read on for more on Katie Kearney’s extraordinary ride, how she inspires girls and young women and what each of us can learn from her.
What does it mean to you that you are making such a major mark in the golfing world?
Katie Kearney: Golf has forever been a male-dominated sport which makes it extremely difficult for women to get involved without feeling intimated or overlooked. Augusta National only began accepting female members in 2012 and there are still countless men’s only clubs to this day, especially here in Chicago. By making a mark, I hope to encourage more women and young people to get out there and challenge themselves not only in a technical manner but by pushing themselves past their comfort zone.
What is the best advice you ever received, from whom did you get it, and did you follow it?
Never settle. My mom taught me to never settle for less whether it be love, work, or friendships. Too many people settle for a partner or career they don’t truly love or give up on goals for themselves in fear of rejection or being alone. I can happily say, I’m where I’m at today because I never settled.
You are a model and traveled the world for 10 years. What did you love about that part of your life?
The freedom and the travel. I was fortunate enough to work all over the world and live with girls from all different countries, often not even speaking the same language. This was a very rare opportunity to learn about the world through a different lens and I really believe it shaped who I am today. It challenged me to be completely dependent on myself and be smart. Living in a foreign country without a single lifeline forces you to grow up quickly. I spent most of this time in Cape Town which I call my second home.
What is the mindset that gets you through difficult times and allows you to tackle major projects that would stop others in their tracks?
It’s less of a mindset and more of a support system. Having a strong support system is crucial in life. I’m very fortunate to have amazing people who pick me up when I’m down or distracted and help center my focus back on track.
What does it mean to be a role model – and a true inspiration – to girls and young women who want to follow in your footsteps?
I first saw the impact I had on young women when I won Miss Missouri USA. The smallest thing you do or say can make such a lasting impression on a young girl. I try to encourage them to try things outside of their comfort zone, even if they fail they will learn so much.
What do you love about the sport of golf? What is the biggest challenge in playing and succeeding in golf?
Golf is a special game, it teaches you humility, patience, and determination. It forces you to control your emotions and allows you four hours unplugged in the outdoors to enjoy life and make memories. I’ve met some of my closest friends through the sport and even made a good career of it for myself.
You are a major advocate for women involved in human trafficking. What change do you hope to spark with your efforts?
While living/working in Athens, Greece, two men posed as undercover police officers and demanded I go with them and hand over my passport in a grocery store. My intuition was telling me to do whatever I had to do to get away. I was just 23 years old and still to this day my skin crawls as I think about what could have happened if I had gone with these men. I truly don’t think I would be here today.
After this, I decided to educate myself on human trafficking… the warning signs, the efforts, and how to help this stop this. The modeling industry and human trafficking are closely related; especially with young women working abroad. I hope to spread awareness that it doesn’t just happen in third world countries, it’s happening in Chicago, Miami, St. Louis, etc. I hope to protect as many women as possible and ideally work with the rescue efforts of victims.
Where does your drive come from?
It comes from my never allowing myself to settle.
Tell me about your collaboration with Precision Pro to create your own rangefinders.
Precision Pro created my own line of rangefinders that will be more colorful and fun to represent my personality and give customers more options to spice up their golf bags.
What other mark do you want to make in the world of golf? And on other aspects of your pursuits?
In terms of golf, I’m currently working on a fun, lifestyle brand of athleisure (sweats, hoodies, leggings) and soon my own ready-to-wear line. I’ve also teamed up with my coach, Mike Mandakas at Elevation Golf, to launch a series of instructional videos that will have a travel twist.
Outside of golf, I will continue modeling and building a family life at home with my fiancé, Cooper MacNeil. Life is very sweet and I am grateful for all of it!
What are your social media links so that we may contact you?