Ariane and I have worked with each other for about eight months now. In January, 2019 I reached out to Ariane before her UFC (ON ESPN+) debut against Joanne Calderwood, with whom she has trained during this current fight camp. At the time that I first contacted Ariane, she spoke minimal English and we did her interview through email. I sent her questions, her coach translated it to Portuguese, she answered the questions in Portuguese, he translated them back to English and sent them back to me. It was a process I’m grateful she was willing to go through. I ended up having the article translated back to Portuguese so that audiences that share Lipski’s native language can enjoy it. Later on, she became comfortable enough to do her first ever English-only video interview with Unknown MMA.
Ariane and I kept in touch in the following months and I had planned to go to Vegas after her first fight to shoot with her, but it didn’t pan out. I graduated a few months later and had time to travel. In my mind, I told myself I would make a trip to shoot with her. Combining her skill, look, and fighting style, I had and still have confidence that Ariane Lipski will be one of the biggest names in the game.
Ariane Lipski photographed by Amanda Sanchez
Before her second fight, I asked her how long she would be training in the U.S. before going back home to Brazil. She’d been preparing for the Molly McCann fight at a gym out in New Jersey and said I was welcome to stop by after; she’d be in the U.S. for a few more months. I booked the trip.
I arrived in New Jersey the Monday following her loss. I was worried that she may not be up for company, let alone a photoshoot, after the results of her fight but she seemed to be just as excited as she was prior.
When discussing schedule and details for the shoot, she texted me. She said, “So, I want to do different photos with you. If you agree with me, of course.” I’m always game to try new stuff. I asked her what she had in mind.
“Like, I’m training, but no makeup. My face [has] some bruises from my last fight and I want to show this. I think it will be different and [it] will be very cool.” Ariane Lipski; June 24, 2019
While we were communicating back and forth, I was at a New York pizza shop sitting at a barstool facing the street. Right when she texted me this I glanced up and saw a woman wearing a beautiful, flowy red dress walking across the street. I knew that was what we needed to make this shoot really pop. New York is confusing and I hate the trains cause it makes me feel stupid. We got lost in the train station just trying to get out onto the actual street. (I may just be a little dumb). But I remembered seeing a Forever 21 in the mall area of the station. I figured on the way back to our New Jersey hotel that night I’d run in and hopefully find something similar.
When we got back to the train station and finally found the store, it was five minutes until closing and the employees had no problem reminding me of that several times. I ran through the store like a crazy person and astonishingly found some options, just in case. Then I saw the dress. It was THE DRESS. I grabbed it and guessed her size (I was luckily right) and bought it.
The shoot was in a little gym that we had to ourselves. I had her stand on top of a box jump outside by some dumpsters in a red dress and UFC gloves. Kids were walking by confused as to what we were doing. It was hilarious. Inside, the gym was dark with only a small window illuminating the room. I had my flash, my camera, and Ariane. That was all I needed. We shot in different outfits and got to talk a bit to her and her coach, Renato Silva, about her career and her losses. They were very welcoming and grateful. I appreciate their continued support of myself and our website.
Below you will watch Ariane’s first reactions to the final product. I enjoyed collaborating with Ariane on the photoshoot to create a unique glimpse into the female fighter experience and I look forward to working with Ariane again.
We also talk a bit about her upcoming UFC fight in her home country of Brazil. These past two months she has trained at Syndicate MMA with coach John Wood, Roxanne Modaferri, Joanne Calderwood, Serena DeJesus, Tracy Cortez, and many others. She’s also had some time in Vegas to work with the UFC Performance Institute. I’m looking forward to her fight in Brazil later this year and encourage you to do the same.■
Watch my interview and Ariane’s reaction to her photos below.
Her photoshoot experience (0:15)
Photos from the shoot (1:33)
UPCOMING FIGHT in Brazil against Priscila Cachoeira (5:04)