Anyone who knows Bonnie-Jill Laflin knows all about her ambitious and hard-working nature. She has spent decades in the sports and entertainment industries dominating a man’s world and coming out on top for her career. And she has spent many years lobbying and speaking out for those who can’t speak for themselves. As a strong advocate for animal rights, Bonnie-Jill is a natural fit for VIVA GLAM Magazine. So, we sat down with Bonnie-Jill and spoke with her about her home state of California, her work in the sports and entertainment fields, and her passion for helping both US Veterans and animals, as well.
Bonnie-Jill, you were born and raised in California. What would you say you love about your home state the most?
I was born and raised in California but spent many summers growing up in Texas and then fully moved to Texas, as well. So, I definitely consider both states my home. What I love about California is the weather and that you have everything you could want within just a couple of hours- from the city to the mountains to the beaches. I can go skiing, go ride my horses, go to the beach, or enjoy a night on the town. Texas is really similar in that way. Natural beauty is very important to me.
How much has California changed since your teenage years? Do you miss anything?
California is an amazing place to live, which, of course, means it attracts more and more people every year. It is definitely more populated than it was when I was growing up, which obviously leads to a lot more traffic! So, maybe I miss when it felt a little more like a secret. lol 🙂
You have been in the sports and entertainment industries for quite some time now. How easy or difficult is it for you to stay relevant?
I think it has always felt very natural and fluid since both are a part of my DNA; I’ve been in both industries since I was a kid. It’s all about creating your brand and then staying true to that. Those who pay attention can always recognize authenticity. I feel very fortunate to be able to focus on my career and charity work. The habit of always working and always striving is pretty organic to me.
You’re very ambitious! What drives you?
I’ve been driven since right out of the womb! It’s something that was instilled in me by my parents: to have a great work ethic, which, in turn, has made me very independent. I have a “conquer the world” type of mentality and believe you only live once, so make every dream a reality.
You’re in sports but also love to be very glamorous. Have those two elements always combined well for you?
This has been my life since I was a child- being a ‘tomboy’ playing sports and riding my horses to being a dancer, model and pageant girl. I think a balance of both makes me who I am. I work in a man’s world but still stay true to who I am. Like Marilyn Monroe says, “I don’t mind living in a man’s world, as long as I can be a woman in it”. To me, being a woman has always been an asset and has given me a unique view of things in the world.
It’s January 2020. The tragic news about Kob, as you called Kobe Bryant, hit the media around the world. What first went through your mind? That must have been a very difficult time for you as you were very close to him since he was sort of your “cheerleader”.
This is always a difficult topic for me, as when I first heard the news, I thought it was a horrible rumor. When I finally learned the truth, I remember falling to my knees sobbing. He was just starting his next journey in life and had so much more to give. He was a mentor to me and was always in my corner. He loved seeing women in sports thrive and said there was a place for us at the table. It’s still tough knowing I can’t pick up the phone and ask for advice. He gave me the best advice dealing with some of the hardest times of my career. I’m still in denial he’s gone. I miss him very much and am so grateful to have had him as a tent pole in my life.