Paige VanZant has been setting pulses racing on social media lately as she has posted a series of nude pictures of herself and husband, Bellator welterweight Austin Vanderford, but says that her saucy snaps aren’t a cheap ploy.
VanZant says that she has no regrets about continuing to post the photographs of she and Vanderford in various states of undress to her 2.5 million Instagram followers, and the Sports Illustrated stunner says that they have brought her more attention than she has received during her 8-fight tenure in the UFC.
“12 Gauge”, as she is known, says that she makes significantly more cash through social media endorsements and promotions than she has made throughout her UFC career and she has become increasingly focused on spreading her own personal brand throughout the social media landscape.
The first nude picture arrived at the tail-end of March and, as VanZant described to MMA Fighting, it was a moment of opportunism rather than a pre-arranged plan.
“Austin and I had taken a video of himself, or a picture in the gym, and I had glanced over and I was like, ‘Were you naked out there?’ And he was just wearing really short shorts,” VanZant explained.
“‘Cause he works out in really tiny shorts.“
Last nights workout ?️♂️
“And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have the best idea ever,’ and so we just kind of staged it where I was on the medicine ball and he had our double-edged bag covering his butt. Then it just kind of sparked from there because people liked them so much.”
Of course, VanZant is no stranger to scantily-clad photoshoots as she posed for a near-nude spread as part of Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Edition – and if that move garnered a few new fans for the 26-year-old flyweight, chances are those numbers have increased substantially in the last month.
It’s called art, you wouldn’t understand….
As for Vanderford, the undefeated 9-0 pro says that the naked photoshoots also come naturally to him.
“For one, I started wrestling since I was five, so I’ve been wearing one of those singlets my entire life so there isn’t a whole lot that it doesn’t show,” he said.
“I’ve just never been shy about that. I have fun. My wife sees me naked all day every day anyway, so I thought the rest of the world deserves it, too.“
However, VanZant is also keen to stress that the photos aren’t designed as a cynical plot to increase her Instagram followers.
“It’s not really a social media stunt – it’s not to get attention,” she explained.
“I just think I want to spread the idea, we’ve been married for over a year and a half, and just to love your significant other, and have fun with them, and [show] how important it is to just make the most of the relationships that you have.
“We’re really just having a really good time and trying to spread love. We’re married, so I’m not embarrassed, I’m not shy about the way we live our life at all.”