Rachel Stallman rocks the US Open crowd with a confident smile on her face.
The tennis influencer is at home at the star-studded tournament in Flushing – her favorite event – where she turns heads in a fiery red tennis outfit featuring a pleated mini skirt and cropped shirt.
Stallman made her US Open debut at the age of 12, after winning an essay contest explaining why Arthur Ashe inspires her—what she called her “full-circle moment.”
Stuhlmann is on a mission to demonstrate that sport can be exciting and relatable while maintaining long-standing traditions.
30 years Play tennis at the University of Missouri From 2010 to 2014, she held national ratings in singles and doubles before moving on to a career in journalism. She works at Top Court, a tennis platform, where she writes blog posts and serves as global events and media manager.
Stuhlmann also has a lucrative career as a tennis influencer and media personality, boasting over 150,000 followers on Instagram. The 6-foot-tall brunette has registered a number of brand partnerships, including Bodyarmor, Topgolf, and DraftKings.
“I want to draw attention to this sport in a positive way,” Stallman told the newspaper in an hour-long interview. “It’s funny because there are a lot of girls like me in golf, but nothing really intense in tennis. And I’m like, you know, you can be yourself, you can look a certain way and still be fun in the sport.”
When Stallman began focusing on her career as a tennis influencer three years ago, she was admittedly “afraid to be… [herself]”Because there is no evidence of exactly playing the role.
“I was like, ‘Wait, I want to do a photoshoot and show that tennis is great and that it can be hot and fun,'” Stallman said.
Stuhlmann travels to tournaments around the world and creates content in different stadiums, where she has a distinct look. The majority of her photographs include local photographers whom she books before landing in their city.
Stallman usually discovers local photographers in the cities she travels to and connects with them via Instagram. It has access to stadiums around the world through its close ties to sports.
“I know what I do is good for the game and I will stay true to myself and I will continue to try to make the game more pervasive and amenable to apology — don’t apologize,” said Stallman. “I feel like I’m in the game which has always been very traditional, so I was a bit afraid of being myself at first.”
Stuhlmann’s largest following is on Instagram, although she said she is building her Twitter accounts (24.6k) and TikTok (53.7). She compares her journey – from playing her chosen sport to becoming an internet celebrity – For Paige Speranakwho was a former golfer turned Instagram.
“I really like what you do in golf, and that’s what I try to do in tennis,” said Stallman. “I feel like I’ve been inspired by Paige Spiranac for a while. She posted a tweet that I can really relate to:
“I used to be so worried about being taken seriously and pleasing people who didn’t even like me. Everything changed in my career when I started enjoying my own content and doing what I wanted.”
Stallman said she’d like to meet the golf influencer and even join forces on a potential collaboration.
“I respect her a lot for what she did for the game. And I know we have a lot of friends in common,” Stallman said of the potential introduction. “Someone told me she wants to play tennis. I want to play golf. I’m like, ‘I’ll give you lessons.'”
“Paige does her job with golf and is a wonderful person to seek inspiration from, but there is nothing quite like him in tennis. And so I feel like for me, I want to continue to draw attention to all the different tournaments I want to travel to. My main goals are to make the game It’s more pervasive and more connected. So whatever goes along with that, I’ve always said yes to opportunity and within the game and keep creating content about the sport, getting people excited about it, showing them the different life stories about the game and in a positive way. That’s what I want to keep doing.”
Stallman, a native of Missouri, is somewhat of a local celebrity when she returns home to her Midwest. When she’s not traveling the world to amplify her tennis game, Stuhlmann enjoys painting and attends church every Sunday.
“Family is very important. I love hanging out with my siblings [she’s a triplet!} and my parents. I love hanging out with friends and attending sporting events,” she said. “It’s like my favorite thing ever is dressing up in heels and a bodysuit and going to a sporting event.”