Fergie's Next Play
BY SCOTT HUVER
Photography by Russell James
As both a member of the globally dominant Black Eyed Peas (“I Gotta Feeling” is the most downloaded iTunes song of all time) and a solo performer, Fergie’s certainly logged her fair share of time inside sports arenas. But for the past few years, most of her visits to Sun Life Stadium haven’t been as a lead singer, but rather as a minority owner of the Miami Dolphins. And she’ll have you know she’s not just checking in on some whimsical celebrity investment. Her blood’s run aqua and coral since she was a kid known only as Stacy Ferguson. “My dad was a quarterback. So was his dad. So was my husband,” says Fergie, establishing her gridiron bona fides with a zeal you might not expect from a female mega pop star.
A 'Fins Fan for Life
It was during her childhood in the Los Angeles suburb of Hacienda Heights that she and her dad, Pat Ferguson, a high school football coach, began bonding over NFL games. Fergie’s parents split during her teen years, and Sunday afternoons became all the more special. “We would often talk about quarterbacks, and he would show me footage of Joe Montana and Dan Marino,” remembers Fergie, who found her own way into the game as a cheerleader in junior high and high school. And even though they lived in suburban California, that glorious ’80s-era Dolphins dynasty spearheaded by head coach Don Shula and quarterback Marino captivated father and daughter. “I really fell in love with the Miami Dolphins during the whole Shula/Marino years,” says Fergie, who often wore a Number 13 Marino jersey. “It was just a very exciting time for the Dolphins, and it would be a really good time for my dad and me to meet up and have father/daughter time.”
It also turned the future pop singer into a ’Fins fan for life. “When you fall in love with a team and you have those highs and lows, it becomes part of your heart as a sports fan. It’s just like that Hootie & the Blowfish song,” she chuckles, summoning a key lyric from “Only Wanna Be With You”: “‘I’m such a baby ’cause the Dolphins make me cry.’ I can completely relate to that. There are games where I have shed tears. And so when you grow up like that with a team, it’s just that loyalty [that endures].”
Endure it did, through Stacy’s meteoric evolution into the pop icon that is now Fergie, the lone female member of the Black Eyed Peas, a band that emerged in the 2000s as one of the most ubiquitously popular musical acts on the planet. And just as her star became permanently fixed in the pop culture firmament, real estate magnate Stephen Ross had, by 2009, acquired majority ownership of the Dolphins and was assembling celebrity investors and business partners (Marc Anthony, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jimmy Buffett, and Venus and Serena Williams among them) to revitalize the team’s brand. Fergie was introduced to Ross though an associate of the Peas, Mike Jurkovac of Cyclops Entertainment, and quickly the superstar/superfan was invited into the Dolphins’ inner circle. “When he asked me if I was interested, I jumped at the chance,” says Fergie. “Not only because I’m a fan and that’s just really cool for a fan to be able to call yourself an owner, but also, yeah, it is nice to get a box in Miami and take the whole family down on a party bus. Those are definitely perks. Ask any football fan—who wouldn’t want that?”
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.