In ELLE‘s monthly series Office Hours, we ask people in powerful positions to take us through their first jobs, worst jobs, and everything in between. This month, we spoke with 27-year-old WNBA superstar Breanna Stewart, the Seattle Storm forward who helped Team USA take gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Off the court, Stewart is raising 2-month-old Ruby with her wife Marta Xargay Casademont and promoting a brand new partnership with Puma, which she calls “the start of something really special.” As part of the collaboration, Stewart debuted a line of co-branded apparel called Overdue and will release her own signature shoe—making her only the 10th player in WNBA history to have a signature design. “People need to get behind women and women in sports,” Stewart says. “We should have already, and that’s where the theme ‘overdue’ comes from.” Below, Stewart reveals how being a parent has changed her life, why she teamed up with Puma, and her aspirations to open up a bakery one day.


from the desk of breanna stewart logo

My first job

I worked at the local YMCA for a little while. I was in the gym cleaning up and stuff. I think that was one of my first and only jobs before I started playing basketball seriously. I made minimum wage, and my big takeaway was what it took to commit. When you’re young, you want a job because you want money—but, like, no. If you want this job, you have to sacrifice and commit to it and show up and be on time.

When I realized basketball would be my career

The moment I knew I wanted to play basketball professionally was in high school when I started getting interest from colleges. I realized I wanted to play in college, and then take that further and play in the WNBA. My family was super supportive. It’s only me and my brother, but I was older and going through the experience of being a basketball player who got a scholarship, played with USA teams, and navigated new opportunities. My family was really excited and happy for me, and also wanted me to be able to make whatever decisions and choices I felt were best. At the same time, my parents were the first ones to let me know that if I didn’t want to play basketball at any point, that was okay. They support me, because I love the sport.

The best advice I’ve received

It was probably from Coach Auriemma at UConn. He showed me how to work harder than anyone else. He helped me understand that the skills I had and could potentially continue to grow were going to set me apart if I knew how to work hard.

Why female athletes should be a priority

The way that I’ve approached asking for more is by continuing to do my best. How I perform on the basketball court is going to continue to give me more opportunities, and more value, and things like that. But I also ask companies to value me and value women’s basketball. We need to change the game and level up as far as what female athletes deserve, because we put ourselves through a grind and still aren’t always rewarded.

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Using my platform to make the world a better place

Yes, we are basketball players first and what we do on the court is what gives us a bigger platform. But at the same time, when basketball is gone, we’re still people. I want to do my part to make this country and this world a better place. I want to use my platform and voice for people who don’t have that. Being out and seeing all the things in the country and the world that we’re still struggling with, that’s obviously a priority for me.

Why I teamed up with Puma to create ‘Overdue’

I’m super new with Puma, but they’ve been all in from the beginning. They are one of the first companies to really promote female athletes and promote me. The “overdue” concept for the line is so simple, but it has a lot of meaning. There’s been nine other female athletes who have had this opportunity before me, but we’re at a point in the world where people need to get behind women in sports. It’s overdue. I’m really proud to represent Puma and become part of this trendsetting new line.

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How my priorities shifted when I became a mom

I’m just focusing on one thing at a time, one day at a time. Being a new mom for Ruby is the most important thing in my life, and also the best thing that’s ever happened to me. So I’m embracing that, but also trying to be a role model for her, just like I’m being a role model for other young kids or young adults.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

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