Q+A with Breada Farrell, Internationally Recognized Athlete + Friend to All

Breada is awesome, there’s just no other way of putting it. She currently lives and works in New York City as a media sales planner for NBC, but she’s so much more than that. An established lacrosse champion in both high school and college, Breada is now working on establishing herself as an international force to be reckoned with as a member of the Irish National Women’s Lacrosse team, who she will be representing this summer in the Czech Republic. She’s also an insanely dedicated runner, a yoga and fresh air fiend, and a proud member of a fun, loving Irish family of eight, nine if you include her canine pal, Yogi. She thrives on physical challenges, loves meeting and bonding with new people, and is honestly just one of the most genuine, caring, hilarious, and charismatic girls I’ve ever met. She knows who she is, and she’s not afraid to be her best, brightest, and goofiest self. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of her running (or rollerblading) past you in Central Park, but good luck catching her! 

The Basics

  • Age: 24 (Go ’90s!!)
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Education: B.A. in Communications from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Field of Interest: People, health, and sports
  • What Inspired You Today? I am currently in Aspen, Colorado with my entire family for my older sister’s wedding, so the gorgeous mountains, the cup of black coffee I’m currently enjoying, and my brother Jack. We’re about to hike up a mountain and discuss some yoga techniques later. Carpe Diem!
  • What’s Your Favorite Thing About Yourself? I love my ability to connect with people, my determination and drive, and my athletic ability. My mom tells me that I was running at eight months.
  • What are you currently listening to? Currently listening to some Trey Anastasio with my brothers over our morning coffees.
  • What are you currently reading? My daily horoscope, I read it every morning! (Thank you, Marie Claire)

Questions + Answers

You’re an exceptional athlete, a Media Sales Planner at NBC at the renowned 30 rock offices, and a friend to nearly everyone you meet. Even though you probably don’t have many, what do you love to do when you have a few hours to yourself?

I like to find, or make, free time for myself. I wake up extra early to get in a run in Central Park. I enjoy running because I can use it to channel whatever mood I’m feeling for the day. Going hard to beat a new personal record, a light jog to recover, a steady pace to get a little dose of Mother Nature in and set the tone for the day. Running is great because it’s always rewarding to challenge myself and it gives me the confidence to get through anything that may arise throughout the day.

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With that being said, I am also really into yoga. I love to get my vinyasa flow on and really slow down, relax, and get in tune with my body and mind.

So you’re working for nbc at their 30 rock offices…So cool! What attracted you to the entertainment industry?

You’re too kind, too kind! Well, I was immediately drawn to the entertainment and advertising industry after my first course in media in the spring of my sophomore year, Introduction to Media and Advertising at the UNC School of Journalism. I had two professors that taught this course and the taught us about the multitude of career opportunities  for individuals. I learned that the industry is pretty relaxed, creative, and full of driven, intelligent people.

Now I have to admit, I had no idea that I would be selling TV ad space for NBC only two years out of school. Quite frankly, I was quite confused as to what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be after graduation. After our lacrosse season ended and I graduated, I moved home to New Jersey and started looking for opportunities in the Big Apple. I accepted an internship opportunity in the fashion industry with a shoe company and after talking with mentors, I ultimately learned that my skills were better suited for media. From there, I have really grown, learned a lot, and now have a great understanding of the industry! Plus, it’s just so FUN!! I mean, check out this selfie I took with Ryan Seacrest…

Athletic endeavors, from division one college lacrosse at unc to running to yoga to hiking, have always been a huge part of your life. what role have they played for you? how has this avid dedication influenced the other areas of your life?

Well, I truly believe that I was born an athlete. I’ve always been naturally drawn to sports and competition. My mom tells me that I would always choose going to a soccer game over Irish Dancing practices or even birthday parties. I was running around with my siblings at nine months old. I always wanted to play college lacrosse and I had never expected, or knew, that I would be able to play for such an amazing team, representing UNC! #blessed

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As a high school athlete, I really learned to work with a team all year long playing lacrosse (2 x New Jersey state champions) and field hockey (4 x New Jersey state champions). I was always able to be myself around a big group of girls so I suppose that’s where I developed a lot of my confidence as a young lady.

In college, I really learned a lot about my work ethic, drive, and commitment to something important to me. I learned that I love to learn. Not only about lacrosse, but I really branched out and “got my feet wet” in so many different areas at UNC. Whereas most of my teammates just stuck to lacrosse, I chose to use all of the resources that UNC had to offer, like joining the Tri Delta sorority my sophomore year.

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I chose to go UNC over other schools like Northwestern and Duke because the campus has so much life to offer. I met so many great people, both younger and older during my four years as a college athlete. Now, after the “glory days” of my athletic life are over, I am finding new ways to incorporate sport into my life. I am still playing lacrosse in NYC with the incredible New York Athletic Club lacrosse team and I am also a member of the Irish National Lacrosse team. This summer, I am flying to the Czech Republic in August to play in the European Women’s Lacrosse Tournament.

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As an athlete, I’ve really learned to appreciate the outdoors because I have spent so much of my life training outside. I like sports the same way that I like movies and a good book because it’s a break away from the real world, you know? Like who cares about the bills you have to pay, catching the train, or going to work when you’re lost in a good read or causing an awesome turnover in a game?!

So overall, I think sport has and will continue to shape my life, help me grow stronger personally and physically, and always encourage me to seek new adventures.

Speaking of new adventures, you’ll soon be flying to the Czech Republic to represent Ireland in the European Women’s National Lacrosse tournament. That is so badass! How does it feel to be acknowledged at an international level for your exceptional sportsmanship? What about that competition are you most looking forward to?

Yes, I am indeed! I am very proud to be able to represent my family and my Irish heritage. My siblings (I have five siblings: three brothers and two sisters) and I all have dual Irish-American citizenship. After I graduated, I asked my mom if and how I would ever put this privilege to good use, and I thought, why not try out for the Women’s Ireland lacrosse team?!

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I had never had the time to make the trip over before when I was busy with high school and college athletics. I flew over and tried out over the Halloween weekend in the fall of 2014, after I went through the process of obtaining my Irish passport and other documentation that was needed to tryout. I learned that I made the team that Christmas and I have been training for the tournament ever since. I’m so excited!

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To answer your question more specifically, hmm…finding words to explain how it feels to play my favorite sport while representing an entire nation…honestly, there are no words to describe this honor. Well, I suppose I feel honored and LUCKY!! As lacrosse continues to grow, it feels really COOL to have played for the number one team in the nation in college (we were the 2013 NCAA Division One National Champions my senior year at UNC and even got to meet President Obama because of it!) and obviously, it feels amazing to have been selected to represent and play for a European nation. It is a surreal reality. It’s really hard to believe that I represent the elite, most successful and talented female lacrosse players of the world!

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As far as what I am looking forward to most, lacrosse and athletics have already given me so many opportunities in my 24 years thus far and they only continue to help me grow. I’ve traveled outside the country three times, but only to Ireland, so I cannot wait to explore more of Europe. I am also so excited to see first-hand how lacrosse in Europe compares to lacrosse back in the States, and to just generally learn more about different cultures.

After my tryout, I was very intrigued by how different female athletes’ mindsets are in Europe compared to the United States. For instance, there is no Title IX or NCAA to regulate play and funding for men’s versus women’s sports teams. Since there is no NCAA in Europe, there is no real drive to play in college, it’s mostly recreational or professionally driven for other sports.

I am really excited to play with my teammates for a week in hopes of winning the European Women’s National Tournament! I’ve already made friends with my teammates, and we have all been motivating each other via Facebook with pictures and positive life updates all year. I really hope to see lacrosse grow internationally and I am so, so grateful to be a part of this process!

As an exceptionally accomplished athlete and an incredibly well-rounded and ambitious individual, you are constantly challenging yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. How do you continue to push yourself to improve, even when you may feel at your limits?

When I feel like I’m at my limits, I have learned to take things off my plate and prioritize my responsibilities. I like to keep to a semi-routine schedule during the week so that I am consistent, yet able to keep things fresh in the mornings with a run or workout and then something social at night like seeing a comedy show, a concert, or grabbing dinner and drinks with friends after work. “Things” can pile up quickly, but all things pass with time.

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Keeping that in mind, getting though one thing at a time, sort of like a checklist, helps me to to continue to improve myself even when I feel overwhelmed and at my limits. That, and a nice cup of tea! 🙂

You have an amazing ability to connect and communicate with people. How do you cultivate that, especially knowing that competitiveness can sometimes hinder relationships?

Well, thank you! That’s a great question. I’ve never really interpreted my ability to connect with others. I believe that I like to keep a positive outlook and I am pretty open about my own personal feelings and experiences. I think that allows people to feel comfortable opening up to me about their own selves. I also love to have a great time, so if there is an event happening or someone laughing, you’ll be sure to see me there front and center. I always think, the more the merrier.

Also, I would say that I go out of my way not to infuse any of my relationships with my competitive personality. Generally speaking, I know that I have great relationships with people near and far in my life because everyone has touched my life at some point in a significant way. I’d say, on the field as an athlete, I’m like a tiger chasing down its prey. Off the field, I am curious like a cat and eager to get to know about other people and their lives and experiences.

Keep up with Breada on Instagram!
+ KNOW ANY OTHER AMAZING WOMEN we should feature? you know the drill, TELL US ABOUT THEM!
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