WASHINGTON (Feb. 28, 2011)—Not many former NFL cheerleaders have survived a plane crash, slept in jungles teeming with poisonous snakes, swum with hungry great white sharks, rappelled down a 14,000-foot sinkhole in search of frogs and been charged by an angry silver-backed gorilla. But then, Mireya Mayor is not your normal ex-NFL cheerleader.
In her spirited and candid memoir PINK BOOTS AND A MACHETE: My Journey from NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer (National Geographic Books; ISBN: 978-1-4262-0721-1; March 1, 2011; $26; hardcover), Mayor, a Nat Geo WILD! television host and 2007 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, vividly describes her most thrilling adventures.
On quick examination of her roots, one may never have guessed that Mayor would become the woman she is today. She was the “girly-girl” daughter of an overprotective Cuban immigrant mother. After graduating from high school, she became an actress, then a Miami Dolphins cheerleader. Yet Mayor was also a tomboy as a child, who loved collecting lizards and worms. Her passion for animals was rekindled after taking an anthropology course in college, and her career then catapulted to Fulbright Scholar to renowned primatologist who discovered the world’s smallest lemur to, ultimately, quintessential explorer.
Now, with more than a decade’s worth of thrilling exploits under her belt, Mayor recounts the story of her life, from her sheltered upbringing in Miami to her current globe-trotting existence, where every day is different and unpredictable. “I never know if I am going to be tracking gorillas in the Congo, capturing giraffes in Namibia, scaling a mountain in Venezuela, chasing monkeys in Japan, or herding wildebeests from a helicopter. The one thing I can be sure of is that it isn’t ever boring,” she writes.
In her foreword to PINK BOOTS AND A MACHETE, primatologist Jane Goodall draws parallels between her life and Mayor’s. “Like me she loved being with animals when she was a child. Like me she imagined herself trekking into far-off jungles. And like me she followed her dream until it became a reality… She is still, vividly and enthusiastically, living and loving her childhood dream.”
Mayor is not only motivated by the adventure — she is passionate about wildlife, especially wildlife that is threatened with extinction, and she feels a vital obligation to stop it. “When I am out there, I think of the strong possibility that my children, their children, and future generations will no longer find the animals that I have come to love. We have created an environmental mess for our children, and I must continue to do my part to clean it up.”
In PINK BOOTS AND A MACHETE, Mayor demonstrates her unrelenting determination, incredible sense of adventure, fierce love of animals and her sheer will to succeed — and survive.
She is currently embarking on her most challenging adventure yet — being pregnant with twins while raising her other two children under the age of 5.
About the author
Mireya Mayor is currently a host on Nat Geo WILD! channel with her own series “Wild Nights with Mireya Mayor” and can regularly be seen in documentary specials such as “Mystery Gorillas.” A former correspondent for the critically acclaimed series “Ultimate Explorer,” Mayor was a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2007 and is a frequent guest lecturer for the National Geographic Live Lecture series. She regularly appears on TV on MSNBC, CNN, Inside Edition and NBC’s “Today.” She also has been featured in People, Marie Claire, Latina, National Geographic Adventure and Elle magazines and in The New York Times and Miami Herald. Her website is www.mireyamayor.com. A trailer and more information about the book can be found at www.pinkbootsandamachete.com