India Wright: “I think people still have this perception that there’s not a lot of space for women in sport…it’s been cool to be part of this change”; Her Huddle is a new show to celebrate the stories of women working in and around the NFL – available as a podcast below
Last update: 10/28/22 2:47 p.m.
India Wright, a six-time Emmy-nominated star producer for NFL Media, talks to Her Huddle about the evolution of her career and what makes a good sports story.
India Wright is a six-time Emmy-nominated feature film producer for NFL Media with an immense passion for storytelling.
Appearing in the last episode of His caucus (available as a podcast below), Wright explained precisely what makes a good story. “It starts with research,” she said. “And I’m looking for diapers…and a big third act.
“Is it complex? Does it come and go, and there are ups and downs? And can we end the story big, big?
“If I can find a story that I can do those two things with, for me, that’s a home run.”
Wright’s impressive NFL career didn’t follow the original path it had taken. While attending the University of Southern California, she initially harbored ambitions of becoming a sportscaster before finding her calling.
“Telling stories is a chance to have a voice”
“I thought the only space for a woman in sports was on camera, so I went there thinking I wanted to be on the air,” she said.
“I really loved being able to tell stories in sport. And I was lucky to have a voice.
“I think storytelling through sport as a goal, that has a real impact on change. It’s the only space really these days where people can come together and those walls come down. We can have those harder conversations and people are more receptive to it.”
She added: “I think people still have this perception that there are limited places for women in sport. They don’t know much.
“There are so many amazing women doing these jobs. It’s been an eye opener for me and it’s been cool to be a part of this change as well.”
As for Wright’s favorite story she’s told since she started working in the NFL?
“It’s easy. I’ve told stories about the greatest athletes, with the greatest franchises, but my favorite story to date is about a woman you won’t even know.
“Antoinette Harris. She was the first woman to earn a college football (non-kicking) scholarship. She had ovarian cancer; she didn’t know either and then found her father. Like I said earlier, lots of layers.
“It was the first time I could tell a story centered on a woman. I was a producer and I had women involved in post-production. It was so organic, and it was the first piece that I’ve never done where I felt like my voice was really noticeable, probably because it was so personal to me.
“She talks about her menstrual cycle in the article. Sitting there watching what’s being talked about on the NFL Network, I never thought we’d be telling these stories because football is ‘played by men’.
“The Women in Football episode has since evolved every year, and I’m proud to say it’s been nominated for a Sports Emmy every year. It’s so personal and close to my heart.”
“I want my career to evolve with my personal evolution”
And it’s not just through the lens that Wright challenges complex subjects, gender equality and outdated perceptions of the industry.
Speaking about his personal development, Wright said: “When I was 23 or 24, it was fun to get on a plane and fly to New York and shoot a feature film.
“Four or five years later, I don’t want that anymore. I want to be home. I want to get married, have a family – that’s not a bad thing.
“I want my career to evolve with my personal evolution. That way, it’s still pleasant.
“A lot of times we make decisions that affect our careers, but we don’t meet our personal needs. When we do that, you feel resentment towards the job you’re supposed to love.”
She added: “Why I feel like I can express this is because of the women who have come before me.
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“It’s a sorority. That’s what I love the most; there’s so much openness among the women I work with, some who are 15, 20 years older than me and the younger ones coming in There is more of an embrace with each other.
“And that wasn’t always the case, because there were so many limited places for women. They had to be competitive.
“I now feel that I have a responsibility and a need to do this for the women who come after me. I need them to know that she was able to say it’s important and it’s okay to want these things”.
“You can want both, that’s fine. It de-stigmatizes that misconception that you have to choose between having a career and a family. Hopefully that goes away.”
As for any other advice for women who will eventually follow in her footsteps in the industry, Wright added, “Having a moral compass tied to a spine.
“What are your core morals? Those are going to be tested in this space as a woman, so having a backbone also allows you to stand up for yourself and the things you believe in.
“And boundaries. They’re so important. You have to set those boundaries, because otherwise – I’ve seen it happen – people get so resentful.
“I think they would be my three pillars.”