Football player Toni Harris may be far from actually playing at the Super Bowl, but her debut during one of the must-see commercials is a momentous feat in itself.
The East Los Angeles College Huskies defensive back, who is about to become one of the first women in history to play college football, is the subject of the latest Toyota ad to air during the Super Bowl Sunday evening. And she hopes to one day play in the NFL.
“When Toyota contacted me about the Super Bowl ad, I was literally in the locker room, getting ready to get dressed,” Harris told CBS News. “And I heard my phone ding and I saw that they wanted to possibly shoot a Super Bowl commercial.”
Harris explained that she’s been interested in football since she was just a few years old and was determined to play throughout school.
“People around me, they wren’t too fond of me playing football,” she said. “They said that I could get hurt a lot easier playing with guys.”
But the challenge only encouraged her more, and she said she found herself getting kicked off of football team after football team before excelling in high school.
“It was still hard, but I just tried to pave my way through no matter what anybody said,” Harris said. “It’s my dream and I’m going to protect it at any cost.”
She has now been offered football scholarships to several different four-year programs, but she said her biggest achievement through it all is becoming a role model to little girls dreaming of shining in male-dominated fields.
“A message that I would like to send to younger girls is to keep your dream alive, nothing's impossible,” Harris said. “Not every day everybody can stand up and be a role model for other people, and it's kind of hard. It's a lot of pressure, but I mean, I'm just paving the way for the next little girl that's going to come along and be a role model as well.”