Katherine Webb, girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, became an overnight sensation when ESPN play-by-play man Brent Musburger commented on her looks. The 2012 Miss Alabama is now slated to appear in this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue on sale the week of Feb. 11. I spoke with Webb Friday afternoon.
SI.com: How surprised were you to get the call from Sports Illustrated?
Webb: I was completely dumbfounded. It was so shocking to me because literally overnight I go from being A.J.'s girlfriend and going to support him in the championship game to being on every major media news outlet. It's just so surprising to me. I don't know what God has planned, but obviously he's working on something. When Sports Illustrated called it just became even more real that this is happening. Every single model wants to be in Sports Illustrated, and I feel extremely blessed to have that opportunity.
SI.com: So it's safe to assume you said yes right away when you got the call?
Webb: Oh, my gosh. Ab sol ut ley. I've been approached by different publications, but I think a lot of America appreciated how classy I was, and I got a lot of responses saying I was America's sweetheart and all that kind of stuff. I'm from Alabama and I have morals and I have class. That's my personality. A lot of people have said I'm the anti-Kim Kardashian and I'm all right with that.
SI.com: Well, Kim Kardashian has done all right for herself.
Webb: She made herself into who she is and that's fine and all that. But I guess the way I want to go about all this is, I just want to have a positive image for myself. I want girls to be able to look up to me and to say, "I want to be just like her one day." That's what I did as Miss Alabama and I loved that.
SI.com: How long have you done modeling?
Webb: I've done modeling since I was 18, but it didn't take off until I moved to Los Angeles. Modeling has always been something I've been really good at, and has been something that's helped pay bills. And it's something I enjoy doing, as well. Every model wants to be successful in her career, so for Sports Illustrated to reach out to me is just amazing. I couldn't be anymore blessed.
SI.com: Take me through Monday night. You're at the game, it got boring quickly, although maybe not for you, but most people, and then a wave of buzz happens from Brent Musburger's comments to your Twitter blowing up. What was that night like?
Webb: I don't think it became real to me until after I left the stadium and a reporter walked up to me and asked if I realized what was happening, because my phone was dead, so I had no idea what was going on. He was like, "Do you realize you are the star of the game?" I was like, "No, what are you talking about?" So he told me the cameras focused on me and A.J.'s mom and I had over 100,000 Twitter followers, and I was like "Wait a minute, are you serious?"
SI.com: Did you get a chance to at least celebrate Alabama's win?
Webb: Yeah. Afterward, all the football players went back to the hotel where they were staying. I left immediately and went straight to the hotel. By then, I had charged my phone, so I kinda knew what was happening. Immediately after I stepped out of the car and walked into the hotel, I had people come up to me asking me for autographs and asking me to sign memorabilia, and that stuff is now being sold on eBay. But we did end up celebrating all night. I didn't get any sleep. I didn't close my eyes for 24 hours.
SI.com: You told Matt Lauer earlier this week that you didn't think Brent Musburger or ESPN should've apologized for his comments. Have you heard from ESPN or Musburger?
Webb: I haven't heard from anyone personally. I heard ESPN offered an apology, but I didn't hear from them personally.
SI.com: Did you know before all this happened about Brent Musburger "discovering" Jenn Sterger?
Webb: I had no idea.
SI.com: With newfound fame comes a downside. What's been the best and worst part of this week?
Webb: I've realized you're not going to please everyone and you're not going to appeal to everyone and show who you are to everyone. That's one of the downsides. But the upside is that one thing I want to do is be a good role model. Hollywood has such few good role models and I partially feel like this is why this has happened for me and I really want to promote that and do good for others.
SI.com: What has been like to be an Auburn grad dating an Alabama student? Can you even walk around the Auburn campus anymore?
Webb: Luckily, I graduated in May 2011, so I haven't had a reason to go back on campus unless it's been for a football game. I've had a little bit of backlash from Auburn, and I understand. Auburn and Alabama have one of the biggest rivalries in all of college football. But I lived in Los Angeles and there aren't a lot of great guys in L.A., so for me to find someone who has a good, humble heart and who is amazing and treats me so well, that's a really special find for me. At the end of the day, football is just a game. I don't care if he's from Alabama or wherever, I don't pay attention to the rivalry when it comes to my personal relationship.
SI.com: Is it true you guys met through Twitter?
SI.com: So what else is next for you?
Webb: I've had opportunities to do hosting and some television shows. But right now I'm just going along for the ride and seeing what happens. But at the end of the day, my relationship with A.J. is what's important and if this stuff is going to hinder the relationship, then I don't have a problem saying no to certain things, especially if they'd embarrass me or his family.
SI.com: Do you think you'll be able to attend any Alabama games next year with your newfound fame?
Webb: I was thinking about that this morning. I might have to wear a hat next year. But I'm not going to let the fear of the media keep me from supporting him.