ESPN anchor/reporter Erin Andrews, who grew up in Tampa, says she's feeling the pressure to excel as the first female co-host on ESPN's "College GameDay."
In an interview with WFLA, Channel 8, anchor Gayle Sierens, Andrews says that if she makes a mistake, viewers will be thinking "she got her job because of the way she looks."
"It's so humbling and amazing to me to be a part of 'College GameDay," Andrews tells Sierens, recalling that when she was a broadcast journalism major at the University of Florida, she "camped out" to get a front row spot when the ESPN pre-game show came to town.
"I was waiting in the front row to get my picture taken with them," she says in the interview airing at 11 tonight on News Channel 8.
"I am so honored to be the first woman on that show with a regular role," she says." And at the same time it's so difficult. I am trying so hard to keep my head above water and act like I know what I'm doing."
Andrews was promoted at ESPN this summer after a successful run on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." In addition to covering the key ESPN game of the week, she's joined the "GameDay" show. She also has become a contributor to ABC's "Good Morning America."
Andrews, who is the daughter of WFLA, Channel 8 investigative reporter Steve Andrews, was in Tampa to speak at the Outback Bowl Kickoff luncheon.
Before joining "Dancing With the Stars," Andrews was in the news last year for being stalked by a man who secretly filmed her through a peephole in a hotel room. Michael David Barrett pleaded guilty to interstate stalking and is serving two and a half years in prison.
Andrews tells Sierens that "I have a role now where I feel like I have to be an advocate against stalking." The 32-year-old has made it a priority to help get tougher laws passed against stalkers and video voyeurism.
She also talks about being on "Dancing With the Stars," saying that it helped her forget a lot of things involved with the stalking incident. "The reason why I was there was to get away," she says. "It was amazing therapy and it addressed a lot of my insecurities and made me face them. Ultimately, it was this gorgeous man who could shake it better than me."
Andrews says that her dancer partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy became her friend and her protector. "We never dated," she says." He liked the role of being my protector."
She also tells Sierens that "getting married and having a family" are important goals now. "I didn't really care about it before because I was so focused on my career," she says. "I want to do as much as I can now so when it's time I can settle down and have babies."