There aren't too many women who can call themselves professional soccer players. There's even less who can name themselves as part of the United States women's national soccer team. Now, split that number into an even smaller sum, because there's even fewer who can call themselves a World Cup champion. Mallory Pugh belongs to this tiny and elite group, as she's one of the few people who have accomplished all three of those feats (and at only 21 years-old, too).
While she's still, no doubt, celebrating her and her teammate's recent 2019 World Cup win, she's also looking ahead—maintaining her rigorous training schedule and preparing for all soccer seasons to come. Yet, in the midst of all this training and traveling, she's also been making a name for herself in the beauty space: it was recently announced that Pugh had signed on to become Neutrogena's newest brand ambassador. We had the chance to talk with Pugh about all things soccer, skincare, and wellness. Keep scrolling to read our full interview and learn more about her hero skincare products (including the budget-friendly sunscreen she wears everyday on the field).
Q: Can you explain why partnering with Neutrogena was such a good fit for you?
MALLORY PUGH: I love what they stand for. They want you to be strong. They want you to be confident. I think that when you’re confident and strong off the field that translates onto the field.
Q: What are some of your favorite Neutrogena products of all time?
MP: I think definitely the Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub ($7). I like the foam too, but I feel like the scrub really gets you nice and clean. Also, I like the Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes ($7), too.
Q: Can you walk us through your complete skincare routine?
MP: In the morning, I use the foam, the Pink Grapefruit Face Wash ($8), you know, and then I usually put on a vitamin c serum that my sister gave me, and then I follow up with the Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer ($7). Then, I always, always need sunscreen. At nighttime I’ll use the scrub—well, I’ll use the wipes to wipe off any dirt or makeup that I might have on, and then I’ll use the scrub with the little beads in it and then usually a moisturizer.
Q: You must spend a lot of time training. What does your average daily routine look like?
MP: Right now it’s pretty crazy; I don’t have a daily routine, but for in-season, when I’m more on a regular schedule, I’ll usually wake up at 8, and I’ll get ready for training. I usually have hot water, lemon, and apple cider vinegar for a morning drink, and then I’ll probably take something to go and eat that on the way to training. I’ll get to the field around 8:45 or 9 a.m., train, and then I get home around 1 or 2 p.m. and the rest of the day is free. If I have errands to run I’ll do that, but I'm usually chilling with my roommates.
Q: Being a professional soccer player means traveling a lot—especially when you were competing in the World Cup. Do you have any tips or tricks to staying calm and grounded while traveling?
MP: I travel so much that I try to sleep as much as I can. If I don’t get enough sleep then I’m cranky and I’m not calm. There are routines I definitely have when I travel, but I think sleep is the number one thing for me.
Q: Do you have any tricks for beating jet lag?
MP: Luckily I am a pretty good sleeper. Beating jet lag is difficult, but I know that there are these tablets you can take for jet lag. You take them throughout the day when you’re traveling, and that usually helps. I learned that from a teammate.
Q: Is there anything special you do before a game?
MP: No. I’m not very superstitious. I think every day is different; every week is different. Some days I’ll listen to rap music and other days I’ll listen to Christian music—honestly it varies for me. I just try to stay calm and get into the zone.
Q: Out of curiosity, when you play, do you wear any makeup or skincare? Do you wear SPF when you’re playing?
MP: I always wear SPF, and then it depends on how I’m feeling that day, honestly. I usually do wear a little mascara and then a little foundation, but—especially during the summer, you’re sweating so much anyway…
Q: Is there a specific foundation you wear when you feel like wearing makeup on the field?
MP: It’s Chanel. It has SPF in it. I put that on top of the Neutrogena SPF that I put on, so I’m definitely not getting burned.
Q: Now let's talk about the World Cup! Can you talk a little bit about the experience as a whole and what it was like winning it all alongside your teammates?
MP: It was definitely an experience I wasn’t expecting whatsoever. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do—like the World Cup itself and everything leading up to it. There was a rollercoaster of emotion. There were highs and lows. I think the beauty of it was the group of girls we had. Everyone was on the same page and everyone wanted to accomplish the same thing. Everyone was there for each other. That was one of the most special things we had—we had each other’s backs no matter what. You could really see that on and off the field.
I tried to think of it as just another game, and if you think about it, it really is just another game. But that’s your number one dream, and you worked so hard to get there, so to step on the field and represent your country at the highest level is something I’ll never forget.
Q: Who’s your biggest inspiration on or off the field?
MP: I think there are a lot of inspiring women out there. It’s amazing to see how many strong women there are, but for me, my sister has always been an inspiration. I want to say the team—the national team. Even though I’m on it, and you could say that I’m inspiring others, the team as a whole is just…wow, we are truly amazing women.