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Who Dey? No, the Who Bae!

Courtesy of @thewhobae via Instagram

If you’re a Bengals fan, or really just a football fan in general, you’re likely very familiar with the Cincinnati team’s saying, “Who Dey?”

However, you might not be familiar with Jess, who goes by @thewhobae on her social media platforms. Upon first glance, she’s just a diehard for the Bengals, but under the surface, she’s so much more than that.

Courtesy of @thewhobae via Instagram

To tell Jess’ story, it’s essential to shed light on the experiences of being a female sports fan. I’ll admit on my behalf that it hasn’t always been fun and easy, especially since the sports world is a predominantly male industry. Being told to name 5 players, having my credibility constantly questioned, and overall dealing with a lot of negative behavior are just a handful of things we women are forced to navigate.

And these experiences are what Jess likes to focus on in her podcast and YouTube show, “Tigress Talk.” Joined by Whitney, Jerrie, Kayla Caskey, and Kayla Swelburrow, these women focus on the animosity they face in the sports world as well as lighter topics like their pets, what they wear to games, etc.

“[I] started my own show this year, that's for women,” Who Bae said. "That's kind of helped us branch out and give us a voice, and I feel like that's something that has really been special and it's something that I've really been inspired by…within the organization. And that's really kind of what's inspired me to be a bigger fan and to show my fandom and not be afraid of it and not be worried about what people are going to say," - Jess for Spectrum News.

Courtesy of @thewhobae via Instagram

This unique voice has always been what drives Jess. Through her work and everything that she does in her day-to-day life, she aims to amplify voices that aren’t always heard.

Many sports fans know the woes of your team losing. But, Jess found a way to put these losses in a more realistic, less grueling perspective. When you work as a bedside nurse to patients who are in critical condition, the football losses become a little less painstaking.

“I used to joke, ‘Come hold the iPad while people die and their family cries at the other end of the iPad, and maybe you’ll understand why I am so optimistic about football,’” - Jess for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Courtesy of @thewhobae via Instagram

Jess, though she lives in Columbus, currently works as a cardiothoracic nurse practitioner in Cincinnati. When she’s not working, she’s taking to social media and regularly posting about what’s going on in her life, whether it be good or bad. And one thing about Jess is that she’s always going to be supportive of her female peers, unafraid to call out insensitive comments or posts against them.

However, it hasn’t always been easy to be bold in such an environment, which is why Jess prefers to keep her surname and even her employer private. Jess may be a private person, but her passion and her boldness to advocate for women in sports aren’t.

“This is where I find my happiness, with the Bengals and with football. They provide me with an escape and a few hours a week of joy and love with my friends and everybody else,” - Jess for the Cincinnati Enquirer .

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