By Taryn Elder
In a world where people often try to create an illusion about their lives on social media, Australian and Sydney Sixers player Alyssa Healy is one person who likes to 'keep it real'.
Forget bikini clad photos or duck face selfies, if you browse through her social media pages you'll mostly find candid photos of her dogs and snaps of life on tour, with some witty captions in the mix.
Despite all of her success on their cricket field, when you first meet the talented wicketkeeper (who also happens to be pretty handy with a cricket bat), you instantly feel like she could be one of your best mates, a fellow spirit animal who loves hanging out in her tracksuit pants and watching Netflix as much as all of us.
Her down to earth attitude is what makes Alyssa so likeable and she's not afraid to have a laugh on and off the cricket field, her off the cuff banter behind the stumps a highlight for her teammates.
Instead of knocking on the door of fashion brands for a dress to wear to this year's Allan Border Medal like most athletes in the media spotlight, Alyssa decided to shop online (like most of us do) for a dress last minute, releasing this photo on her Instagram feed - 10 points for the caption.
She openly admits that she's not big on going to high profile social events and when she’s not on the road with Australia or touring for the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL), she likes to 'chill out' at home in Sydney.
She currently shares a unit with her partner and fellow Aussie cricketer, Mitch Starc, who she met at just nine years of age when they started playing cricket together at a local club. The two struck up a friendship as young kids but eventually lost contact, only to cross paths years later. The good news is they're now engaged.
We caught up with the talented athlete in Melbourne for a one on one chat between a gruelling day of media interviews and got to know the real Alyssa Healy.
So Alyssa, you play for one of the most successful female cricket teams in the world the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars. Where did your love for cricket begin?
I guess like most other people I was introduced to cricket as a kid, I was about seven years of age. I had just moved down to Sydney and one of my friends from school approached me and said I want to go and try this cricket thing, you should come. I thought why not, Dad had been trying to get me into it for such a long time.
Did you fall in love with the game straight away?
I actually really didn’t take to it all in the beginning. I actually ended up playing in the sandpit for the first few weeks. Dad and my coaches eventually convinced me to give it another try and I signed up with a boys club."
It was almost a case of the cricket career that never was!
I hear your banter game behind the stumps is pretty strong on the field and that you're a bit of a joker on tour..
It's always good to have a bit of banter (laughs).
So you’re also enrolled at the University of Technology in Sydney, what are you studying?
I’m studying marine biology. I’ve been studying the course for about six years part time and have about one to two years left. Initially, my parents wanted me to study business, but being the rebel teenager I was I flicked straight past the business section in the course guide and found marine biology.
That explains the dolphin photo.
Is it hard juggling university and playing cricket professionally for Australia?
I actually find it pretty easy. I have the support of my uni in Sydney, they let me travel for cricket and study even though it’s a practical based course. My biggest challenge though is trying to find some spare time to get some study done on the road.
So you’re an ocean lover by the sounds of it, did you grow up living near the beach?
I love the ocean and grew up on the Gold Coast but moved to Sydney when I was seven years of age. In Sydney, we weren't that close to the beach but I always loved to go when I could.
So I take it you’re not a closet pro surfer?
I’m actually terrible at surfing (laughs). My Dad gave us body boards as kids so we stuck to that!
You’ve been playing cricket for Australia for over five years now, have you found a favourite place you like to visit on tour?
Anywhere with a beach! I was lucky enough in 2010 to tour the West Indies with the Australian Women’s Cricket Team, it was a pretty amazing experience. The people are so kind there and the beaches are just beautiful. I actually went back when Mitch was touring with the Australian Men’s Cricket Team, so really got to spend time being a tourist. I rode the $2 bus around Barbados non-stop and ate a whole lot of chicken.
Anywhere else on the bucket list for travel on tour?
Definitely South Africa.
So you're engaged to Mitch Starc a fellow Aussie cricketer, do you guys talk about cricket 24/7 or are there rules in place at home?
I do get in trouble when there’s cricket on the TV and I talk in the room, so that's a no-no. I guess we try to talk to our coaches and teammates when it comes to cricket, so not much gets spoken at home about it. We have lots of other interests outside of cricket, which is good.
Looking at both of your Instagram pages you guys like to keep pretty busy. What’s a typical weekend involve in the Starc/Healy residence?
We have two puppies, so a lot of the time we’re hanging out with them down at the beach or the local park. Otherwise one of us is sitting on a hill watching the other play cricket.
You do have some pretty cute snaps of your Staffy puppies tell me a bit about them.
They're very cheeky. Their names are Millie and Misty, they’re both just over 12 months old. We moved house when they were brand new puppies, so they thoroughly enjoyed chewing a lot of stuff in the new house. They also chewed a hole in the wall when I went down the street to get a sandwich! They also like to chew their beds up, so we can’t leave them at home alone with their beds in sight anymore
Thanks for the chat Alyssa!
Catch the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars take on New Zealand's White Ferns for the Rose Bowl from February 20 by heading to cricket.com.au