We caught up with one of the Queens of Raider Nation—Raider Gloria—who is featured on the cover of this month's ESPN The Magazine. It's a celebration of Bay Area sports, and few sports fans can match the depth of her love for her team. "My daughter says I should go to Raiders Anonymous," she jokes. Here, we talk about football, photo shoots, and family.
San Francisco: So we're looking at you on the cover here in—what do we call it? In character?
Raider Gloria: Character is ok. That's what we are.
How long does it take to get into character?
It takes a little over two hours. I take a shower at five in the morning and start to put on my makeup. I make coffee, turn on ESPN, see who commentators are picking for the day. Maybe if I didn’t watch ESPN it would take less time, but I’ve got to have sports on. My husband, Gabriel, used to help me. He died on October 7th of 2010. We got married in 1989.
It must be hard.
He died young. He told me if I go before you, I want you to go forward. So, his voice is still there with me. The first year after his death, I went to one game. My son took me. I felt really sad. After the end of the first quarter, I had to leave. I couldn’t handle it. Last year, I went to six games. This year I’ve been to all of them. It’s the way I am grieving. It’s going to get better, but I’ll never forget him.
He must have been a fan, too?
If he were not a Raider fan, I would not have married him. I don’t sleep with the enemy.
Are you close with the other characters?
Gorilla-rilla has the biggest, sweetest heart in the whole world. He got married last September. He had a Raider wedding. All of us characters were in the wedding. He wore the gorilla outfit. It was Fresno—and it was hot. She came in in a beautiful white gown on a horse and carriage. They are the nicest couple. We text a lot. Violator and his wife are an extremely nice couple too. When my husband passed away, I had so much love. It broke my heart.
Was your husband a character?
He went as a normal Raiders fan. He let me dress up. I loved him for that—he never tried changing me. He carried around a card in his wallet of me in character he used to show people.
You have to be a pretty big fan to do all this, don't you? Where you get it from?
My dad and godfather were big fans, back before the Coliseum was even built. We went to games at Stanford—wherever we could play. When I was 14, my dad taught me to drive, because the two of them would get blitzed at games and they need a driver. I'd pull a football cap down my head, and never got pulled over.
Where do you sit now?
Section 107, right above the Black Hole. I don’t sit in the Hole, because I’m only five feet tall. I wasn't going to go this year, because I couldn't afford the tickets. Someone bought them for me. I don't know who it is, they are anonymous. At the games, I hug everyone, so eventually I'll thank them
So how'd you get on the cover of the magazine?
About five years ago, I was approached by this gentleman from ESPN at a Raider’s game when I was in the parking lot tailgating. I guess ESPN wanted a photo shoot or interview.
This photo shoot was recent, though, right?
We did one shoot about three or four weeks ago. It was Gorilla-rilla, the Violator, and me at the Hilton on Hegenberger in Oakland.
Was that for the cover?
No, they asked me back for another one. I said, are the other characters going to stay at the some hotel? They said, "What other characters? You’re the only one. It’s for the cover." Oh my stars. We went to the 'Stick on Sunday when the Niners were playing the Colts. I mingled with the fans and I got really verbally abused. F— the Raiders. You’re on the wrong side of the Bay. But I’m tough. Anything to do with the Raiders—I’ll take one for the team. Lots of people were very accepting. They shared food.
Predictions for this season?
I love Pryor, the way he scrambles. He’s not afraid to run—I pray for his health. As far as the record this year, if we stop beating ourselves. It irritates when we beat ourselves with penalties.
Do you want a new stadium?
No, I don’t want a new stadium. But if they bring it to Modesto, where I live, I’ll vote for that.