When you think of the New York Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, you probably think of his size and superior athleticism. But during our interview at Saks Fifth Avenue in Short Hills, NJ, I learned there is so much more to this pro football player (and fashion aficionado) than meets the eye.
We didn’t talk sports, but we did talk fall fashion and how his organization, The D’Brickashaw Ferguson Foundation, is impacting the lives of deserving students in the New York area. Through the group’s efforts, D’Brickashaw’s goal is to provide resources to enhance each student’s pursuit of higher education. The foundation also assists churches and schools, and they work to fund food banks and clothing ministries – all with the hope of building up the respective communities by showing God’s love in action.
You have a career most little boys dream of. As a man living the dream, how do you define beauty in life?
I think honesty is beautiful. The reason I say that is because I feel you grow from the truth, whether it is good or bad. At times, the truth can be rare, based on who you speak to, and other times, it can be brutal. But there’s beauty in knowing what the reality of a situation is, and it’s really up to you to make what you want of it.
I know your foundation plays a big part in your life. Can you tell me a little more about why you started it?
I started the foundation four years ago because I wanted to do something for my community and the communities I encountered. There are a lot of people who don’t have the same opportunities, and there’s no reason why a person like myself – who has been blessed and has had a lot of opportunities – can’t do something to invest back in my community and those I visit. We really care about education and churches, and we really care about the people in them. The motto is “building up the community one brick at a time.” I feel very strongly about Long Island, because that is where I grew up. What we try to do is [conduct] a lot of activities, including mentorship programs; we also donate scholarships and have fundraisers so we can continue to make an impact in our local communities.
What I love about your mission statement is that it says you are building them up and showing them God’s love in action. How has God played a role in your life?
I definitely think He is the orchestrator of it all. He’s the one who allows us to see beauty, and through that truthfulness, we can grow. I also have a great support system: my wife, Kristin, my family, my brother and my mother and father.
What was your favorite part about growing up in New York?
Honestly, it was playing football in high school. In New York, we are not necessarily known for football. People usually think about Texas or Florida. It was great that we could still be competitive and play well at a high school level – we played all of Long Island, and won the championship. Those times are priceless.
You’re so fashionable when you’re off the field. What do you love most about fashion?
I love the idea of color and the use of color, especially in men’s fashion. There are only a certain number of patterns or stripes. What I really like are the designers who can think outside the box, like Alexander McQueen or people who can reconstruct things that have been considered traditional, like Giorgio Armani. I also love the designer Ozwald Boateng. He understands how color can have such an impact or really create a whole different look. Those things are amazing to watch and see.
Who are your favorite designers?
I really like Ozwald the best. I actually went to London and visited his shop, and that was really exciting for me. I am also a fan of Roberto Cavalli, Briono and Tom Ford. They all have really great men’s cuts and are very creative in their styling.
What is the one fashion accessory you can’t live without?
The pocket square. It’s something that, if used in the right way, adds a little more pop to your outfit and completes a look.
Find out more about D’Brickashaw’s work at dbrickashawfergusonfoundation.org