Oct. 13, 2008
Fashion, fun and Fight Club: Three things that make junior Nikki Baker a unique addition to the Seminole volleyball team. She may appear quiet and reserved, but up close the Findlay, Ohio, native is more than meets the eye.
As a merchandising major in her third year at FSU, Baker hopes to use her degree to make it in the advertising world.
“I originally wanted to major in advertising,” Baker said. “But I wasn’t able to get into that program. I want to advertise in the clothing industry so I thought I could take the merchandising aspect of it and sell the product.”
An avid shopper of Urban Outfitters, you can also find the five-foot-nine setter checking out the vintage racks for throw-back baseball t-shirts and other classic styles. Fashion and trends have always peaked an interest and she follows the latest looks by reading Cosmopolitan magazine.
“I like how Cosmo follows all the latest trends all over the world,” Baker said. “It keeps me updated on fashion and also relationships, but I mostly read the fashion-related articles and check out new style ideas.”
A drastic contrast to her favorite magazine is Baker’s favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk, who is best know for writing Fight Club.
“I really like his books because they are really out of the ordinary,” Baker said. “There is always a twist at the end and you never expect it. I really enjoy reading books like that.”
Joining the team in 2006, Baker was a fresh-faced blonde who was a little on the quiet side, two characteristics that didn’t last long. Shortly before her freshman season began, Baker decided it was time for a change and for the first time in her 18 years she dyed her hair.
“I wasn’t allowed to dye it in high school, but it was always highlighted and that’s why it was so blonde,” Baker said. “I finally got the freedom to make the decision to color my hair and I thought `well I don’t like blonde’ so I just kept dying it.”
Soon it became every color from jet black to a red-brown rust color and this season she’s sporting her natural shade of dark brunette.
When you ask her teammates what makes Baker a unique addition to the team, besides her chameleon hair, the words you’ll most often hear are goofy and fun.
“When I first met her I thought she was little,” fellow junior Brianna Barry said. “She had blonde hair and that threw me off for sure. [All the freshmen] went on the recruiting trips together, but Nikki and I clicked and we stuck together and became roommates. I thought she was goofy and she made me laugh all the time which is always a good thing.”
An easy going, laid back kind of girl, Baker brings a warm smile and goofy attitude to practice on a daily basis.
“When we first met her she was a little quiet but not anymore,” Barry said. “She is unique and definitely brings the goofiness; she can make anyone laugh on the team. She’s very approachable and any one of the girls can talk to her.”
Now in her third season, Baker is faced with the pressure of being the sole setter on the Seminole squad, a role she is quite comfortable with.
“I’m used to being the only setter,” Baker said modestly. “I was the only setter for my high school team because the other setters would quit. I’m used to handling it and I like it better because it’s not a competition; I know where my place is and I like having more responsibility because then I don’t have to feel like `oh well, if I mess up then someone else can come in for me.'”
The Seminole’s number eight proved she could handle the responsibilities after playing in all 10 sets at the Florida State Invitational on August 29 and 30. Baker was instrumental in the three wins over Florida A&M, Bowling Green and Stetson, recording 118 assists, seven aces and three blocks. Against Stetson she went on a 17-serve streak to start the first set, setting a career and team high.
As the season rolls on it will be crucial that the lone Seminole setter stays healthy, but if laughter truly is the best medicine, then Baker will be just fine.