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UCLA

Amazing Grace: Antronette Yancey

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By Kristine Breese

Published Jul 1, 2006 12:00 AM


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Copyright © Vern Evans


The 6-foot-2-inch Antronette (Toni) Yancey, 48, an associate professor in the UCLA School of Public Health, is a basketball player, a former European model, a poet and spoken word artist, an alumna (M.P.H. '91) and, not at all coincidentally, an expert on chronic disease prevention intervention.

Q. Is there anything you wouldn't do?

A. I will never bungee jump, hang glide or sky dive. The stupidest thing I ever did was to jump out of a second story window on a dare when I was 15. I broke my ankle in three places. I'd like to think I learned something from that … about gravity if nothing else.

Q. What's left that you haven't done?

A. I want to play one game in the WNBA ... and I want to be able to dunk a basketball. I can dunk a volleyball, but I've never dunked a basketball because I have small hands. I'd also like to be bilingual in Spanish and write a novel that's reviewed by The New York Times.

Q. What's the worst thing anyone's said about you?

A. That I got where I am because of affirmative action. It definitely opens doors, but then it's up to you to work twice as hard for the same reward.

Q. What's the nicest thing?

A. That I could "talk a hungry dog off a meat wagon."

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