NFL Woman of the Month: Mrs.Chris Johnson a “Pretty Smart Girl”

“A man is someone who takes care of his family,” says 1o year NFL veteran Chris Johnson. Most recently Johnson played with the Super Bowl Champions the Baltimore Ravens, but he has also spent time with the Packers, Rams, Chiefs, and Raiders. In reflecting on his fortunate career, Chris mentioned to his wife,”It would really be cool is if I could play with Ray Lewis before he retires.”  After a Johnson family prayer session this dream became a reality. Chris was called by Coach Harbough during week 10 last year and was picked up to play defense for the Ravens.

Chris realizes that many of his blessings would not happen without having a winning sidekick, his wife, Mioshi Johnson.   mioshi JohnsonTheresa Villano spoke with Texas native and newly nominated Off the Field Players’ Wives Association (OTFPWA) and Pro Player Insiders dynamic NFL Woman of the Month honoree, Mioshi Johnson.

Mioshi is not just a pretty,smart NFL wife…she is also a philanthropist, recent college graduate in the medical field, a super mom, and founder of  a powerful organization called, Pretty Smart Girls in Dallas. Pretty Smart Girls is a foundation that encourages girls to find their own voice despite today’s peer pressure and media influences.

The interview below not only reveals Mioshi’s accomplishments, the story behind playing with Ray, watching her husband become a Super Bowl XLVII Champion, the loss of a sister-in-law to domestic violence; but more importantly the stories of a Dallas power couples’ amazing testament to faith.

 Pro Player Insiders: We want to get to know you. Tell me a little about your passions outside of supporting your husband’s NFL career and most recently his Super Bowl win?

Johnson Family 2013
Johnson Family 2013

Mioshi Johnson: Well a little about me. What jumped off the page to me and most people know is… I am married to Chris, but Chris and I have three children. Chrissie is 15, Brandon is 12, and Christopher is 6 years old. I just graduated from college this month after returning back to get my certification in surgical technology. I am most passionate about helping people. I knew my passion would always be in the nursing and medical field because I love helping people and I feel like that’s one big field of kind of helping and healing people. That’s always where my heart has been, but also in philanthropy because doing for other people and being a blessing for others has always, ever since I was a little girl, been one of the biggest rewarding things that I could ever do. I’m very passionate of giving yourself, not just monetarily, but giving your time, your service to other people, and that’s what I do.


PPI: You said a lot of your passion is in philanthropy. Tell me more about your Pretty Smart Girls organization. When did it start and why did it start?

MJ: Well, Pretty Smart Girls is a mentored organization for teenage girls ages 13-18. Over these last couple years, it’s been an ongoing conversation with many of the women I know about how girls really need more mentoring these days, more leadership, kind of to be reared to do better things in life, and who more than women who are out there doing stuff and it’s not being seen to kind of grab the girls and say, “Hey you can do this. You can do that.” Then, the women teach them to mentor themselves. Over the last couple of years, I had the conversation with lots of people who said it was a good idea. About almost a year ago, I was sitting around, talking to my friend Dionne, her daughter, my daughter, and my niece. We were engulfed in the conversation that the teenage girls were having about things they say in their everyday lives with school and social media and all this kinds of stuff that we can sometimes be removed from because we’re adults now and maybe don’t understand it. But we do, we get it. I said, “Well now is the greatest time as any to start this mentoring group to try to reach and help as many girls as we can while we still have them at this delicate age of going through their teenage years.” We can teach them how to mentor and help themselves, their peers, and being mentors later on in life.

PPI: The name is a play and speaks for itself, Pretty Smart Girls. How did you come up with the name?

MJ: Basically because I’m always saying it, it’s kind of a catch phrase that the women in my family always use and I use. I’m always saying, “Don’t just be a pretty face. Be smart.” I don’t mean to be superficial. I truly mean that pretty doesn’t just have to be the physical. Pretty can be your attitude and how you carry yourself and how you communicate with people. Then smart doesn’t always mean that you’re going to be a straight A student finishing college. I was not always the smartest one, but I worked hard. I was passionate about what I was doing, so I focused and I made myself as knowledgeable as I could about what I was doing. So I mean, I felt smart whether I was getting 100, 90, or 80 because I studied and I worked hard. It doesn’t have to be just a pretty face or straight A student. You can be pretty and smart in something different.imageGen


PPI: Was there a moment thus far since Pretty Smart Girls started that you’re like this is exactly why I wanted to build this foundation?

MJ: At first, I was thinking you know it’ll be just the girls that Dionne and I have immediately in contact with. Like I said, she has a daughter. I have a daughter. I have a niece, actually nine nieces. But in the teenage realm, I have about four nieces, so I’m thinking we’ll start with this little small group. Then you know, maybe girls at church who just have some interest in wanting to do some stuff and we could show them some stuff. But as soon as we starting telling people what our plan was and by word of mouth, we set up an e-mail and women started e-mailing us saying, “Please let us know when you get this off the ground. This is what’s going on with my daughter. She’s being bullied or she doesn’t have any friends. She has low self-esteem. She tried to commit suicide.” So, me and Dionne kind of looked at each other once we kept getting all these different e-mails. We haven’t even met these girls. Their parents or their teachers that are e-mailing us, we haven’t even put our stamp on it and made it official yet and we have all of these peoples’ names. This is so needed. Please let us be a part.

PPI: If you could fast forward, in the next couple of years, what are your goals for Pretty Smart Girls in Dallas or nationally?image

MJ: Definitely wanting to be something that could possibly be in the school system nationally. That’s where the majority of our kids spend all their day. Eight hours they are at school. Whatever there is being offered there is pretty much what they adapt to or what they go toward. There needs to be something positive being offered at the school, something they will think is cool and be a part of. The natural instinct is to be a part of something that is not good or they are not supposed to be doing. We talked a couple of people in the area about even starting a small after school program, where we have women come in and talk to them about self-esteem and college and fitness and health. There are so many things across the board that the girls are having difficulties with. If someone took an hour a day after school to pour into them, we feel like it could get far very fast.

PPI: On a different note, another one of your passions is decorating. Tell me about it.

Johnson’s Bedroom look from “Donna Decorates Dallas”
Johnson’s Bedroom look from “Donna Decorates Dallas”

MJ: That is one of the fun things for me. I’ve always been the type of person that if I see a picture hanging or see something that would go great on a simple wall, I’ll get so much joy. That’s always been one of my little things. I help my girlfriends in the past cutesy up their apartments or homes and different rooms. That’s one of my fun things, so when we got the opportunity to actually work with one of the well-known designers in Dallas, I was over the moon excited. That was so fun.

PPI: How did that happen and who was the designer?

MJ: Her name is Donna Moss. She has a show in Dallas called “Donna Decorates Dallas.” What she does is these big, grand makeovers. I follow her on Facebook, picked up a couple of tips here and there, and she just put it out there on her Facebook page about doing open call for season two if you have a room in your house that you would like done over. I reached out to her and she said yes.

PPI: I saw the headboard in your house. Who thought of that?

Johnson’s head board after “Donna Decorates Dallas”

MJ: Donna thought of the design and we just kind of went over ideas, but we didn’t have anything in our heads that we specifically wanted. Once we got done with our initial interview, she was like, “That’s it. I know what it is that I wanted to do in this bedroom for you guys.” I guess she said we were holding hands the whole time. We have a matching tattoo with our anniversary. That’s how she came up with the interlocking, intertwining monogram in the middle and then she blinged it out.

PPI: What is your go to design item?

MJ: I love pictures. Not art picture, but pictures of yourself or your family. I just don’t think a house can have too many pictures of memories. We have a whole long hall and all down the hall are just snapshots of the kids and you know it doesn’t have to be professional photography pictures. There’s one where Christopher’s on the potty for the first time. Now he’s seven years old. That’s kind of embarrassing. (Chuckles) When he comes back to the house at 25, he’s going to be like, “Yeah! I remember that.” So, I love putting pictures of the family gatherings and all kinds of memorabilia kinds of stuff in the house.

PPI: You’re a woman of faith. I saw the tattoos on your feet. Tell me about the role it has played in your life.

MJ: The two scriptures. The one on the right says, “Lord your words are the light to my path.” The one on the left says, “Order my steps in your words.” This whole life we live, of course going into it young, 22, 23, thought we had the rest of our lives mapped out. How we dreamed it up or thought it up was just how it was going to be for the rest of our lives. You know, we were riding this wave. Reality is real, and we would have never made it in this league 10 years without God guiding us and getting to a point where we said, “God, all of our faith is totally in you.” We don’t want to write this story. It’s not going to be the way you have it. We don’t want to go a path that is not the path you want us to go. We just had to give over our faith and everything to God and he is amazing. He has not failed us yet.

PPI: Within that, you spoke of your husband and he must have faith too. I read that Chris said, “The definition of a man is a guy who takes care of his family.” How powerful is that? Many don’t know there are strong family men in the NFL. How does Chris show this?

MJ: Well, he’s so strong. I’m not talking about physically. Mentally and faith. He is just beyond his power in that. He was brought up in a single parent home by his mother and two sisters. He is the youngest. Instead of being the mom that babied him and the sisters that protected him, they did all that, but she also instilled in him that you’re going to be a man one day. You’re going to grow up and you’re going to be a man. The definition of a man is to take care of your family. His mom taught him that and instilled that in him. I think he owned in on that once he had Chrissie. He was a senior in high school. He said at that point in his life, I’ll never do anything physical or embarrassing to hurt my mom or my daughter. Then we had the two boys and he’s like, “Now I have two young men, who are looking at me. I can be an example of what they’re supposed to be in the future and what Chrissie can look for in a husband. My mom can look back and say that she raised a man.” So, he just put all that on his shoulders. He is a great, great example of a husband, a father, a philanthropist, mentor — he’s all that wrapped in one. He’s definitely the head of our household and strength for our family.



PPI: How did you two meet Mr. Johnson?

MJ: Oh, as two little kids in our hometown. One of his best friends and one of my best friends are brother and sister. Well, we were around each other. High school boys will be high school boys and goof off. High school girls, you know, you want a boyfriend and to be popular. We knew each other. We even worked the same summer job once. It wasn’t until one day when I was going to college and working at a hotel, and my friend called me up out of the blue and said, “Hey, somebody wants your phone number. I just wanted to make sure.” I’m thinking it must be somebody that probably tried to get my phone number before, maybe somebody I liked. Who is this? Who wants my number? And she said Chris Johnson. We tell the story now that that just had to be God, because we had not seen each other at that point. I mean, just out of the blue, he saw her and said how’s your friend? Can I have her number? We don’t know where that came from. We just say that was God, because after that, I didn’t give him my phone number. I told him to come to my job. So, he came to my job. Instantly, we just started cracking up and talking about the past and old stuff. We’ve been stuck together ever since.

PPI: How many years now?

MJ: 10. It was his senior year at Louisville and he got drafted by Green Bay. He didn’t know which way his career was going to go, so you know, we were just enjoying the moment.

PPI: Is there something fans would be shocked to know about Chris?

Ray Lewis and Chris Johnson
Ray Lewis and Chris Johnson

MJ: He is so comical and funny and giving. I tell him all the time that his first impression can really throw fans or someone first meeting him off. When I first meet people, I light up and I’m engaging and giving of myself instantly. I want them to be giving to because I want to know who I’m dealing with instantly. Chris is the exact opposite. He comes off as hard and very reserved when you first meet him. When you get to know him, he is so funny. He loves to talk and crack jokes and make people laugh. He loves to hang around family because he knows he can just let his hair down and be his goofy self.

PPI: You said you love to watch your husband play and in the last year Mr.Johnson’s  football career has changed often.  Tell me how he got on the Ravens and what it was like watching him win the Super Bowl.

MJ: It has truly been our testimony as a couple in this business for 10 years. Chris decided in 2011 that he was going to walk away from football and retire and just be home based. But in 2012, he said, “What do you think if I give it one more try?” That made him a free agent and we went through week one through 10 with workouts and telephone calls and everything. We thought maybe our first idea was a little better. So, we went to church and we talked to our pastor about it and he said to pray exactly what you want to God. He knows the desires of your hearts. Sometimes we just have to put it out there. We went home and we were watching football. We were watching the Ravens and Ray Lewis did something and our family has always been a Ray Lewis fan. Everybody got real excited and Chris goes, “I would love to play with Ray before he retires.” So we prayed. This was around week three or four when the Ravens were doing really well before Ray got hurt. He said he would really like to play for the Ravens defense. They’re just a power house of a defense. So, we prayed that exact prayer. He had a couple of workouts and he would always pack an overnight bag and call and he said they said they were gonna call him back. Well, about week nine or 10, he got the call from the Ravens. I was at school and he called and said, “Hey I’m going to have to leave this evening to go work out for the Ravens.” The first thing I said was, “Take extra underwear, because you’re going to stay.” The next day, I was in class and I couldn’t even concentrate. I’m getting all excited for him. He said, “Okay I’m going to call you after the workout.” A couple of hours went by and I was going about my day and wondering where he was. He called back and I asked how it went and he said, “What number do you think I should choose?” I said, “I told you to take extra underwear!” (Chuckles)



PPI: So what number did he pick?

MJ: He ended up picking 39. 37 has always been his number of choice, but it was already taken. So, he picked 39 and he started playing and the first thing he said was, “I love it here. There’s so many men of faith in this locker room that you can feel it. Even Coach Harbaugh is a man of faith. It’s so different here than anything I’ve felt in these 10 years.”

PPI: Tell me about your path to the Super Bowl.

MJ: By Super Bowl time, he was going back and forth with his hamstring injury. It was like, well God we know you got us here and we know you put us here for a reason. We had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t to go there and have this glorified season of just himself. The season itself was glorified. They went and won the Super Bowl, but he made so many connections spiritually. Half the guys on the team still call and text him. Chris has never been the type of person who gets up in front of the team and gives a rah-rah speech. He would rather talk to God one on one. He actually got in front of the team and gave his testimony of how he prayed to be with that team. Come whether he played or not, he knew he was in for the ride and he knew they were going to win the Super Bowl. For him to come in as late as he did and how things unfolded, they just saw a man of faith up there. That Super Bowl ring was definitely the icing on the cake from God.

PPI: You’re involved in Off the Field Player Wives Association. Has there been a fellow NFL wife you have looked up to or bonded with. If so, who? Tell me about her.

MJ: I can’t pick just one. I have to say that since I have been involved with Off the Field as a group, it has just been amazing for me. Anything that I come across or that I can think of, I often think of who can help me in that situation or issue and then I instantly tune in on who it is, what I’m dealing with spiritually or emotionally. It could be something as simple as I’m in another town and I’ve never been here before, so where do me and the kids go eat? The organization itself and all of the women that make up the organization, I can’t put a finger on just one of them. Of course I love President Ericka Lassiter. She is just been great and a go to all person. I can tell you that. She’s a great mentor. There’s so many others — Kim Alexander, Romonda Jordan, and Dawn Nuefeld. The list just could go on and on. Over the years, getting to connect with these women and be a part of this organization that we all make up as wives has definitely been a blessing.image


PPI: So Chris ended up with Green Bay. Was there a wife or family you connected with when you first got there.

MJ: Yes, Tiffany Ferguson. She’s from east Texas and she and I and her husband, Robert Ferguson, went to junior college together. We’re all friends and I didn’t even realize they were out there when Chris went. I had a little piece of east Texas every time I went out there.


PPI: On a different note, we talked about being an NFL wife and your kids. In your family, you guys had a loss. I saw in 2011, Chris lost his sister. I saw he has a tattoo dedicated to her. How has losing her affected your family, but also made it stronger?

MJ: Jennifer was everyone’s best friend. You have that one person in the family that everyone just loves, who’s there for everybody and just funny. She was that everything. She was one of his best friends and definitely one of my best friends. Losing her has been the hardest thing we have had to deal with as a family. Losing her in such a tragic way that panned out so publicly was also difficult for us. It has brought us so much closer as a family and really made everybody go back on their faith again. God, we don’t understand and we’re hurt, but we still know you’re there for us. She was that voice for him. They were very close. That was very, very hard to lose her like that, but we always go back on how we celebrate her. We can never be sad when we think of her. We were sad that we lost her, but anytime we sit around and watch home videos or look at pictures, we always get so uplifted. She’s always smiling, always dancing, always making everybody else happy, and doing silly things to make everyone laugh. Sometimes we just watch the videos to hear her laugh so we can laugh.       Read more on the Johnson family’s loss here.



PPI: Because of this, your husband started a foundation on domestic violence. Tell me about that.

MJ: We are currently working to start the LISTH (Love is Not Supposed to Hurt) Foundation. Love isn’t supposed to hurt. Jennifer was such a loving person. She would’ve given anybody her last meal, because she was just that type of person. She was so lovable. She loved to love on people and be around people. She would never hurt anyone. That’s what we always tell our kids and the kids we mentor. If you love somebody, you wouldn’t hurt them.

PPI: What are your goals with the foundation?

MJ: We want to be that voice. Domestic violence actually kills more women in America than breast cancer every year. Women are so embarrassed and families are so embarrassed to talk about it. There’s not enough awareness about it. We want to get it out there so people can be aware of it and learn from the past and move forward so there’s less of it. We want to be a support system to women who have gone through it or are going through it and keep more women out of it.

PPI: What advice would you give other women about balancing their lives?

MJ: Find what drives you. If it’s your family that you’re passionate about, then that’s going to drive you to give it your 110 percent. If it’s your career, if it’s your goals, whatever it is that drives you, find that. Focus in on it… and then work at it. That’s all I do. I don’t think it’s a formula. I don’t think there’s a correct step in planning it. Fined what drives you and work at it.

PPI: How can football fans and Pro Players Insiders fans help support Pretty Smart Girls and LISTH or find you to support your efforts?

MJ: Pretty Smart Girls has a website, .  We’re on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. As this group grows, we would like to have donations and sponsorship so that we can take them to do things — to the theater or musicals. We want them to be able to do fun stuff so they don’t think we’re just wearing down on them to do all this community service. LISTH is in the workings and I’ll be sure to get you the website in the next couple of months when we get rolling. Just spread the word and we’re willing to help anyone.

It’s strong woman like Mrs. Johnson that ladies across the world aspire to be like. Join us in supporting the efforts of Pretty Smart Girls and Love is Not Supposed to Hurt.

Follow @Theresa_ppi @PlayerInsiders and Mioshi @prettysmartgir1 and her husband @ChrisJohnson_37. Also, check out his current Foundation is called Showtime 37.

Special thanks to Ericka Lassiter, President of  Off the Field Player Wives Association @OTFPWA for contributing to this article.


WATCH for more on Chris Johnson’s annual Showtime 37 Football camp, and Showtime 37 Foundation Fundraisers.

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