One of the first things you’ll notice upon walking into Tough Mudder Headquarters is a cast of characters as electrifying and diverse as our on-course obstacles. And while there’s no doubt you’re familiar with our military-style obstacles, few have a chance to meet the minds behind the mud-coated madness. So to give you a behind-the-scenes, insider look at TMHQ, over the next few months, we’ll be serving up some TMHQ Q&As to help you get to know some of our most admired team members.
In the hot seat today? TMHQ Culture and Communications Associate, Crystal Anderson.
In exactly ten words, what do you do for Tough Mudder?
I keep our employees engaged through internal events, Tough Mudder University and our Intranet/weekly newsletter. Seriously, 10 words is not enough! I am the unofficial commander of fun. I plan and execute all of our internal events like Color Wars and the Cinco de Mayo Guacamole-Off. I also manage internal communications across our global offices.
What were you doing with your life before coming on board at TMHQ?
Essentially, I traded the catwalk for Walk the Plank. Before coming to Tough Mudder, I was an assistant manager for the largest modeling agency in New York. My day consisted of making sure supermodels were where they needed to be when they needed to be there. In short, I was a sheep herder for insanely beautiful women.
What was your first day at TMHQ like?
Crazy, scary and awesome. I started when we were truly in our start-up phase. Having just come from a Fortune 500 company, the collaborative team atmosphere, empowering people to question the status quo and come up with ideas, no matter where you fell in the organization, left the most amazing first impression on me.
What is your typical morning routine?
I live in Queens, or Siberia, as my team likes to call it, so I have a little bit of a trek to get to the office. I spend 10 minutes playing rock-paper-scissors with my fiancé to determine who gets to shower first. Then I spend 30 minutes getting my turquoise hair to ample hipster messiness. After that, I hop on the Long Island Railroad and head to the office. While I’m on the train, I’ll check a few emails and then turn my attention to that ever important episode of Catfish that I downloaded on my iPad.
Who sits to your right at TMHQ and what is the best part about being near him or her?
[Recruitment manager] Heather Torterello sits to my right. She is the most punctual person I know, so she pushes me to try to beat her into the office, though I have yet to do so. I suspect that she has a bunk bed somewhere and that’s how she’s always here before me. HT is also a master baker, so I always get first dibs on the insane stuff she bakes, like a cupcake with an actual Kit-Kat in the middle. I didn’t even know you could bake a Kit-Kat.
What is your definition of “best lunch break ever?”
I’m a simple gal. Give me [senior operations coordinator] Kacie Duffy (my work wife), sushi, 80-degree weather, perfect sun and a Pepsi and I’m in heaven.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever done?
Hmmmmm. I’m weird. There’s no doubt about it. I could go on for days, but I think the weirdest thing that people are always so surprised about is that, after college, I was a model. I’ve traveled the world and got to meet some pretty awesome people. I have appeared in campaigns for H&M and MAC and have somehow tricked photographers into shooting me for Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire. I also may or may not have appeared in The Devil Wears Prada.
What’s one thing you’ve seen on course that has restored your faith in humanity?
I’m not a big crier, but it never fails to choke me up when I see our wounded service members taking the course by storm. Last year in Texas I saw a team run with a wounded warrior who was in a wheelchair. Every obstacle, every single obstacle, his team lifted him from his chair and made sure he completed it. Needless to say, I left the event site that day with an immense amount of pride and really swollen eyeballs.
What is the hardest laugh you’ve had at TMHQ?
This is not going to translate to all of you, but when it was time to leave last year’s Color Wars and hodown, one of my colleagues (who may or may not have had one too many beers) made up a fictional after-party bar and convinced everyone that that’s where we were headed. The whole ride we were screaming the name of the bar until we realized it didn’t exist. Oh yes, the fictitious bar was named Shabooms.
If you were a Tough Mudder obstacle, which one would you be and why?
Despite my green hair and tattoos, I’m a tried and true southern belle living in the Big Apple, so I’d have to go with Pyramid Scheme—from the looks of it, it seems easy enough to handle, but in the end it kicks your ass.