Brittney Palmer defies conventions. Originally poised for a career as a dancer, after a car accident she successfully pivoted into a fine arts career with degrees from UCLA and the Brentwood Art Center. Her powerful paintings attract premium price points at auctions, while Palmer also finds the time to design shoes and pursue brand collabs. Her work as a UFC Octagon girl has earned Palmer several awards as Ringcard Girl of the Year at the World MMA Awards (2012, 2013, and 2020). As a model, she has appeared on the cover of Maxim and Playboy while also serving as the face of numerous charities across the planet.
Born in San Diego, Palmer spent her formative years in Las Vegas and attended high school there. Her passion as a teenager was dancing: “I was a professional dancer. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to dance in a big Vegas show,” said Palmer, who danced in big ticket venues like the Flamingo and Alladin. At age 19, Palmer began modeling and working with MMA franchises, which ultimately led to becoming a ringcard girl for the UFC.
But at the same time, Palmer also wanted to pursue a lifelong passion: “Painting was something that I always had a talent in.” At the age of 22, she moved to Los Angeles to enroll in art school while still working for the UFC at fight events. “I was going to school during the week and working the fights on the weekend. I was going to survive and pay for art school with my UFC money. And that’s what I did!”
At age 21, Palmer’s life was thrown out of balance by a car accident that left her with a lengthy recovery period. She filled the time by painting for therapeutic effects, and found her own style in the process: “I would listen to Jimi Hendrix and paint his portrait over and over and over,” said Palmer. “I fell in love with it and kept getting better.”
Her paintings, especially large-sized portraits, are known for vibrant colors and emotional composition, including the likeness of musicians and athletes. Collectors pay upwards of $25,000 for Palmer’s paintings, and the artist is proud of overcoming stereotypes in the art world. “I just happen to be cute. But art is what I have a passion for and what I’m good at,” said Palmer.
Aside from her art, Palmer maintained her modeling career and work with the UFC – and excelled in both. She won the award of Ringcard Girl of the Year at the World MMA Awards three times and appeared on the cover of Maxim, Playboy, and more magazines. Asked about her long-time relationship with the UFC, Palmer said: “It becomes like this family. We’re on the road. We work on the weekends. Because we’ve been there so long, we’re really respected by the fighters and the company. When we’re around, they’re like: ‘These are our sisters, back up!’ No one messes with us.”
Recently, Palmer left Los Angeles to return to Las Vegas and set up a new artist studio. “I was in L.A. for about eleven years and did about everything I thought that I came out to do. I left on my own volition; you know some people get kicked out of L.A. Or they just couldn’t hack it. I could hack it, but L.A. just came to a point where it became very dodgy. It just became this never-ending cycle of fear and I just wanted to go back to Vegas.”
Palmer is currently working on setting up art classes for kids after school and remains involved in charity work as an artist ambassador with UNICEF, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith‘s Janie’s Fund, Generation Cure, and Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way Foundation.