My London: Professional basketball player Paulina Hersler

May 5, 2023 by

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Paulina Hersler, who is playing basketball for London Lions 


Name: Paulina Hersler
Age: 28 years old
Work: Professional basketball player
Live: Canary Wharf
Time in London: 8 months
Instagram: @paulinahersler


Hello Paulina – tell us a bit about yourself: 

My name is Paulina Hersler, I am 28 years old, born and raised in Malmö, but moved away from home to pursue basketball when I was 16 years old. I then played college basketball at UCLA and the University of Florida and I have now played professional basketball for 5 years. I currently play for London Lions and for the Swedish national team. I have had the chance to live in a lot of places all over the world. I love being adventurous and spontaneous and traveling is one of my favorite things to do. I am a very social person and want to spend as much time with family and friends as possible. I also have a big passion for clothes and fashion and have my own clothing line, called Pauher Design.


How come you ended up in London after your years in America? 

Since I am a professional basketball player I change teams sometimes and this season I signed a contract for London Lions. And that’s why I am here! I moved here in August and I absolutely love London.


Where do you live? 

I live in Canary Wharf, it is a really nice area. I would really recommend going here on a Thursday night after work, a lot of people go out for drinks here then (since it is right by a lot of people’s offices). Also, the views by the water and all the restaurants around here just have such a nice vibe.


Strolling the streets of London


How come you started to play basketball? 

I started to play basketball when I was 12 years old. I actually had a friend who played basketball who suggested that I should come and try practice since her mom was coaching. I have also always been really tall so I figured it would be a good sport to try haha. Also, my dad used to play when he was younger so he also introduced me to it, and since then I have been totally stuck and absolutely loving the game.


You are now playing in the Swedish National Team. How did you manage to come that far? 

I have played for the national team since I was 15 years old. It started with U16 and went on with U18 and U20. Then, the senior national team that I play for now. It started with “regional tryouts” when I was a kid and then every year there are national team camps where you get invited and you have to perform.

When I first started to play I was a true talent, but after two ACL injuries and the older you get you realize that talent actually is not enough. I am a hard worker, I like to push myself and I really want to be the very best player I can be and compete against the best. I truly believe that you have to keep that mindset if you want to keep developing as a player.


Do you remember the moment when you got selected for the first time?  

Yes, I do! I was only 15 years old at the time, so a year younger than the youth national team and I did not even think about playing with the national team at all. But, I had just been at regional “tryouts” for my age group and I remember getting an email a few weeks after that saying “national team U16” as a subject. I definitely thought it was a fake email or sent to the wrong person. I was so shocked but later on, I obviously got so excited haha.


Dressed to play for the Swedish National team. 


You also play in a London team, London Lions. How is the basketball culture in the UK compared to Sweden? 

The basketball culture in the UK is growing, just like it is in Sweden. London Lions is doing an outstanding job trying to change the culture and really making a huge investment in their players and trying to inspire other teams to do the same. Besides the British league here, we play high-level competition in an international league called Eurocup, and no club in Sweden is competing at that level right now. However, the interest in basketball is really growing in both Sweden and the UK and I think it has a lot to do with marketing players in more ways than just on the court, and I really hope it can continue that way.


How has it been to be a woman in the basketball world? 

I am very grateful for my job and for my position as a female basketball player. I can live my dream get paid for doing my passion and also have a chance to influence the next generation. However, there are obviously a lot of differences from being a male athlete. The biggest one is the financial gap but also that men often get prioritized over women when it comes to TV games, better arenas, or other benefits. There can also be a lot of prejudice against female athletes. A lot of people think you can’t be feminine and play sports, something I love to prove people wrong with.


Posing in Pauher Design, Paulina Herslers own brand. 


You also have another big interest, fashion, in which you recently started your own label. Tell us about Pauher Design! 

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been dreaming of having my own clothing design. Pauher Design is a clothing brand created by me, Paulina Hersler, and ‘Pau’ and ‘Her’ becomes Pauher (power). As a professional athlete, I know that power is extremely important on the court, but the power of your mindset is even better.

Pauher Design wants you to wear these clothes and empower who you are and dare to be different. I have designed extremely comfortable loungewear that you can wear when you want to relax or when you want to look good. Pauher Design is created to inspire people to believe in themselves and realize that they have everything they need under their power. Would love for Swedish people (and British of course) in London to check it out!


How did you manage to create your own business? 

I have always wanted to create something outside of the basketball court. I have a high ambition with my basketball, but my interest and passion for clothes have also always been there. I was one of those little girls who read every fashion section in magazines and created a blog and posted “today’s outfit” when I was 12 years old…

Now, I am moving in a different direction but it was during covid when I was in quarantine that I decided that I would actually just go for it. So I started the process and brainstormed a lot of ideas, and since then I haven’t looked back.


Give your three best tips to someone who wants to start their own company: 

I would say first of all, if you really want to do something you have to TRY it. I spent a lot of time reading about it, and listening to podcasts, and the knowledge I got definitely helped, but it is still a big step until you actually take action and start to do it. You have to think, “What is the worst thing that can happen“, and if you can live with that, GO FOR IT!

Secondly, I would say ask for help. This is something I can still do a better job with as well but you have a lot of people in your surroundings that I am sure are willing to help you if you just dare to ask.

At last, I would say you have to stay in the process. Nothing comes easy, so you have to prepare yourself for that and just believe in the process instead of getting discouraged if things are not going your way. There are always going to be bumps in the road, and a lot (!) more when you have your own company.


Clothes and fashion have always been a big part of Paulina’s life


You have just been here since August, have you had the chance to interact with our community yet?

Yes! I was just at the Melodifestivalen event (the final), which I really enjoyed. It was a great night with a really good atmosphere, music, and Swedish snacks, of course! I was also a bit shocked by how many British people that also actually showed up. But, it is so valuable to have a Swedish community over here.


If you were to eat out for an entire day, where do you go for: 

Breakfast/brunchSketch. Wow, I loved that place. It has an amazing atmosphere, really good food and on top of that, some live music!

Fika”: Söderberg in Soho of course. The cinnamon bun or “kladdkaka” is my favorite.

Lunch: Bleecker burger. I love burgers and these are one of the best ones I have ever tried.

Dinner: Ave Mario. I really enjoy Italian food and I recently tried this place and the restaurant was so cute. It had great Italian food and not really the typical restaurant environment.


And away from food, do you have any other London favorites? 

I am a big fan of good views, so Sky Garden is definitely a favorite to visit. Or just to walk by the water on a sunny day (yeah I know you have to catch those days) by Tower Bridge. I also like Notting Hill a lot and the Portobello market there. I recently went to Greenwich Market and loved the big park there as well.

Further on, Camden has always had a good vibe and I really love how we have world-famous artists coming there. I didn’t even know Backstreet Boys still existed but I actually went to their concert last year haha. I also recently saw the Chris Brown concert and it was for sure a night to remember.


What do you miss most about Sweden? 

I miss my family and friends from back home of course. Luckily, I am usually home for the summer in Sweden because I definitely would have missed that otherwise. Also, I do miss the “lösgodis” a lot haha, and since I am weirdly obsessed with “kanelknäcke” that is also something I miss.


…and what do you love the most about London and the UK? 

I love the city of London, there are so many different cute areas, unique restaurants and bars, and things to do all over. You get off the train and all of a sudden you find a whole new little “village” and on weekends I love how there are markets all around and you can get food from places all over the world.


Which is your best London memory of all time?

I have been around a lot in the city and have seen all the beautiful things in London. But my favorite memory has to be Christmas here, actually. I remember specifically one day in December when I went to Covent Garden and it was all nicely decorated for Christmas. There was an amazing choir singing carols by the Christmas tree there and in the middle of it all, it started to snow. It was truly magical and felt like it was in the movies!