The Man Behind the Mascot
Aman Ailani '20 Steps Out as One of the Faces of Flex the Falcon
Above: Ailani unmasked in the Flex the Falcon uniform in the Bentley Arena. Photo by Kevin Maguire.
Aman Ailani ˊ20 is clearly passionate about sports media. In 2018, he launched a sports journalism website, Khilari Sports, as a platform for athletes to share their stories. On his podcast, he has interviewed Olympians, NFL players and MLB draft picks. During a summer internship at a leading English-language newspaper in his home country of Dubai, he covered the sports beat. But there’s more to Ailani than meets the public eye: Since January 2018, he has been one of two students playing the role of Bentley’s Flex the Falcon mascot.
He recalls his first time in the falcon suit at a men’s basketball game against St. Michael’s College. “One of my roommates who is on the team knew, and although the two of us tried to keep it from our third roommate, he found out shortly after. Ever since, I’ve had to maintain a safe distance from him while on the job,” Ailani laughs.
Ailani admits that the mascot job started out as a passing remark he made to Assistant Athletics Director Cindy Scott during Junior Falcon Day, an annual community event where local youth interact with Bentley athletes. “I saw Flex walking around and asked Cindy how I could get that job,” says Ailani, who is also a member of the golf team. “It was initially just a joke, but instead of laughing it off, she was pretty serious about helping me land the gig. One thing led to another and by the time I got back from winter break, I was Flex the Falcon.” Ailani shares “custody” of the costume with another Bentley student, who prefers to remain anonymous.
Some of Ailani’s biggest Flex supporters are his Bentley golf teammates. “Our team is extremely close and we give each other a hard time on certain topics,” he says. “Unfortunately for me, being Flex is one of them. They’ve come to a lot of our hockey games and kept me humble in more ways than one! It’s been a good time sharing this experience with them and it’s been a cool aspect for us to bond over.”
Follow Flex on Instagram: @flexthefalcon
Kidding aside, Ailani has leveraged lessons from Flex the Falcon — particularly the social media training. As an intern in Bentley’s Marketing and Communications office, he helps manage the university’s official social media accounts. Shortly after becoming Flex, Ailani proposed creating an Instagram account specifically for Flex the Falcon.
“I made it my mission to use Flex as the bridge between Bentley’s institutional voice and its funny and creative side,” says Ailani, who is majoring in Management with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship, and minoring in Sports Business Management and English and Media Studies. “I’m passionate about social media and content creation, and being Flex has given me an incredible platform to develop my acumen while giving students something to laugh about.”
Ailani adds that being Flex has taught him to take life a lot less seriously — even on days when he sometimes isn’t in the mood to suit up. “I remember working at a packed hockey game when I wasn’t in an upbeat mood to take pictures and give out high-fives. But seeing the joy that Flex can bring people is infectious, and I’m thankful I had an outlet to help me realize that.”
He adds: “My main goal is to brighten people’s days, and if dressing up as a big bird can do that, then great!”