When I was growing up I got teased just as much as anyone else. Some kids thought it was the coolest thing ever that my dad was a WWE Superstar but other kids didn’t understand my dad’s “bad guy” persona and made fun of it. My dad’s moniker was “The Anvil” and he looked like he should have been part of ZZ-Top! My dad had a long, pointy goatee and wore pink and black spandex. He was eccentric and let everyone know it.
Little did I know back then that I would one day be a third generation WWE superstar myself!
Kids also used to make fun of my voice because I’ve always had a deep, raspy voice. You can’t help your voice box, so kids on the back of the school bus used to say “you sound like a man.” It sometimes made me afraid to open my mouth and say anything, especially in class. I also dreaded public speaking because I was afraid of how my voice sounded.
Fast forward to a few decades later… and now I love my voice. I realize how crucial it is to speak up and raise your voice! I’m recognized by people, not always for my face, but my voice. I was in a store with my mom, and we were talking and a lady in the store turned me around and asked “are you Nattie? I recognized your voice! It’s so distinct! You should do broadcasting! Oh by the way, I love WWE and Total Divas – can we get a pic?” (Of course you know I made sure it was a selfie lol!)
Being one of the first third generation female wrestlers in the WWE, I’m so proud of where I came from and I’m proud of the road my dad and other family members paved for me. Being teased about my dad’s bad guy persona on TV when I was a kid ended up conditioning me to the fact that my dad was doing his job playing the role of a “bad guy.” Kids believed it! And now I’m the first to brag about all of my dad’s accomplishments in wrestling and outside of the ring too. Embracing my roots and heritage has made me super successful today.
I look around in our WWE locker room and think about others who have taken their eccentricities and made them work for them in a huge way. Take Shaemus for example. He’s a multi-time champ in the WWE, but he’s also someone who’s taken his bright red hair (an easy target to be teased about!) and made it into his most identifiable asset! Shaemus embraces that red hair more than Connor McGregor embraces his bank account! I’m sure Shamus laughs now at anyone who’s ever teased him about his fiery locks.
I also think about the unique and diverse locker room we have for women in the WWE. We have girls from so many walks of life and so many shapes and sizes. Someone like Sasha Banks, who is tiny, may have been picked on for her size but now she’s dominating on Monday Night Raw as “The Boss” and she’s showing that she may be small, but she packs a powerful punch!
Take the bold and beautiful Nia Jaxx for example. Nia could have been teased for coloring outside the lines and not being “like most girls.” Nia embraces that she isn’t stick thin and shows that strong and powerful is where it’s at! Both Nia and Sasha prove that embracing their differences is one of their keys to succeeding today in the WWE and in life.
So whatever it is that makes you stand out and makes you different, OWN it! It’ll be what takes you to the top.