|Complete Interview: Victoria
|by ANDREA PANTELIC, Up & Coming Weekly, June 21-27, 2006
||June 21, 2006
Staff writer Andrea Pantelic spoke to WWE Diva Victoria about her upcoming appearance at the Crown Coliseum and autograph signing on Fort Bragg on June 26.
AP: Are you excited about the upcoming show in Fayetteville?
Victoria: Absolutely. I'm actually coming to visit the military base prior to the show so I guess you could call me the Queen of the Military Bases because my father was in the military and he's a Vietnam vet. I have a lot of heart and passion for it. Whenever I get a chance to do this, it's weird, you know, every time I go on base it's like home. It's like I remember going back in childhood and going to the commissary and going to the P/X and stuff like that. So every time I go back and do a signing at the B/X or the P/X it's a weird feeling, I'm telling you, it's a comfortable, a very safe environment
AP: Have you been to Fort Bragg before or did you grow up around here?
Victoria: No, I didn't. It was Travis Air Force Base and Norton Air Force Base, which no longer exist now. And that was in California. But I think I have been (to Fort Bragg) before.
AP: Do you get a good response from the soldiers?
Victoria: Absolutely. It's crazy because they are very loyal and you don't realize how many people you touch through our business. It's a really cool feeling because here we are supposed to be thanking them for all their support and the strength of defending our country and at the same time they're thanking us for entertaining them. It's a mutual respect thing.
AP: Have you been able to go overseas to visit the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Victoria: Our company has, the Smackdown as well as the RAW side. But they never asked me to be a part of it and I was very shocked that I wasn't invited, considering my history. They have a very limited space (on the planes) and took different girls and I'm hoping one day to experience it.
AP: Yeah, I assume it would be a very humbling event.
Victoria: Absolutely. I hear great stories about it from the boys and girls that went and I've seen the photos and footage. It's crazy, it's awesome, and I'm so hurt that I wasn't invited. I'm hoping this time I will.
AP: You both have the element of danger - the physical dangers you have in the ring but (soldiers) face a different type of dangers.
Victoria: Absolutely. I mean, it's no comparison. We do risk our health and physical well-being for entertainment. We try to push the envelope as much as possible to get that reaction from the crowd. It's crazy. I guess we are crazy people because we feed off that.
AP: What can you say about your incident with new WWE Diva Beth Phoenix, where you broke her mandible. Was that an accident?
Victoria: It was an accident. A lot of people thought she hit her face with her knee. What happened was I slapped her mouth was open, and when I hit her, my palm was open and I guess the force of it, I hit her palm heavy. A lot of people think it's a lot of fake stuff but it's not actually. We make contact and accidents do happen, and it was her debut. It was her first singles match and as a new Diva, she had to go through a little bit of pain. She'll be coming back with a little bit of a chip on her shoulder and I'm daring her to get back into the ring with me. That titanium plate they implanted? It's not going to be a challenge for me. At the same time, she's a tough cookie. She finished the match. She broke her jaw during the match and didn't say anything, didn't let anybody know she was really hurt, she just came back stage and said, 'I broke my jaw.' In three places it cracked.
AP: You have a history of going after people and working hard to get what you are after.
Victoria: You know, I'm a nice person outside the ring but kids are afraid to approach me on the streets. I'm an extremely nice person, easy to get along with. I have a lot of friends outside the ring but once you get me inside the ring, I'm all business. I'm there to win and I'm going to do whatever it takes to win that belt or just to be No. 1. I have trained for three years before I got to WWE in their schools and got beaten up by their guys because there wasn't many girls in wrestling school. So you want to take it as well as give it. It's not ballet. The common quote we always say is, 'It's not dance. It's not ballet. You are going to get hurt.' When kids say to me, 'I want to be a wrestler,' I always tell them to go to college first.
AP: Did you go to college in California?
Victoria: I did, I was a biology major.
AP: I was just reading the latest WWE magazine with Kane on the cover and there was an article where you detail the steps of how to remove a cornea. Where did you learn that?
Victoria: I was pre med in school and wanted to be a physician so I got a job at the eye and tissue bank in Yorba Linda, California and I removed eye, cornea, heart, bone and muscle tissue for transplantation and a lot of people don't understand the goodness behind it. It is very graphic, you have to have a strong stomach for it and you're working on people who have passed away and be strong, and you have to know you are doing good and that you are helping somebody else. You have to do a mind game on yourself to do my job. At the same time, you get letters from the families saying, 'We are so thrilled he could help somebody' or 'We are so happy that he can see again.' That job was amazing. I've expressed interest through our company, wanting to get involved with letting people know about donation. There's another superstar, Billy Graham, who has had a transplant, and he really opens up and talks about it. I wanted to do a tour with him, going to visit high schools, getting (students) to sign their donor cards. I'm hoping to get back into it, maybe not actually doing surgery while I'm here but it was actually extremely rewarding and it was one of the highlights of my life. I didn't know if I wanted to go to med school after I did that just because I was satisfied. It was fulfilling working three days in the office, then being on call for the rest of the day.
AP: How did you make the leap from that to wrestling?
Victoria: I also did personal training at the same time when I was on call and that job got me really health conscious, I was teaching aerobics and I realized with people passing away from being obese and not taking care of themselves, heart disease, stuff like that and I got really obsessed with fitness. I would eat, breathe and sleep working out. A guy asked me if I ws interested in competing in a body building and mind you I wasn't that big. I was maybe 128 (pounds) and I'm 155 now.
I thought he was hitting on me, you know how it can be a meet market and I was like, "Uh, no, go away. This is my time in the gym. Leave me alone." He actually was a trainer and he helped me get ready for my first competition. He told me there was one in 30 days and I said, "Woah. Don't people need a little more preparation than that?" He goes, "Normally, but you look really fit. I'll tweak your diet." And I ended up winning that competition and was middle weight. And from then on it was a fitness competition with a dance routine and like a pageant with bodybuilding. They were not as jacked as bodybuilders, there was more of a feminine side. I got my pro card in 1999 in New York.
I had just turned pro but I didn't want to compete at the pro (level) because I'd heard not so good things about people dabbling in steroids and I wasn't interested in that. I got here naturally as a pro and it was an accomplishment. There is no money in that. You truly have to have a passion for that. How I got to here, I was at the gym in Los Angeles and someone came up to me and said, "Oh my gosh! Chyna is here." Joanie Lauer was her name. I was working at a gym and through fitness competitions I knew Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson very well and I was best friends with Torrie. I went up to (Chyna) and talked to her and she said, "Are you a wrestler? You have a good look for wrestling. You should really look into it." And I said, "I watch it cause my best friend's on it and I think I can do some of the things the guys do." So I said, what the heck, I got a package put together and I spend $600 making a video where I talk about health on the news and I did some commercials and some television shows and I put it together in five minutes. I put in some photos from my fitness competitions and I heard two days later that they wanted to meet me.
It was the right thing at the right time. I was very lucky. I met them but I had no wrestling experience except my three older brothers were amateur wrestlers but not professional wrestling. I looked up professional wrestling schools on the internet and they said, "Come on down." I got the crap beat out of me the first day. They picked on me coming in. I had fake nails and long hair and makeup on, of course. You know, I was there to work out and at the same time, look good. When I woke up the next day I couldn't turn my neck. But they invited me back and I drove an hour and a half back to the school. They said, "What are you doing here?" and I said, "Oh my gosh, was I not invited? Maybe I just heard that." They said, "No, we didn't think you were going to make it back. I said, "I'm going to be very honest with you. I can't turn my head but I think I can do this." When someone challenges me and says I can't do something it pushes me to prove them wrong.
AP: Were your brothers really pushing you?
Victoria: No, I remember my parents were saying, "What the heck are you doing? What about all that money we spent on private college?" UCLA to a private school for dentistry and med school. My brothers were thinking I was ridiculous. And I was always the black sheep of the family.
My oldest brother was in the Olympics for wrestling and he was a big time role model for me. I guess he set the pace for the family. He succeeded for me. The rest of us envied that and planted the seed to be really strong competitors.
AP: It sounds like you came from really strong roots.
Victoria: Yeah, they are fans of the show when they watch their little sister get in there and they call me and say, "I really liked your 'souplay'" And I'm like, "what's a 'souplay?'"
"You know, when you grab the guy by the neck and flip them over your back."
"Oh, that's a suplex."
"No, it's a souplay."
AP: I got to thinking when I saw you in the magazine, do you have any desire to pursue an acting career like Rock, Kane and now, John Cena?
Victoria: I was in Los Angeles pursuing that but I want to focus on what I'm doing right now. If it came along, that would be great but I'm not out there pursuing it. I'm very happy doing what I am doing with wrestling. Being here is rewarding enough. One of my dreams was to be a backup dancer for an Usher video. I am obsessed with the BET channels and the dancing.
AP: What do you think about Trish Stratus kissing Pamela Anderson on one of the past shows?
Victoria: She never wanted to do a kiss spot with me and then we saw the footage and we were like, "What the heck? You'll kiss Pam Anderson and not us? We're family!" But it is Pam Anderson.
©Up & Coming Magazine 2007