My days of watching wrestling were left behind in elementary school when my older sister subjected me to watching “Macho Man Randy Savage” belt out “Oooh yeah!” in our living room before my mom woke up and made us “turn off that fake fighting” and go back to bed. Apparently wrestling has come a long way and more inclusive of women that young African-American girls whose older sisters are now forcing them to watch Royal Rumbles can look up to.
BET recently sat down with WWE superstar “Naomi” whose real name is Trinity Fatu to talk about how she has made a career out of bringing #BlackGirlMagic inside the ring. The 30-year-old former Orlando magic dancer discussed becoming the first Black woman to win the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship in a victory over Alexa Bliss at WWE’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event in February 2017. On Sunday, January 28, Naomi will compete in the first-ever 30-woman over-the-top Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. She says she’s excited to make history as a part of the first-ever 30-woman over-the-top Royal Rumble match:
“I’m so excited. It’s really rewarding. For decades, women have been fighting and working so hard and I think it’s a result of hard work and a lot of effort from so many driven, strong, really talented, passionate women that got us to this point. I’m just really happy and I’m so proud to be a female Superstar at this time right now and be a part of history being involved in a match like this.”
When it comes to bringing #BlackGirlMagic to the ring, she says diversity is something that can be found in abundance within the WWE:
“It’s important for us all. Of course, we have that pressure of being African-American women and representing and being good role models and showing that it doesn’t matter — your race, your background, your ethnicity, whatever it is — you can do it, you can make it. WWE has always given us those opportunities to do so and showcase that. But it’s also important for all of us — not just as Black women, but just as women, period — to showcase who we are and represent for women of all ethnicities, races and colors. And that’s what I love about WWE because if you look at our female roster, there’s so much diversity.”
The Orlando-native also discussed her fondest memories being a dancer for the NBA’s Orlando Magic as well as a back-up dancer for Flo-Rida. She says she was at a Slam Dunk contest in Japan for her 21st birthday and marks the time as one of her best memories. When it comes to dancing for Flo-Rida she admits she was quite fond of one specific clothing item:
“I actually did the [BET] Spring Bling and I danced to the [singing] ‘Apple Bottom jeans.’ I think it was 2008, 2009. I’ve been trying to find the video and I cannot find the video anywhere. That was another great experience being at a BET concert event and dancing for him. That was a lot of fun. I’m going to find that video one day.”
Naomi, who is married to fellow WWE superstar Jimmy Uso, also talked about the challenges of balancing marriage and a pro-wresting career:
“We’re on the road more than we are at home. Although we work together and travel together, so much of our day is taken away from work and distractions from other things. We start our day off with a workout in the morning and then we’re at the arena all day, we’re doing interviews, we’re rehearsing, we’re practicing. We’re doing so much. We’re filming a reality show on the road. Then, you drive to the next town and barely, sometimes you don’t even have much time to sleep.”
Her advice to young black girls who may be dreaming of WWE stardom and have visions of championship belts in their eyes? Like anything else, Naomi emphasizes the importance of working hard:
“I would just say to work hard and don’t give up because it’s a very tough business to make it in. We always say it’s a marathon, not a sprint. There will be hard times. It won’t be easy, but if it’s something you want to do, you can definitely do it.”
You can read the article in its entirety here and get ready to “feel The Glow one way or another” according to Naomi when the WWE Royal Rumble airs Sunday on Pay-Per-View.