This Sunday, the WWE Universe gets closer than ever to the Divas division with the premiere of E!’s “Total Divas” reality show at 10/9 CT. But before the Universe gets an unprecedented peek behind the curtain of WWE’s warrior women, WWE.com sat down for an exclusive pair of interviews with the division’s freshest faces, Eva Marie and Jo-Jo, about what makes them Diva material. First up, the flame-haired beauty who’s taken the WWE Universe (and Jerry Lawler’s face) by storm, Eva Marie.
WWE.com: When and how did you decide you wanted to a WWE Diva?
Eva Marie: I would say it started in September. I went to a Divas search because I live in L.A. It continued from there. The final portion was in-ring training. I fell in love with it the first day. I couldn’t wait to get in the ring, and then from there, I was lucky enough to be picked for developmental. It all turned out pretty good.
WWE.com: Aside from that initial exposure, what made you say, “This is right for me?” anything in particular about it that you did love?
Eva Marie:Being a Diva is something that I’ve wanted to do my entire life. I’m a major tomboy. I did every sport and I played soccer in college. I was a forward striker up top. I scored the goals. Being a Diva, you’re a professional athlete and then you get to entertain. It’s the best of every aspect, all in one. That’s why I fell in love with it.
WWE.com: Out of all the new potential Divas in the Divas Search, how did it come to be that you and Jo-Jo were selected to be part of “Total Divas”?
Eva Marie: I’m not quite sure how we got picked, but we both bring something new. I’m super fiery. I’m a go-getter. No matter what, I’m relentless at what I do so I feel like that shines through. Jo-Jo, she gets the moves a little bit quicker, but I’m a perfectionist. It’s like an, “I’m going to get it until I get it”-type thing. I wasn’t about to walk out of the room without Triple H saying, “I want her.”
WWE.com: What are your personal goals? What do you hope to accomplish in WWE?
Eva Marie: There’s so much that I want to do. I want the title, of course. Who doesn’t want the Divas Championship?
What also attracted me to WWE is their charity and how they do so much with the military. My dad was a Marine. I want to be able to serve the troops and go overseas to support them. I also want to have my own nonprofit organization because my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer when I was 15. He’s still fighting it. It’s a constant battle. Sometimes he’s in remission and sometimes he’s fighting it, like now, and he’s fought it for so long. I just want to be able to help people out there, as well, with that. That’s one of the main things I’d like to do, get the word out there and be a good role model.
WWE.com: On “Total Divas,” specifically, so far, you’re walking with The Bellas, Natalya and The Funkadactyls. Even in the general Divas locker room, what advice and wisdom is being passed down to you? What sticks out to you as that real all-encompassing wisdom that you need to be a successful WWE Diva?
Eva Marie: Walking into WWE and being a Diva, everybody here is super respectful. That is huge to know because everybody here that’s before us has paved the way. For example, I’m able to train at the Performance Center that’s now open, and that’s because of everybody that was before me. When I come in here, I make sure I shake everybody’s hand, try to be respectful and try to learn from all of them. When we got off the plane for WrestleMania, Natalya took us under her wing. She’s kind of showed us the ropes, like, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to get here a little early and get in the ring.” Certain things like that have been really helpful because I’m not going to lie — it’s definitely intimidating walking in and seeing all these Superstars. You get star-struck. You watch these guys on Raw and on SmackDown and to be actually seeing them face-to-face is an awesome experience.
WWE.com: You talked about the Performance Center; how does it feel to be part of a new generation —and the first generation to have anything to do with the Performance Center, which is this huge major event and milestone in WWE history?
Eva Marie: I feel so privileged because it is the first year of it opening. Coming in, I feel like I am the future. We are the future. At the Performance Center, there really is no excuse for bad matches or not being able to perform to the best of your ability because it really is state-of-the-art. If you go to the NFL, their training camp is just like that. It’s amazing. It has seven rings in it. It’s so crazy. I feel so honored to be a part of that step in that phase. I really feel like I have the best of both worlds. I get to train there and I’m also over here doing this, as well.
WWE.com: You mentioned the Divas Championship and AJ. The Divas Championship just turned five years old. What does it mean for you to be coming into the Divas Division this year at this time of an anniversary?
Eva Marie: I think that it’s the perfect moment. I think that timing is everything, and this is one of those things where it’s time for fresh faces. Having it be [the title’s] five-year anniversary, just so many things are poetic in a way. I’m here at certain times, like first it’s the Performance Center, plus the anniversary. It makes me feel like it’s a sign that this is where I’m supposed to be.
WWE.com: What is it that you hope to bring that no other Diva has in WWE?
Eva Marie: What makes me so unique is I’m willing to go to any length. Obviously, my hair was originally black. Because I’m willing to step my game up, now I’m red. I just have that fire, that drive in me, so the WWE fans are going to see that there’s never going to be a dull moment. They’re going to be on their toes so much that they’re not going to know what to do with themselves. I have such an amazing work ethic that I’m going to bring forth and do the best job that I possibly can.
WWE.com: Tell us more about the red hair. It seems like there’s a story behind it.
Eva Marie: There is. When I step out [into an arena], I personally want to connect with my fans somehow. I want to be remembered. How do you set yourself apart from the rest is the main question, because we’re all beautiful and we’re all athletic. They said that I looked like The Bellas because I had long, black hair. As soon as I got off the plane at WrestleMania, we did a big switch. I decided, “Go big or go home,” so we went with the red. It is a lot of maintenance, but I think it’s worked pretty well.
WWE.com: How would you describe your hair color?
Eva Marie: “Fire Fierce,” or something crazy. It’s funny because immediately, when I went red, my hashtag became “#allredeverything.” Literally, my pillow cases, they’re red. If they’re white, everything is going to become red. It’s literally all red everything. Now, it’s just a part of my entire life.
WWE.com: Give us one secret about the Divas division that we may not know.
Eva Marie: Besides it being really competitive, the biggest secret about the Divas division is they have no idea what’s coming for them, in the sense of the new talent. They have to bounce off of each other and I feel like right now’s the time for change. Watch out for “Red,” because I’m coming.
WWE.com: Can you tell the WWE Universe a secret about you that the world may not already know?
Eva Marie: I’m a San Francisco Giants fanatic. I went to my first Giants game with all my brothers and my parents. Will Clark is my favorite player — “The Natural,” No. 22. Love him. He’s up to bat, and I’m four or five, and I stand up. I’m like, “Hit a home run, Will!” The bases are juiced, so it’s perfect and sure enough, he hits a [grand slam]. I’m freaking out and the guy that carries all the stuffed animals happens to walk by and my dad calls him over. I pick out this little Giants teddy bear that fits inside my hands and of course, he has a little Giants cap. That’s my first teddy bear and I named him Will. To this day, I still have Will, and he goes with me every place that I’ve lived, and that’s a lot.