Athleisure Mag’s April celebrity cover is Trinity Fatu who goes by the name Naomi in the ring as a WWE Superstar as well as being on E! Total Divas! We had the chance to hang out with her while she was here in NYC for WrestleMania which is the WWE’s equivalent to the Super Bowl. In addition to a fun shoot at The Loft in Flatiron and Limelight Fitness Club, we sat down with Trinity to talk about her journey from studying dance, being a NBA Orlando Magic Cheerleader, transitioning into the WWE, her love for performing and entertaining, sharing her personal life on E! Total Divas, endurance in the business and her coupleship with her husband Jonathan Fatu, who is a WWE wrestler under the name Jimmy Uso, and is half of the tag team The Usos.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Prior to coming to the WWE, tell us about your background as we know that you were an NBA cheerleader previously with the Orlando Magic.
TRINITY FATU: Yes! I started dance at the age of 8 and I studied tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, modern and hip hop up until the age of 18. I competed nationally and once I was 18, I was too old to compete and graduated high school. So it was time for that next chapter and from there, I auditioned and went to the Magic from there. I wanted to go to Alvin Ailey Dance School, but at the time I just wasn’t mentally prepared and honestly, I was just scared to leave home! I had never been away from home so I ended up doing community college and stayed local and ended up doing Magic.
I’m kind of glad now that I didn’t go, because I don’t think that I ever would have gotten into wrestling and then I would have never met my husband and so on and so forth! It all kind of worked out how it was supposed to. I also come from a very musical family. My father is a musician – he’s a guitarist, my uncle is George McCrae.
AM: Shut up!
TF: Yes he had the song, “Rock Your Baby” in the 70’s and some other songs! Yes it’s just the ability to perform and entertain is in my blood and in my family’s so it was inevitable for me that I would do something in entertainment. One year, I had 12 jobs working through temp agencies and just trying to find the right job for me. But I was never satisfied with a 9-5 job. It had to be something that involved me being with people and being active. Socializing and working with people is that I ended up realizing that I like to do.
AM: So what led you to going to the WWE and what was that process like?
TF: So at the time, I was still an Orlando Magic dancer and the wrestling show came to the Amway Center one night and I ended up just wanting to watch the show. My girlfriend and some of the dancers told me about it and we ended up watching the show. When I saw the women perform, I was in awe and blown away by the entire show. I didn’t know much about wrestling and let alone that women had a role in it as much as they did and that they could do all the things that they did. It was a 6 woman tag that I saw and I mean they were killing it and they looked so beautiful. I knew right then that it was something that I wanted to do and that I could do!
So from there, I talked to my friend who knew someone that knew someone that knew someone. I went around asking questions to figure out how to get a try out. Fortunately, at the time, the developmental was in Tampa which was only an hour and a half away. I literally drove one weekend to Tampa to do a try out and then 3 months later, I finally heard back from them and they told me that I got a development deal and that I could start training. Then I left right from home a few weeks later, moved to Tampa and started my wrestling journey!
AM: Did you have a mentor when you were coming up through the system?
TF: Well I met my husband (Jonathan Fatu who goes by the name Jimmy Uso in the WWE) and it’s crazy because he was there a few months before me. But when I first got there, my husband was one of the first people that I met and so he has always been a mentor to me and my guidance through this whole thing. Norman Smiley who still develops and trains new talent now. Dr. Tom Prichard is also a former wrestler, as well as Dusty Rhodes – developmental is diff
erent now with NXT because I came through a different name. Mine was called FCW. All the guys that came around at that time, I felt that they all had some kind of influence and help. But most definitely would be my husband.
AM: What does it mean to you to be a WWE Superstar?
TF: It has become so much of who I am and my identity at this point. When I came in, I was just looking for a transition, I had been cheerleading for a few years and I just wanted something new and to express myself creatively. I had no idea how big wrestling was and what type of platform that I would be on and that I could make a career out of it! At the time, it was something to do at the moment and to just get me to that next chapter of my life until I figured out what I wanted to go to school for and how I would make a living. I was just thinking of doing something that kept me performing and when I got into it, realized how incredible an opportunity that it was, how massive it was and how global it was and the effect that it has on people – I completely fell in love with it, the lifestyle and it came apart of my life. That's when I realized that it was something that I wanted to do.
So to me, this was my life and it is my world. At this point, it’s like everything – it’s how I take care of my family, how I found my purpose, it’s how my husband and I bond over it. It’s become so entwined into my life that it really is everything to me! I take pride and appreciate the responsibility to not only represent African American women, but to be a role model for all women on this platform
AM: Well we got the chance to do our photoshoot during WrestleMania – for those who may not know, can you tell us what this is and how important it is to your year?
TF: Wrestlemania is our Super Bowl! It’s our biggest Pay-Per-View of the year. People travel all over the world to come into town to see our WrestleMania. It’s what we work towards all year to be on that show and to be on that Pay-Per-View. The best of the best is on WrestleMania.