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.
So, to be on that and to share the ring with the greats like John Cena, Randy Orton and all of these incredible Superstars it’s definitely one of the biggest events of the year to perform live in front of 80,000 people at Met Life Stadium, one of the biggest and known stadiums around the world. It’s epic and it’s massive and to just be in that environment to feel that adrenaline from the audience – it’s something that you can’t get anywhere else!
AM: Are there additional matches that we should keep an eye on that are also significant throughout your year?
TF: I am most stoked about the Women’s Main Event. It’s the first time in history that we’ll be main eventing at WrestleMania. Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair as well as the Fatal 4-Way Women’s Tag Team Championship Match for the first time ever as well. So the women, it really is an evolution they are just killing it and they are going to raise the bar. So aside from the Women’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania, you can also look forward to these other women’s matches that are going to be awesome.
AM: In addition to being a wrestler for WWE, you are also on E! Total Divas which we are a fan of. How did you come about getting on this show and how important do you feel that it is to amplify your brand as well as to showcase your personal life?
TF: Well the original cast was handpicked by the company – Vince and at the time, I had a tag team partner, Ariane Andrew known as Cameron. They thought that we would bring a different dynamic to the show and we were a contrast to The Bella Twins at the time for our angle. We worked against them at the time and her and I had a great chemistry. They were right about all those things at the time and that’s why initially we were selected for the show. I was apprehensive at first. I used to be very private and protective of my personal life – I mean now with social media and so many opinions, so many critics – I was protective of that. But I also saw the bigger picture, the platform that we were being given and I did want to be able to tell our story as women in the business as well as seeing the other side of us. To see how hard we work, that women can do it and to motivate others. I knew that there would be a different audience that we would be able to connect with and reach out to that we can’t always do with wrestling. That’s why along with speaking with my partner at the time, we decided to go ahead and do it together. It was a package deal, we had to do it together.
AM: That’s what makes the show so interesting to see you guys in the ring, prepping for it, coming off the ring and to see your dynamics when you’re with your colleagues as well as your personal life. Watching you and your husband talking about your business as well as your personal life. It’s something that is applicable to people regardless of what their jobs are. The dynamics of a coupleship and how you live day to day is a great component of this show that we get to see in your dynamic and it really strikes a cord as we watch it and can completely relate!
TF: I really wanted people to see that because there is only so much that you can know about me when watching, RAW or SmackDown. I just knew that with the girls that I was working with, with the show we’re on and the company that was backing us that it would be an empowering show and uplifting one for women. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to do that.
AM: So what is an average week like for you as you could be prepping for your next match, maybe you’re going into tapings, doing a charity – if there is such a thing in terms of average, what would it be?
TF: Well we’re moving and traveling 5 days a week and we have appearances weekly with radio stations, charity events, signings and our show is each night. We perform, we fly into town, perform for the show and then drive to the next city, and we do that about 4 days a week and on the 5th we’re traveling to get back home to recharge and do it all over again, year around – there is no off season.
I think that the toughest part is the travel. You would think that it would be the wrestling and the physical part, but that’s the best part and easiest part. When you calculate and think about all the hours that it takes to get there just to perform for 10 minutes and for the women, you’re fortunate if you get the 10 minutes – it’s good! The hard part and the most energy draining portion is the traveling. Being on the road so much, you’re away from home, friends and family. But that is part of the lifestyle.
AM: Since you do travel so much, what are 3 must hav3s that you have with you in your suitcase whenever you’re on the road?
TF: I always have my travel blanket, because I am always cold no matter where I am or how warm it is. I am always just cold! I’d also say my makeup bag and just lotions and moisturizers – all of that good stuff since traveling a lot really dries your skin out. Sunglasses for those days when I don’t want to put makeup on.
AM: Who would you say are your go to people in the WWE squad?
TF: Other than my husband and my brother-in-law (Joshua Fatu/WWE’s Jey Uso) his twin. As far as girls, I would say Lana, Natalya and Tamina Snuka. We all kind of broke in around the same time and have been around each other for the last few years. We have experienced the ups and downs together which has naturally made us bond and be very close with one another.
AM: Because you do travel so much, how do you maintain your coupleship with your husband – do you have date nights?
TF: Yes! We always try to make sure that we tell each other to never stop dating one another. We are always together, but I feel like we’re always in work mode. The hard part is being able to turn it off – not to talk about work, not to talk about wrestling and really just tune everything and everyone out and just focus on each other. We’re together all the time, but there are so many distractions. We’re together, but we’re not. We get to the arena and we’re there for 12 hours a day. Sometimes, I don’t see him all day because he’s preparing or he’s meeting people and getting ready to do the things that he needs to do. I'm over here getting my match together or filming for Total Divas. Then we get into the car and we have whatever amount of hours to drive and I’m asleep or he’s asleep. It’s finding that quality time.
AM: Our Co-Founders are a couple and they totally get this – it’s a balancing act!
TF: I know! A lot of people don’t understand like how can you be together that much, but then you don’t have time? You just have to live it to explain it because it sounds ridiculous!
AM: We had the chance to work out with you a few years back at TapOut gym and some of your fellow Superstars. It was great to do some of your routines that were simple and yet effective to get a great physique! What are some routines that people can get into their workouts that they should pick out that you do?
TF: For me, I just eat in moderation, I have a really bad sweet tooth so I pretty much eat what I want, but I just watch my portions which works for me. I just do a lot of cardio. I’m not a stickler for any kind of regimen. I just get in there and really do what I want. I don’t really lift heavy with a lot of weight. I do more of a full body workout and lots and lots of cardio. I do at least an hour of cardio the 5 days that I’m on the road and then when I’m home, I’m off. But if I eat bad, it just means that I have to work harder in the gym and if I eat better, then I don’t have to work as hard. So I just try to always balance things out. For the most part, it’s just eat healthy, a balanced diet. I feel like as long as you’re active and moving, it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re using your body and making it do something, you can feel when you’re working and when it burns. You can feel when you’re tired. I feel like as long as you’re pushing your body to do something, you will be ok! If you're working, your body will work. If you don’t use it, you will lose it.
AM: So have you watched the release of her film Homecoming on Netflix?
TF: Girl, you know I did! I watched it like 5 times! I have been watching it everyday since it came out on repeat! I think that she is the greatest thing that has ever walked this Earth!
AM: She doesn’t quit!
TF: No no she doesn’t and I will not tolerate anything bad that is said about her! I will pop off on anybody that does. She is truly amazing and my idol – her work ethic, her personality and you never hear any bad stuff about her. To be in the entertainment business for so long and to just have that kind of character – it’s insane to me. She is a great feminist and humanitarian – I just love her.
AM: How do you take time for yourself as you’re schedule is beyond busy.
TF: Honestly, I don’t have much down time to myself. I do have a little room in my house that I call it my Little Lounge – it’s my She Shed. It’s very yoga like and bohemian. I have my pillows on the floor, the colors are warm and it’s very cozy and relaxing. I’ll get up there and relax and turn on my meditation music and nature sounds, write songs, think and relax. That’s probably the most that I feel to get away. I don’t like to go anywhere because I’m always gone so my home is the best getaway and vacation. We’re gone over 300 some days out of the year traveling. My home is my sanctuary. I go up in my little room and have my me time.
AM: We’re all about tribes and #TRIBEGOALS those who inspire us, who are 3 people that do this for you?
TF: Oh yes – one would be my Uncle Buck. He’s my best friend. He’s always on my Instagram. He has been an uncle and like a father to me since I was born, my whole life. We just have a really tight bond and relationship. He has always been there for me. He is a huge supporter has always been at every dance competition, every track meet, every prom – always there and still there. He really is my best friend. My mom – I mean just watching her strength growing up and being a single parent and just how gracious she has been my whole life. My mom can do no wrong in my eyes and I would probably say Beyonce and Michelle Obama!
AM: How would you define your personal style when you’re going out with the girlfriends for drinks vs date night vs just hanging out?
TF: I would say that I am very funky and spontaneous. For gym flows and my days off, I’m always very comfortable in sweats and a hoodie. For a date night, I like to be extra spontaneous – sometimes it’s a freakum dress and other times it’s an elegant dress. One day I could be dressed like 80s and retro and then the next day, I could want to be classy and in some designer stuff. I love rave clothes, funky, bright colors. I’m all over the place. Whatever I see, I like and I’m not set in a certain style. I do like to be loud and different. I have never been afraid to stand out. I would just say spontaneous and to just keep it fun.
AM: We’re a big believer in that if you don’t feel comfortable with what you’re wearing – no matter what it is, it’s not going to look right!
TF: That’s so true. I remember one day waking up and I had spent 5-6 hours getting braids put in but the next day, I just took them out because I didn’t want my hair like that anymore – I wanted a bob or a fro ha! I’m just like that and have always done that!
AM: We know you’re based in Florida, where can we see you grabbing a meal/cocktail, shopping and working out?
TF: Well nowadays, I shop online. I also like the simple stuff where stores have a lot of options so I like Forever 21, love Topshop, American Apparel, Fashion Nova, House of CB. I really love Fashion Nova which is taking over my closet because it’s affordable, it always fits and you can find so many things that fits my style. With what I do, I can’t wear something once it has been on TV and I can’t be caught wearing it again. I like to mix and match them with my style for whatever I am going for at the moment.
For food, I love Ramen noodles so Jinya Ramen Bar I could eat that everyday! They are a ramen bar and only major cities have them, but I love them and you can catch me there! I also love shopping at Whole Foods.
I workout everywhere. My husband and I have talked about getting a gym membership, as when we’re home there are a number of gyms but then when we travel, those gyms may not be in the cities that we are going to! Sometimes we’ll be in the Midwest and there won’t be a LA Fitness, they have Planet Fitness so we get to the town and look up the gym and we just take a day pass. When I’m home, I just train at our home gym in my garage.
TRINITY'S SWIM LOOK | SOUL OF A HIPPIE Sundown Kimono Floral Pastel | MEI L'ANGE Ella Ruched Maillot | Sequin Jewelry Turquoise Color Karma Tassel Necklace | LOVARD Gila Necklace | REVO Sunglasses | VIA SAVIENE Cut-Out Ring | QUPID Peep Toe Booties |
TRINITY'S OUT AND ABOUT LOOK | LOVE BINETTI EY: Sweet Dreams Sleeveless Cotton Dress | NAGICIA Bamboo Framed Donut Ring | QUPID Peep Toe Booties |
TRINITY'S FITNESS LOOK | HANRO Touching Feeling Crop Top + Touching Feeling Boyleg | CARTON OUTERWEAR Clear Hooded Jacket |
TRINITY'S EVENING LOOK | F21 Plunging Maxi Dress | MIRIAM HASKELL Necklace |