On today’s episode of #TRIBEGOALS, we have our interview with Athleisure Mag’s 2019 April cover girl, Trinity Fatu aka Naomi, of the WWE and E!’s Total Divas! We talked about how she has always had a love for performing, her days as a cheerleader for the Orlando Magic and that moment when she realized that she wanted to be a WWE Superstar! We delve into her successful career in the WWE, Wrestlemania and a number of the women’s matches. We also talk about the coupleship with her husband Jonathan Fatu who is one half of WWE’s The Uso’s as Jimmy Uso as well as her love for Beyonce!
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 |
We’re excited to drop this issue with our April cover girl - Trinity Fatu who goes by Naomi in the ring at WWE! She is also on E! Total Divas! We enjoyed shooting this cover while she was here for WrestleMania! Of course we talk about how she got into wrestling by transitioning from the NBA’s Orlando Magic as a cheerleader, what it means to be a WWE Superstar, her coupleship with Jonathan Fatu who goes by Jimmy Uso in the WWE and more. In addition, we have a number of interviews with BRAVO Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, iconic British jewelry designer Stephen Webster, WTA Sloane Stephens and more! This year. we’re media sponsors for the 3rd year in a row of Cochon555’s NY leg as well as being a judge this year. Our food editorial shares a bit about this epic event! As always, we have a number of features and make sure to follow our podcast network on Athleisure Studio as a number of these interviews will be on this network shortly.
Read the April Issue here.
We always love our covers and it's always fun to have the opportunity to work with someone that we have previously worked with before. We're excited to have Danielle Moinet as this month's celebrity cover and our first person to grace two covers for Athleisure Mag! We enjoyed our photoshoot with Danielle and we sat down to catch up on what she's up to since we last spoke to her. We talked about her life as an athlete, about her road to the WWE, new projects that she's excited to be apart of, running the Chicago Bears out of Soldier Field, the importance of empowering women and girls in and out of sports and her love for the fans that she continues to see on her many trips as she is always on the go!
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about your athletic journey as we know you have played a number of sports!
DANIELLE MOINET: For me I always played sports. I was an athlete growing up - I ran track, jumped hurdles and played tennis. In college and when I got out of it and moved to Chicago, that's when I joined the Lingerie Football League, the LFL, and I played for the Chicago Bliss and I played Corner Back and I loved it. I played 3 years and it's full contact 7 on 7 football - very aggressive.
Then I went on to wrestle and a lot of the girls that hadn't wrestled before in WWE had some form of an athletic background. Health and fitness has always been a big thing for me and getting to the gym, so I think that people that work out a lot too are athletic as well and being in a women's sport is very important.
AM: Specifically, tell us about your journey into wrestling, WWE and what you are currently doing.
DM: I was working a Comic Con in Chicago, and WWE was there and it was a dream of mine to get in. There was not an application process setup like there is now when I first started, so I ran over to their booth and told them that I was interested and that I had been wanting to do this for years. I decided to play football for another year and then that's when I went down to WWE to have my tryout and 6 weeks later I was down there training and working out and I got my contract. So it was really a great place in time. There were only 6 girls training at the time. I was the 6th girl and now there is something like 20 or 30 girls training. WWE was amazing - I wrestled there for 6 years and I was on the main roster on Mon. Night RAW, Tues. Night Smackdown for 4.5 years and got to live out my dream.
As of Nov, I left WWE to spread my wings to other avenues and to be able to enjoy life and live it through new eyes. It's bittersweet as I miss my fans and the people I worked with, but I see my fans more often because I do so many appearances where I get to travel the world to meet them.
AM: We caught up with you when you were in the midst of a media tour - can you tell us what you were promoting?
DM: During my time in NY when I did my photoshoot, I was doing a lot of things! I was taking meetings, doing photoshoots with a number of modeling agencies and then I was also there for my first non WWE appearance that was in Manhattan and so I was able to go onto CBS Radio and talk to them about women in sports and the importance of women having a presence in athletics and for young girls to have role models to look up to - being athletic and knowing that strong is beautiful. Body positivity is something that is very import ant to me and I think it's great to be able to speak out to that! It was so much fun and I love everyone in NY!
AM: On set, everyone loved your hair, what products do you use and what tips do you have for healthy hair?
DM: My hair! I'm very fortunate that my mom is a hairdresser and growing up, she never let me dye it crazy purple or orange and crazy colors. I had actually never even dyed it until my mid twenties. I am super blonde naturally and I was always in the sun as a kid by the pool. I always used great products like Biolage or Matrix. One thing that was really amazing that I started to use the last couple of years is a wet brush. The wet brush helps with the breakage in your hair and having bangs, I have really noticed the difference using the wet brush because my hair doesn't break as much and it's able to stay long and healthy - that is something I absolutely swear by and love. And also, good Moroccan Oil and having good oil everytime you blow dry your hair - it's very important.
AM: We know from your IG that you're constantly on the go, what are 3 beauty products that keep you looking fresh and dewy and are a must in your routine?
DM: I am always on the go so beauty products that I love - I always have a spray tan, I do not go in the sun a lot so I always try to protect my skin as far as sun exposure goes, so it's all about wearing SPF. I do not go into the tanning bed so I can keep a wrinkle free life. I love love love and swear by Skin Medica - they're TMS Serum is something that I really do love. I completely see a difference in my skin when I use that. Their eye cream - amazing - it's expensive and I have tried alternate routes and dfferent things and I just see such a difference with them and that's something that's just great. Another thing I love - my lips don't get too chapped too much because I'm always on the go in airplanes - I love the Lip Slip by Sara Happ. It's a lip balm and it's so thick and potent and it lasts you forever - I got it from Nordstrom and I love it. My lips never crack, never peel and I love it.
AM: What's your personal style - what do you work out in, what do you go out in for a night out and what is your beach style?
DM: My personal style is super super different - I look very girly, but I am actually super tomboy! I love my Jordans, I love my Jays, I've become a big sneaker person since living in LA so really ideally, if I could live my life I'd do it in workout clothes and athleisure vibe and tennis shoes. That's how you could catch me everyday wearing. If you catch me in jeans or everyday pants it's because I have to because I am going somewhere. What I actually work out in is - I'm very cute on Instagram with matching outfits, but that is not how I am. In real life, I'm not like that I don't think. I get a lot of workout clothes sent to me from different brands and people that I work with so I can never find anything that matches when it is time to work out. I am not that girl who matches in the gym - I'm getting in there with a hat the majorty of the time with no makeup. I hate wearing makeup - I love getting glammed up, but I don't like makeup. I am usually in a hat, with it pulled down super low and getting my workout done because I don't want anyone talking to me and workout time is not playtime for me.
For going out, now that I live in LA, I have a very different west coast vibe. I love everything that is oversized and I love a great Tor Merch long sleeve shirt 2 sizes 2 big with baggy pants and a cute heel. If I'm going out, you can catch me in jeans, boots, a body suit or tank top. That's my vibe and I rarely wear a dress - again unless I have to or if I'm in Vegas or a place that's dressy. LA is just not that dressy and NY isn't really either. I have very different vibes - sometimes it's Bohemian or Urban - I like to change up my style.
Style and music are very all over the place for me as there are tons of genres of music I like and tons of styles that I like to dress in.
Beach style is bikini, flip flops and a cover up. Nothing special - no makeup maybe a little chapstick - that's all - very low maintenance.
AM: What are 3 of your favorite foods that are your go to for energy to assist in working out and do you have splurge foods that you enjoy as a treat every now and then?
DM: I'm a big fan of black coffee before working out. I try to stay lately from pre-workouts that have artificial sugars in them and I am trying to go back to that coffee route or just getting enough sleep as that is very good. Protein is a must for my diets and if I don't have a protein shake, I see a huge difference in my legs and body as far as my abs and cellulite go. I can see a negative difference without them and I need my protein high up. I also need some nuts before the gym - healthy fats are good. I don't like to be super full when I go to the gym because when I am full, I want to take a nap. Cheat foods that I love, pizza! I am obsessed with pizza, Mexican food, I love Queso and chips. My friends make fun of me because I eat a whole tub of queso - it's just really ridiculous as I need to be nowhere near that and then cookie dough. Cookie dough is my downfall! I went through a phase where I was obsessed with cookie dough for like 4 months and my friends and I joke that that’s where my butt came from the four months that I ate it. So we call it my cookie dough butt! I still have it but now I am just training it in the gym!
AM: We saw that you did something pretty amazing with the Chicago Bears last fall, can you share with our readers?
DM: Chicago Bears – so in the fall, ran the Bears out of the tunnel and was the first women to ever run them out of the tunnel! They said it had something to do with the fact that the flag is really heavy and then at Soldier Field, the lake wind effect off of the lake is so strong that it just moves the pole around and it’s crazy heavy! They usually don’t have guests running people out of the tunnel BUT I knew someone that knew someone and they reached out to me and asked if I wanted to do it. I was kind of unsure if I could and then they said that a woman had never done it before and that’s when I said, “well of course then – I have to be the first at everything that I do”. Don’t put me up to a challenge and I will never say no, especially if it is the first woman. It was amazing and fun. The players were super confused as to why I was down there haha! I’m a huge Bears fan so I loved it!
AM: What travel plans are you looking forward to this summer?
DM: This summer I am very fortunate that I am traveling all over. I have so many bookings for appearances to see so many of my wrestling fans. I’m a little west coast, a little east coast. I may have a few things that are Canada and then I am really really really excited about something that we haven’t announced yet which we can’t announce yet but it’s overseas and it is taking me to one of my places on my bucketlist – so I’m very excited about that!
As far as trips go, I look forward to taking my girls trip which we are going to Mykonos, Greece and I have never been there. We are just going to have a great time and I am looking forward to that because I have a great group of girlfriends.
AM: In LA what is your favorite place to shop, a workout studio that you attend as well as where you love to grab cocktails and a meal?
DM: Living in LA, obviously we have great killer stores. All the stores on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Grove the Mall – that’s really good and we have large stores with all the name brands. Some of the places that I really love to shop and that are fun that I tell my friends to go to when they’re in town – hidden gems on Melrose that are kind of really trendy and inexpensive and I love them – one is called Eden Sky and the other one is Style Delivered and I get really cute fun sunglasses, earrings and bandanas. I got my stuff from Coachella there and it’s good finds that are inexpensive so when you pair them with other really good pieces, that’s great. And of course, we have things like Revolve out here and Pretty Little Things and House of CB, Mistress Rocks – LA’s great we have some really good shopping. As far as food goes, I love Urth Café, it’s one of my favorites. I’m pretty sure that I brought my mom and dad there, friends from back home in North Carolina. You just sit outside and have bubble tea – which is amazing and all different kinds of food which is really good. We actually just got a Joe & the Juice which they have in NY and I’m obsessed with so I am really happy about that being there. I love all the healthy food options we have out here the salad places and everything like that which is really good. And then we have great trendy workouts. I love SoulCycle – I swear by SoulCycle as it’s fun and it makes me feel amazing to just get out there and sweat – so I really love that. Unfortunately, I have been dealing with an ankle injury for the past 3 months so I have kind of been having to deal with that and it’s driving me nuts. But I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things soon.
AM: Are there any projects that you're working on that you want to let our readers know about?
DM: I’m just really excited to be working with so many brands right now! I have two clothing companies that I am working with and I will be able to get my own line out and then I have one kind of beauty thing I am working on. I’m taking meetings with other people as far as my appearances go and doing things overseas so it’s all in the beginning baby stages. I have only just started to be able to do this stuff as I wasn’t able to do this with WWE and am looking forward to spreading my wings. My sister’s charity is back home in North Carolina – The Dean Thomas Moinet Foundation - love working with them when I go back home and am looking forward to doing a special project with them when I am back home to raise money in the Raleigh/Durham, NC area for the charity!
We shot Danielle Moinet in Manhattan's Lower East Side at Hotel Indigo LES which is filled with a number of great hitoric sites. Christopher White, the properties' Director of Sales and Marketing talked with us about the hotel and how it connects with the community.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Are there different personalities that Hotel Indigo represents on the city/community?
CHRISTOPHER WHITE: Hotel Indigo’s ethos is design, art, music and embracing the neighborhood that we are in - so every hotel will represent those qualities in different way depending on the location.
AM: Specifically, tell us about Hotel Indigo LES - when did it open, what is the atmosphere and the amenities that are offered for guests.
CW: Hotel Indigo LES opened in the heart of the Lower East Side in November 2015. Reflecting the community, the hotel is an urban oasis that features spacious accommodations and breathtaking views of the Manhattan Skyline. Hotel Indigo LES is equipped with everything needed for the modern traveler - think a rooftop bar and pool, a gym, package handling, parking and we even provide amenities for your furry friends because we know kittens and pups are important too.
AM: Tell us about the lounges and pool.
CW: Hotel Indigo LES is the perfect spot to visit day or night - with stunning views of Manhattan from every place you look, the view is unbeatable - especially now that Summer is right around the corner! The 14th-floor lobby is decked out with floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around almost the entire room, spacious L-shaped couches, coffee tables and a cafe. Not to mention the ceiling is covered in a mural by the famous Lower East Side graffiti artist, Lee Quiñones.
Beyond the lobby, guests are invited to checkout the heated plunge pool and bar, Mr. Purple, both located on the 15th floor rooftop. The space offers summer drink menus for guests to enjoy, while taking in amazing views of Lower Manhattan.
AM: Is the pool for guests only?
CW: We prefer to keep the pool exclusive to hotel guests – if locals are looking for a pool break we recommend booking a staycation at the hotel.
AM: What do locals have the ability to enjoy whether they are staying as guests or just wish to stop by?
CW:The lobby, cafe, and of course Mr. Purple - come relax, get some work done, or have a drink - locals and guests can do it all at Hotel Indigo LES!
AM: What Spring/Summer packages do you guys have coming up?
CW: Yes! Our Mother’s Day and Royal Wedding packages are can’t miss. Check them out and more on the Hotel Indigo LES website.
AM: Tell us about the neighborhood that surrounds Hotel Indigo LES.
CW: Located right in the heart of the Lower East Side, there is nothing you can’t find around Hotel Indigo LES! Tons of art galleries of all different styles, music halls, bars and restaurants all surround the hotel. Think hotspots like the famous Beauty & Essex and Katz Delicatessen, Rockwood Music Hall and more.
AM: Tell us about Mr Purple!
CW: Located on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo Lower East Side, the space completely captures the vibrant and artistic spirit of the LES. Boasting a 360 degree view of downtown Manhattan from the two outdoor terraces and a beautiful interior, the venue recreates a hip, artist-loft ambiance. The larger terrace includes its own swimming pool (enough said) and outdoor bar, a perfect setting for yummy bites and signature sips against the backdrop of NYC.
AM: Does the Hotel Indigo LES have activities that they participate within that are local to the community?
CW: We sure do! Our goal is to hire all of our line staff from the community which is part of our ethos and culture. We participate in LESSEN which is part of the Henry Street Settlement in the Lower East Side and 30% of our line staff from pre-opening was hired from there. We also volunteer quarterly for Manny Cantor Center, Bowery Mission and am always working to always give back to the community that we are in.
AM: Please feel free to share anything that we may not have asked you but that you would like to share?
CW: Hotel Indigo LES is all about the art. From the moment you walk, to the sleeping rooms and lobby area, the spaces all reflect the art that can be seen all over the LES. With artwork featured from the likes of Mr. Brainwash and Lee Quiñones, guests can see the spirit of the LES at every turn.
The April issue is live with one of our favorite cover girls who is the first to have 2 covers in our publication - Danielle Moinet! This stunning athlete has been in the Lingerie Football League with Chicago Bliss, WWE and has a number of projects she's taking on as she prepares to spread her wings. We enjoyed shooting her at Hotel Indigo LES and finding out what she's up to!
This month, we also have interviews with MMA's Cody Garbrandt, Erin Kommor of NBC's Rise, we chatted with Barry Sloane who returns for a second season of History Channel's SIX, we chat with Claire Thomas of the Kitchy Kitchen and visual food creative about gatherings, farmer's markets and more. We hung out with our friends at MCM for the launch of the trailer for an upcoming fashion documentary during Tribeca Film Festival as well as to see hip hop performances by this year's 2 time Grammy Nominee Rapsody and legend - Big Daddy Kane. We talk the future of crypto payments with Ben Way of Digits.io and we talk about exposing food with Nelufar Hedayat in her new series on Fuse. Of course we have more interviews as well as features that you love reading from us in each issue.
Check out the April Issue here.
If you don't know Brandi Rhodes, you're missing out on this stunner who embodies #GirlPower and #CoupleGoals. While you get to know more about her through her social, you can catch her wrestling with Women of Honor alongside her hubby Cody Rhodes (as she is apart of wrestling royalty)! You can also catch her this month in the debut season of E! WAGS Atlanta, where she is one of the breakout stars.
In addition to shooting her fabulous editorial for our anniversary issue, we talked with her about how she got into the industry from modeling, her start in the WWE, being in ROH/WOH, her busy schedule and how she maintains her site, Not a Basic B for her fans to get to know her more!
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us how you got into wrestling and what your journey was into the sport?
BRANDI RHODES: I was scouted by WWE as I was modeling in Miami, FL. They contacted my modeling agency and expressed interest. From there I had meetings and then a try out to assess my athleticism. Then I was offered a contract to come to Florida Championship Wrestling and begin training. The rest is history!
AM: We know you were with the WWE and are currently with WOH - can you tell us about your experiences with both and what you're looking forward to within this league?
BR: With WWE I was an announcer, and unable to wrestle (which is what I wanted to do all along, but once it was discovered that I was good on the mic, I was placed in that position and
unable to transition away from it). In WOH I am of course a wrestler and am able to spread my wings and grow and learn so much! I also am able to work with my husband in ROH which is so
much fun. ROH/WOH allow me to do everything in the realm of wrestling, which is very challenging and fun.
AM: What's it like being married to Cody, who is also a wrestler and is in ROH?
BR: I’m the luckiest woman in the world to be married to Cody. He is incredibly smart, ambitious, handsome and has such a big heart. It’s inspirational to get to work with him in ROH. I learn a lot from him, and I have a front row seat to this time, being the most successful of his career. In Wrestling, many times wives have to stay home and watch their spouses compete from afar. I’m grateful to be on the road with him and able to see some of his most important
AM: How do you balance your schedules as we interviewed WWE Superstar Natalya Neidhart last year and Danielle Moinet/Summer Rae last year and know that as an athlete, you guys travel a lot to global matches? When your husband is also doing these, how do you connect
and find balance?
BR: We are big on having our fun. We plan our downtime just like anyone else. This month we are looking forward to a long awaited ski trip after heading to Japan for WrestleKingdom, one of the biggest wrestling events of the entire year! But sometimes it’s a trip to Disney or Universal Studios to recharge and connect, others it’s a trip to our favorite movie theater, and other times, we have to find time to have dates on the road! Last week we had to see The Last Jedi, in New Jersey because we were working, but refused to miss out on seeing the movie right when it came out. No matter how busy our schedules are, we can always find time to do things we love together. We make it if we have to!
AM: When we looked through your blog, Not Another Basic B - we were obsessed with your accessories and style - tell us more about your blog, why you created it, and how important is it to you as a creative outlet?
BR: Initially I created Not Another Basic B as a way to express my creativity. I was very bored and just not satisfied in my previous career. I couldn’t control that at the time, but I could challenge myself by creating the blog and the content that I put into it. I loved fashion and often would have people tweeting me trying to find out what brands I was wearing on TV, and this blog made it easier to connect with these folks and get them that information! From there, the blog took off to become more than fashion. I started sharing my travels, things about my
family and my marriage and personal stories as well. Now people look to the blog as a place for everyone. From the fashionista to the wrestling fan, to the traveler! I’m so proud of what it has
AM: How did you become apart of the cast of WAGS Atlanta?
BR: I was living in LA working on another TV project and Casting reached out to my management asking if I would be willing to do a Skype interview to get to know me. I did the interview and a week later was sent over a contract to do the show! It was really fast! I later
found out that I was the last member cast. They were looking for someone who had an existing fan base and presence, and thankfully I have the most loyal fan base and following from the
wrestling world and they are really excited to see me on the show!
AM: We know that the season just started, but would you come back for another season, and/or be open to future reality shows?
BR: There are a lot of factors that come into play when determining what happens next and when. But I am happy to have this opportunity to be a part of the E! family, and for viewers and our existing fans to have the opportunity to get to know us a little better!
AM: How do you stay in great shape?
BR: I train very hard daily! My workouts are 6 days a week and incorporate weight training, interval exercises and plenty of cardio. I’ve found a balance with training, it’s something that challenges me, but also that I enjoy greatly.
AM: What do your workouts look for a match versus just maintaining when you may be in a few days of downtime?
BR: I really don’t deviate from routine when I have a match coming up. I compete pretty frequently, sometimes multiple times in one week, so for me it’s important to stay consistent at all times. In the summer, however, I do tend to add runs into my workouts simply because I love running outside!
AM: What are 3 go-to power foods when you're working out versus 3 splurges when you're treating yourself?
BR: When I’m working out I love a good protein shake, my favorite is from a place called Kale Me Crazy. I’m also very big on tuna packets, because I can take them anywhere and they do the trick! Then I love almond butter. Put it on my toast every morning. Splurge foods: pizza, burgers and any kind of cake. I have a ridiculous sweet tooth!
AM: You travel frequently what are 3 beauty products that you swear by that keep your skin fresh and vibrant?
BR: I always travel with Foreo. It’s a face cleansing device (similar to Clarisonic) but they come in Travel sizes and are so easy to use and keep clean! I also need my Dermologica face lotion
which is lightweight and SPF50! Lastly, I always have a good mask with me, I tend to go back and forth between charcoal and mud masks.
AM: How do you take time for yourself?
AM: What do you wear when you go out for brunch, versus when you're running errands?
BR: I definitely dress up for brunch! A sundress with jewelry and heels in always up my alley. For errands, however, most of the time I am dressed “gym fab” because I’ve either just
come from the gym, or I’m on the way to the gym! Often time that’s head to toe Lululemon or Lorna Jane!
AM: What are your goals this year in wrestling, business, the site, family etc?
BR: This year I’m hoping to chase the dream of becoming WOH Champion! I’m looking forward to taking the blog to new heights this year with some upcoming partnerships! There are a few exciting things underway so just keep your eyes and ears open for me!
AM: What charities/philanthropies do you give your time to?
BR: I’ve always had an interest anything that helps with cancer research. Over the past few years my family has known too many families that have lost kids to childhood cancer. I’m always passionate in that research and spreading the word about ways to help.
BR: The best ways to connect and interact with me! Those are my social pages: @TheBrandiRhodes - Twitter and IG and of course NotAnotherBasicB.com! Aside from that I’d like to wish everyone an amazing 2018! It’s going to be as great as we make it!
This month's celeb cover is WOH wrestler and cast member of E! WAGS Atlanta (which premiered earlier this month and our celeb cover's first episode is tonight!) Brandi Rhodes.This cover shoot includes a fun Q&A with Brandi talking about her journey from WWE to WOH and being able to wrestle with her hubby Cody Rhodes! Of course, we have a fashion editorial where she's rocking a number of items from fitness, athleisure, swim and glam. Our Jan issue, with a focus on kicking off the year has a mix of Awards Season content which includes interviews with Bill and Giuliana Rancic talking about family resolutions, their portfolio of businesses and of course Giuliana's red carpet thoughts of what we can expect this season. Celebrity Hair Stylist to the Kardashians, Joan Smalls, Heather Graham and beyond - Andrew Fitzsimons tells us about how he preps for the red carpet for his stars and what's in his kit! Last month, we had an interview with Dr. Greuner and are excited to have him as a contributor and he tells us about how Summer Bodies are Made in the Winter and he shares with us how he stays fit with some of his favorite gyms. We love how inclusivity is becoming more of the norm and talked with the founder of Nubian Skin, Ade Hassan about her line, getting a prestigious award from Prince William himself as well as some of her favorite finds. We could all use some direction so we have two great interviews one with life coach, Heather Monahan and Susan Trombetti, Matchmaker and CEO of ExclusiveMatchmaking.net. When you think about agenda setting, these ladies have us covered from our careers to finding love.
We have a number of features that are in each month's issues including The Art of the Snack, Bingely Books, Bingely Streaming, Something You Should Know - we love sake and are so excited to have Timothy Sullivan of Urban Sake and Brand Ambassador of Hakkaisan to educate us on this rice wine, Athleisure List, Athleisure Beauty and more. Our second installment of N3W YOU (this recap of 2017 and introduction in 2018 feature includes actress - AnnaLynne McCord, Celeb Fitness Trainer and currently a Celeb Trainer on E! Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian - Latreal Mitchell, Co-Host of E! "Daily Pop" - Justin Sylvester and Celebrity Hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons weighs in on this year.
Read the Jan Issue here!
Over the past few decades, we have been a big fan of the WWE - you get it all! There's the athleticism of the sport, the dynamic personalities, the drama of the storylines, the costumes and all of the backstories. Throughout the year, the members of the WWE travel to a number of cities domestically and internationally to perform, while also doing a number of acts of philanthropy to make the world a better place and spending time with their community to engage with fans!
This electrifying experience is fostered by the brands' athletes who put their own fingerprint on what it means to be a part of the WWE Universe! Last summer we worked out with some of the ladies of WWE Divas at TapOut Fitness on the UES to go through workouts that these women do. Included in this group was Alexa Bliss, Alicia Fox, Lana, Maria Menounos, Naomi, Renee Young, Summer Rae (our Feb covergirl) and this month's cover girl - Natalya - also known as Nattie! A few weeks ago, right before her match at MSG, our team shot a gorgeous fashion editorial of this 3rd generation wrestler at Monarch's rooftop and then chatted with her about wrestling, being a member of wrestling's legacy family and her role on E! Total Divas which is back from their midseason break on April 5th and more!
ATHLEISURE MAG: You come from an iconic wrestling family - tell us about them and the impact that they made on the sport.
NATALYA NEIDHART: My family has been the biggest influence on me. Starting with my grandpa, Stu Hart, who built an empire by the name of Stampede Wrestling in the 1950's. I'm a third generation superstar and I come from Wrestling royalty. My grandfather is WWE Hall Of Famer, Stu Hart and my uncles Bret and Owen Hart and the British Bulldog have paved the way for me. My father is a two time WWE Tag Team Champion himself and formed half of one of the greatest tag teams of all time. My family's contributions to WWE have been huge and I'm deeply proud of them.
AM: When did you know that you wanted to continue the legacy by being a wrestler?
NN: When I was 18 years old, I first started training in the dungeon… And from that moment on, I remember it crystal clear… I was hooked on wrestling. I knew it was what I wanted to do as my career. Wrestling is part of my heart... it's part of who I am... what makes me tick. I'm fortunate beyond words that I was able to discover my passion and touch my dreams.
AM: What was your journey to get to the WWE?
NN: I trained in one of the most notoriously hard wrestling schools in the world: the Dungeon, where only men trained. I was one of the only girls to ever train there under my family. I also had a world class Japanese coach by the name of Tokyo Joe, who helped train me for my first tour of Japan where I wrestled some of the very best Japanese female wrestlers in the world. I lived over in Japan for a while honing my craft and trying to be the absolute best I could be. I spent nearly 5 years sending in tapes and resumes and letters and pictures to WWE… Trying to get them to see that I was special. I went to Japan and England and all over the US to try to gain enough experience to get my big break. I was rejected for five years! It was so hard to get hired, but so worth it when I finally got my dream job in the WWE. Finally.... in 2007, I got the call and then the really hard work began!!!
AM: Your job allows you to do a lot from participating in the sport, philanthropy and even filming for E! Total Divas - what's that like?
NN: I am so lucky that I get to do so many different things! Giving back to the community is one of the most rewarding parts about my job… I never take that for granted. It just makes me feel good giving back! I love filming Total Divas, it's a great way for us to show that we're human… And it's OK to fall down, get back up. Working in the WWE allows you to wear many hats and be very diverse in so many ways other than wrestling. My job in the WWE has prepared me for anything in life it seems!
AM: What's a typical day like from working out/training, filming for Total Divas, taking time with TJ (Tyson Kidd) etc?
NN: I am usually very busy. When I'm working on the road, doing live events and Smackdown Live, it's a grind of working out and eating healthy and driving and flying hundreds if not thousands of miles to make it to our shows. It's a whirlwind, but so fun. When I'm home, I run errands, relax with my husband TJ and decompress and enjoy my family. I also work on my weekly columns for the Calgary Sun and OK Magazine.com. I love to write.
AM: You spend a lot of time traveling, how do you bring a piece of home with you?
NN: When I go away from home, which is a lot. I bring little love letters my husband has written to me. I keep them in the bag where I put all of my wrestling gear. I read them when I get lonely and it truly lifts me up!
AM: Tell us about 2Paws as we're obsessed!
NN: 2Pawz is rich. He's famous. He's a rap guru. Named after the illustrious Tupac Shakur.... he's all about working to OWN... not to rent, lease or refinance! Lol. He's a Lilac Persian and basically the most intense, but sweetest cat I've ever had. I love him more than words can say.
AM: We loved hanging out with you during the photoshoot and saw that you're a serious multi-tasker as you had a match right after - how do you keep so many things going at one time?
NN: I just take everything one moment at a time and try to be efficient. In WWE, we are always busy.... we only have time for "one take," so we make everything the best we can possibly make it the first time! It's a lot of hustling at times, though!!!! Sometimes I go "hey... i need to use the washroom!!!! Everything else can wait!" LOL
AM: What's a day off look like for you?
NN: A perfect day off is relaxing at my home with my husband and having NO game plan at all!
AM: What's on your playlist right now as we know you're a fan of Lana Del Rey.
NN: I love Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Kings of Leon, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson and anything Lana Del Rey! Love her!!!!!!
AM: What is your personal style when you're outside of the ring if you're running errands versus a night out.
NN: I love being comfortable. When I'm running errands or working out, I like a pair of great leggings, a cozy hoodie and tank top I can rock if I need to grab a quick workout. Lately I'm obsessed with Adidas, Goldsheep and Lululemon! So comfy and cool! I also love Roots of Fight! They make my favorite Tess with vintage boxers and athletes like Mike Tyson and The Gracie's. Soon they're making shirts with Andre the Giant! Eeeek!
AM: You're always busy - what are your go to's meals or snacks for energy and what do you splurge on?
NN: I always carry snacks with me. Protein powder is a go to -- ESP for hotel life! First thing I have when I wake up! And I am obsessed with Lenny and Larry's cookies the Snickerdoodle flavor. I also love to splurge on sushi. Like the fattening stuff with tempura and mayonnaise and avocado in it! I love sushi!!!!!
AM: Summer is around the corner, what are some moves that you suggest for toned abs, arms, legs, and butt?
NN: Lunges, squats, deadlifts, and clean and jerks. I love Olympic lifting so much because it always gives me a total body workout! And it makes me feel strong and powerful. Keeps my body toned everywhere. I also love running. With the right running partner I can run for hours!
AM: As you're always busy, will you be adding anything new to what you already do in terms of business ventures, charity etc?
NN: I have been writing a fun column as I mentioned before for the Calgary Sun, I am also working on an advice column for OK Magazine.com. My husband and I have dreams to one day open up our own wrestling school since we both share a passion for wrestling .... but it would also be cool to continue to film reality TV too. I've loved the whole process of being on a reality show - SO fun!
AM: What's it like to be on the road with the WWE and who are your faves to hang out with?
NN: It's fun being on the road, but it's also a lot of time away from home. So you have to make friends because strangers become family! And sometimes family become strangers. I love Renee Young. I can turn to Dolph Ziggler about anything. I adore our girls in the Smackdown Locker room. I share a strong bond with the Bella twins because we started in the WWE together and have been through so much. Naomi is my girl.... and one of my husband's favorite in the ring. I always get jealous when he says "she's the best!" LOL!!!!!
AM: Do you mentor other wrestlers in the WWE?
NN: I try to be there for all the girls. I love being able to pass on the knowledge I've acquired over the last 15 years to them. I definitely try to help the girls in any way that I can!!!! It's the best when our work comes together and ALL of us shine!
AM: Tell us about Summer Slam and what we need to know!
NN: SummerSlam is the biggest event of the summer. It's taking place in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center and you know that the females in WWE will be front and center ... stealing the show!
AM: Why do you enjoy being in the WWE so much?
NN: Because I get to live my dreams! I get to travel the world and I get to impact people's lives in such a positive way through the global platform we have in WWE. And I get to bodyslam my arch enemies and not get in trouble! LOL!
Read more from the April Issue here and to see WWE Divas/E! Total Divas Natalya, our April celebrity cover girl in mag!
Our readers are STRONG, SEXY & SPOILED and of course, that means those that grace our covers and are featured in our pages embody this spirit as well! The world of the WWE includes some of the toughest athletes with dynamic personas and ever changing storylines that keep their fans waiting to see more every week!
The ladies of the WWE are an elite powerhouse that represents vixens and villains. For those that need an extra dose (know and love this world) of the ladies, E! Networks' Total Divas - allowed viewers to see their lives in and out of the ring. Episodes showcase the ladies in the relationships, training, their personality, their personas and more. Our initial introduction to Summer Rae came during the second season of this show.
Summer Rae is a WWE athlete who fights in the RAW brand. Playing a villain role, she has won a number of single and tag team matches which keeps the crowds wanting more. Outside of the ring, Danielle Moinet is the complete opposite of her character; but, she shares the athletic sensibility as her career includes being a former professional football player as a cornerback for Lingerie Football League's Chicago Bliss (in addition to being a professional wrestler and wrestling manager). This Manhasset, LI native is also a model and actress who took the time to chat with us about her athletic career; what it's like to be a part of the WWE; the importance of giving back and insight into who Danielle is!
ATHLEISURE MAG: We love seeing you in the ring and being on E!'s Total Divas. Tell us about your career leading up to the WWE, as we know you played football, were the face of the Lingerie Football League, and you were an ambassador for Nascar's Bobby Labonte's team - how did this all come together with your love of sports?
DANIELLE MOINET: I have always been a fan of sports, both watching sports and playing sports. Growing up, I danced for many years and then I also ran track, jumped hurdles and played tennis. I’ve always had an athletic background and spent a lot of time in the gym in college. Playing football was definitely very fun. It was full contact seven on seven football. The ladies of the LFL hit hard. It’s not a gimmick. I’ve always had a passion for wrestling and loved watching it. I went to Monday Night Raw and watched it in the audience and thought, “Wow I can do that and I think I can do it well.” I decided to try out for WWE.
AM: We grew up in the 80's watching the WWE, when did you realize this was what you wanted to do and what was the process like to get to the ring?
DM: The thing that I love about WWE is everyone has a story. Everyone has someone they watched growing up. With me, my dad has no sons, only daughters, and I’m the oldest. I watched with my dad on Saturday mornings and when I was an adult I would sit at home and watch Monday Night Raw. I loved the soap opera! I became a fan again after college and that’s when I realized I wanted to submit. Now with NXT, Triple H has given people a great outlet to submit their resume and portfolio and be able to try to become a WWE Superstar.
AM: We see the physicality that is needed to be a Diva, while also being able to be a total boss by being glam. It's such a unique sport that allows both - how is Danielle Moinet similar and different to Summer Rae?
DM: Very good question! Some people like to form their WWE persona based on an extension of themselves. For me it’s the total opposite. Summer Rae is everyone I wanted to be growing up: all of the girls I wasn’t and all of the things I wanted to say to people that I couldn't because I was too nice. Summer Rae is a conniving egotistical villain who will do whatever she needs to do to get what she wants. That’s why it’s so much fun to play her! I have never once been a good guy in WWE and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
AM: This summer, we worked out with you and additional Divas during Summer Slam at Tapout here in NYC - between matches and doing PR events what is the schedule like when you're traveling and how are you able to balance your day to day life with that?
DM: Wow! That’s so cool that you came and worked out with us! That was the first time we had tried anything like that and my first time teaching an exercise class! It was inspiring to talk to different women. It was a special event for me. It's hard to find balance and in 2017 that is what I am going after. Balance. It is hard being a Superstar, being on the road 300 days a year filming and working events on your off days. Traveling and everything that comes with it is really hard. Having a group of people, whether they are family or friends that ground you when you’re home, it's important on those off days to step away from work. Otherwise, you will lose who you are. It’s something I’ve struggled with in the past and its something I am really working towards in 2017.
AM: As an athlete, the physicality of the sport is demanding, what does your workout day look like when you're preparing to be in the ring versus when you have down time?
DM: Very good question! I've never had someone ask me this in an interview! I train very differently on days when I have a match versus days I don't. I don’t do my legs as much on days I have a match. I save my cardio days for TV. Sleep is the most important thing in this business. I like to do circuit training so I don’t overstimulate one body part. When you bump and have five matches in a week you’re going to be sore.
AM: Recovery is always essential when you're working out - we're fans of foam rollers, KT Therapy ice packs etc, what do you have on hand for a little TLC for your body?
DM: Recovery is very important. The number one thing I find that helps is sleep and I am the first person to say I don’t sleep nearly enough. On the off days I will force myself to sleep. Massage is something really great. I live by a great chiropractor and physical therapist. In Los Angeles, I have gone to PEAK Wellness and I have absolutely loved the practice. The people there have been so amazing to me. Dennis at PEAK is so amazing and I’ve loved working with them.
AM: What is your favorite moment in the ring and who has been your favorite partner?
DM: My favorite moment in the ring is actually not a wrestling match. It was when I got to write my own promo and do it for everyone. It was in Chicago where I was living at the time. I got to break up with Rusev on screen. I really felt it and felt so fortunate that they let me write it. It was so amazing and the crowd was so behind me. It gives me chills to think about.
My favorite person to wrestle is Nattie. I always loved wrestling her. She’s someone who challenges me and made me try to be better every time I stepped in the ring with her. I also love Sasha Banks. The chemistry we have is amazing!
AM: Besides your life as an athlete, what other passions do you have as we know you have acted?
DM: Being in the Marine 4 was an amazing opportunity. I loved being on set and learning the way that works! Being in more films and being able to act is a goal. I love the idea of having an amazing day and channel different emotions into my work. It is such a talent to be able to do that and of course that is something I would love to do and love to study more. Being able to publicly speak and host as well and spread positivity.
AM: When you have personal time how do you take time for you to center yourself?
DM: Personal time is something that I am trying to work on more and have more of, and give myself. Being able to center myself is having a good support system. I center myself by going into the gym and having a great workout and catching up on some of my favorite shows. Taking time for me. Our personal time is so few and far between, that it’s something I really have to cherish when I have it.
AM:What is your personal style from what you wear when you workout, when you're going out to brunch and for a night out with your friends?
DM: My personal style ranges. I live in workout clothes and I can be a tomboy. The word ATHLEISURE definitely suits me. I’m always in my hat on my day off, because I hate wearing makeup. I have to let my skin breathe. Workout clothes all day! Whatever fits and is comfy. I love the girly side too and get styled. My style is very diverse.
AM: Clearly, you have a great body! What are 3 exercises that we can incorporate for great legs, arms and abs?
DM: For me, something that I started in the Fall that I had never tried before was Pilates. I had a lot of restrictions from wrestling as far as my mobility and neck. The thing I love about Pilates is that it's 50 minutes and it's full body, but you also use weights. I’ve tried a lot of different exercises. Pilates really helps shape my arms legs and abs. I had never done a plank until Pilates and now I see it in my shoulders and abs. It's long and lengthening. Pilates gives me the flexibility and is so safe on the joints and knees. It’s something I really have to think about. You can find all three in Pilates.
AM: When it comes to getting energy before a workout what do you suggest we should eat?
DM: Some people are very different when it comes to eating before working out. Some people like to eat and some people like to be empty. I like to be full. I don’t like my stomach growling. I like to eat a high protein meal. I prefer fats and carbs in each meal I eat. Having a good piece of chicken or turkey meat, a good 25/35 gms of protein. You don’t have to get fancy when it comes to caffeine pre workout. Black coffee is great. You can’t beat a double shot of espresso or a black coffee before you work out. I always have a shake right after I work out to get my protein in.
AM: When you're having a bit of a splurge, what is a treat that we can enjoy that tastes decadent, but isn't really that bad for you?
DM: I have a sweet tooth. Something for me that I crave is ice cream like crazy and want it all the time. Instead, I buy the fat - free Cool Whip from the market and freeze it. Then it’s like fake ice cream. I just need a little bit. It’s no fat or carbs and not nearly as bad as ice cream. I find myself only having one or two spoonfuls. It gives me that satisfaction.
AM: What charities or foundations do you work with and tell us about them.
DM: I work with the DTM Foundation which was started and by my sister Nicolette Moinet. They work with medically fragile children at UNC and Duke hospital. Anytime I’m back home in North Carolina I love to help them in any way I can whether it be hospital visits or the comfort cooks program. We make food for the families that are basically living at the hospital with their children. With WWE, we are so fortunate to work with so many other great initiatives include our anti-bullying program Be a STAR, Special Olympics, Make a Wish, Susan G. Komen and so many others.
Read more from the Feb Issue and the In and Out of the Ring Danielle Moinet X Summer Rae feature specifically here.
We're excited to share the release of our Feb issue with Danielle Moinet aka WWE's Summer Rae on the cover as we chat about her athletic career, her workouts, and more. This month's issue focusing on the love of a number of things also includes a number of food editorials including Cochon555 as well as another Athleisure Kitchen at Dos Caminos (just in time for taco Tues).