Interview: Ring of Honor’s Taeler Hendrix
Women of Honor
CraveOnline: You’re an integral part of Women of Honor. What can we continue to expect from it and what does this mean to you?
Taeler Hendrix: We’re going to prove just why Women of Honor is here and why we aren’t going to die down or die out. We’re here to represent a generation. We are diverse in Women of Honor. We are tough. We are beautiful. We are strong. We’re representing the Best Wrestling on the Planet.
Being a Boston kid
CraveOnline: What was life like while growing up in the Boston area?
Taeler Hendrix: Growing up in Boston was wicked cool. Everything was cool, all the way from patriotism, to the Patriots and Red Sox, to living off the ocean and the awesome independent wrestling scene. I love my home. I’m even more proud of it now that I’m older. I think an author once said you can never go home again. But I think he was wrong. What I think he meant to say was you could never go home the way you were when you left. That is true. Boston will always be home.
CraveOnline: How did you get your big break?
Taeler Hendrix: My big break came from Ring of Honor when it was under Adam Pearce. I got three matches and opportunities to learn from women like Sara Del Ray and Daizee Haze. This was huge for me. I was very inexperienced and these ladies taught me so much. I always wanted to call ROH my home. I knew it back then and I still know it today.
Falling in love with the business
CraveOnline: What was the spark that drove you to professional wrestling?
I fell in love with wrestling at a very young age but wasn’t actually allowed to watch it. My mum thought it was too violent. I instantly fell in love when I first saw it and I was hooked from then on. I actually did track in high school to have conditioning to be a wrestler. I was in drama club to get acting experience for wrestling. I took creative writing courses in college to be able to create characters and storylines for wrestling. I was a marketing intern to learn about branding and how to build one to make money in wrestling. Everything I did had a purpose that led back to wrestling.
When it all clicked
CraveOnline: You have been in multiple wrestling promotions but Ring of Honor is where a lot of fans and outsiders started to take notice of you. Why do you think that happened? What was it that made everything click?
Taeler Hendrix: ROH gave me the freedom to show what I thought was unique about myself. ROH gave me the freedom to demonstrate my depth as a character and my dimension within its roster. No one looms like me. No one can wrestle like me. They try. I see them. Don’t think I don’t. They know who they are. But I’ll always be the original. ROH did that for me. They gave my first real break back on HDNet and they gave me this opportunity for reinvention on their platform.
Outside the ring
CraveOnline So far, what has been your most memorable moment with a fan?
Taeler Hendrix: One of my best interactions with a fan was this little girl. She told me that I made her believe that she could do anything! That cancer wasn’t going to stop her and that she’d be beautiful and powerful too one day. Just like me. She teared up giving me a hug. It reminded me of why I wake up every day. It truly left my breathless.
CraveOnline: What’s the key to making the ‘living on the road’ lifestyle work? What are the “Taeler Hendrix essentials” that you have to have when you’re on the road?
Taeler Hendrix: When on the road, I always pack my own food in my favorite lunch box. I keep a record of everything I buy. I have my favorite ladybug pillow pet, my favorite road outfits and bag. This isn’t my hobby. It’s my living. I’m anywhere at any given time so I have my system for everything and a set way of having things in my planner. Everything I do has my recognized trademark, so to speak. My entity will at some point be trademarked and the goal is to have everything fit under my own umbrella of a brand. My makeup, clothes, food, supplements, advice column, films, appearances, matches and merchandise are all a part of it.
CraveOnline: When you’re not in the ring, what are you likely doing?
Taeler Hendrix: Fitness! My gym has an awesome mixed martial arts program that keeps my Tae Kwon Do background fresh. I love writing and reading. I’m working on a long book of shorts of sorts for kids and a preteen book as well. I enjoy family time and time with my dog Slinkers and cat Chiffers.
I love to do so many things. My sister and I play recreational softball and volleyball. I enjoy conventions and cosplay, comic books, antique shopping, music, films, painting, old classic cars and camping.
I’ve also been dedicating a lot of my time to the three non-profit projects that I’ve been working on. I’ve been reaching out to universities, pageants and sororities for prom and banquet dresses. I’ve been reaching out to restaurants, childcare programs and schools for used crayons. I’ve been raising money for Progeria Research by the selling of my shirts on www.prowrestlingtees.com as well as setting up a go fund me for their cause.
Behind the curtain
CraveOnline: What are you doing in the back before your spot on the card?
Taeler Hendrix: Before I’m up, I’m stretching; I’m reminding myself of why I fell in love with this business in the first place. I think of how far I’ve come and how much I want more. I write down a prayer in my prayer box and I squeeze and kiss my Belle Barbie dress that got when I was three years old it’s been to almost ever match I’ve ever had in the last 10 years of my career. It’s one of the first presents I ever received on Christmas Day. But, that’s another story for another time.
Working with Jay Lethal
CraveOnline: When you were working with Jay Lethal, what was that experience like? Can you tell us a story from your time with Jay?
Taeler Hendrix: Working with Jay Lethal was great. It made me step up in a major way. Being a representative in the Ring of Honor World Champion’s brand in the main event is an insanely awesome responsibility. You have to step up or step aside. It’s that simple. I learned a lot and that’s an understatement. Being put with Jay made me grow and learn as a wrestler and performer in this business. I worked hard for it. Nothing is handed. There are plenty of people ready to take your place if you mess up. I got to see first hand what it takes to represent an entire company and having that weight on your shoulders.
CraveOnline: What’s one thing we don’t know about Taeler Hendrix?
Taeler Hendrix: One thing not commonly known is that I protested on Capital Hill in Washington as a part of 10,000 people from across the country, and it was called “Focus the Nation.” The bill I helped work on passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives to affect change for Massachusetts Legislature and the hopes of setting an example for the rest of the country. It’s something that I’m extremely proud of. People always talk about change and making the world a better place but I can actually say that I did something about it.
“There’s only one life I’ll remember and I want to remember it fondly.”
CraveOnline: What else do you want to accomplish?
Taeler Hendrix: There’s so many thing’s that I want to accomplish and it’s an exciting time for me. Everything I’ve ever wanted to do in my life I’ve either already accomplished in some capacity or I’m on my way to doing so.
I’m getting ready to publish my first installment of my children’s books! My projected time line is by January next year. I have always been extremely passionate about non-profit work, and I’m finally getting to do just that. I decided back in May that talk is cheap; it’s time for priceless actions. I feel and believe that it costs zero dollars to be a decent human being, with that said I took to helping three non-profit projects; The Progeria Research Foundation, The Crayon Initiative and Belle of the Ball.
My goals have already been reached for each through the help of prom dress donations, crayon donations, and my shirts sold on prowrestlingtees.com. It’s been wonderful and I keep upping the goal.
My hopes are to turn all of my goals into my own business. I dreamed of helping people and I’m doing that. I dreamed if being a professional wrestler and I’m rocking that and using it to propel myself into every other dream I’ve ever had. I wanted to be in films and I’m doing that. I wanted to be a writer and I doing that as well. The only thing left to do is turn my entire brand that I’ve created into my own non-profit business. There’s only one life I’ll remember and I want to remember it fondly.
Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline, a hockey fanatic, a pro wrestling connoisseur and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.
Photos by Lee South