Lana Opens Up On Being Body Shamed In Russia & Developing Eating Disorders, Negative Effects Of Their Culture


Photo by Joe Scarnici/WireImage

WWE Superstars Lana and Rusev were this week’s guests on the Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia podcast.

The duo talked about a number of topics including growing up in Russia and then learning to adjust to life in America. Lana detailed her family background on this week’s show, saying her parents were involved with Christian ministries, and after a 2-3 year stay in Washington D.C., she lived in Russia from age 5 to 18. Lana also opened up about body issues and eating disorders she developed while growing up in Russia.

(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone) 

Lana & Rusev On The Mentality In Russia:

Lana: If they thought you were 5 pounds over, if they thought you were ugly, literally they would cut people [from ballet school]. One of my best friend’s got cut when she was 13 and they looked at her and said, ‘Nature hasn’t been good to you.’ Straight shooters. No [political correctness].

Rusev: Straight shooters. There’s no prize for last place. There’s no, ‘Hey, you did good.’

Lana: Second place, you’re literally the first loser. Your point of view on life is very different. I’m still the Ravishing Russian, but when I was a bad guy heel on TV, it was so easy to connect with that because that’s the way I was brought up. I have American parents, who thank God for that, but they train people very differently there. I’ve had shoes thrown at me, ‘You stupid fat cow!’ Literally, ‘You’re pathetic.’ I remember one time, I always worked really hard, and my teacher was like, ‘You’re like a stupid donkey working hard going in circles. Yeah, the donkey’s working hard and you’re literally going in circles.’ Screaming it!

Lana On How The Russian Mentality Affected Her & Facing Discrimination In Russia:

[Lana begins to cry] I definitely think it affected my life more than I realize. At the time, I would laugh because she was so over the top and that would piss her off more and she would kick me out, literally kick me out of class. It affected me a lot more and you see that on Total Divas, I want to be liked, I want to fit in because I always felt like I did not fit in. I grew up being the only American in a foreign country where they did not like Americans and I would get lower grades just because I was American. They’d go, ‘You smile too much. You’re happy. You’re fake.’

Lana On Being Body Shamed In Russia & Developing Eating Disorders:

I was called fat. When I was 14, I was 90 pounds and like 5’4″. They said that my butt was way too big and they [ballet instructors] would give me exercises to try to get rid of my butt. I had really bad eating disorders. I was hospitalized when I was 17. I had really bad eating disorders. I was bulimic. I was anorexic. When I was 14, I counted my calories. I didn’t eat more than 400 calories a day. All I would eat or drink was Diet Coke, or coffee, and I’d have a little bit of chocolate. I was very very unhealthy and I hid it from my mom because my mom, if she knew, would have taken me out of that school. That was her biggest fear is that world would give me eating disorders. I had major major eating disorders. I would write myself hate notes. I would literally write myself hate notes and be like, ‘I’m a fat cow. Don’t eat until you reach this. You’re stupid. You’re dumb.’ I would put hate notes in this little thing next to my bed and I would put all those notes [Lana cries] and I just hated myself because that is what that world, and that society created. They always said, ‘You are dumb. You are ugly. You are stupid. You’re fat.’ Every day, I would weigh myself three times a day. I would look in the mirror and just see fat. Now, I look back and I was so so so skinny and I just saw fat. That’s when you really have the disorder. Finally, at 17 I got hospitalized because I was so bulimic and taking so many pills and doing a lot of bad stuff to myself. I was hospitalized for a month.

Related: Rusev On Frustrations In WWE: ‘I Want To Be On Top. I Don’t Want To Be Forgotten’

Lana On How She Felt Returning To America:

I think, as an adult, I always feel like an outsider. Then I came to the United States and I didn’t identify with Americans. I felt foreign and I didn’t fit in with a middle white class. I related to minorities. I related to black people. I related to Hispanics because I grew up a minority, but I didn’t look like them because I’m not them and so then, I didn’t completely fit in with them. I didn’t fit in with the middle class white people. It was a lot. My brother, who is a year younger than me, we went through major major culture shock when we came here….I was 18. My younger brother was 17 and it was really hard for us. College, the first two years was really hard, and I didn’t know pop culture. I had no slang. I was a foreigner and that confused people because I didn’t speak with an accent. There were a lot of things, but at the same time, looking back in hindsight, I am grateful for that because I was disciplined.

Lana On Her Eating Disorder Returning In The U.S.:

We went to Florida State, and I tried out, and my grades were really bad, but knocked it out of the park for dance, but again they said, ‘You need to lose weight.’ On top of all this, I put on 30 pounds because I finally was eating and just being a normal person. Mind you that’s maybe just 15 pounds more than now, not even, nothing crazy. That hit a huge nerve, but they let me into the dance program, let me into Florida State. I went with that because I wanted something new. I wanted a college book experience. I wanted to experience normal people, and normal life, and expand my horizons because I think that makes you a better artist. It makes you a more well rounded person and I wanted to not just grow as a dancer, I wanted to grow as a human being, and learn, and be exposed to different ways of life. I’m so thankful I did that, but the eating disorders kicked in again my freshman year. I was bulimic again. Whenever I’d get stressed, I was bulimic. It was almost like a control thing. It was that summer, after my freshman year, I went and saw a really amazing therapist. I had seen people before, but this changed my life. She’s a Christian, so she does therapy, but also there are parts of it that have a lot to do with spirituality.

Readers may listen to Lilian Garcia‘s interview with Lana & Rusev in its entirety below:

Related: Rusev Talks Facing The Undertaker & Whether He Prefers Being A Face Or A Heel

Listen to “Lana & Rusev – Dealing with Frustrations & Past Traumas” on Spreaker.