When it comes to being a trailblazer, Sonya Deville is right up there with the best of them. The openly-gay WWE superstar is paving the way for the next generation of wrestlers, as the LGBT community continues to try and eradicate discrimination from the sports world.
During a recent interview with Allure, Deville spoke about coming out, her future in WWE, the women’s evolution and so much more ahead of Clash of Champions.
On being asked about her relationship status during Tough Enough interview:
“My first question from WWE execs was, ‘Are you in a relationship?’ Which, for any of the other contestants would have been a simple question to answer, right? So not threatening.”
“But for me, I wasn’t openly gay at the time. I had a girlfriend, but I never verbalized being gay. It was a weird, uncomfortable, unspoken thing that my mom and dad knew but not many other people did.”
“When I came out, I was freaking out and got super awkward. I was like, ‘Yeah. I don’t have a wife yet, but I have a girlfriend,’ some cringeworthy answer. And Triple H started laughing and he was like, ‘Oh, now the whole world knows.’ I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’”
On embracing who she is:
“Over the last four years since that day, I’ve just been embracing and loving myself more and really just accepting who I am. I’m at a point where I now use my platform to advocate for those who were in the shoes I was in four years ago — and to hopefully inspire and encourage younger people going through the same thing I went through and let them know: You should never be ashamed of who you are, especially not who you love.”
On her growth as a gay athlete:
“Five years ago, wearing rainbow or doing anything to scream ‘I’m gay’ would have been so uncomfortable for me. A year ago, I got a tattoo on my bicep — me and my mom got it. It’s an equal sign for equality. I’ve had tattoos since I was like 16, but if you would have asked the younger me to get a tattoo that symbolized my sexuality, I would have told you no, because that’s how not okay I used to be with it.”
“Now I’m so comfortable with who I am, and I’m really just evolving as a person every day. It’s really cool to be able to represent it with the WWE. I like to just have the little rainbow hankie in my back pocket or the shoelaces that I wear sometimes. It’s also just a subtle note to my LGBTQ community.”
On the Women’s Evolution:
“The Women’s Evolution was just starting as I was getting into Tough Enough. I’ve always had great role models coming in and watching the Becky Lynches and the Charlottes, the Bayleys, the Sashas move that movement and then being able to be part of it.”
On her friendship with Mandy Rose:
“Mandy has been my best friend since literally the first day of Tough Enough tryouts. I totally judged a book by its cover, and I thought she was going to be this high-maintenance beauty queen.”
“I was expecting her to be like valley girl like, ‘Hi, I’m Mandy.’ She turned around and was like, ‘Yo, what’s up?’ I was like, ‘[gasps] She’s cool.’ Literally, in that moment, we became best friends.”