Ariane Andrew says you haven’t seen the last of her in a wrestling ring and shares the details on what she’s been up to since she stepped away from the squared circle.
Andrew spoke with WrestleZone.com after her All Elite Wrestling debut during the Women’s Tag Team Cup Tournament, currently airing on the AEW YouTube channel. Before she made her return to the ring after a four-year absence, Andrew has been hard at work building her personal brand and becoming a true “Queen Of All Trades.” With projects in film, TV, podcasting and other products including her Double AAcademy fitness app, Andrew is passionate about everything she puts her name on and she says it’s never just a frivolous idea she came up with and there’s always a genuine purpose.
“I feel like life is about helping other people, creating opportunity. Me doing a fitness app is a way to connect with people to say health and wellness is super important because when you’re healthy, everything just flows correctly, and not just healthy physically but healthy mentally. I focus a lot on the mental aspect and how important that is, especially someone like myself who deals with mental health.”
Andrew has been very open with her life, noting that she sees a therapist each week for anxiety and slight depression. She stressed the importance of having those support systems available to people and said it’s really about creating a supportive environment for people in any project she’s involved in, whether it’s her app, podcast or Jaded Pictures, a short film she created that talks about the negative side of social media.
“It’s not just a film. It’s also tied into mental health and how Instagram will make you feel like you’re ugly or you aren’t this or you aren’t doing this enough. We tied it into [The National Alliance on Mental Illness], so NAMI supported Jaded Pictures and when we did the premiere they were part of the premiere, the whole nine. Everything I do, there’s always a reason behind it. It’s not just because I just woke up and [decided on an idea], it’s because my passion runs very, very deep in whatever I do.”
Andrew added that she is happy that mental health is an easier thing to talk about and it’s not taboo anymore, explaining that Jaded Pictures deals with that aspect as well as addresses celebrity worship. The trailer is online now and the film was making the rounds at film festivals prior to COVID-19, and Andrew shared some good news in that they are working on adapting the project for a future television series.
“It’s about a couple where everyone is idolizing their life but really don’t know what’s going on [behind-the-scenes] off of Instagram. Our saying is ‘when you live for the camera, you die behind the scenes.’ Right now we are currently shopping it as a TV series so no one can see it. You can watch the trailer but for right now it’s still on hush-hush because as we shop it for Netflix and [streaming], we can’t show it until it’s ready to be seen.”
Andrew’s film is scripted but her video show, Sippin’ The Tea, and the Escape With AJ podcast are both grounded in reality and she gives fans a chance to peek behind the curtain and see what her life is really life. Both shows deal with current topics such as interracial dating, pride and mental health, but she also takes a humorous look at relationship pet peeves and other “taboo” topics. As Andrew explained, everyone goes through the same emotional experiences whether they are famous or not and she wants to keep it real because she wants to help create a safe and healthy environment for people to express how they feel and what they deal with instead of being afraid to speak out.
Andrew’s AEW Dynamite appearance came as a shock to many, and she says things actually did come together rather quickly. She had been training earlier in the year at Rikishi’s KnokX Pro Entertainment school for her appearance at Effy’s Big Gay Brunch in April, and originally thought COVID-19 took away her opportunity for a return match. Andrew says she maintained contact with Brandi Rhodes over the years and it was AEW’s CBO who reached out for the tournament spot, noting that she took the opportunity on short notice and thought it was a good opportunity if it was in fact her last match.
“Brandi [Rhodes] reached out to me; I’d say back in August I had reached out to her and she was like, ‘You know what? I will keep you in mind’ and then she was like ‘Remember when I said I would keep you in mind?’ It happened so quick, it was less than a week to get it together. I had no gear and I hadn’t been in the ring, so it was a lot but I did it! It was one of those types of things where it was not necessarily how I wanted to come back but I felt like AEW is such a great opportunity and me and Brandi go way back, I love what they are doing with the product so it was just like if this happens to be my last match, I think it will be fun—which it’s not going to be though, but at the time I thought if it happens to be.”
Andrew says things are still very fresh (and maybe there’s some other things she doesn’t want to spill the tea on just yet…) but one thing she knows is she’s not done wrestling just yet. Andrew feels like her return to wrestling came at the perfect time and she needed the time away, noting that she’s a big believer in manifestation and when you take time away from something you have time to reflect. Considering she really hadn’t been in the ring for four years and didn’t have time to practice the run-through of the match, she’s very proud of her effort and says she thinks she will keep her next appearance as a surprise too, noting that she enjoys the mystery and reactions from people seeing her return.
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