SoCal Val is gearing up for DressleMania in a fun way.
Val recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard to promote GAW TV and DressleMania, an online auction where celebrities will donate dresses and gowns for charity. Proceeds from the auction will go to GirlUp.org, whose mission is to advance girls’ skills, rights and opportunities to be leaders.
SoCal Val is one-third of the hosting trio on GAW TV, and she gets together with Mickie James and Lisa Marie Varon every Wednesday at 5pm EST to dish on life and interact with their respective fans. Lisa told WrestleZone last year at the launch of GAW that the three of them always wanted to work together on a project for several years, but their respective careers didn’t allow it. Val currently lives in the UK and said most changes in her life came from not traveling to shows and signings, but agreed with Lisa’s comments that she’s not sure GAW would have happened if it wasn’t for the pandemic.
“I don’t know if Grown Ass Women TV, GAW, would have really happened if we weren’t forced to sit home and be creative. So, something good definitely came out of it.”
If you’re new to the world of GAW, the team describes it as a “virtual slumber party” that covers anything and everything, but it’s not totally a “wrestling show.”
“It’s a very fan-inclusive, female inclusive show. Obviously, all three of us are from wrestling, but the show isn’t exactly about wrestling. We have a lot of wrestling guests, it’s a lot of fun to have our friends on there. We’ve had people on there from WWE, IMPACT, indies, and that’s all well and good,” Val explained, “but the show is a very girly show. We talk about skin care, we had a celebrity trainer on, we have important, grown-ass women ‘boss babe’ types, energy healers, psychic mediums, life coaches—it’s an all-encompassing show.
“We didn’t want it to just be wrestling interviews, but we describe it as a slumber party because if a fan were to come up to the hotel with us after a signing, we’re there in our pajamas, we’re having wine and cocktails, we’re laughing and telling intimate stories and being ourselves and being unfiltered. And that’s really what the show is. It’s a way to let the fans see a different side of us, especially with Mickie and Lisa,” Val said, “because they’re these two athletic, huge legendary wrestlers, but they have families and they’re in different parts of the world than me, it’s interesting to see their softer side, I think.”
Val noted that she’s a fan of reality TV and feels like she gravitates towards more ‘grounded’ content, adding that reality shows are a nice escape for her. The trio wanted GAW to be lighthearted and fun, and it’s emotion from time to time, but for the most part their show is a chance to “grab a cocktail, slip into something a little more comfortable and hang out with us and just have an escape” each week.
DressleMania will be launching soon and Val explained the concept as a juxtaposition between her two favorite things in wrestling and fashion. Original (and future) plans saw DressleMania as an intimate in-person event, treating it as a fun and fancy VIP cocktail party. This year’s event is all virtual because of the pandemic, but GAW TV wanted to find a way to give back and continue to promote their message of female empowerment in a unique way.
“We thought GAW TV is all about female empowerment, so who could we get other than our girlfriends to help out? All of our friends in wrestling have been so great to donate dresses. You’ll see soon—and I’m talking big names, by the way—really big names in WWE and beyond that have signed on to donate dresses and donate their time and photos to the event. All of the proceeds are going to GirlUp.org. And we had a recommendation from WWE and Stephanie McMahon for GirlUp, we know that’s their chosen charity and we know it’s a reputable, fantastic organization that helps young women. And because we’re a female-centric show, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity,” she explained. “Fashion is right up my alley and I think it’s a great way to help, and it’s around wrestling’s biggest event of the year, so I think it’s perfect.”
Val said the charity might change from year-to-year but they will focus on groups promoting female empowerment. The GAW team knows that their audience is primarily wrestling fans, but they hope people get on board with the charitable efforts and want to make a change like GAW TV wants to. If fans don’t want to bid on a dress, they can still make a pledge for the charity and Val said that GAW TV’s goal is to try and “make GirlUp and the show more accessible, so [viewers] know that what we’re about it giving back and women supporting women, which is the most important thing to all of us.”
— gawtv (@thegawtv) March 23, 2021