Bianca Beliar on Importance of Representation, Mental Health & WrestleMania

Bianca Belair wins Royal Rumble 2021

Bianca Belair joined Adeline Birt for an interview for the Canadian sports outlet Sportsnet where she talked about various this including the importance of African American representation, talking about mental health issues, her win at Royal Rumble and what does WrestleMania mean to her.

Bianca was asked about being the first African American Women to win the Royal Rumble in the history of WWE. She replied that it was not until she got backstage that she realized that. (check the complete list of Royal Rumble Winners here). The EST of WWE added that she ended up making history even without trying and just by trying to accomplish her goals.

“I didn’t even realiZe that I was the first African American woman to win, and second African American to win[after the Rock], until I got to backstage. I was so honored. But one thing I love – that just by staying true to myself and trying to accomplish my goal, accomplishing something that I want to accomplish, I am making history without even trying to make history.”

Bianca revealed how she was overwhelmed with emotions after realizing she will get the World title shot at WrestleMania. “I knew that winning Royal Rumble match means I would get the World title shot at Wrestlemania. But when I won the match it was like – you are the last woman standing, you won the Royal Rumble match and just saw to my left, there was WrestleMania sign,” Belair said. “I immediately started shaking in the ring as I pointed towards it.”

Belair also added that becoming a champion at WrestleMania will be a moment that she will savour for the rest of her life. “And that’s the main goal to be at the Grandest Stage of Them All. I got to go there and I could possibly walk out as the champion. I don’t know how it feels like to be in that moment, to be in that moment to be a champion at Wrestlemania. That can be something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

As she was asked about making her own outfits, Bianca revealed that it was what ended up taking her WWE. Mark Henry contacted her after seeing her outfits and asked her if she would like to get a WWE trial. Things shot up from there and being a tremendous athlete that Bianca is, she was selected for WWE Developmental despite not having any prior wrestling experience.

“I’ve been making clothes since I was a little girl. My mum had little tin cookies jar which had needles and thread and I just used to go in there and sew pillow cases together. I have just been sewing and I was just always into fashion, designing clothes and crossfit. I use to make all my clothes. That’s what actually got me discovered by Mark Henry. He was the one who contacted me and he was like have you ever thought of being a WWE wrestler.. I can get you try out but you have to get way higher.”

Bianca added that there is extra pressure on her due to this fact and every time she goes out, fans expect her in a new costume. And that pressure will also be there at WrestleMania 37.

“So once I got in WWE, like making my own outfit and clothes is what got me here.. I had this extra pressure on me and I have conditioned fans to think every time I come out I am going to have different gear on. I have done it to myself. And I have WrestleMania coming up. And, oh my God! I have to make a gear which lives up Wrestlemania.”

Bianca also talked about the importance of represtation for African American women to inspire more women. She cited the examples of her childhood heroes like gymnast Dominic Dawes who inspired her into becoming a athlete.

“The one thing for me is it’s always important to represent. I became a gymnast because of Dominic Dawes. I am where I am because I saw myself in those women. So, I knew it was possible for me. And its an amazing feeling to be in WWE and showcase your representation and I can give back to others what my role models did for me.”

Bianca added that it representation is also important to break the stereotypes related to African American women, so that others don’t have to try to fall into those stereotypes.

“In a time where women, and women of colour, a lot of times are put in this box… And sometime we will get the impression on ourselves that we have to be in this box in order to be relatable to everyone, these little pieces of ourselves that we like we have to hide to be in environment, in order to be accepted in certain way. I want representation to be like- No, I am not gonna be in a box I want to represent myself as a whole. I don’t want little pieces of myself to represent, so that people just don’t put me in a box and write off.”

Bianca talked extensively about her depression and mental health issues earlier in her life in her WWE Chronicles documentary. She was asked about how she finds all those issues looking back in her life. Bianca said she is more comfortable now that she is over it. She also mentioned that she would got help much earlier if she had someone to relate to at the time.

“I am more comfortable to talk about it now because I have made it through. I think I had someone at that time that I could relate to, I would have felt more comfortable, and not ashamed. I would have got help much earlier. I don’t want anyone to feel ashamed. There is nothing to feel ashamed about it.

There was a point in time, I didn’t know my identity. My name wasn’t even Bianca. I was a hurdler, and once that crashed and burned… I wasn’t even running fast, I wasn’t a hurdler anymore, and you know… I was 18 years old and mentally I did not know how to handle this identity crisis that I was having. And I did not know how to love myself because I did not know who I was anymore. And once I figured out why I was doing that, you do what you do but it’s not who you are. Like I wrestle, that’s what I do but it’s not who I am. It’s a part of it but it’s more than that.”

Bianca Belair will face WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks at WrestleMania 37.

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