When C.J. Perry, aka Lana, aka "The Ravishing Russian," debuted back in 2014, little was known about the person behind the character. We have seen Perry on this season of Total Divas and have been able to catch a glimpse. Now we are able to get some background on the gorgeous and fun C.J. Perry.
During her interview with Complex.com, Perry talks about her personal life and her character in the ring.
"Well, I grew up in Russia. I grew up in Latvia, to be exact. But most Americans don’t know where Latvia is. They think it’s Lafayette, and so they’re like, “Oh, I can drive over to Louisiana.” I’m like, “Um, no. We’re talking about across the ocean.” Really far. But Latvia was part of the former Soviet Union, so 50 percent of the country is Russian. I grew up over there. I lived there for 13 years, I went to Russian school."
Lana goes on to talk about the difference between her home country and America with her upbringing.
"I speak fluent Russian, and so I had an accent when I first moved here, and there were so many American words I fully didn’t know because I only spoke English at home. So I yell at Rusev a lot of times when he’s not doing well, versus the American mentality if someone doesn’t do well, it’s like, “Get back up. Just try harder. You can do it. When you fall, get back up.” Whereas the Russian mentality is like, “You’re stupid. What’s wrong with you? You’re a failure.” And that’s how I was brought up—not by my family, my dad’s like “The sky’s the limit. Get back up.” But in the Russian ballet school I went to, my teacher would throw shoes at me. And she would come in with a paddle and spank me, and be like, “Your butt’s too big. You’re stupid, you fat cow!”Yeah. Like she would take off her shoes and throw them at me, like “You idiot!!!” So that’s where I draw so much of my inspiration from—my crazy, nutty, ballet teachers. That’s where the mentality of not encouraging people when they do well comes from. No, it’s, “You’re a failure. How fat and stupid are you?” So the world is different. I recently asked Rusev, because he was a rower growing up (and he comes from a rowing family—like his mom was champion of the entire country)… That segment we did on Raw with all of the photos of Rusev’s family, those were real pictures."
Her childhood helped give Lana her drive and work ethic. Once she joined WWE she had a lot of ideas about her character and talks about why the Ravishing Russian is the one that stuck.
"Well, there was a lot of different factors. My first day in developmental, Dusty Rhodes was in charge of creative. I would come up with literally about 15 different ideas because I’m an actor, I’m a storyteller. I have a creative mind. So I come in and start speaking Russian on my first promo ever. This is my first week in NXT. Eva Marie was put on the show, Jojo was put on the show, and then me and Alexa were sent to developmental, which I’m thankful for because I learned so much from Dusty Rhodes and Triple H. I started speaking Russian, switched over to English, and then Dusty Rhodes was like, “Baby, I want you to work with Rusenov.” And I was like, “Who’s Rusenov? Who’s that?” And then I figured he was the Bulgarian. We just started doing different promos, especially comedy promos. But I would come in every single day and would have meetings with Dusty, pitching different characters like nine-page character scripts and elaborate storyboards, everything. Using different people, putting on scenes. When Adam Rose shot all of his vignettes, he made me his first AD/PA because he was just like, “Your mind is so creative.” But Triple H was the person. They were already in talks about bringing Rusev up. Triple H had seen a lot of our stuff, but it was more comedy stuff that we were doing, and he was like, “I want you to try to do something serious.” Triple H told me to watch Rocky IV. He told me to try different hair things. So I showed him, I was in Pitch Perfect. And I was trying all these different things, and he told me to try an accent. I showed him a picture of me in Pitch Perfect as a Barden Bella where we were all buttoned up with our hair in a bun. And he said, “That’s the look.” And so that’s where I started creating the suits and the buns. At first, he said I should just do Russian, and then I started playing around with a Russian accent because I had never really done much of that in English. But then in two weeks, like that, I was put on NXT TV. Three months later, we debuted at the Rumble."
The Women's Revolution has been a topic of discussion for quite some time now with more focus being on women talent as of late. Lana is a part of the Women's Revolution as well, even though she is not known for being in the ring.
"I’m for happy for the women in our company as a whole. I’m so happy for Charlotte, Sasha, Bayley, and Becky. The Four Horsewomen. They inspire me because at one point, I didn’t know if we would get that sort of time, match-wise. I have really big dreams, and I sometimes am like, “Man, maybe my dreams are too big.” Then I see what they’ve done when it comes to actual time in the ring, and I’m like, “No, no, no. You inspire me. I’m not gonna lower my dreams. I’m gonna keep on going. I’m gonna make literally the stars my limit.” So that’s really cool, and I’m really, really happy for them.
Two years ago, I went to WrestleMania (and that was when Rusev and I were in the John Cena feud), and there were no women on the poster. I remember my heart was broken. I was like, “We’re humans! I don’t care if it’s me or someone else. We’re human beings. I want us to be repped.” I’m a big person on manifestation and prayer and spirituality, and I would always be putting it out there. Then in a year seeing how there were three women in the middle of the poster! I’m so excited."
The full interview can be found at this link.