WWE Superstar Sonya Deville appeared on the Wednesday, June 29 episode of SiriusXM's Busted Open Radio to discuss Pride Month and her experience as a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Deville was on to promote WWE's support for Pride Month. Deville shared her story to Busted Open's hosts Dave LaGreca, Tommy Dreamer, and Tasha Steelz.
"I mean, you're always going to have hate, and you're always going to have people who love you and accept you, and you're going to have people who don't. That's something that comes along with the territory, but trying to make sure we expand the community and expand the awareness and the message of acceptance and inclusion. My platform here at WWE is something that is really important to me because (like you said) the fight is never over, you know," Deville said.
"There are people out there who are still not accepting of the LBGTQ+ community. I think it is so important to spread a positive message and also to be that visual representation in WWE. So that young people today who want to be a Professional Wrestler or want to be in Sports Entertainment can kind of look at me and go, "oh, well, if she can do it. Then I can do it." It goes so much broader than that; it starts in Sports Entertainment, in the WWE with what I'm doing. It goes across the board, and we have so much of a large social media and digital footprint that I think it is important to utilize and use this platform and to spread a positive message and such."
Sonya, once again recounted the moment that she came out to the whole world on the 2015 edition of WWE Tough Enough.
"I got signed by the WWE when I was on Tough Enough and was twenty-one, and I am about to be twenty-nine in September, so I kind of did grow up in front of the WWE Universe and you guys. It's weird when people ask what's it like when you're out in front of the cameras and on social media and being a public figure and being out, and it's like I don't really know how to be out any other way. Before I was on Tough Enough, I was closeted."
"This is my only experience was coming out of the closet in front of the cameras. It was kind of like a roller-coaster that I had to pick up the pieces and figure out as I went along. There is no blueprint on how to do things like this, and I always tell people you don't by any means have to emulate or follow my path. My path worked for me; my openness worked for me. It makes me happy, but everyone has a different journey and has a different story and a different circumstance; just do what makes you happy."
As for whether or not she feels like she open the door for other queer talents in WWE, Deville acknowledged that Darren Young, Fred Rosser, was the first openly gay male Superstar in modern WWE. She also says that even though some think that it's something that she was comfortable with for a long time, the process of coming out took her years to be comfortable with, and says it's all a matter of personal evolution.
"I think I am the first openly out [woman] in the WWE. I know Darren Young was an out male before me, and he certainly, you know, shared his story and laid some groundwork for me. When I came out on Tough Enough, I had no idea; I didn't grow up watching wrestling and did not know much about WWE. I certainly wasn't okay with telling anyone I was gay because I wasn't okay with myself at that point. I wasn't fully accepting of my sexuality and stuff at that point; how could I expect anybody else to be, right? So it was kind of like something that happened and organically transpired into what it is today, but it took me years to finally be comfortable with the idea of talking about my sexuality and posting my significant other online. People think that was like instantaneous; I sometimes think because they are watching unfold before them and they don't see the in-between stuff."
"It was an evolution of a lot of things with me. It kind of just happened, and it was like a big boulder rolling down a mountain; I was like, okay, I am just going to grab on and hang on, and just ride by the seat of my coat tails and see where this takes me," said Sonya.
Sonya also says that the more she was authentic about who she is, the more the WWE Universe responded positively to her. Sonya also says that through the years, the culture has changed and there is a lot more support behind the scenes as well.
"I realized the more I shared my story, the more I was open with the fans, the more love I got, and the more stories I heard and messages I would get from other people going through the same thing; that was pretty comforting to me. If I am putting myself out there and I am sharing my story, but it's not for nothing; it's to help other people and make other people who were nervous like I feel comfortable, then it was all worth it, and then is what I was supposed to and meant to be doing."
"I think the environment has changed a lot, and I've never had any negative experiences backstage, or within the company, I can honestly say. Social media will always be social media, so, of course, you're always going to have the haters, but within the company, I have never had any negative experiences. I want people to know that and know that they can be here, too."
While June has been a busy month for Sonya Deville, next month she is opening up a Donut Shop in Los Angeles with her business partner and WWE Superstar Mandy Rose. You can read the article about the new business by clicking here.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit the original source with a H/T and link back to Fightful for the transcription.