Although Sonya Deville has established herself in WWE's women's division, she admitted that she had a different idea for a name when starting out in the company.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Deville, who hails from New Jersey, said she wanted to pay homage to her home state by being called NJ Deville. The former "Tough Enough" alum would go on to be called Sonya Deville, which still has a reference to the New Jersey Devils NHL team.
"I originally planned to go by NJ Deville in WWE. That would have paid homage to my MMA nickname, ‘The Jersey Devil.’ Eventually we decided on Sonya Deville, and Deville still represents the New Jersey Devil. Not everyone knows that, but it’s a shout out to my home," Deville said.
Speaking on the topic of her sexual orientation, Deville, the first openly-gay active female wrestler in WWE, said she does not feel defined by it. Deville added that she is happy being who she is inside the ring and able to be herself without putting so much emphasis on labels.
"I am not defined by my sexuality. I’m me. I made it public to live my truth and to stand up for those who don’t have that voice, but it doesn’t define me or my in-ring ability. I have a martial arts background. I’ve been with WWE for four years and I’ve worked my ass off, and I have so much left to accomplish inside the ring," Deville said.
The full interview between Deville and Sports Illustrated can be read at this link.