The redheaded bombshell appears sweet but leaves her critics feeling “salty.” No other Diva has went through the lion’s den and came out on the other side still smiling and antagonizing those who continue to doubt her.
This is Eva Marie. The Diva that once impetuously stated, “A lion does not worry herself with the opinion of sheep,” is still as devil-may-care as ever and embracing life as NXT’s top heel.
She doesn’t seem to be as interested in the drama of Total Divas. Instead, she’s wanting to be the toughest Diva on the WWE roster. She’s ready to rise to the top and is now fondly reflecting back upon the journey that has led her to her current state. Red Nation is rising.
Eva Marie sat down with Crave to discuss the origin of “All Red Everything”, Total Divas, being the top heel in NXT, life at home and the big plans she has for WWE fans.
The Origin of “All Red Everything”
CraveOnline: In the preview of the new episode, it’s suggested that you turn blonde. You didn’t seem too receptive of that idea. Could you tell us how the idea of “All Red Everything” came about and how would you feel about changing your hair color?
Eva Marie: When I first came into WWE, I got asked to change my hair to blonde just because I was a brand new girl and the Bella Twins had really dark hair and they were Mexican-Italian too so WWE didn’t want me to get lost in the mix and start thinking there was a triplet in the mix. I went blonde in high school and it was so bad. My complexion and blonde gave that orange look. I wasn’t for the blonde thing but at the time I got my developmental deal and Total Divas, I wasn’t thinking about my hair color. I was just excited I got the job.
WWE saw me at WrestleMania 29 and asked me to put some red streaks in and I said no problem. When I came, my hair was too dark so they took me to a salon and told me I was going blonde. I remember sitting in the chair and they’re stripping my hair color and it’s turning this orangey color and I said I can’t do it. At the time I was listening to Rihanna’s album “Loud” and she had that fire-red hair and I said make me red and at the time it was a gamble because I went against the authority. When I dyed my hair red, the first week was traumatic because my pillows, my shower, my towels, my clothes and everything was red. It became a joke between my husband and I about ‘All Red Everything’ and that hashtag just stuck with me.
CraveOnline: With Mandy as the new girl on Total Divas, were you excited to see another person to take the heat off of you?
Eva Marie: Absolutely! Are you kidding me? As soon as Mandy walked in and I was like ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ A brand new girl means fresh meat so I was pretty ecstatic about it. Plus, I was happy because I remember being new and walking into the lion’s den and it’s not the best feeling. I feel like I related to Mandy immediately and wanted to make her feel as welcomed as possible. It’s scary when you’re not born into wrestling. It’s been nice getting to know her.
Her Tag Partner
CraveOnline: Let’s talk a little bit about NXT. You have a powerhouse tag partner in Nia Jax. How do you feel about that partnership and how did that come about?
Eva Marie: I think we’re a dominant tag team. There’s nothing really like that on the main roster or in NXT. It was weird how it came about because my first match back on live events in NXT, was with her. I think it was on accident. It was a random pairing because I had just started back wrestling. We had to tag together and she and I were like, ‘Damn. I like this. This can work.’ Then the writers and producers saw it and ran with it and I’m happy they did. I love her and we get along very well and have a lot of the same interests. She’s extremely hard working and we push each other. There’s nothing like being able to work with someone you enjoy and brings out the best in you.
Life as a Heel
CraveOnline: You get a lot of heat from those NXT crowds. How does it feel when you’re about to walk out in front of that small arena and be greeted with a chorus of boos? Is it a rush at this point?
Eva Marie: Yes! 100 percent. I’ve said this before but the last thing you want as an entertainer or athlete, you don’t want to walk out there and be greeted with silence and hear crickets and see people get up to go to the restroom. Before I go out there and my music hits and I immediately hear the reaction, I feed off of it. It makes me put a little more pep in my step and walk out there with extra swag.
“There’s not a babyface without an awesome heel”
CraveOnline: What is your husband’s reaction to crowd chants and boos?
Eva Marie: His initial thought was that this is just how it is and you’re playing a character. The big problem is that so many people want to be loved and cheered, which is totally normal. We’re all human and you want to be a big babyface. However, there’s not a babyface without an awesome heel so immediately I took over the heel character. He [Jonathan Coyle] absolutely loves it and wants me to be a heel forever because you don’t really see that type of heel reaction anymore, you know? It also, makes great storytelling and WWE is all about a great story inside the match. It’s so great because it’s so established that I’m such a bad guy that whomever I am facing is a good guy. You want to have those emotions and feelings and want to see me get my ass kicked [laughs].
“I asked Triple H and Vince McMahon if I could go to NXT so I could get the proper tools”
CraveOnline: Now that you have been in WWE for a few years, what has changed the most about you?
Eva Marie: I just feel extremely confident in my character now and now I have the tools. When I first walked out on Raw, I had zero tools but I’m not making any apologies for that either. When you get an opportunity, you freaking run with it. One thing I did was when I came back from my surgery, I asked Triple H and Vince McMahon if I could go to NXT so I could get the proper tools and become an asset to this company. I’m happy they gave me the greenlight to do that and NXT is huge and is doing so well.
We have the best coaches down there. Matt Bloom and Sara Del Rey are phenomenal. Being there has changed my whole mentality in the sense of how I feel as an entertainer. When I walk out there, I’m embracing the crowd as opposed to going out there and wondering ‘Do I do suplex here?’ Progression and hard work is all it takes. You don’t become a wrestler overnight. Like everything, it takes time and I wasn’t born in this business. I wasn’t doing snap suplexes out of the womb. Going through that process was difficult but for where I am now, I’m happy that I did it.
CraveOnline: What’s your pre-match routine?
Eva Marie: I try to find a few minutes to myself so I can go through what I’m supposed to do and the story of the match, in my head. I say a little prayer and just go out there and handle business.
CraveOnline: What is more difficult to endure? Kicks from Asuka or dealing with the drama on Total Divas?
Eva Marie: Drama with the girls. I love working with Asuka. I’ll work with her any day of the week so leave me out of the drama and we’re good [laughs].
A Little Bit of Red at WrestleMania?
CraveOnline: What’s your schedule like for WrestleMania week?
Eva Marie: Last night was I was in Philly and now I’m in Boston. This is the first time I’ve been back at TVs in nine months so that’s extremely exciting. With WrestleMania, I have some exciting things coming up and I’ll be all over the place because I’ll be doing a little bit of double-duty. I’ll be wrestling with NXT too so I’ll definitely be giving everyone a little bit of red.
California Shopping and Treats
CraveOnline: You’re from Orange County. Do you have any favorite spots that you hit up when you’re not on the road?
Eva Marie: When I’m in Orange County, I love Fashion Island in Newport Beach because it’s an outside mall and so pretty but me and my husband are huge foodies so we hit up The Donuttery in Huntington Beach. That place is bomb. That place was actually Jonathan and I’s first date and that’s how he proposed to me. He brought me a box of Donuttery donuts and had a ring. We definitely hit up that spot because I have a huge sweet tooth and because we’re in Irvine, I love Mexican food so I love Javier’s as well.
CraveOnline: Would you like to get back to the main roster as soon as possible or would you prefer to stay in NXT for a little while and get that NXT Women’s Championship?
Eva Marie: It’s whatever presents itself first. If I get the opportunity to come up to the main roster, I’m not going to say no but if I get the opportunity to go against Bayley and grab that title from her, I’ll absolutely do it. Whichever comes first, I’ll take it for sure.
CraveOnline: What can the WWE Universe expect in the future?
Eva Marie: Oh my goodness! It’s 2016 and “All Red” is just starting and there’s going to be some big surprises coming up in the next few weeks. That’s for sure. The WWE Universe can get ready because I’m coming.
Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline Sports, a surfing enthusiast, an avid basketball fan, a pro wrestling connoisseur and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like”CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.
E!’s “Total Divas” airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m./ET. NXT airs on the WWE Network this Wednesday, Mar 23 | 8/7 p.m.C
Photos courtesy of WWE.