Photo-Illustration: The Cut; Photo: WWE
Professional wrestler and WWE Superstar Bianca Belair found his purpose in the ring. Belair has always been an athlete; she ran hurdles in track and field in college and became a CrossFit competitor and weightlifter after graduating. It was on the CrossFit circuit that WWE veteran Mark Henry discovered her and offered to set up a tryout for her. Belair auditioned twice before making the cut in 2016, but has since won the 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble match and the SmackDown Women’s Championship at Wrestle Mania 37also beating Becky Lynch at Wrestle Mania 38winning her first Raw Women’s Championship. She was one of the first black women to make the cover of a WrestleMania and was ranked #1 of the best wrestlers by Professional Wrestling Illustrated Last year.
Belair’s next competition is Peacock Money in the bank premium live event airing Saturday, July 2 at 8 p.m. ET, where she will face the Australian Raw superstar Rhea Ripley. Belair spoke to the Cut about being married to another professional wrestler, sewing her own gear, her pre-match pizza routine, and more. She lives in Orlando with her husband. Here, how she does it.
On her morning routine:
I’m not really in the morning. With WWE, we usually have late night shows or we’re on the road a lot. I usually get up very late to sew my own gear, so I get up pretty late, probably around 10 or 11 in the morning. I am a big fan of breakfast. I always do protein shakes. I like oatmeal because it fills you up very quickly. And I love protein pancakes: mix of pancakes with protein powder. And then I usually start making gear again. My husband is in the same business as me, it’s Montez Ford, half of Street Profits. We try to find something to enjoy together throughout the day, whether it’s a trip on our boat or brunch.
On a typical day/night:
Today I have media interviews from 2 to 5 p.m. After that, we’re going to do a little family activity with my husband and the children. And then we usually train late at night. Our shows are usually around seven or eight in the evening, so that’s around the time we train – CrossFit training or strength training. I consider exercise part of my life, just like brushing my teeth, eating or taking a shower. This is when my body is in ready mode. It’s hard to sleep afterwards because I usually take C4 Energy before training. I buzz after my practices, and I also buzz after my games, so I usually run with that adrenaline and come home and start making gear again. I’m a person who likes to stay busy and productive, so if there are downtimes throughout the night, I try to fill them with a new project in progress.
Upon transition to WWE:
You have to be larger than life, and you have to know how to connect with the crowd and really engage the crowd. When you’re an athlete, you don’t really engage with the crowd; you’re just competing. I really don’t come from a wrestling background. I didn’t see WWE grow and didn’t imagine myself being a WWE Superstar, but I completely fell in love with the art and the performance aspect.
On creating her pageant looks:
I started in WWE in 2016 and got my first sewing machine that year – my husband bought it for me. I went to YouTube and learned to sew. I like to give 110% in everything I do. That’s a big part of who “Bianca Belair” is, so when I get in the ring, I have that confidence in, I make my own material, or when I look at my figurine, I can say, This is the gear I made. I usually try to go in theme if it’s a premium live event. For example, we had Hell in a Cell, so I had flames on my equipment. We have Money in the bank to come, so I’ll probably have dollar signs or cash on my gear. I have some kind of kiss feeling on my gear, or my brand IS on my paraphernalia, a lot of sequins. I’m a bit of a fabric collector – I have a closet full of stacked fabrics just waiting to be made into gear, and I have lots of different pieces that are half done. I try to draw the drawing, but sometimes I can’t draw what I have in mind, so I just start creating. It’s like puzzle pieces that I put together.
In preparation for competition:
I have a nightly ritual the day before my big games: I eat pizza — if I’m confident in the work I’ve put into preparing myself. Nothing I do the night before will compromise that. I know I’ve been working hard and getting ready, and I’m nervous and want to have some comfort food. The pizza calms my nerves. The next day, I have a big breakfast because once I get to the arena or stadium, there isn’t much time to eat. Our shows usually start around 8pm, but we arrive around noon, getting ready very early. Everyone sees us in the ring for maybe 20-25 minutes, but we’ve been there for hours before that moment. Once there, it’s a continuous movement from there: getting ready to get in the ring, stretching, warming up, doing my hair and makeup, putting the finishing touches on my gear. I like listening to gospel music before I play because I feel like it’s just something that really puts you in a good mood. I love Kirk Franklin. It motivates me and gives me a lot of confidence. I also prepare myself mentally. I give myself mental affirmations throughout the day. I try to sneak a meal if I can.
On the motto she lives by:
You stay prepared so you don’t have to prepare. WWE opportunities can come out of nowhere fast, and if you haven’t prepared all year, you won’t be ready for this opportunity. Our main focus in WWE is to get on the big stage at big premium live events like Money in the bank and Slam summer and WrestleManias and Royal Rumbles. I won the Royal Rumble two years ago. This led me to Wrestlemania. And this opportunity came out of nowhere. So I always say, Don’t prepare for the opportunity once it presents itself. Prepare all year round to be ready when the time comes.
Going through setbacks:
I won at Wrestle Mania 37, then I lost that title a few months later to Becky Lynch at Slam summer in 26 seconds. It was a very big blow and a very big setback for me. I felt like I wrote history WrestleMania — I won a title, I won an ESPN ESPY award from that game while wearing that title. It was a time when everyone was inspired, so my title ring was a journey for everybody. I felt like losing to Becky in 26 seconds and losing my title, I didn’t just let myself down; I also let down so many other people. And I felt like I was doing everything right, and I had a moment of – I thought in my head, If I feel like I did everything right and I failed, how do I move on from there? I had to understand my point of view. And from there, it made me better; it made me stronger. My fans supported me more, and I realized, It’s time for me to show everyone who I am without a title. Because the title shouldn’t make the person — the person should make the title. From there it was my redemption story until Wrestle Mania 38, and I was able to take my title back from Becky at Wrestle Mania 38 and prove that you can do everything right in life and sometimes bad things happen, but that doesn’t mean you give up. You keep going and pushing until you come back on top.
On the sequel for her:
I just want to continue this journey. I had a lot of success very quickly in my career, but I’m just getting started. I am here to create a legacy. I want people to look at my heritage and feel something. I don’t want them to just remember my amazing shots or my wins. I want to change the game. I want my legacy to be one that shows everyone that we’re not just wrestlers; we are artists, performers, athletes, actresses, activists, representations. We do it all. I want to be here to do it all – do amazing things inside the ring, outside the ring. I want to show that you can be whatever you want to be. And maybe one day I’ll be in a movie with the Rock. We will see.
is for Belair means that she is superlative, the best in everything, for example, the FASTEST, the PRETEST, the STRONGEST, etc.