CJ Perry: Facing Her Fears…In Style
Literally wrestling her way to the top, the WWE superstar CJ Perry embodies what it means to accomplish the impossible…in style. Having started her journey far from the dream she is currently living, Perry has gone through different stages in her life before getting to where she is now. “It started in the former Soviet Union as a young ballerina with big dreams to entertain stadiums,” she shared looking back. There was no one nor nothing that could make this young starlet put her dreams in a box. She had wings and was ready to fly, ready to discover all the possibilities the world had to offer. And then came professional wrestling. As Perry put it, “it came into my life at a time when I already knew how much I loved performing, being in front of a crowd, and connecting with people around the world.” A perfect match.
You see, it takes a lot of hard work, patience, passion, and dedication if you want to become a true WWE star. When rising to the top you are bound to encounter some sort of obstacles and for Perry, those she had to face in the beginning are the same ones she has to face now. As many of us know, the Sports and Entertainment Business is a highly competitive one and what makes this wrestler stand out is that she is perfectly comfortable admitting that there are “women who are more naturally gifted than I am.” However, these challenges never hold her back as she takes her passion and works hard towards her goal every day. As she put it beautifully, “ I know for certain that the real-life begins when you figure out that people are appreciative of technical skill, but enthralled by real emotion.” Which is what she brings to the table. After spending a few hours with her on set, I can assure you that CJ Perry brings both talent and emotion.
As a woman, there are some added challenges that she, just like other female wrestlers, must face. For Perry, the major challenge that is faced in this business is “ the idea that women aren’t just window dressing, and that we can, and do, match the guys week-on-week with the hustle and skill that’s driving this business forward,” she exclaimed. Hell yeah!! Power to the woman! However, she continued on graciously as she admitted that there is always room for growth and improvement. “And that’s the path I want to walk — the path of equality and opportunity for all,” she shared with an open heart. Having found her spot on TV and in the wrestling world, Perry has the platform to turn this path into reality and hopes she will “stay enough to be remembered fondly.” Ladies and gentlemen, I think it’s safe to say that won’t be a problem!
Truly a breath of fresh air and a source of light in this world, what makes Perry stand out is how she combines wrestling and fashion all the while continuing on her path of empowerment. Fashion is another way in which she communicates to the world and a tool she uses to create a fun environment for herself. As she said candidly, “I’m one of these women who loves to spend a fortune on expensive clothes, then feel more comfortable wearing as little as possible.” Bling, bling. Cha-ching! Absolutely love that for her! So, how does one go about balancing fashion and wrestling? Well, it’s all about how you look at the world. For Perry, she chooses to do what she loves which is both of those things so why not find ways to intertwine them? After all, her love for fashion blossomed at the age of three…You can’t just disregard a love like that!
“Fashion and wrestling to me have so many similarities. In fashion, we can say something about ourselves through our clothes, just like wrestling gear says so much about me without even opening my mouth,” she continued one. Hoping to open wrestling up to a whole new world where fashion reigns, every wrestling gear she wears is inspired by fashion shows with the intent to support her designers and bring some glam to the floor mat! “I want to be the first woman to go from wrestling to Met Gala. Why not make big dreams?” Perry asked. As the saying goes…go big or go home, am I right? No one but yourself can truly block your road to success! You have a dream, you work hard for that dream, and always remember that things will change, and that’s okay.
In face of adversity, “the trick is to accept that there’s no way to get from one end of this life to the other without getting your ass kicked every now and again,” shared CJ. It’s just as natural as breathing. As long as you remember that it will pass and that there are more good days than bad, you will get through it. It is important to remember that “Empowerment is the grease that eases change and growth.” No matter the hardships, losses, gains, miracles…You take them all and channel them into fulfilling your dreams and aspirations. That is when true freedom and strength come into play. Whoever you are, whatever it is you do, we all have the ability to attain true empowerment. Just remember that it may take time…and that is okay.
At a young age, CJ was doing 40 hours a week of ballet training which instilled discipline and dedication. It taught her that sometimes you have to do things that you don’t always want to do if you want to reach your goals. Opening up about having gone through 10 tables this past Fall and being called names by so many people “was nothing compared to what I was going through as an adolescent at my Russian Ballet School.” As people will say: Bring It. No matter the hardships CJ encounters, she continues on her uphill climb. Aiming to “inspire people to chase their dreams and make the impossible, possible,” her own journey shows us that anything is possible when you put your mind and heart into it.
In this New Year, CJ Perry is taking on and facing “the next drawer full of things that scare me,” she admitted. Working hard to become a better fighter, a better wrestler, and a better performer, it’s her time to shift gears and “publicly take on the part of my profession I’m least brave about and improve the parts I’m most confident in.” This year is going to be CJ’s best year yet as she combines her two passions, faces her fears and does so with an open heart and kickass style! So, watch out world as a beautiful storm is on her way and there ain’t nothing that will stop her.
How far I’ll get will never be dictated by my lack of hustle, craft, or love of my profession…
Talent CJ PERRY @thelanawwe
Photographer JOSH RYAN @joshryanphotos
Creative Direction ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC @alekandsteph
Styling BRANDON HO @brvndo
Styling Assistant ARTEMIO GANADEN @art.hunterr
Hair GEORGE FRAGKIOUDAKIS @georgefrag1
Makeup JOSE CORELLA @josecorella
Interview by ALEXANDRA BONNET @alexbonnetwrites
Production @BELLOmediagroup x @maisonpriveepr_la x @alexbonnetwrites
Special Thanks to ISSUE PHOTO STUDIO @issuephotostudio
Check out WWE CHRONICLE: LANA on WWE NETWORK @wwenetwork @thelanawwe