If you’ve never watched WWE, or you’ve only watched men wrestle, you may have preconceived notions about the women who compete in WWE. But unlike the dudes with scary bulging muscles and creepy names like “The Undertaker,” WWE ladies are hot af, and could just as easily fit in a Pussycat Dolls music video as they could in the ring.
On top of their jealousy-inducing bods, some of them are actually super down to earth, case in point: Danielle Moinet. When Danielle is wrestling as her alter-ego Summer Rae, she’s a boss bitch kicking ass. But the real Danielle Moinet went to college, got a job that she ended up hating, moved to a new city on a whim, and worked really hard to get to where she is now.
We talked to Danielle about how she went from working at a plumbing supplies company to being in the WWE, her favorite makeup products for traveling, and how she got her WWE name.
Photo Credit: Brandon Showers
You played lingerie football and now you’re a wrestler for the WWE. Have you always been athletic?
I’m not athletic, I train myself to be athletic. I’m actually pretty clumsy and have little balance! Staying late after football practice or coming early to the ring with wrestling helped me train to become the athlete I wanted to be.
How did you get the opportunity to play professional football? How about pro wrestling?
I heard about tryouts for the LFL shortly after I moved to Chicago. I met a great group of girls being on the team and really enjoyed doing all of the PR for the team locally and nationally. I loved the WWE growing up and I reconnected with the product as a fan in my adult life. I was working Wizard World [Comic Con] in Chicago and heard some WWE talent were there. On my lunch break I rushed over and asked a million questions including how to get a tryout. I played football for another year, then once my season was done I drove four hours to a show to submit everything. A month later I had my tryout and it was by far the hardest thing I have ever done, but that didn’t matter as my drive and determination was greater.
You said you were working a desk job before either of the aforementioned careers, what were you doing and when did you realize that you weren’t going to settle?
After graduating from East Carolina University I worked for a wholesale plumbing company called Ferguson Enterprises. That’s right everyone, I can solder copper pipe and fixed your leaky toilet. It’s a great company, but I knew that sitting in front of a computer screen for 50 plus hours a week wasn’t for me. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do, but I knew no one was going to live my life for me. So I quit my job, moved to a big city where I had never been, and started my adventure.
When you’re not training, how else do you stay in shape?
Our schedules are insane but I have to remember that my body is my brand. So being the best version of myself is very important. I lift weights 3-4 days a week and try to do cardio 1-2 times a week. Recently I have started boxing in NYC with trainer Eric Rakofsky and I’ve become addicted to it. You get both cardio and muscle toning at the same time. He pushes me daily and it’s a great workout especially for women that want a long lean look. If your in NYC, look him up.
Can you give us an example of what you normally eat in a day?
I try to eat five times a day. I eat differently on the days I train vs. those I don’t. My breakfast includes three egg whites and one whole egg with oatmeal. Then I have a snack before my lunch which consists of lean meat, veggies, and a good carb. Then I have another high protein snack in the afternoon followed by dinner which is fish or chicken, veggies, and a whole grain carbohydrate. Drinking plenty of water is so important and something I can work on as well!
What’s something most people don’t understand about professional wrestling?
A big misconception of the sport in general is that it’s fake. I love when people say that to me. I usually laugh, smile, & respond by saying, “a slap is a slap. And if I am going to slap you I’m going to do it as hard as I can, but safely. I have been trained in how to do it without breaking your jaw.” WWE has an amazing school called NXT that has some of the best teachers from all around the world. We learn how to execute everything in a safe manor while still making it look good, but falling on the ground is falling on the ground.
Your Twitter bio reads: “The sticks & the stones that you used to throw have built me an empire.” Can you tell us more about the meaning behind that?
That’s a quote from one of my favorite songs ‘Throne’ by Bring me the Horizon. Everyone has scars, but the thing that sets people apart is how you use them. Do you let them define you or do you use them to fuel your journey to reach your goals? There will always be people who don’t believe in you & say you can’t do it. I don’t do things to prove people wrong but it’s kinda cool to look back at them after you’ve accomplished what they said you wouldn’t.
Did you choose the name Summer Rae or was it given to you? If chosen, why?
The original name that the company gave me was Kylie Summers and the late great Dusty Rhodes absolutely hated that name when I told him. He told WWE higher ups it must be changed. I really liked the idea of dropping the S in Summers and going with Summer, but I didn’t know if WWE would go with it. We got the approval and moved to last names that started with the letter R since Summer ends with R. Dusty said it “rolls off the tongue better when they announce it.” Summer Rae was then born!
You have your own action figures and you’re a featured character in WWE video games, what’s the strangest part about all that?
Having an action figure and being in a video game is the craziest thing ever. I was obsessed with my ninja turtles and barbies growing up, so having a Mattel doll blows my mind every time I see it on the shelves. When people send me pictures of them playing as me in the WWE games it makes me laugh to myself because it’s so surreal. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to either.
You’ve cited Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid as girls who know how to go full glam, but also know when to rock a more natural look. Do you even feel that makeup can be addicting?
I think anything has the potential to be addicting, sure. Playing with makeup and getting my glam on is awesome. Who doesn’t love getting pampered? But I also think it’s important for people to see their own natural beauty. Every person is different & unique in their own look & owning that is so important. There’s so many different shades of beauty – no makeupor full glam.
What are your top five must have beauty products when you’re on the road?
What’s your favorite brand of lashes? Do you ever worry about your makeup getting ruined in the ring?
My favorite brand of lashes is Ardell Wispies. The last thing in the world I worry about in the ring is my make up getting ruined. I’m trying to remember the other 40 things happening in my head I front of 7,000+ people!
So many women are afraid that lifting will make them “too big” or intimidating to men, but you show that lifting gives you a great body. What advice do you have for girls who are stuck in this mindset?
A big misconception is that lifting makes you big or bulky. It all depends on how your workouts are structured. You can lift for strength, you can lift to tone. Talking to a skilled trainer about your workout goals is important. Everyone’s body is different! Strong is sexy and if it’s intimidating a man you are with then you need to get a new man with a whole lot more confidence!
About The Author: Ashley Uzer
Ashley Uzer is an LA-based writer who covers dating, fashion, beauty, culture, + more. Follow Ashley on Instagram and Twitter.
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