Eve and Layla: The road to Diva destiny
From WWE Diva Search winners to Divas and Women's Champions, Eve and Layla have followed distinctly different paths to achieving success in WWE. It's taken these sexy, smart and powerful Diva Search winners several years of hard work and dedication to accomplish the ultimate goal in WWE -- becoming respected champions.
"When I do something, I want to go all the way," Eve told WWE.com. "That was the question that I asked myself when I was in the Diva Search: ‘Can I see myself being a champion in this new world I'm entering in?' And I did." (WATCH)
"I knew how much work I'd have to put into this. I dreamed it," Layla said. "I hoped one day I could get the title, but I never really thought that I would attain it. So to me, I'm in shock, but I'm very, very happy. There's a lot of great stuff to come from me." (WATCH)
After winning the Diva Search in August 2006, the British-born former Miami Heat dancer showcased her incredible skills as part of ECW's Extreme Expose alongside Kelly Kelly. Layla moved to Raw in the 2008 Supplemental Draft, and then to SmackDown in the 2009 Supplemental Draft. That's when her in-ring career took off.
"I think just within the last year or year and a half, I feel like my growth is noticeable to everybody," Layla admitted. "I mean, it's noticeable to me, and I'm my worst critic, but other people are bringing it to my attention. I feel like that's a huge improvement. I feel like a totally different person."
Like Layla, prior to winning the Diva Search, Eve was also a dancer in the NBA, but for the Los Angeles Clippers. But when the Divas Champion began her career in WWE, she started as a backstage interviewer. Eve, who is skilled in kickboxing and jiu-jitsu, said her growth has been "exceptional" since winning the Diva Search in October 2007.
"I started out as a backstage interviewer, so that helped my appearance on camera and being able to feel comfortable speaking and interviewing very large and scary guys," she laughed. "So that kind of got me comfortable in the area and kind of figuring out how everything works.
"The good thing about WWE is you have to learn," Eve continued. "We're live television, so we get one chance, and of course when you mess up you learn that way, as well, but you have to learn or you're not going to make it. It kind of forced me to have a very fast learning curve!"
Of course, Layla credits much of her success to her SmackDown bestie, and "Co-Women's Champion," Michelle McCool.
"I'd have to say my partner, Michelle McCool, has definitely helped me out a lot. I have learned a lot from working with her," Layla gushed. (PHOTOS)
But the first half of the Lay-Cool team admitted she's picked up pointers and tips from each Diva she's been in the ring with, which has helped her become Women's Champion.
"We give advice to each other. I just want to sit there and listen and pay attention and learn. And with each Diva I've worked with -- even with Eve -- I've learned something different," Layla confessed. "I feel like every single Diva I have worked with has helped me out in a way, because it's always something different that you get out of them that I can use to enhance myself with."
Before coming to Raw in late 2009, Eve honed her in-ring skills on SmackDown, and credits many of the Divas on the Blue Brand for guiding her to success.
"I have to say Natalya was a big part of that because I worked with her a lot on SmackDown, along with Michelle McCool," Eve said. "Obviously the better the people that you work with are … you have to raise your standards to compete and try to get up to their level. I think both of them helped me take the next step, as far as my in-ring competition."
Layla admitted that she still sometimes gets nervous before getting in the ring in front of the WWE Universe, but since she's been showing off her witty side lately on SmackDown and as a WWE Pro on WWE NXT, the true Layla has come out for all to see.
"I feel like I can express myself in a very funny, entertaining way," the Women's Champion said. "If you ask people backstage what I'm really like, they'll probably tell you that I am probably the prankster, the jokester. But I enjoy every single minute.
"I feel like my entertainment value has gone up, way up. Now maybe I can say I'm entertaining and you don't want to change the channel when I come on. Or you just want to hate me … and I know you guys really love me," Layla smiled.
Eve said her run as Divas Champion is just the start of many more dreams she hopes to accomplish as a WWE Diva.
"This is the beginning of my career. This is a great thing to accomplish, but my goal is to face as many challenges as possible," a confident Eve said.
"Obviously there's another championship out there -- the Women's Championship -- so if that opportunity ever presents itself, I aim to go for that," she promised. "But I aim to hold the Divas Championship as long as possible, to retain it and to continue to fight for it and always to try to reach the next level."