Cocky or confident? Dana Brooke on what it means to be The Total Diva
NXT newcomer Dana Brooke has shown little reservation when it comes to expounding the virtues of her physical abilities in and out of the ring. Fresh off her tag team match at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, Brooke has fixated her aspirations on rising to the top of the women’s division. Brooke sat down with WWE.com to discuss her rivalry with former NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte, her upcoming fitness competition and her outlook for her fellow NXT Divas.
WWE.COM: What has your experience been like thus far with NXT?
DANA BROOKE: It's been nothing short of the best experience of my life. I love getting to show the WWE Universe that anything you dream or put your mind to is possible. If you want something in life, you work that much harder to achieve it and in the end, it is that much better.
WWE.COM: How did you get your start?
BROOKE: I have always been active and into sports my entire life, and I've always wanted to be a star and inspire others. It all started when I was a little girl wrestling with my father and he became my manager; "Mr. Perfect" and I would hold matches with my stuffed animals. Soon I started modeling at a young age for little tikes where I became a little camera hog and loved to pose. I did gymnastics for 18 years but had a major ankle surgery that set me back. In college, where I graduated with a Fashion Merch & Business & Bachelors of Science Degree, I was bored. I just couldn’t work a nine-to-five job. I then started bikini competitions in 2010, where it was about training and looking good, but I wanted more. I ended up falling in love with fitness and earned my IFBB Pro card. Eventually, WWE contacted me but I was a bit hesitant because I had never wrestled a day in my life. But my motto has always been, if you want something, you will make it work and achieve anything you put your mind to. I started my journey and it’s been the best journey of my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself and life in general.
WWE.COM: Would you say that adjusting to in-ring competition has been difficult for you?
BROOKE: No. I feed off competition. Competing has been in my blood since I was very young. Competing makes me that much more driven and, honestly, I perform better under pressure. I love when it's game time. You can’t duplicate that feel and that passion to do something youloveto do. I was born with that feel and passion, which makes me that much better than any Diva on the roster.
WWE.COM: How do you respond to critics who believe you’ve been little too enthralled with yourself since first appearing in NXT?
BROOKE: Haters are my motivators. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger. I love it, to be honest. You have to look out for yourself because that is the only person in life that you have to protect. Tell me something negative and I'll turn it into a positive and feed off of it. Words may hurt but my actions speak louder than words, and I promise you my actions will hurt. As my theme song says, “I’m not your enemy!" I’m really not anybody’s enemy. I’m just doing what I love to do and I’m good at it.
WWE.COM: On that note, do you feel it’s important to maintain a respectful relationship with your fellow Divas?
BROOKE: I don't believe that it is that important. I am a leader, I am not a follower. I create my own path, and that way, I cannot blame anyone else if I do not succeed. In the end, we are all here for the same goal and that is to become a champion and create a life for yourself. I will not be a stepping stone for others to step on while they climb to the top, using me to get where I need to be. I’m in it to win it.
WWE.COM: You've been very vocal about your alleged athletic superiority over Charlotte. Do you feel like you are overstepping your bounds a little bit with the former NXT Women's Champion?
BROOKE: No, I love a challenge. I set the bar high for myself and let my drive and motivation take me there. Charlotte was the most athletic Diva in the game until I showed up. But hey, it's always good to have a friendly competition, right? To be honest, we both have taught each other a lot. Charlotte looks great, but who do you think helped her achieve that body? Me! She helped me in the ring when I first got started, but we are both here to fight for our dreams. I’m just going to fight a little harder.
WWE.COM: Why do you think the women's division needs you?
BROOKE: The NXT women’s division needs the total package, The Total Diva; a determined individual who has a multitude of skillsets. When you hear NXT, you will think Dana Brooke, and when you hear Dana Brooke you will think NXT. I will represent this company the way it should be represented, as a true success and champion.
WWE.COM: At the end of the day, who is Dana Brooke?
BROOKE: Dana Brooke is a female who is here to show the world anything is possible. Girl power! We can do it and do it 100 times better! I'm here to show women here in WWE and around the world that anything you put your mind to can be done. Be that total package, love yourself for who you are and let the rest fall into place.
Is Dana Brooke really The Total Diva?
Dana Brooke recently returned to her fitness competition roots at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, in March. Brooke is now preparing to compete in the Arnold on Saturday, May 30, in Brazil. Brooke told WWE.com that training for her on-stage performance while simultaneously preparing for in-ring competition has created an arduous daily schedule. She provided an example below:
5:45 a.m.: Empty-stomach cardio for 50 minutes
8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: Eat and in-ring training
12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Eat and weight training
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Practice fitness routine
4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Weight training and evening cardio session
9 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Cool-down cardio and stretching (varies with NXT Live Event schedule)
Follow Dana Brooke on Twitter @DanaBrookeWWE