A complete Diva
Some could call her a walking contradiction, but Melina sees herself as the complete WWE Diva. And with what she has accomplished, whether it's in the ring, on a mat or anywhere else, she's absolutely right.
"When I was young and around my family, you could say I was a little Diva," Melina said with a smile, reflecting about her childhood. "I'd dance around, and I'd pretend like I was a little ballerina. I was always in my own little world."
Melina described herself as a pretender, but is anything but, as she has always pushed for her dreams to become reality since grade school.
"I have a lot of dreams. It's just whatever door opens up and whatever fits at that time."
The self-proclaimed "True Diva" took part in acting, singing both in and out of choir, dance, journalism, track and rollerblading, to name a few of her activities. She grew up in an active household as her mother worked out regularly and her father boxed. Melina also has an older brother who was intent on training her early on for a career in wrestling.
"He toughened me up for wrestling," she explained. "I always wanted to hang out with him and he hated my guts. He beat me up a lot," she laughed.
The future Diva, who was extremely shy yet put on performances, was also homecoming queen despite being every bit as much of a loner as she is in WWE.
"I was never in one, set clique," she said. "I got along with everyone. [Being nominated] was important to me because I represented all of my friends."
One of her friends, who happened to be a wrestler, suggested Melina become involved in the sport to keep in shape while she was working with a trainer on flexibility.
"It was a hobby," she explained. "It never occurred to me that I would be in WWE."
Not only did Melina make it to WWE; she reined as Women's Champion twice. Getting there wasn't the smoothest ride, however. After being scouted, she went to events for two years every time WWE came to her area of California and took part in Tough Enough 3, where she failed to come out on top.
"When I didn't make it, I thought maybe this wasn't what I'm supposed to do," she admitted. "But I just kept going until one day, it happened. When they say it's the right place at the right time, it's true."
Melina feared being looked at as too much of a girly girl -- someone who wouldn't be able to get into the ring and do some damage. But soon that fear grew into acceptance as the Diva found a way to combine that image with the tomboy image she held for herself.
"I never saw myself as sexy, ever," Melina said. "I was always everybody's little sister or little buddy. It was a weird transition, but it's made me a complete person. It's nice to have somebody look at me and say, ‘you look pretty'."
The "True Diva" brings her feminine side, her tomboy side and a touch of goofiness to the locker room.
Recently, Melina has also brought a bit of Cirque du Soleil to the arenas. At WrestleMania XXIV, she debuted a fitting outfit and ever since, she's been working the art form into her image and her performance.
"I've always been fascinated with Cirque du Soleil and what the human body can do," she explained. "These people are so incredible and so athletic."
She sees their methods similar to hers with WWE. Cirque performers incorporate athleticism to entertain. And as their experiences do for them, Melina used sports-entertainment to discover her flexibility.
Between her years with WWE and her training in cirque, which she has been studying since March, Melina has been amazed at just how flexible she is. And she has made it a goal to find out how much further she can go.
"It's pretty tough," she admitted about her training classes, "But I love the fact that it is tough because it's challenging and it makes me feel good that I'm able to accomplish it. It's so beautiful and graceful, too."
Cirque du Soleil isn't her only passion outside of WWE. In fact, it's one of countless other interests that she involves herself with.
"Everything is art to me."
Decorating is one of her new targets to become an expert in. Cooking is another area she has mastered, which comes in handy being from a culture where cooking is such an important part of life.
"My Mexican heritage plays a huge part of who I am," Melina said. "We're known for our dancing, our movement and our passion as well as our fire, our intensity, and our tempers. Everything I do represents my culture. It's who I am. It's nothing I have to force."
Melina feels like she not only represents Latin culture, but all other ethnic cultures, as well. She's amazed by the support she has gained from all over the world and appreciates every bit of it.
The "True Diva" has come a long way since being that little girl hiding behind her mother's leg and peeking out to put on performances. She has gone from training to be a doctor to becoming a two-time WWE Women's Champion.
Through all of it, she has never changed who she is, still seeing herself as nothing more than a big kid playing dress-up and acting out.
"It's weird how it works, but one day WWE looked at me, took notice and then it all worked out."
Everybody has something unique to show the world, Melina says. And her mix of culture and contradictions has made her a complete Diva on her way to being a complete person.