IN THE RING, LOVE NATALYA

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Paul Farkas STYLING Kim­mie Smith MUAH David Stella

Athleisure - - News -

Over the past few decades, we have been a big fan of the WWE - you get it all! There's the ath­leti­cism of the sport, the dy­namic per­son­al­i­ties, the drama of the sto­ry­lines, the cos­tumes and all of the back­sto­ries. Through­out the year, the mem­bers of the WWE travel to a num­ber of cities do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally to per­form, while also do­ing a num­ber of acts of phi­lan­thropy to make the world a bet­ter place and spend­ing time with their com­mu­nity to en­gage with fans!

This elec­tri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is fos­tered by the brands' ath­letes who put their own fin­ger­print on what it means to be a part of the WWE Uni­verse! Last sum­mer we worked out with some of the ladies of WWE Di­vas at TapOut Fit­ness on the UES to go through work­outs that these women do. In­cluded in this group was Alexa Bliss, Ali­cia Fox, Lana, Maria Me­nounos, Naomi, Re­nee Young, Sum­mer Rae (our Feb cov­er­girl) and this month's cover girl - Natalya - also known as Nat­tie! A few weeks ago, right be­fore her match at MSG, our team shot a gor­geous fash­ion ed­i­to­rial of this 3rd gen­er­a­tion wrestler at Monarch's rooftop and then chat­ted with her about wrestling, be­ing a mem­ber of wrestling's le­gacy fam­ily and her role on E! To­tal Di­vas which is back from their mid­sea­son break on April 5th and more!

ATH­LEISURE MAG: You come from an iconic wrestling fam­ily - tell us about them and the im­pact that they made on the sport.

NATALYA NEIDHART: My fam­ily has been the big­gest in­flu­ence on me. Start­ing with my grandpa, Stu Hart, who built an em­pire by the name of Stam­pede Wrestling in the 1950's. I'm a third gen­er­a­tion su­per­star and I come from Wrestling roy­alty. My grand­fa­ther is WWE Hall Of Famer, Stu Hart and my un­cles Bret and Owen Hart and the Bri­tish Bull­dog have paved the way for me. My fa­ther is a two time WWE Tag Team Cham­pion him­self and formed half of one of the great­est tag teams of all time. My fam­ily's con­tri- bu­tions to WWE have been huge and I'm deeply proud of them.

AM: When did you know that you wanted to con­tinue the le­gacy by be­ing a wrestler?

NN: When I was 18 years old, I first started train­ing in the dun­geon… And from that mo­ment on, I re­mem­ber it crys­tal clear… I was hooked on wrestling. I knew it was what I wanted to do as my ca­reer. Wrestling is part of my heart... it's part of who I am... what makes me tick. I'm for­tu­nate beyond words that I was able to dis­cover my pas­sion and touch my dreams.

AM: What was your jour­ney to get to the WWE?

NN: I trained in one of the most no­to­ri­ously hard wrestling schools in the world: the Dun­geon, where only men trained. I was one of the only girls to ever train there un­der my fam­ily. I also had a world class Ja­panese coach by the name of Tokyo Joe, who helped train me for my first tour of Ja­pan where I wres­tled some of the very best Ja­panese fe­male wrestlers in the world. I lived over in Ja­pan for a while hon­ing my craft and try­ing to be the ab­so­lute best I could be. I spent nearly 5 years send­ing in tapes and re­sumes and let­ters and pic­tures to WWE… Try­ing to get them to see that I was spe­cial. I went to Ja­pan and Eng­land and all over the US to try to gain enough ex­pe­ri­ence to get my big break. I was re­jected for five years! It was so hard to get hired, but so worth it when I fi­nally got my dream job in the WWE. Fi­nally .... in 2007, I got the call and then the re­ally hard work be­gan!!!

AM: Your job al­lows you to do a lot from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the sport, phi­lan­thropy and even film­ing for E! To­tal Di­vas - what's that like?

NN: I am so lucky that I get to do so many dif­fer­ent things! Giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity is one of the most re­ward­ing

about my job… I never take that for granted. It just makes me feel good giv­ing back! I love film­ing To­tal Di­vas, it's a great way for us to show that we're hu­man… And it's OK to fall down, get back up. Work­ing in the WWE al­lows you to wear many hats and be very di­verse in so many ways other than wrestling. My job in the WWE has pre­pared me for any­thing in life it seems!

AM: What's a typ­i­cal day like from work­ing out/train­ing, film­ing for To­tal Di­vas, tak­ing time with TJ (Tyson Kidd) etc?

NN: I am usu­ally very busy. When I'm work­ing on the road, do­ing live events and Smack­down Live, it's a grind of work­ing out and eat­ing healthy and driv­ing and fly­ing hun­dreds if not thou­sands of miles to make it to our shows. It's a whirl­wind, but so fun. When I'm home, I run er­rands, re­lax with my hus­band TJ and de­com­press and en­joy my fam­ily. I also work on my weekly col­umns for the Cal­gary Sun and OK Mag­a­zine.com. I love to write.

AM: You spend a lot of time trav­el­ing, how do you bring a piece of home with you?

NN: When I go away from home, which is a lot. I bring lit­tle love let­ters my hus­band has writ­ten to me. I keep them in the bag where I put all of my wrestling gear. I read them when I get lonely and it truly lifts me up!

AM: Tell us about 2Paws as we're ob­sessed!

NN: 2Pawz is rich. He's fa­mous. He's a rap guru. Named af­ter the il­lus­tri­ous Tu­pac Shakur .... he's all about work­ing to OWN... not to rent, lease or re­fi­nance! Lol. He's a Li­lac Per­sian and ba­si­cally the most in­tense, but sweet­est cat I've ever had. I love him more than words can say. AM: We loved hang­ing out with you dur­ing the pho­to­shoot and saw that you're a se­ri­ous multi-tasker as you had a match right af­ter - how do you keep so many things go­ing at one time?

NN: I just take every­thing one mo­ment at a time and try to be ef­fi­cient. In WWE, we are al­ways busy .... we only have time for "one take," so we make every­thing the best we can pos­si­bly make it the first time! It's a lot of hus­tling at times, though !!!! Some­times I go "hey... i need to use the wash­room !!!! Every­thing else can wait!" LOL

AM: What's a day off look like for you?

NN: A per­fect day off is re­lax­ing at my home with my hus­band and hav­ing NO game plan at all!

AM: What's on your playlist right now as we know you're a fan of Lana Del Rey.

NN: I love Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, Smash­ing Pump­kins, Kings of Leon, Ge­orge Strait, Garth Brooks, Wil­lie Nel­son and any­thing Lana Del Rey! Love her !!!!!!

AM: What is your per­sonal style when you're out­side of the ring if you're run­ning er­rands ver­sus a night out.

NN: I love be­ing com­fort­able. When I'm run­ning er­rands or work­ing out, I like a pair of great leg­gings, a cozy hoodie and tank top I can rock if I need to grab a quick work­out. Lately I'm ob­sessed with Adi­das, Gold­sheep and Lu­l­ule­mon! So comfy and cool! I also love Roots of Fight! They make my fa­vorite Tess with vin­tage box­ers and ath­letes like Mike Tyson and The Gra­cie's. Soon they're mak­ing shirts with An­dre the Giant! Eeeek!

AM: You're al­ways busy - what are your go to's meals or snacks for en­ergy and what do you splurge on?

NN: I al­ways carry snacks with me. Proparts

tein pow­der is a go to -- ESP for ho­tel life! First thing I have when I wake up! And I am ob­sessed with Lenny and Larry's cook­ies the Snick­er­doo­dle fla­vor. I also love to splurge on sushi. Like the fat­ten­ing stuff with tem­pura and may-on­naise and avo­cado in it! I love sushi !!!!!

AM: Sum­mer is around the corner, what are some moves that you sug­gest for toned abs, arms, legs, and butt?

NN: Lunges, squats, dead­lifts, and clean and jerks. I love Olympic lift­ing so much be­cause it al­ways gives me a to­tal body work­out! And it makes me feel strong and pow­er­ful. Keeps my body toned ev­ery­where. I also love run­ning. With the right run­ning part­ner I can run for hours!

AM: As you're al­ways busy, will you be adding any­thing new to what you al­ready do in terms of busi­ness ven­tures, char­ity etc?

NN: I have been writ­ing a fun col­umn as I men­tioned be­fore for the Cal­gary Sun, I am also work­ing on an ad­vice col­umn for OK Mag­a­zine.com. My hus­band and I have dreams to one day open up our own wrestling school since we both share a pas­sion for wrestling .... but it would also be cool to con­tinue to film re­al­ity TV too. I've loved the whole process of be­ing on a re­al­ity show - SO fun!

AM: What's it like to be on the road with the WWE and who are your faves to hang out with?

NN: It's fun be­ing on the road, but it's also a lot of time away from home. So you have to make friends be­cause strangers be­come fam­ily! And some­times fam­ily be­come strangers. I love Re­nee Young. I can turn to Dolph Zig­gler about any­thing. I adore our girls in the Smack­down Locker room. I share a strong bond with the Bella twins be­cause we started in the WWE to­gether and have been through so much. Naomi is my girl .... and one of my hus­band's fa­vorite in the ring. I al­ways get jeal­ous when he says "she's the best!" LOL !!!!!

AM: Do you men­tor other wrestlers in the WWE?

NN: I try to be there for all the girls. I love be­ing able to pass on the knowl­edge I've ac­quired over the last 15 years to them. I def­i­nitely try to help the girls in any way that I can !!!! It's the best when our work comes to­gether and ALL of us shine!

AM: Tell us about Sum­mer Slam and what we need to know!

NN: Sum­merSlam is the big­gest event of the sum­mer. It's tak­ing place in Brook­lyn at the Bar­clays Cen­ter and you know that the fe­males in WWE will be front and cen­ter ... steal­ing the show!

AM: Why do you en­joy be­ing in the WWE so much?

NN: Be­cause I get to live my dreams! I get to travel the world and I get to im­pact peo­ple's lives in such a pos­i­tive way through the global plat­form we have in WWE. And I get to bodys­lam my arch en­e­mies and not get in trou­ble! LOL!

PHOTOS PG 26 - 31 COUR­TESY Natalya/ WWE

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