I SWAPPED BEAUTY PAGEANTS TO TAKE UP WRESTLING
WEARING a purple jumpsuit, with curlers in her hair, immaculate make-up, perfectly manicured nails and a whole lot of sass, Nadia Sapphire is not your typical wrestler.
The 27-year-old, from Cardiff, has been on the Welsh wrestling scene for almost a decade and, with her “bad-guy” persona, audiences just can’t get enough of her.
But Nadia wants to use her position to promote a serious message of body positivity and to encourage people to follow their dreams – no matter what their shape or size.
She turned to wrestling after taking part in a few beauty pageants.
Promotions manager Nadia, whose main wrestling moves include her German suplex pin and a northern lights suplex, said she wanted to encourage people to love their own bodies and not to conform to how society thinks they should look.
She said: “When I was younger, from like the age of 16, and when I was wrestling, I also started doing a few beauty pageants. I got a lot more press for doing that, and when it was put on the website people would say things like ‘that girl has had too many Mars bars’.
“I was a 16-year-old girl, you’re feeling down at that time and I was bigger than I am now and there would always be someone slagging me off about my weight and that was really hard for a young girl.
“As I got older I became happier with who I was. I started dating and I found people that liked me for me and men liked my curves.”
The former Cardiff High School pupil, from Lakeside, began her love affair with wrestling as a child while watching her favourite stars including Lita and Trish Status performing with WWE.
But it was at the age of 14 when her dreams of becoming a wrestler were set in motion, after she trawled the internet and found a wrestling school in Cathays.
Nadia said: “I started to learn the basics, like how to bump, running the ropes, little things like that and how to do things safely, drills, timing and everything like that.
“I eventually found another training school in Swindon when I was 15. I used to get the train to Swindon. I was quite independent and I would use all my pocket money to go down there.”
At the age of 16 Nadia began taking part in wrestling bouts and competed regularly up until the age of 18, when she suffered a major injury while performing.
She said: “I suffered quite a bad injury in my knee during a show. It took me out for two years and after that I went away from it for a bit as I had other interests. I returned when I was 22.
“I just thought I would get back to training and started to do shows from there again, really.”
Nadia now competes all over the UK and Europe, and regularly performs at Coyote Ugly in Cardiff city centre on a monthly basis.
Describing her on-stage persona, she said: “My character is flamboyant, over the top and very confident, sassy and doesn’t like being told what to do. She’s quite spoilt, she thinks of herself as a princess and she thinks she’s more special than everyone else.
“I think it was an over-the-top version of me. When I was in training the boys would laugh because I was a girly girl and I was checking on my nails. I loved make-up and tan and stuff like that.
“I play a bad character so I like the fact I can come across as a bad character on stage. It’s hard for some people to get a reaction out of the audience but I always seem to be able to get a reaction. It’s easier to be the bad guy and I enjoy it.
“There’s quite a few women wrestlers and quite a few different promotions in Wales. Over the past two years women’s wrestling has evolved and has pushed forward so much even on the big screen. It’s not just a boys’ sport any more.”
Speaking about why she loves wrestling so much, Nadia said: “I love visiting new places in the UK where I might never have been, and I have been to countries such as Switzerland and Germany, which are such beautiful countries, and obviously there’s the enjoyment factor of it.
“It can be quite bitchy and it can be quite cliquey, but other than that it’s fine. The other con can be my age, because I have just turned 27 and I am questioning myself, thinking am I too old and can I carry on for the next so and so years?”
Nadia’s next wrestling match takes place at Coyote Ugly in Cardiff on September 24.
Wrestler Nadia Sapphire in action