WWE SmackDown star Sonya Deville is the latest guest on “Out of Character with Ryan Satin.” Deville talked about her MMA career, her current role as an authority figure on SmackDown, working with Vince McMahon and more.
Here are some highlights:
Sonya talking about her background before coming to WWE:
“When I was 17, the day of my high school graduation, I went to South Florida to start fighting with American Top Team, one of the biggest MMA camps in the world. I told my dad I was going to college at Palm Beach State College, but that wasn’t true. I dropped out like three weeks later because I knew I wanted to be a fighter. I was a cocktail server, fighting MMA, and taking background roles on Burn Notice and Glades in Miami. I was just kind of pursuing fighting and acting, which were always my two dreams. And then one day I woke up and I was like, Okay, I’ve done all I can do in Miami, I need to go somewhere where there’s more acting and equal level of fight training. I picked New York and did that for a year. Then I was like, there’s got to be somewhere that’s even more prominent for acting and fighting, and I was like, oh, L.A, and so I saved up like five grand bartending. I drove my car across the country with one of my first girlfriends. I signed up for a fight gym. I started doing anything I could to get auditions and acting. I ended up hosting a UFC show on AfterBuzz TV, which is owned by Maria Menounos and her husband, Kevin. I just tried to do whatever I could to dive into both worlds equally. Then from there, Maria kind of got a call for her to do Tough Enough. She was like, ‘Oh no, I’m too old for this. I don’t want to go through all that.’ She’s going to kill me for saying that, but that’s what she said. She’s like, ‘I have the perfect girl. She’s 21, she’s fiery and passionate, she’s fighting MMA, and she’s cool’. She called me with the opportunity, and I was like, ‘let’s do it’.”
Sonya on the beginnings of her starting to talk on the mic in WWE:
“A few years back when I was in Absolution, or in Fire and Desire with Mandy, I didn’t get much speaking time on the mic. I was more of just like this intense a** kicker, MMA fighter. I remember thinking, I want an opportunity to speak on the mic because I don’t think Vince knows I do have a little bit of an acting background, and I think I’ll excel on the mic, maybe even more so than my in-ring career. But I know right now, they see me as like, ‘Oh, she’s an MMA fighter. Her strikes look great. She’s great in the ring. She doesn’t need the mic’. So I called Vince and I was like, ‘Hey, sir. I know you like my intensity and everything in the ring, but I actually have an acting background. I’d love to show you that I can bring that intensity and legitimacy to the microphone as well, and if you give me one opportunity, and I drop the ball, then I’ll go back to not speaking. But can you just give me this one opportunity?’ He said, ‘Okay, thanks’, and he hung up the phone. A week later, I had the eight minute in-ring promo with Mandy that I kind of pinpoint as a little bit like career changing just because nobody heard me talk prior to then besides saying something like a one liner and dropping the mic and then kicking someone’s head off. So it was really important to me at that time to show everybody, hey, I have much more depth to my character than this. I can do so much more, and maybe even more so than the in ring stuff. Now I’ve showed everybody I have chops on the mic, but now I want to show them like, hey, don’t forget, I can kick a** too and I could do everything in the ring. But that’s just going back to being a perfectionist. That’s just wanting to do it all and wanting to have it all. With all of that being said, I’m very happy with where I’m at. I love having the representation on both shows, both brands. I love the pressure of opening the show a lot of the nights and closing the show. I love all the mic work that I’m getting and all that camera time. I love where I’m at, I would never rush myself out of it. But if the time comes where he sees me as a full time in-ring competitor again, I’m happy to step it up and show everybody that I can do it there as well.”