Watch out for the Ravishing Russian!
After years of working as a manager and standing ringside supporting her husband, Total Divas star Lana is ready to take center stage and compete in the women's division. In the upcoming seventh season of the show, fans will see her start from the bottom as she embarks on the tough journey to becoming an in-ring competitor.
"My whole life, since I've been a little girl, I've watched wrestling and I've always wanted to wrestle," she tells E! News exclusively. "I just never thought that I was good enough to do that. I never thought I had the talent to be a professional wrestler. But I don't want to just hold a microphone and be someone's manager. I want to get in that ring and fight and compete. There's nothing in the entire world that has that adrenaline rush."
But Lana admits the transition hasn't been easy or without its share of obstacles. Fortunately, she's had Nikki Bella in her corner for support and guidance on the most challenging days.
"Nikki has helped me so, so, so much," the 32-year-old, whose real name is CJ Perry, explains. "There have been times in my wrestling journey—and you're going to see this on the show—when I've gotten discouraged because the success doesn't come overnight. It's a lot of getting in there and failing. She was really the person that kept on encouraging me not to give up, to be resilient, to be brave and to have courage."
She continues, "At times, I would think maybe I shouldn't continue to pursue my dream of competing in that ring, but she kept on telling me not to give up and keep on training. I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for Nikki Bella."
But as Lana's training unfolds on this season of Total Divas, the newlywed and WWE Superstar Rusev, her hubby of one year, will eventually get into a debate about starting a family.
"Rusev's Bulgarian, so apparently he feels like we should be getting ready to have children," Lana says. "He's very traditional and I am not traditional. Children aren't really on my mind whatsoever because my career is what's most important to me right now. I'm following my own dreams and aspirations, so you're going to see us work through that as I try to juggle being a good wife and a good career woman."
Meanwhile, Lana hopes her perseverance will inspire others to chase their own dreams without hesitation.
"With anything in life, if you have a dream, you're going to have setbacks, but I just want to encourage people to pursue their dreams, even if people doubt you, even if you have setbacks," she says. "Be resilient."