Ladies and gentlemen Zonawrestling has the pleasure to interview, in the person of Walter Farinella, The Jersey Devil, Daria Berenato, on of the 13 finalist of WWE Tough Enough. The interview is very intresting, because she was very outspoken and talked about her coming out, her love for Pro Wrestling, her relationship with coaches and judges, the quarrel with Gabi and much more.
W: Ladies and gentlemen here with the ‘Jersey Devil, Daria Berenato, one of the 13 Finalists of WWE Tough Enough. Hello Daria, before to talk about your experience, introduce yourself to the readers. Your name sounds Italian. Do you have Italian origins?
D: Hi Walter and all of Italy ! First off thank you for having me on, I love doing interviews but to do an interview to my ancestors is all the more special to me ! Yes I am 100 percent Italian ! I was born and raised in New Jersey, I played sports my whole life, most recently MMA (mixed martial arts) where I am ranked the #9th ammeter fighter in the state of California where I now reside ! My life has always consisted of taking risks and testing boundaries, the day I graduated high school I drove my car from New Jersey to Florida to train with one of MMA best gyms American Top Team ! I then moved to California to experience life here and that move has landed me here enduring the best experience of my life competing on WWE Tough Enough!
W: An amazing journey. So, before Tough Enough you were a Pro Wrestling, in particular WWE, fan? Who are your favorite Superstars?
D: No I wasn't very into WWE or pro wrestling prior to getting into MMA or prior to this journey on Tough Enough even. Maria Menounos who is a sort of mentor to me throughout the years has appeared on WWE and she is the one who really introduced me to the sport. After her coming to watch me fight a few times she said to me "you would kill it in the WWE". So when the opportunity for WWE Tough Enough came about she was like here is your chance submit a video. After doing my research and watching the greats like Hulk Hogan, Dusty Rhodes, etc .. I knew this was my dream.. I instantly fell in love all over again like I had for MMA! So I then submitted a video hoped and prayed I would get a chance to show the WWE what I was made of and why I could be such an asset to them . Next thing you know I'm being flown to Orlando Florida to compete against 39 other contestants for those 13 spots in the Tough Enough house ! To answer your question the superstars and divas I now look up to are Lita for sure ! She is a woman who has made history for woman in this sport ! And I like guys like Brock Lesnar and now the new stars like Roman Reigns! I like their rough around the edges style !
W: I see. One of the most important moment of this Tough Enough's season was your coming out on a global televsion. Can you say something about that?
D: Yes … That was definitely one of the most unanticipated moments of my life .. Prior to coming on the show I had asked my girlfriend Christina if the topic of our relationship came up should I be honest about it .. And she said yes absolutely whatever you want to do. So when I was standing there infront of my coaches WWE executives and Triple H himself I was asked am I in a relationship .. My heart kind of dropped into my stomach and I knew this was the day I told everyone the truth this is it and it's happening on GLOBAL TV! Although I wanted to laugh, cry, scream at the same time .. It ended up making this experience even greater … I received the most amazing messages from people on social media saying things like " I saw you come out on national television and it gave me the strength to come out or my parents" what is a greater feelings then knowing that you helped someone struggling in the same shoes I was just four weeks ago. This journey has definitely be an emotional one but I wouldn't change it for the world.
W: It was a great moment. Often the role of a WWE Superstars is to be a positive example to people around the world and you made it of course. And in the end people truly appreciate that (if you are honest) and give you back postive feedback, as happened to you.
D: Yea I agree. it's important to be a role model and to encourage positivity! Something very important to me is being honest and being real and not being afraid to speak your mind . I have always been a very outspoken person and of course with that comes some backlash sometimes but I have never once regret being truthful, I only regret the times I've held back and all the things I didn't say.. That's an important message of mine.
W: I totally agree. Changing topic, can you compare MMA training with Pro Wrestling training? What difference you found? Many people thinks that Pro Wrestling training is nothing of special, but in reality it is very hard. What are your opinions about that? At the end of the day, in Tough Enough was your 1st approach to this business.
D: They are so different yet so similar ! In pro wrestling execution is everything it’s all in the details you need to look good while doing everything properly so you do not get seriously injured ! Where as in MMA although proper technique is encouraged as long as you get the job done it can sometimes look sloppy and unorganized and be okay ! They both require amazing cardio, strength, and all around discipline.. I've played just about every sport and these two are probably the hardest and the two that require most concentration and self discipline overall !
W: How many times you train in a week? Did you do Pro Wrestling training everyday, also not being filmed by cameras? How many times you met the coaches Booker T, Billy Gunn and Lita in a week? And what was your personal relationship with them?
D: Training was sort of different every week it was a combination of ring work, weight room time, and then challenges of course. We all did some sort of workout pretty much everyday on or off camera. We would see the coaches more than anyone really they were the ones we really connected with and got to know ! For me being a woman it was obviously awesome working with Lita and getting her perspective on things considering she has such an amazing career! Billy and Booker were awesome as well they really took the time to really help us and get to know us ! We were like their kids (haha!)
W: Yes, those three coaches are doing a very good job in my opinion. Two little curiosity: 1st how was to being wake up by Billy, screaming in the house with the megaphone? And during this experience you probably met some NXT Superstar, since you work and live at the Performance Center. How was to interact with them? Some of them are really popular in whole the world yet.
D: Being woken up by Billy Gunn lol it was very real lol! I never had a bra on and Billy wouldn't let us take more than a couple seconds to get outside lol so it was an experience sprinting and doing push ups with no bra ! And yes we met a lot of the NXT superstars and they are awesome ! They were all super welcoming to us and a few of them were even part of our mini camp so we got to know them even better !
W: It was fun to see in television those morning scenes, for you guys probably a little less. Let's talk now about the living in the Barraks with the other guys. 1st of all I ask you how was to be costantly filmed by WWE Cameras. I suppose it is not simple.
D: It's a little weird at first getting used to a camera in your face when your chomping on cereal in the morning lol or when your gross and sweaty after a hard challenge or something but by the second week or so your used to it pretty much. Then it just became kind of normal . Living in the barracks was awesome for me because I never went to college so this was like my university experience, living with other people, going out together, sharing a bathroom etc .. So it was actually a lot of fun for me . Sometimes I feel like I grew up too fast so this kind of brought me back to being a 21 year old again it was fun !
W: Were you free to going out when you wanted or there were some rules?
D: We had some rules but for the most part the days we weren't filming we had our freedom.
W: Before you said that you are an honest and outspoken girl. this features of your temper with other aspects of it made you, out of any doubts, a leader in the house. In women there were two factions at one point. The yours and the Gabi one. What do you think about her behavior? For example when she tattled about Amanda physical look? Her boobs, her teeth etc.
D: There's only a couple things that get me upset or angry and it usually is when you insult me or the people I care about or when I disappoint someone I love or myself. Those were the times I got angry in the house, Gabi saying those things about Amanda falls under the category of insulting someone I care about, not only did she insult Amanda but she crossed a serious line, anytime you bring up someone's looks in a negative connotation… That's where I draw the line. Not to mention Gabi also has fake body parts … So she has absolutely no room to insult Amanda.
W: As you said in this occasion maybe it was crossed a line. Still talking about the guys. Who were the closer to you? What do you think about the various quarrels beetwen Patrick and Tanner? You had to divide them firsthand last week.
D: I definitely got along with more people then I feuded with I love pretty much all of the guys in the house! Amanda Gigi and I were the closest out of all the girls and Josh out of the guys ! Patrick and tanner were bound to have that scuffle: Tanner is super athletic and naturally talented and Patrick is young but very mature and very intelligent so I could see how there could be some tension between the two for sure.
W: Let's talk now about the judges. First of all I ask you about Paige. She was offended because no one of you, except Patrick watched Beast in the East, live from Tokyo. And no one knew who she wrestled. What do you think about that?
D: The judges were all awesome I mean you have a super talented diva in Paige you have a legend In Hulk Hogan and the underdog that proved everyone wrong in Daniel Bryan it was amazing working with them all ! And I did watch beast in the east I just didn't watch it live so I couldn't raise my hand ! I would never want them to think we didn't care about or appreciate them because it definitely the opposite. Paige's matches are probably the ones out of the current divas that I study the most !!!
W: Since day one Daniel Bryan showed his respect for you and he is maybe one of the most genuine person in this business. Even that he put you on bottom three, because your entrance challenge in video was not so good. What are your feeling about him?
D: I have nothing but love and respect for Daniel Bryan he is amazing and so kind. He did what he had to do or what he thought was right I guess . Unfortunately this is a fan voting system and the two I was in the bottom three with have huge fan followings.
W: However, when you did the entrance again, live on the show, you were in my honest opinion the best of the three. You made a good interpretation of the concept of "Fallen Angel". Despite of this you were eliminated. As you said ZZ and Sara are two fan favorites, but in your opinion they really deserved to stay? They did better than you during this competition in general? And about this, you should change something about the format of the program?
D: I honestly thought I was one of the strongest contenders in the house out of the females and truly believed I could have won the entire thing, that being said everything happens for a reason and I believe I will have a different path of success into the WWE. I think Sara Lee was by far the weakest of the girls and should have gone home that night but she has a lot of fans and that's also is an important aspect of this, so I understand it.
W: So you should not change anything in the format of the program?
D: I would have liked the coaches to maybe have more of a say or vote but at the end of the day the WWE knows how to run a business and show so I'm sure there are reasons for the way it was designed.
W: So, do you want to continue to try to become a WWE Diva, right? What are your plans about that? There are possibilities to have a development NXT contract in the immediate future, maybe after a tryout?
D: I am definitely putting my focus on getting into the WWE in the little time I have been around this world I have fallen in love and I will not let ANYTHING stop me from getting a contract ! I will begin training this week with whatever gym I decide on and every tryout available to me I will be at . The WWE is in my near future I believe that in my heart. You know as Italians how passionate of people we are and we don't give up on anything !
W: Absolutely. According to me it is great the fact the way you fallen in love with this business and I feel that your passion is totally real. In my opinion to have success in this business you must have a great passion and you have it. So I hope you manage to achieve this goal! We are finishing: who, according to you, will win this competion? Both boy and girl.
D: I think passion is definitely majority of this business if you don't love it the hard work wouldn't be worth it to you! I think Gigi and Amanda are definitely the strongest girls left both beautiful and athletic and for the guys I got to go with Josh he is charismatic, athletic and his looks were created for this business in my opinion !
W: Yes, Josh look and physical skills belong to this this business. However at the moment, speaking about boys, the spotlights are on Tanner and Patrick.
D: Yes but I think there's time to turn it around. Patrick and Tanner are both great as well but still stand by Josh for the win.
W: Do you want to say something to the WWE Universe around the world, in particular to the Italian fans?
D: Yes absolutely first of all if it wasn't for my roots my Italian roots I wouldn't be the person I am today ! We are passionate, loving, larger than life and we stand for what we believe in ! So thank you Italy for your morals your heritage and your support ! Secondly I would like to thank the LGBT community for making coming out a positive journey ! And lastly thank you to all my fans around the world for voting for me and continuing to follow me on this journey I can promise you all it’s going to be an exciting one you won't want to miss . I will not stop until I reach the top ! Follow me on Twitter @ToughDaria or @Dariab28 or on Instagram @ToughDaria or Facebook @DariaBerenato ! I love you guys, always be honest and never hide who you really are just embrace you !
W: Thank you so much Daria for your time, your kindness and helpfulness. I wish you the best for all your future projects, hoping to see you in WWE soon.
D: Thank you Walter and Zonawrestling, this has been amazing. So glad the Italian community reached out!