The Bella Twins are slowly building an empire. They’re most famous for being the twin sisters who have dominated the WWE for ten years, but it’s much more than dropkicks and body slams these days. They’re reality TV stars, appearing in both Total Divas and Total Bellas, as well as philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and YouTubers.
As kids they grew up playing competitive soccer. Nikki played in college and won MVP at Grossmont College in San Diego. After graduating, they moved to Los Angeles to pursue an entertainment career.
It didn’t come easy: They waitressed, modeled, and took small acting gigs when they could.
“There were so many times that, as waitresses, you look at your bank account and you literally have 100 bucks and you’re thinking, ‘How am I going to pay my utility bill, my rent?’ But at the same time thinking, ‘How am I going to accomplish my dreams?’ And that’s how we got to cocktailing. We could have a full day, we could make more money, so we started planning and thinking, ‘How can we use the 24 hours in a day, while being a waitress, but still trying to get to your goal,’” remembers Brie.
They were always hustling, while pursuing their dreams.
Nikki said, “I started working at 15 and haven’t stopped since then. So I always knew that my bills get paid first and dreams come next. I would always make sure that I made my shifts, bills were paid, saving money, and then I’d start to do what I loved.”
Brie was the one who started thinking about wrestling as career. It combined everything that they loved: Entertainment and sports. “When Brie started showing me what the women were doing at WWE…That’s my calling! I get to be athletic, and I get to entertain, and be larger than life and be this character. And I get paid for it? It was like God came down and said, ‘This is it!’” said Nikki.
It definitely didn’t come overnight. They shared a car, so they’d have to coordinate auditions while working shifts to pay the bills. They participated in the 2006 WWE Diva Search, but didn’t make the cut. They begged the producers for another chance and eventually got signed to a developmental contract and headed to the WWE’s training facility.
That was their big break.
“The moment you know you made it is when you get paid to do something that you love. For me it’s like, I get paid because this is my job, but it doesn’t feel like a job. It feels like summer camp,” said Nikki.
They made the most of their opportunity becoming, arguably, the most successful female wrestlers of all time.
Last year they stepped away from wrestling when Brie got pregnant and Nikki sustained a major neck injury. When I asked them about their return, Brie said, “I won’t go back without Nikki because it’s been almost two years since we’ve been in the ring together. We feel like 2018 is a good time. Nikki has to make sure her neck has healed.”
During this hiatus they started thinking about life after wrestling. Brie continued, “We were sitting on a plane. Everyone was talking about women empowerment: Rhonda Rousey, the Williams sisters, etc. We want to walk the talk. What can we create that will continue after we retire? We’re not educated on women’s hygiene. Sex education. We’d love to create feminine hygiene products. Big picture.”