Bianca Belair On Mental Health, Diversity And The Road To WrestleMania

Courtesy of WWE

Bianca Belair knows what it takes to perform in the best way possible. As the longest reigning WWE Women’s Champion of the modern era, she continues to push her body past conventional limits, which in turn has made her one of the most successful athletes in all of sports. 

Last month, Belair was featured on the WWE 2K24 Deluxe Edition box art, making her the first woman of color to ever be highlighted on the cover of a WWE 2K game. She also stars in a reality show focused around her and her husband Montez Ford, as they navigate their life, love, and careers as professional wrestlers. With all her accomplishments and additional endeavors on her plate, it’s important that the Knoxville, Tennessee native remains focused, and maintains that unwavering dedication to training and exercise, especially with the megaevent WrestleMania on the horizon.

Bianca Belair On Mental Health, Diversity And The Road To WrestleMania
Courtesy of WWE

“My husband and I; we constantly workout all the time,” Belair says. “We’re always in shape, but we really start hitting it even harder on the roads for WrestleMania. So I’ve been dieting, I’ve been working out extra hard, going to the ring, working out in the ring. You really just want to bring your best self to the table because there’s going to be 70,000, 80,000 plus people in the stadium and millions of people watching on their TV screens.”

Through rigorous training, prioritizing mental health, and using products like C4 Ultimate Energy—which is now the official energy drink of the WWE, Belair has reached heights that only few could ever imagine.

ESSENCE: I wanted to know; how has implementing C4 Ultimate Energy in your training regimen helped you to become a better athlete?

Bianca Belair: C4 is so important to me. I’ve actually been using C4 way before I even got into WWE. I was introduced to it when I was doing CrossFit. So everyone knows being in WWE, we do not have an off season. We’re on the road constantly, not just doing matches and shows, but doing appearances. And I have a schedule that is like none other, even when I’m not champion, I have a championship schedule, so I’m constantly needing energy. And C4 is my go-to energy drink, and it’s really cool that I get to be a part of this collaboration now that C4 has become an official energy drink for WWE. But I implement it all the time, even from their Smart Energy where I use that when I sew my own gear.

I’m up till 3 o’clock in the morning, so I use Smart Energy when I’m sewing. I use it when I’m on the road driving from city to city. I use the Ultimate a lot when I’m working out because we fly, we land, we look for a gym, you’re just taking a 6 AM flight, so I need to pick up energy for my workout. Then later on that night I have a show, so C4 for that is healthy for me. It’s zero carbs, zero sugars, no artificial flavors. It gets me through my workout. It’s really truly my go-to energy drink.

You spoke about your schedule and the things you do, your training regimen, everything like that. How do you stay motivated in such an unforgiving profession?

I feel like it just has to be a part of you and you have to love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, you’re kind of just going through the motions. But I truly have a passion for wrestling, and a passion for WWE. It helps that my husband is in the business as well, so we get to share these amazing moments together. I feel like I get to bring my family along for the journey. They’re coming to WrestleMania, they’re at every single show, so I get to see the excitement in them. But also, it’s creating a legacy. I’ve done so much and I’ve created so much history and I’m having a legacy of being undefeated at WrestleMania and I can pass this legacy down for generations to generations. That’s inspiration. Representation to me is so important. I know I am where I am because of my role models.

So I’ve been trying to do the same thing for other people and bring them on stage with me. And I get excited about WrestleMania season because I always try to use it as an opportunity to somehow bring me to the stage and my culture to the stage. And it was important to me last year to bring the Divas of Compton, which was a dance group of 7 to 12 year olds, all Black little girls. They happen to be a dance group and I want them to see themselves in me and see themselves on that stage. So I can do things like that. I bring purpose to what I do. It’s the purpose that drives me.

I wanted to hone in on WrestleMania a little bit. I’m pretty sure you train the same year round, but WrestleMania is just different. It’s just such a big event. What does Bianca Belair do to prepare for the huge event that is WrestleMania?

WrestleMania is like our Super Bowl. It’s the biggest time to prepare. Everybody’s goal is to get to WrestleMania. Everybody wants to be on the show at WrestleMania. It’s where you get the best stories, the best views, the best fights, the best gear, the best entrances, the best everything. So you want to show up in your best form. So I’m always somebody who… I always like to stay prepared. I always say I stay ready so I don’t have to get ready because like I said, we don’t have an off season. You have to be ready all year long and be ready for whenever an opportunity presents itself. But when it’s WrestleMania season, you kind of just push it up a notch.

What is your favorite WrestleMania moment and why?

Well, my favorite WrestleMania moment that I’ve been a part of, of course, my main event at WrestleMania, it made history. I was one of the first Black women to ever main event WrestleMania. I won a title at that match. I also won an ESPY off of that match. It changed the whole trajectory of my career. That moment was so beautiful. Even when you watch it back, the first minute of that match, I’m in tears standing in the ring where I’m supposed to be fighting. I’m in tears. So the moment was beautiful. My favorite WrestleMania moment outside of myself would probably be KofiMania. I remember watching and he won and we were jumping up and down and screaming and clapping and laughing and felt like it was a moment where we were a part of it. And also when it was the very first women’s WrestleMania match ever with Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey because it was just history being made.

You’re an athlete that’s in peak physical condition, but I wanted to talk to you about what you do to keep your mental health on point?

Mental health is everything. I think everybody focuses so much on the physical. You go in the gym and you’re training and you’re working hard and you’re sore. You feel good about yourself. But mental health is just as important. For me, my mental health is a lot of resting because I am constantly on the go. I’m constantly so focused, grinding, I’m constantly performing; where you go out there and you’re smiling and you’re meeting fans and you’re putting smiles on fans’ faces, sometimes you tend to forget about yourself and you become mentally exhausted or you give so much of yourself to the world. When you get to your home life where you have your loved ones, the ones that truly matter and that are going to be there, even when everything’s said and done, you don’t have anything for them. You don’t have anything for yourself. So I get mentally exhausted just from being physically exhausted.

So I have to remember to rest. I have to remember to do things that I enjoy. I think that mental health and self-care sometimes has a misconception when people think that it’s this extravagant thing where you have to go to the spa, you have to get cucumbers and put them on your eyes and get massages. Sometimes I just need to sit down and decompress, lay in my bed and do my guilty pleasure and eat in my bed and watch all my shows. But also finding hobbies that don’t really have a purpose other than just enjoyment. Sometimes people turn their hobbies into… I need to make money off of this hobby. I love to sew, but I sew a lot for wrestling gear. So I will sew something random—a dress, a shirt, I love to read. It was a time when I first got into WWE and I went a year and a half and I realized I hadn’t picked up a book. I love to read because those books take me on journeys and it eases my mind. So it’s really just resting and finding things that you enjoy.

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