How are you settling into your role as an official member of the NXT roster?
It's a dream job come to life, although it doesn't even feel like a job. I wake up every morning thankful for my life and that I'm able to go into the WWE Performance Center to train. I have tons of friends there, old ones from the independents and new friends that I have made since being on the roster. The work is hard, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
You're obviously a very determined person inside the ring, but outside the ring, you've also championed the cause of domestic abuse awareness. Why this cause?
I never thought I'd be in a situation like that. I know a lot of people would say, "That could never be me" because I've said that. Going through [domestic abuse] for two years, those were the darkest years. Looking back at it now, the signs were there. It's never easy to just leave. Once I finally got the strength to leave, I would talk to my close friends about what to do. Talking to them, I realized a lot of my friends had been through similar situations, but they never wanted to speak out because as female wrestlers, it made them feel that they need to have a strong image or that people wouldn't believe them because of the sport they are in.
I knew I had to be a voice, so others can feel comfortable speaking about their own issues or even help those who are still in those abusive relationships. Safe Horizon allowed me the platform to speak up, and it all started with a purple nail — the #PutTheNailInIt campaign. I wanted to tell the survivors that they are not alone and that it's OK to speak about it. If I could help just one person, then to me, that's all I ever wanted. Domestic violence was a hidden epidemic all over the world that needed a spark to raise awareness. I didn't want my situation to be another silent story, I knew I had to be that spark.
What are your goals in NXT and beyond?
My goal in NXT is to become the next NXT Women's Champion and to become a champion on either Raw or Smackdown LIVE. I must have a WrestleMania moment to see my parents cry in the stands. My goal is also to have a better record than Shelton Benjamin and to torment his life until the end of time. Outside of wrestling, my goal is to become a role model, a spokesperson to raise awareness of domestic violence. I want to be a role model who shows that whatever hardships or obstacles one goes through, if you want it bad enough and put it in the work, you can make anything happen. Long live the rose that grew from concrete.