When Sonya Deville joined WWE's main roster in 2017, she became the first openly gay female wrestler in the company's history. It may be easy for her to openly say that now, but it wasn't as easy when she was growing up.
She discussed the experience when she came out when Deville joined AfterBuzz TV.
"I knew [my mom] would be supportive. I just, I was in such denial within myself for the longest time, just because of the place I grew up in," said Deville who grew up in a small town in New Jersey. "Like, it wasn't common. I didn't know anybody that was gay. I think I had one gay friend in high school and she never even, like, came out. It was just, like, we all just knew.
"I think I was more just not comfortable with saying it. I was also in denial. I was like, 'I'm not gay, am I?' Cause I think, also the fact that I didn't fit the stereotypical mold of what a lesbian is supposed to be or act, I was just this girl that nobody would have expected. Maybe had someone said, 'are you gay?' I would have been like, 'yeah, yeah, I am actually.' You know what I mean? And it took that opportunity, that opportunity happened when I was 17 living in Florida, when I just graduated high school. My friend's mom said to me, 'honey, I think you're gay.' And I go, 'yeah, I am.'
"As soon as someone vocalized it to me, gave me permission. I was like, 'yes, yes, yeah!' But no one had ever said it. I would think it but then I'd be 'no, I've been dating guys my whole life.' There was just... I just had a juxtaposition in my head. I just couldn't figure it out."
With Deville spending much of her youth in the closet, and thus, not truly being herself, she was asked if that experience is why she loves performing and acting so much.
"100 percent! 100 percent, and that's something I've only started to perform in recent years," stated Deville. "I'm like, wait a second, I think that makes a lot of sense, looking back at it."