WWE SmackDown Superstar Sonya Deville recently spoke with Parade and talked about how pro wrestling has empowered her as a woman and as a lesbian.

Deville responded and said sports in general have made her who she is today. She also credited WWE for giving her a platform where she can spread her message and share her story. Deville recalled coming out on WWE Tough Enough years ago, and said she wasn’t ready to tell her truth just yet.

“Being a lifelong athlete, I am a firm believer that I am who I am today because of sports,” Deville said. “Not only did it give me structure and a solid foundation, but it gave me a sense of failure and how to overcome failure. In sports, you deal with disappointment often, but it’s how you handle it and come back from it that shapes you. All these lessons are transferable to life and have really helped me with the adversities I’ve had to deal with in life.

“Being a part of the WWE, I am blessed to have a platform both on social media and TV, with that platform I am able to spread my message and share my story. Four years ago, I wasn’t even openly gay, then I came out on national TV on WWE’s Tough Enough. Although it caught me off guard and I wasn’t by any means prepared to tell the world my truth, the fact that it was public made me almost have to face my truth. The last four years since then has been a forever evolving journey of self-acceptance and now also helping others realize it’s okay to be whoever you are, and to love whomever you love.”

Regarding that confidence, Deville was asked how other woman can achieve the level she’s at.

“I have a theory that confidence comes from self-worth,” Deville said. “I think no matter what your job title or role in life is, it’s important to just take pride in what you do and do it well. Even prior to WWE, when I was bartending and training MMA, I always had a sense of fulfillment because although not my dream job, I took pride in being the best bartender I could be. I look at my career now with the WWE the exact same way. At the end of the day, if you paid for the food on your table and the roof over your head, it’s a great feeling. That’s what makes me feel confident.”

Deville also talked about what it feels like in the ring and what emotions she experiences while she’s wrestling for WWE.

“It’s a rush?the lights, the crowd, the intensity,” Deville said. “That feeling is what drives me every day to wake up to be bigger and better then I was yesterday. Adrenaline is definitely one of the main emotions I feel before and during a match, but also thrill, and enjoyment. I love every minute of being inside that squared circle.”