With all the access we have to entertainers’ on-stage and off-stage personas, sometimes it’s hard to differentiate the two. For Shotzi Blackheart, her off-stage identity was focused solely on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory when she revealed the childhood trauma she received from her uncle. In her interview, the daredevil of NXT revealed to the wrestling community for the very first time that for five years during her adolescence, she was a victim of sexual abuse. In order to let her past wounds heal, she mentioned how important it is for victims to talk about hardships like the ones she endured.
“I had a pretty rough childhood, to be honest,” Blackheart said with hesitation. “I bounced around from like, my mom’s to my dad’s and to my friend’s house at a real young age. I dealt with a lot of sexual abuse for like, years. When I finally came out about it – I came out to my middle school counselor – [my uncle] went to jail. He’s still in jail now. But when I came out about it, some of my family didn’t believe me. But my dad really helped me through it, and so did musical theater. That’s why I liked performing so much – it was a big outlet for me. That was my therapy.”
Blackheart hopes that her story will inspire fans, colleagues, and others to reach out to her in the future.
“I know that so many girls deal with this; it’s like a crazy amount. I encourage girls to come to me and talk about it because I’m so open with it,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Once she told her father what had happened to her, Blackheart channeled her troubles through musical theater, something she was pursuing for a while prior to her big break in WWE last year.
“I had to do a lot of therapy afterward,” she admitted. “I found like, a really awesome therapist, so that helped a lot. And like I said, performing was always just like therapy in itself. I think I always chased it, so I think wrestling is therapy for me too. I just need it.”
In high school, Blackheart found herself in another traumatic situation when she was sexually abused by someone else. After she came out about her abuse, classmates of hers began bullying her, which caused her to change schools during the beginning of her freshman year. Because of this, she decided to focus on her relationship with herself and her love for musical theater.
“I had fun in school, except for high school. High school was the worst. I was raped in high school during my freshman year,” she revealed. “I told my best friend and she got me to come out about it, and everyone at school did not believe me. They just labeled me as a slut. They’d say, ‘She’s lying, she’s a skank.’
“I’d come to school, and after one period, I would get bullied so much that I would just run back home. So like, I had to change high schools halfway through my freshman year. I told myself that I didn’t want friends, I just wanted musical theater.”
Now that she’s found ways to channel a more positive outlook towards her future, she is hopeful that she can become an inspiration to many like her idol, the former five-time WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James. When asked what her dream match would be in WWE, she said it would be a main event match with James.
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it,” she first mentioned. “Hmm, I mean, main event WrestleMania would be really awesome. Like, Mickie James! I’m obsessed with Mickie James. She’s the coolest!”
You can watch Shotzi Blackheart’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Lilian Garcia -Chasing Glory with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.