This week on Chasing Glory, Dana Brooke admitted just like her tag team partner Mandy Rose, she too has struggled with maintaining self-love and appreciation for her body. Now, she’s happy to report to the host of Chasing Glory, Lilian Garcia, that she is in a much better place with how she feels about her body.
“Obviously, body image to me was a huge problem. But over – I’d say a year-and-a-half to two years – I’ve never been happier,” Dana Brooke said. “She [Mandy Rose] touched on it, but I haven’t stressed [out over it]. I was thinking about losing weight and dieting, [but] it [had] the reverse effect. I’ve changed my sense of training. Within WWE, training is essential; we always have to train. But I don’t stress out as much as I once did.”
Just last year, Brooke found herself exploring the dating world once more, following the tragic passing of her boyfriend, Dallas McCarver, in 2017. Before she officially invited fellow boxer Ulysses Diaz into her life, she admits she was quite hesitant about going out and dating again.
“It was through mutual friends, and at that time, I’d been long separated from my ex. I was so focused on being alone,” she noted. “One of my friends contacted me and was like, ‘Hey. I saw that you moved back to the area.’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He was like, ‘Well, I’m in the area with one of my fighters. Let’s meet up and have lunch.’ I was like, ‘Ok, yeah. That’s great!’
“My friend couldn’t speak English that well, so he put Uly on the phone – on FaceTime. I saw the guy and was like, ‘Whoa. He’s scary and very intimidating.’ I felt something magical. It was just three split seconds, and I thought,’ There’s something about this guy.’ I’ve never been in a happier position as far as with myself and in my relationship.”
In her interview with Garcia last year, Brooke revealed that alcoholism and drug abuse have plagued her immediate family. Her aunt, who she says inspires her every day, took a tragic fall while intoxicated that caused her to become paralyzed, which resulted in her staying in a nursing home permanently. Saddened by the misfortune that ensued her aunt’s healthy, Brooke wants to do all she can to help her aunt out during this tragic period in her life.
“Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any significant improvement,” she sadly replied. “It’s hard because she’s such a strong woman. To see her mental strength hasn’t diminished is so inspiring to me. Because when I wake up and think I have an issue, I snap back into reality and think about her. She can’t walk, she can’t move, but she has the mindset of, ‘I’m going to get up. I’m going to do this.’ She’s not giving up. My aunt drives me. I still want to help her get there.”
With podcasts like Chasing Glory, which focuses on the WWE Superstars breaking kayfabe to really showcase what they’re like off-screen, Brooke thanks Garcia for giving her this platform so she can form a better and more personal relationship with the WWE Universe.
“This is me. Before, I don’t want to say that I was playing a character, but, like, I feel like I’m more relatable because you [Lilian Garcia] give me a platform to speak on,” she complimented. “Ashley Sebera carries over to Dana Brooke, who gets to perform in front of thousands and thousands of people. When we’re out there, we don’t really get to show our vulnerable side. We need to play what they say [and] do what they need us to do.
“But now, people get to hear us open up and see who Mandy Rose is and who Dana Brooke is. We’re strong, driven, powerful women that are possibly underdogs who have always wanted to drive and drive and push and push for a title opportunity, and we’re not going to give up until we get there.”
Now that Brooke re-signed her contract with WWE for another five years, she is more determined than ever to surpass people’s expectations of her both as a single and tag team competitor.
“To feel stable within yourself and in life is glory,” she concluded. “I wouldn’t necessarily say if I left today, I’d be fulfilled with what I’ve done because I’m not. I still feel like there’s more to do here. I want to stay here because I feel like there’s still a lot in me. It’s like ‘The Little Engine [That Could]’, I can keep going and keep going…I want to leave here feeling like I did everything I wanted to do here.”
You can watch Dana Brooke’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.