Although ideas on tattoos have modernized over the years, former NXT and NXT UK Women's Champion Rhea Ripley found herself in a frustrating situation when WWE refused to clear her on getting pieces done on her upper body. Instead, she took it upon herself to get her tattoo work done on her legs.
"The tattoos on my legs started because they didn't let me get tattoos on my upper body at work. They would never clear me for anything," Rhea Ripley recalls in her interview on Chasing Glory. "I would ask, and ask, and ask, and ask, 'Hey, I just want tattoos.'
"I wanted tattoos since I was a kid and I never got them because they didn't really sign girls that had tattoos back in the day. So, I was like, 'I need to get my dream job first and then I can get them.'"
In a past interview she had with Lilian Garcia, Ripley opened up about her long time struggle with body dysmorphia. She says a lot of her insecurities on the matter are attributed to how the media defines beauty, as well as how fitness models use steroids to maintain their physiques. She mentioned in her interview that she refuses to use steroids for fear of dying prematurely.
"I feel like I have really bad body dysmorphia," she boldly admitted. "My ex used to say it all the time 'cause I would look at myself in the mirror and say, 'Oh, I look disgusting.' He's like, 'You got something wrong with you, 'cause you look fine.' Even Kevin, [my current boyfriend], says, 'You look great!' And I'm like, 'No, look at this bit on my tummy right here. It's fat.'
"I think it was growing up, and watching TV, and looking at magazines - all of that stuff, and you know how all of that is portrayed. I still have a certain way that I want to look, and it's really difficult because of the touchy subject, but I see a lot of fitness models, and a lot of them are on steroids. I'm like, 'I don't ever want to put that crap in my body, like, ever. I hate that.' I don't want to die young; I just want to look like them, so, that makes it really hard. I go, 'Why don't I look like this? I put so much time and effort into the gym and my legs aren't growing.'"
Last year in the same interview, Ripley also opened up about her longtime struggle with self-harm. Her friend, and 2018 Mae Young Classic Tournament winner, Toni Storm, admitted she too is a survivor of self-harm. After their interviews, Ripley and Storm confided in each other about their similar struggles. They both have been each other's support system since, as mentioned by Ripley.
"We've talked a little bit about it," she said about helping Toni Storm with her self-harm difficulties. "With Toni, I have known her for so long. We've been friends since we were 16 years old. I've seen the marks and stuff, but I've always asked her about them. But she always comes up with different stories for them, so to find out that? I want to say that I'm surprised, but I'm not. I'm glad that we have each other and that we're both here."
During the interview, the host of Chasing Glory, Lilian Garcia, pulled out her phone to show Ripley some old photos of herself. She then went on to ask Ripley what would she say to her younger and real-life self, Demi Bennett.
"Oh man, I would say so much to that Demi. [I'd say] just be confident in yourself, 'cause even just looking at these photos, I know what was going through my head at the time," she said with sadness in her voice. "If you work hard, you'll get there; it's going to happen. Just stay on the ride, you know?"
Although she still has a way to go in her career, Garcia asked Ripley what exactly the word "glory" means to her. Her response was simply this: to see how far she can get. But before ending her interview, Ripley mentioned that once she finishes all her big runs in WWE, she is looking forward to the possibility of starting her own family, similar to the trend we are seeing with Becky Lynch and, most recently, Renee Paquette.
"Oh man, that's a really tough question," she pondered. "I guess glory just means, like, knowing that I did my best and I got as far as I could. I say it all of the time - I don't have many goals in this business 'cause I just want to see how far I can get. I feel like once my career is all done and dusted, and I've done everything I could have possibly done, then that's my glory. Then I can live, and have a normal life, and go have kids. I love wrestling, but when that day comes, I'm going back home and I'm starting a family."
You can watch Rhea Ripley'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.