AEW star Red Velvet was on a recent episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone. WWE announced the return of Tough Enough in 2015, and Velvet recalled her experience trying out for the show.
“So I stepped away from wrestling before that because I was training to become a professional dancer, so dance took over my life. I stopped watching wrestling, and then I quit,” Velvet said. “And then you have Triple H making the announcement that they’re doing Tough Enough. ‘Anybody can do it. You don’t have to be a wrestler. You just have to show that you’re tough enough.’ So I went on and did the YouTube video, and it took off. They showed it twice on SmackDown. I remember somebody woke me up to the video footages of my video, and then I had a follow-up Skype interview with the producer.
“So I had made it, I guess, through round one, and then she had asked me, ‘Hey, I need you to send over some professional photos.’ And at the time, I didn’t have no professional photos. I selfie-type [pictures]. It was just horrible what I sent in. So I didn’t make it on the show, but I’m a big believer of everything happens for a reason, and that was, I think, the bullet point that stuck for me to start wrestling because then after, it just took off. And people were like, ‘Well, why don’t you do it? You should do it,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ So I started looking up schools.
“I didn’t even know wrestling schools existed. I never even thought how people became wrestlers. When you see these celebrities, it almost feels like something that is so far that you don’t even know how to get there. You always just watch it on TV like, oh, these superheroes, these people, they’re celebrities. I’ll never get there, and then I started searching schools. And and it took off, so I think not making it on the show was the best thing that happened because it opened up my eyes to how much potential I had to become a wrestler, and then I joined the school and started wrestling.”
Velvet also opened up about working two jobs while also working AEW tapings before she signed her AEW contract. She talked about her life before and after she signed and her mindset now.
“It’s been great. There’s days where we’re not on the road and I wake up, and the first thing I just say is thank you to the universe, or to God or whatever everyone anyone believes in because up until I got signed, I was working two jobs,” Velvet revealed. “I was living in Miami, and then I would drive from Jacksonville to Miami right after tapings, go home, shower and work.
“So I quit my job before even getting signed. So I took that risk. Obviously, I was going to move to Orlando anyways to be with Wes, but I was like, I’ll do Uber Eats. I’ll do Postmates. I don’t care, but I need to take that leap. So I ended up quitting my job, and a little time after that, I got signed. So that was great. If it wouldn’t have happened that way, I still would have made it work anyway but now full time wrestling is amazing. It’s still stressful because you work so hard to get the job and now you got to keep the job.
“So I never like to get comfortable. I actually have more pressure now that I’m signed than before I got signed because you’re working for something. Now I got it. How do I keep it? But it’s great. It’s amazing. I have free time when I’m not on the road. My family can’t believe it. They’re like, oh my God, you did it. You’re living your dream. You literally don’t have a job but to wrestle full-time, and I said, it’s not a job if you love it, but it’s great. Very blessed.”
Velvet took fan questions near the end of the podcast. One fan asked her what she would do if she were not a pro wrestler.
“Professional dancer, that was my first because my dad was a boxer, and I was always around sports, not that I wasn’t good at sports,” Velvet stated. “I always wanted to be part of a team. I always wanted those playoff jitters, and I never really got that. So when I stepped into wrestling, it was like, whoa, I can be a dancer, and entertain and still be a wrestler, a fighter and a part of a team. Got it but if I could not wrestle anymore, I would be a professional dancer still.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.