Following WrestleMania 35, WWE star Sasha Banks took a four month hiatus from the promotion, where she reportedly asked for her release. Appearing on the Just Women’s Sports podcast with Kelly O’Hara, Banks went in depth into why she took such a long break.

“It was from everything,” Banks revealed. “From that grueling schedule and never getting to take in those wins and understanding those victories, taking my losses really, really hard and just being a baby. I started wrestling when I was 18, got signed when I was 20, straight on the road when I was 23. Just had that nonstop career of being Sasha Banks when I was 20 years old, and having my hair color change and not seeing my real hair for so long. And just losing, kind of myself and I lost my name. Not even my mom called me Mercedes. My friends didn’t call me Mercedes. They called me either The Boss or Sasha Banks.

“When I was at home I was really lost and confused. I looked at myself in the mirror and I just was not happy. This girl who was so obsessed with being a WWE superstar, it felt like her dream was coming to an end and it was everything I ever dreamt of as a kid anymore. I didn’t want to hate something that I’d loved my whole life, so I told myself I needed to take a break and walk away from it to find myself. To find out who Mercedes was. Cause at that point, all I knew was Sasha Banks.”

Banks would return in August of 2019 on the RAW brand. She talked about getting the urge to wrestle again after the time off, which she attributed to rediscovering who she was outside of pro wrestling.

“It was just that urge that I missed it so much,” Banks said. “I was thankful for the time off. I got to take my wig off and see my beautiful, brown curly hair. I was like ‘oh! Okay, I remember that Mercedes. Your hair is actually beautiful. Okay that’s good, you have hair. Okay, you remember your name, that’s good.’ I wanted to know who I was without WWE. I wanted to know if I  even liked anything else besides wrestling.

“I just wanted to have a hobby. Because anytime I talked to somebody it was like ‘what do you like?’ I’m like ‘one thing that I actually don’t want to talk about. Because it’s my life 24/7.’ I found things that I had an interest in. I liked other things, I went to therapy, I found meditation and I went to the beach. And I was like ‘okay, there’s life, there’s more than two things and oh, I can still love wrestling too. Oh okay. Life is everything I want it to be, because I can create my own reality to it.”‘

Banks has not appeared on WWE television since losing the SmackDown Women’s Championship to Bianca Belair at WrestleMania. She is advertised for the July 16th episode of SmackDown from Houston, Texas, which will be the first SmackDown in front of a live crowd in 16 months.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Just Women’s Sports and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription

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