Women in entertainment — whether wrestlers or broadcasters — face some unique challenges, admits Renee Paquette. While men are frequently viewed with reverence as they age, she says as an example, their female counterparts are often seen quite differently.
“I always felt like, when I first started getting into this world, ‘Man, my shelf-life is going to be short! You’ve only got so long!’” the former WWE superstar shared during an exclusive The Wrestling Inc. Daily interview.
Paquette’s broadcasting career started in 2009 as a correspondent for The Score Television Network in native Canada. Three years later, she joined NXT as backstage interviewer “Renee Young.” Over the next eight years, her role evolved to include commentary on various WWE entities, cohosting WWE Backstage and PPV kick-off shows and even a stint on Total Divas. All the while, it felt like the clock was ticking.
“You hit 35, and you’re like ‘ancient,'” she said of the internal pressure at that time. “I don’t think that’s the case any more.”
As a broadcaster, Paquette turns to sports announcer and analyst Doris Burke for inspiration. At 55, Burke has emerged as one of the most respected voices on ESPN and a leading authority within the NBA. She “really created a path for women to follow behind her,” says Paquette.
“We’re seeing more women able to really hold that spot down,” she said of females taking lead roles in sports broadcasting. WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix and she fall into the growing category of women aided by changing views on the value of experienced female broadcasters, opined Paquette.
“We’re tacking years onto our careers now it feels, and there’s something really, really special about that,” she stated, “To not feel that pressure — like ‘God, I’d better hurry up and achieve all my goals by the time I’m 30, because then I’m washed up and can’t work any more!’”
Now 35 herself, Paquette is far from “ancient” or “washed up.” With husband Jon Moxley, she welcomed daughter Nora on June 15. After just six weeks maternity leave, she returned to Oral Sessions, the popular podcast launched shortly after her WWE departure in 2020. There are “no plans to take [her] foot off the gas pedal” of her career, she insists.
“Honestly, most people, men and women, don’t hit their stride until their mid-30s! You have the experience under your belt. You know your voice and your tone and what you want to do as a broadcaster more,” she said.
“It’s really nice to hit that sweet spot and not feel like you’ve got to hurry and wrap it up just as you’re hitting your stride,” she confessed.
Meanwhile, she points out other women in wrestling — specifically in-ring competitors — face entirely different challenges. She noted, for example, how difficult it is for any competitor to remain in peak physical condition and how “absurd” it is to discount someone based on age.
“That s--t is such hard work, and they maintain it and look incredible,” she said. “So for anyone to be like, ‘Well, I don’t know…She’s getting a little old!’ Take a seat. Take several seats!”
Again Paquette suggests “like anyone, in any career, when you hit your 30s, that’s when you’re doing some of your best work.” She says dismissing a competitor because of age is “shooting ourselves in the foot” — particularly when those individuals are “in their prime actually.
“‘Prime’ is not in your 20s anymore,” Paquette concludes, “Sorry to break it to you!”
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