Daria Berenato is remembering what it was like to make history as WWE’s first openly gay female wrestler.
“I really just want to be a voice for the community in sports — specifically, in the WWE,” said the 27-year-old in a new interview with Variety.
Bernato, who’s real name is Sonya Deville, came out on national TV while starring in “Tough Enough”, which awards the winner with a WWE contract.
Although her family knew that she was gay, the sports star had not yet came out publicly.
“I honestly thought that was going to hurt my chances of getting hired. That’s just how naive I was,” she remembered. “I didn’t accept myself, so I didn’t think anyone else was going to accept me.”
Bernato continued, “I want to let people know that their sexuality doesn’t define them and how they identify doesn’t define them. And I’m a perfect example of it.”
On her connection with the LGBTQ+ community now, Berenato added, “I would say that about 70% of my fan base is part of the community somehow, some way.”
“I get messages constantly on Instagram and Twitter and emails, just all the people always asking me like, ‘Hey, do you have any advice on how I should come out?’ Or ‘Thank you. You helped me feel OK with myself and my sexuality.’ That’s literally the reason I use my voice.”