Meet Bianca Belair, Wrestling Champ Turned Reality TV Star
When I spoke to WWE superstar Bianca Belair, she was gearing up for last weekend’s Royal Rumble, the 30-woman match in which everyone is vying for a championship bout at WrestleMania. While she came up short in her quest to win the Rumble for the second time—she won it in 2021 after less than a year on the main roster—Belair’s still got plenty to celebrate. This week, her new reality show Love & WWE: Bianca & Montez, in which she stars alongside her husband, fellow WWE Superstar Montez Ford, drops on Hulu. The show carries on the wrestling reality show tradition forged by Total Divas and Total Bellas—which is how the former crossfit star was introduced to wrestling—and offers a peek into the couple’s lives as they navigate life on the road and baby fever. And though Belair will have to find another way to WrestleMania, she might already have a tag team partner in the Hot Girl herself, Megan Thee Stallion, whom Belair connected with in 2021 at Lollapalooza. “She’s been into fitness lately, so I think she’s ready to make a cameo,” Belair told me. Of course, now would be a good time for Meg to enter the ring.
SCARLETT HARRIS: How are you doing?
BIANCA BELAIR: I’m good. How are you?
HARRIS: Good, thanks. I’m excited to talk to you. We’re coming up on the Royal Rumble this weekend, which I feel like is your event. You were the Iron Woman three years in a row. What can we expect to see from you?
BELAIR: I’m really excited about this year’s Royal Rumble. Last year, I was secretly jealous of all the girls that got to be a part of it because it’s one of my favorite matches. I always look at Rumble as an opportunity to solidify having a match at WrestleMania, and then you can just focus on preparing for it. I would love to jumpstart WrestleMania by winning and becoming the first woman to ever two-peat at Royal Rumble.
HARRIS: I noticed that there’s only four of you declared for the 30-Women Match, which is different from previous years. How much of a surprise is it going to be for you, not knowing the majority of your opponents?
BELAIR: Yeah, this year is very different. The fact that there’s only been four women that have declared, and it’s so many spots, it’s going to be a surprise. It’s exciting for the fans and it’s exciting for us, because the possibilities are endless. But it’s really hard to get prepared for something when you don’t know who you’re going up against.
HARRIS: You had one of the most insane rookie years on the main roster, debuting at an empty arena at WrestleMania in 2020 and then going on to win the title from Sasha Banks a year later in the first ever all-black main event of WrestleMania. Could you have ever anticipated it?
BELAIR: No. I would love to say that I had enough confidence in my rookie year to think that all these amazing things were going to happen. The amazing thing about Royal Rumble is that it can really change the whole trajectory of someone’s career. It can make a new star out of a rookie, out of an NXT talent, out of anyone. I went in with the mentality of winning, but at the same time, I was just looking to try to make a name for myself and stand out. And all of a sudden, I was the last woman standing and I was so caught up in the fact that I won that I forgot what happened next until I looked to the left and I saw the WrestleMania sign. I was able to capitalize on that, go to WrestleMania, win the SmackDown title, and then win an ESPY. I’m looking to ride off of that and do the same thing this year.
HARRIS: We’re also here today to talk about your new reality show, Love & WWE: Bianca & Montez. What drew you to this project?
BELAIR: I’m super excited about it. We saw it as an amazing opportunity to really show the WWE universe who we are inside the ring, but also outside the ring, to pull the curtain back a bit and show how we navigate this crazy hectic schedule of the road to WrestleMania. And we’re showing how we navigate that as husband and wife. We also saw it as an opportunity to bring more eyes to WWE. People who might not know much about WWE or don’t watch, to show them that it’s for everybody and that wrestling is cool and marriage is cool and love is cool. It’s a great introduction to our lives.
HARRIS: You’ve said that Total Divas partly inspired you to get into WWE. How does it feel to be carrying on the wrestling reality show tradition?
BELAIR: Total Divas was what got me interested in women’s wrestling. My brother always watched wrestling growing up. I remember seeing Total Divas and my mom calling me saying, “Hey, do you see what these female wrestlers are doing?” It’s really cool that now my husband and I are able to do the same thing that they did.
HARRIS: It’s really interesting to portray a wrestling couple where the woman is more successful than the man. Can you talk a little bit about how you and Montez navigate that and why it was important to portray that on the show?
BELAIR: It’s definitely important to portray that on the show, and it’s very authentic to our marriage and our lifestyle. I would say that I’m just blessed to have a husband that supports me to be the absolute best version of myself. The trailer just came out and my husband’s saying he’s still trying to figure out his path. I think that speaks volumes about what type of man he is, to be able to support his wife, who is having a successful run. It’s great for women to see, too, that we can be independent, we can be successful, but we also be in a successful marriage and have a man that supports us.
HARRIS: To be honest, when I saw that you had taken time off last year, I was like, “She’s pregnant.” Has the needle moved on that?
BELAIR: Everyone thought that’s what was happening. I’ll say that we do have that conversation a lot of times in the show. We both want that. I see other women in WWE that are great examples, like Becky [Lynch], who is a mother, a wife, a WWE superstar. She didn’t have to choose. It’s pushing me in the direction to go ahead and pull the trigger. But being a woman with a career, it plays a huge role in any decision that you make. Do you want to sacrifice having a baby for your career, or sacrifice a career to have a baby? It’s a huge decision.
HARRIS: We have to talk about your gear. I can’t get over the fact that you make your own gear, and you do it while traveling on the road. Tell me a little bit about that.
BELAIR: I love to make my own gear. I’ve been making it since I was in NXT. I’m a very hands-on person and that has a lot to do with it, but I love that I’m able to use my creativity. I love the fact that I can step in the ring and I’m sitting across from my opponent and I say, “I made my own gear.” This already gives me a boost of confidence. I will say, with my schedule getting so busy, it does get a lot harder to find time. But it just wouldn’t feel right to step out in gear that I didn’t make.
HARRIS: What’s been your favorite gear?
BELAIR: I think my favourite would be WrestleMania 38 with Becky Lynch, just because that was my first time really stepping out of my comfort zone, of my normal pattern. I was trying something new and I didn’t know if I could do it. I also wore a gear in NXT for Black History Month that got turned into an action figure. They all have a special memory tied to them.
HARRIS: On the topic of fashion, you and Montez dress alike, which is something I hadn’t noticed until watching the show. Do you shop together or does one of you take the reins on that?
BELAIR: It’s super organic. One of the things that we bonded over when we first met was our love for fashion. By dressing alike and coordinating and complementing each other, if one of us puts on one color, automatically, the other puts on the other color. It’s kind of like we feel like we’re a package. Honestly, I feel like it’s a love language. And that’s a future goal of ours, to have a fashion line with outfits that complement each other.
HARRIS: Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey both have memoirs coming out in a couple of months. Can we expect one from you?
BELAIR: Yes, 100%. The art of life is just telling your true story. I’m super excited for Becky Lynch’s book to come out. It’s so inspiring to have a legacy and to be able to document your life and write a book on it. I was a big journaler in high school and college, so I’ve been kind of documenting my life anyway.
HARRIS: One of the big storylines in Love & WWE is your WrestleMania entrance last year with The Divas of Compton. What kind of entrance can we expect from you this year?
BELAIR: I would say it gets harder each year to try and think of an entrance. The first year with the HBCU band, that’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years. It was an idea that I had in NXT and I was waiting for the perfect opportunity for it. It finally happened at WrestleMania 38. And then for WrestleMania 39, I was inspired by my meet and greets. I was seeing all these little girls dressed like me, and there was a girl who came in with a poster of a Black History Month project that she made of me. I realized I want them to be a part of my entrance and I want them to see themselves in me.
HARRIS: You’ve met Megan Thee Stallion, right? Could we expect a surprise appearance?
BELAIR: I would love that. I got to meet her and talk with her, and she is super sweet. She’s so beautiful in person, super down to earth. She’s a stallion in real life. I need her to get in the wrestling ring with me and maybe be my tagging partner. She’s been into fitness lately, so I think she’s ready to make a cameo.