Sonya Deville, a superstar in the WWE, is renowned for her dramatic storylines in the ring and flamboyant style, as well as for breaking down barriers.
The WWE’s first openly homosexual female wrestler was born in New Jersey, and since 2015, she has balanced her on-stage antics with campaigning.
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2015 saw the debut of Deville, whose true name is Daria Rae Berenato, on television. When asked about her relationship at the time while appearing on the reality series “Tough Enough,” she replied that she “had a girlfriend.”
In a Zoom interview with TODAY in late June, Deville said, “The first question I was asked was ‘Are you currently in a relationship?’ and I was just like, either I lie on national television and that’s a whole other issue, or I tell the truth. I came out by simply telling the truth, so to speak.
Deville joined WWE soon after her appearance on “Tough Enough.” She claims that the feedback she received from fans there was “predominantly good.”
According to Deville, “I’d say there’s about 90% love and 10% hatred, and when I do get the hate, I just feel horrible for individuals who are still in a state of mind where they can’t… accept the people around them for who they love. “My followers have kind of been through it all with me,” I said, “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
Deville said she wants to use her platform to demonstrate to LGTBQ+ fans that there is always room for them in the world of professional wrestling. In 2021, she started entering the ring to the original entrance song, “Pride Fighter.”
Deville stated, “Every year, as I get more at ease, it brings something different along with it. “I just consider how much I was concealing seven years ago, before I came out in WWE. I realised how much less at ease I was with who I am. When I see that girl, that representation of myself, I think, “If I can be the voice and representation for the community, for that young (person), for whoever is going through a similar experience but can see me on WWE doing my thing and being out and being open and free… I just want to be that kind of open, positive representation I wish I had when I wasn’t out yet.””
Although there have been other openly homosexual wrestlers and WWE icons in the past, Deville claimed that the pressure of being the first openly gay female WWE wrestler puts a “weight on her shoulders.” She claimed that she feels the responsibility to “fully represent the community” and to assist those in need.
Stunt on em ⚡️🥾🌈 pic.twitter.com/LaDn9E0SMW
— Daria/Sonya Deville (@SonyaDevilleWWE) June 14, 2022
Numerous people DM me and share their stories, she said. “I just make an effort to respond to as many of those as I can. Everyone’s situation is so different from one another, and everyone will have their own path and journey. I’m not an expert, and I don’t have all the answers. As a result, I simply strive to assist and serve as a model for anyone who might be considering doing what I did.”
Deville is equally open about her relationship with her model and fitness enthusiast partner Toni Cassano. Deville was not dating Cassano when she revealed her sexual orientation on “Tough Enough.”
“I always want to make sure that Cassano is at ease and OK with being in front of the cameras, paparazzi, and red carpets. We’ve already discussed that, “Declares Deville “It works out because we are in agreement. It’s been fun since we get to share our fitness journey and everything else we’re doing.”
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Deville and Cassano joined in the Pride festivities in Los Angeles in June. Despite having attended similar celebrations in other locations, Deville said that this was her first time attending L.A. Pride.
She described going to the parade with Cassano on a WWE vehicle as pure bliss as a former Los Angeles resident.
“I didn’t feel safe going to something like that when I lived (in Los Angeles),” Deville remarked. “Therefore, it felt quite exciting to be an out female performer there with WWE, representing WWE. It turned out to be fantastic.”