Sonya Deville also known as Daria Berenato is well known in the WWE which is World Wrestling Entertainment. Having competed in the league since June 2015, Deville has made her mark with her grits, resilience and strength. She has become a regular figure on WWE Smackdown and in 2018 she teamed up with Mandy Rose in a tag team alliance that has seen many ups and downs during her career.

Deville is a legendary figure in WWE for being the first ever openly lesbian WWE athlete, ever. She came out on live television during the “Tough Enough” competition in 2015 and in an interview with Sky Sports she explained…

“Mandy and I were both on the show,” she explains. “During the preliminary taping of the first premiere episode, they asked me if I was in a relationship. I had a girlfriend at the time. Not only was I not expecting that question, I was in a bikini in high heels in front of Triple H and other WWE executives inside the ring! The other girls had spray tans and their extensions in, and they looked beautiful – and I was just like this MMA fighter chick. I felt so out of my comfort zone when they asked me that question. I thought ‘what do I do… well, tell the truth, right?’ So, I said, ‘yeah, I have a girlfriend, but she’s not my wife yet’. I got nervous, and they all started smiling. I said, ‘oh my god, I just came out on national television’. And Triple H replied, ‘yeah you did!’ I just came back with, ‘oh well, that’s that!’

She continued to reflect on the moment…

“It was one of those spontaneous moments. It truly wasn’t planned, but I’m so grateful that it happened because after that, it not only gave me a new realisation of what it means to be open and true to myself, but I feel like it helped me inspire other people. If you’re scared to do it, my advice would be ‘do it’, because it was the best thing that ever happened. I’m not saying there’s not going to be trials and tribulations along the way, but in the end, the best life you can live is the life where you’re true to yourself.”

Sonya has been using her platform to advocate for LGBTQ+ people as far as her message can reach. From interacting with fans on social media to speaking out on television and most importantly, continuing to participate and compete in her sport. Sky Sports gave Deville her first pair of #RainbowLaces to help support the campaign and help Sonya get her message out there.

“It’s so important to get those [the laces] to people on a public platform,” she added. “As much as we don’t like to admit it sometimes, we are the influencers. Everything is social media nowadays, everything is sports and entertainment. So, I think it’s awesome when people with such a big platform use it for such a positive message.”

By Dirk Smith