10 Women Who Were Models Before WWE

Once upon a time, to make it as a woman in WWE, a majority of women had to have a modeling background. That was the common denominator in the locker room and most of the time, it showed in the ring. Clearly, wrestling wasn’t the ladies’ forte, and while some faltered and failed, others had stuck it out and tried their best.

In the past too, former models such as Candice Michelle and Kelly Kelly improved over time. Taryn Terrell and Brooke Adams are great examples of models turned wrestlers who excelled in TNA’s Knockout’s Division. All these ladies had something in common with Hall of Famer Trish Stratus – They worked to get better and it showed.

It was common to see that state of the Women’s/Divas Division from 1999 to within the last few years. It was no secret that many of those women were hired for eye candy. While there were standouts, it was plain to see that many of those former models who walked through WWE sought the company out to broaden their own horizons. That was the black cloud that sat over the Women’s/Divas Division through much of the 2000’s. The 2004 Divas Search comes to mind when Carmella DeCesare was exposed on live TV. We’re seeing the same thing today with Eva Marie. Fans feel between Total Divas and her push despite her efforts to train and get better, they want no part of the fiery redhead.

But even today the current women superstars’ past careers elude to the fact that the model formula still works – but this time, they are really putting in the effort to make a stronger Women’s Division. They may not have come from the Independent scene, but a majority of them were fans first and that is a huge plus considering the pattern of eras before that preceded them. This brings me to the fact that, in this blog, we are covering this generation of WWE Superstars.

With this new generation of women, they exemplify what Stratus has done. And that means there is a time and a place for the model part of being a WWE Superstar. When it comes to the ring, it’s all business. We are in an entirely different Women’s Division in WWE in 2016. While WWE has focused on actual female talent with prior wrestling experience, they still hire women with a predominant modeling background. While some women on the list are no longer with the company, you just may be surprised who lands in this top ten.

10: Rosa Mendes

Rosa Mendes’ Latina background has helped her through the years

Mendes has just celebrated ten years with WWE. She started out with the company as a contestant for the 2006 Divas Search. She was eliminated before the finals, finishing in fourth place, but was soon offered a contract with WWE. While she is easy on the eyes, the same can’t be said for her wrestling ability. However, Mendes is of Latin/Spanish descent and that has helped her over the years, especially with the Latin market. Matter of fact, prior to WWE she won a Latin American modeling contest back in 2004. Her modeling experience has helped her in WWE, and she is currently cast on Total Divas.

9: Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn’s Hybrid Diva nickname demonstrated that she was built, stacked but could still be beautiful

Kaitlyn started off as a successful fitness model prior to joining WWE. She had no prior wrestling experience but ended up doing well for herself. She won the third season of NXT and held the Divas Championship at one time. After retiring from wrestling in 2014, Kaitlyn started her own clothing line and went back into the fitness industry. She occasionally models for fitness magazines and helps promote and manage her husband’s business. Kaitlyn made headlines this year when she posed nude for Bodybuilding.com, promoting it on Instagram. You can also find her on Instagram posting pictures from her photo shoots.

8: Alicia Fox

Alicia Fox’s modeling career led her to being discovered by WWE personnel

Before signing with WWE in 2008, Alicia Fox was a catalogue model mostly for lingerie. Story has it that she was discovered by John Laurinaitis in a fashion catalogue. Throughout the years, Fox has gone through several changes in her look, notably hairstyles. Her WWE photo shoots show her evolution in the beauty department. As far as wrestling goes, Fox has become somewhat of an underrated performer the last several years and was part of last year’s Divas Revolution. She is also cast on Total Divas and serves as a spokesperson for WWE such as the “Be a Star” program.

7: Nia Jax

Nia Jax’s exotic look landed her a plus size modeling career

This may come as a surprise to fans but before she was in WWE, Jax was a plus size model. She credits her modeling career for helping her gain confidence with her body. Jax offers a different kind of woman making herself known in WWE. While she isn’t the first plus size woman to show up in WWE, the fact that she has modeling experience helps her in the long run. Jax is beautiful but dangerous; being a part of the Anoa’i family dynasty she inherited the family’s flawless genetics that served her greatly in both modeling and wrestling. She is currently dominating the Raw roster and is a force to be reckoned with in the Women’s Division.

6: Eden

Eden was a Maxim model prior to working for WWE

The former WWE announcer was featured in a variety of magazines such as Maxim before signing on to WWE. Other work before WWE included advertisements for Budweiser and KFC . Eden wasn’t a nude model but her portfolio did include racy photo shoots. However, Eden is exceptionally photogenic which makes sense as to why she was included in WWE Diva photo shoots during her time in WWE. Eden has also done a series of video blogs for WWE. Outside the company, Eden also has her own swimwear line. It is unclear whether she will return to modeling now that she has left the company behind her husband Cody Rhodes.

5: Alexa Bliss

The current Muscle and Fitness Her’s cover model started out as a fitness model

Smackdown’s newest female coming from NXT was once a fitness model. She had modeled for fitness magazines and was in competitive bodybuilding. Bliss has always been active in sports and cited former model herself Trish Stratus as one of her influences. She also cites bodybuilding for helping her overcome an eating disorder that she had when she was younger. Bliss is also currently on the cover of Muscle and Fitness Her’s magazine, which is sure to be the first of many magazine covers for her. With her cute, quirky personality, it’s just the only the beginning for the petite Superstar.

4: Eva Marie

Eva Marie is better known for modeling than wrestling

This is perhaps the most well-known Superstar who has had prior modeling experience. Since the beginning of her WWE career, it’s been known that she was a model before starting with WWE. This led for fans to heavily boo and resent her. Eva Marie has been featured on such platforms as Sports Illustrated and Maxim in addition to various magazine covers. While she has primarily modeled for fitness magazines, Eva Marie was considered a fashion model. Since WWE, Eva Marie has been a cover model for Muscle and Fitness Her’s, Iron Man, and had her own spread in Maxim. She is also prominently featured on Total Divas and has been with the cast since the beginning of the show.

3: Lana

Lana’s modeling past is long gone, and that’s a good thing in her current role in WWE

This one is a bit controversial – Lana has a rather racy past in modeling. Controversy had come up when Triple H made comments in 2015 about Chyna not being inducted into the Hall of Fame for her adult movies, citing children could look her up on Google to find the content. Fans were outraged, pointing out that Lana has posed fully nude and was still employed by the company. She has done various photo shoots and has done entertainment work such as dancing and acting prior to joining the company. Lana was also a spokesmodel for the energy drinks, Matrix and Red Bull. Lana may not have scratched the surface yet as a wrestler, her valet work speaks for itself. Also, Lana’s model work shines in WWE photo shoots, and it’s obvious the camera loves her.

2: Maryse

Maryse has continued to model after WWE

Maryse has modeled throughout her career. Before and after WWE she continued to model; she created her own bikini line in addition to her own fashion line after leaving the company. Maryse has posed for Playboy prior to working for the company and has been a cover model for various magazines. She started her modeling career as a beauty pageant contestant, winning Miss Hawaiian Tropic Canada in 2003. She was also runner-up in the International Finals of Miss Hawaiian Tropic in 2004. While she’s in a non-wrestling role now, it hasn’t stopped her from displaying her couture-style at ringside.

1: The Bella Twins

The Bellas went from aspiring models to the top of the pro wrestling world

When the Bella Twins tried out for the Divas Search in 2007, they were aspiring models. Not much is known about their modeling work pre-WWE, but almost ten years after their first appearance in WWE, The Bellas have created an empire for themselves. Fans question the twins’ passion for the business considering the success of Total Divas and who their partners are. But the fact is that the twins have become one of the most popular brands in WWE today. The ladies have been successful both in and out of the ring; twin magic definitely works in their favor. Their stroke of luck continues on.

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