She Can’t Be Pinned Down: The Day-by-Day Mantra of Barbie Blank
There are two ways to approach life. For many people, everything is carefully planned in order to achieve a specific outcome (happiness, successful careers, family, etc.). While, arguably, the planning method works for some people. Other people opt for a more flexible approach that approaches each day with a new perspective, with new opportunities and unexpected surprises. While the planners don’t handle deviations from life’s itinerary very well, the day-by-day people seem to thrive in them. Barbie Blank is a day-by-day person, and it has served her well so far.
Perhaps it’s just the way she’s wired, or maybe it was her upbringing that made her this way, but it’s likely that it was a combination of both.
“I was born in Jacksonville, Florida into an amazing family,” Barbie recalls. “I was always involved in sports and very active.” She participated in gymnastics from age three until she was 13, and was a cheerleader in high school, though her athleticism was certainly not limited by any stretch. She also developed an interest in professional wrestling from an early age.
“My dad was a huge wrestling fan,” she says. “My mom wasn’t into it, but my dad and I watched WWE matches together all the time and it was a real bonding experience for us.”
Barbie began modeling for Venus swimwear while she was attending college in Jacksonville, studying broadcast journalism. It was during this time that she caught the attention of the WWE and she was approached about considering working with them.
“I realized that this was an opportunity to do something exciting and fun, and that I should do while I’m still young,” she explains. “Finishing college could wait. This was something I needed to they now rather than later.” Even though it was her father who was the wrestling fan, both of her parents were very supportive of her decision, so, following their blessing, she was off officially audition with WWE personnel.
She ultimately won a place on the WWE roster and mover to Louisville, Kentucky to train at the WWE development facility there. Eventually, a story line was developed for her in the role of a valet (WWE term for someone portraying the girlfriend or love-interest of another wrestler).
In 2006, at age 19, she debuted in the WWE as simply, Kelly, the girlfriend of wrestler, Mike Knox. Her stage name was soon extended to Kelly Kelly, and various story lines were developed over time for her character.
As is common with WWE Divas, Barbie (Kelly Kelly) would not remain a valet for very long. By late 2007, she had matriculated into a more active wrestling role, and was even crowned WWE Divas Champion in 2011.
Of course, life isn’t all glory for anyone, and Barbie Blank is no exception. She left professional wrestling initially due to a neck injury.
“Even though I wasn’t very old, professional wrestling is all physical and it does take a toll on your body and the schedule is also pretty intense,” she said. “I decided to take a break from wrestling and spend more time with my family and regenerate physically.”
She had also been dating hockey player Sheldon Souray, who himself had a challenging schedule given his profession, so her exit from wrestling also had an objective of helping their relationship, and the two ultimately married briefly in 2016 (though the couple has since separated).
She did return to wrestling in early 2017 and participated in the first-ever all women’s Royal Rumble match earlier this year, though her work schedule is less intense than it was in the past.
At 31, Barbie Blank acknowledges that she has been most fortunate in life and expects that to continue. She’s traveled around the world this year and even participated in Miami Swim week, but 2018 hasn’t been without its share of challenges for her.
“My father passed away a few months ago, and that was hard for me,” she says. “I still think about him everyday and want to believe that I can still make him proud.” Her relationship with her mother remains strong. “She’s my best friend. We talk practically every day. She’s always very positive and encouraging to me.”
Barbie maintains her life’s philosophy through it all. “I still live day to day,” she says. “I can’t imagine living any other way.”
Photography: Shannon Laurine
Hair: Raven Duran
MUA: Farzana Zaman
Wardrobe: Holly Larry