First, Naomi opened up about her brief hiatus from WWE last year in the midst of some physical and mental turmoil. As she revealed, A death in the family and some health issues kept her out longer than she expected.
“2019 kicked my ass, pretty much, she said. Just, I lost my cousin, who was like a sister cousin, same age. She passed tragically giving birth. So, that was, I’ve never experienced or had to deal with anything like that and there was no way I could focus at work going through that. So, I took time off for that. Also, before that happened I was extremely exhausted, extremely tired, maybe for the last year. We all work so hard and we never want to say like I need time off or I need a break. Only time I’ve legitimately taken time off was due to injuries.”
The ten-year veteran explained that she eventually went to the doctor and found out she unknowingly suffered from anemia and “a stomach ulcer.”
“So, when I asked for that time off to bury my cousin and go back home to be with my family and her kids that were left here, I ended up going to the doctor just to see what was wrong with me. Because it was very hard for me to get through matches. I was extremely fatigued all the time. I was literally chugging energy drinks just to get through the days of travel and matches. Like, I was, I didn’t know what was wrong. I found out I was severely anemic. I never knew that. So, bad to the point where the doctors told me had I came in later, whatever count was it a nine point four, if it would’ve got under a nine, then I would have probably been threatening a blood transfusion, which that just blew my mind.”
Last month, Naomi finally returned to WWE after about six months as entrant no. 18 in the Women’s Royal Rumble match. She said, “she was relieved to know the fans were supportive and happy to have her back.” Then, she talked about her decision to wear her natural hair, which became a topic of discussion over the next few days.
“Well, It was very calculated and uh I definitely, when I came back, being where I am now at this age, in my career, and in my life I want to do it the way I want to do it. I want to be who I am and you can either take it or leave it. And when I first started I had natural hair. I was told ‘hey, we want you to look like this’ and I was shown a picture of Naomi Campbell, a supermodel, who I look nothing alike, but had contacts in and long hair, 30-inch hair, you what I mean? And so, at the time I was so hungry and eager to not give anyone any reason not to book me, for me not to be on tv. So, I feel like I had to conform and I did for many years.”
“When I came back I just told myself that a) I knew it was going to be shocking to people, but I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud of the way I look. I’m proud of my heritage. I’m proud to be black and that’s just something I’m not going to be apologetic about anymore. If you don’t like it and you got a problem with it, or it offends you or it looks crazy to you, well I don’t know what to tell you, but I knew it would be shocking. I knew it would be talked about and that’s exactly what I wanted. And I also feel like it’s important for women, especially my fans who are a lot of young back girls, to see like the beauty in themselves because it’s still a problem now even in the workforce, you know? People or women not, like literally it’s still laws having to be passed saying like you can’t discriminate on the way people wear they’re hair work, you know? So, I just wanted to do that to express myself and show what I represent and what I stand for, and um yeah, like it’s nothing wrong with it. Y’all leave me alone.”
That’s such an important message and it makes her return feel that much more special.
Be sure to check out the full interview. Naomi also spoke about her experiences in WWE as a black woman, how she deals with racism online, and much more.