WWE star Lacey Evans is a busy woman both in the ring and out of it at the moment due to her work with “Military Makeover” … but that didn’t stop the “Sassy Southern Belle” from taking a few minutes to chat with us about everything she has going on.
Hosted by Montel Williams, “Military Makeover” is a show which transforms the homes and lives of military families across the country with the help of caring companies, non-profits and more. To find the next family who will receive a complete home makeover on the Lifetime TV series, the show partnered with WWE due to their long history of supporting the military community.
Evans, who is set to compete in this Sunday’s Money in the Bank ladder match, is part of that initiative and takes immense pride in it due to her military background.
To nominate a family yourself, visit www.militarymakeover.tv/tagahero.
The application submission deadline is May 31 and the winner will be announced in July.
For now though, Lacey Evans has her sights set on obtaining the Money in the Bank contract on Sunday at WWE Headquarters and spoke with us about how she’s using quarantine to explore new facets of her character, why she’s so passionate about using her platform for good and more.
Pro Wrestling Sheet: It feels like, during these crazy times we’re currently living in, “Military Makeover” is exactly the kind of warm-hearted and good-natured project that we all need. What has the experience been like collaborating with them?
Lacey Evans: It’s been incredible. When I found out that I’d have the opportunity to work with “Military Makeover” – be on set, work with a lot of the volunteers who are mostly veterans, team up with the entire community to help these veterans and their families get new homes and things they’ve been hurting for, I knew that I wanted to do it immediately. My whole goal being in WWE was to use my platform for the greater good.
When it comes to the military, veterans and their families, I definitely can relate in many, many ways. It’s just been incredible, not only giving back, but working with Montel. Right now, WWE has partnered with “Military Makeover” in order to run a campaign for our fans, our WWE fans, to get involved in the middle of this quarantine and everything else that’s happening. They can nominate some veterans and their families in order to get a home makeover. So, we’re all coming together to get the word out and get veterans the homes they deserve.
PWS: This feels like the perfect intersection of everything you’ve been working and striving towards. Your military background has been such a prominent feature of your public persona, both inside and outside the ring. How powerful has it been to connect with individuals on such a specific level?
LE: It’s mostly motivating. You know, I go out here every day and I put my best foot forward to be a WWE sports entertainer, to put on these shows and tell these stories. But so much of me has always wanted to do more for people on a more passionate and personal level that I really can’t do while I’m being a character or a WWE performer. WWE partners with so many different programs that give back to people, from Be A Star to Hire Heroes to the USO, and I’ve gotten to step out of what I’ve been hired to do as a sports entertainer and step into many roles that give back to people.
“Military Makeover” has definitely been a powerful one for me that I always look forward to. I know in advance that it’s a family that needs help. I get to go and meet with them face-to-face, make eye contact and see what it is that they need across the board. Not only a brand-new bathroom, brand-new roof, brand-new home. But a little bit deeper, to see where their struggles are and to find out other ways to help.
For me, that motivates me to be the best wrestler I can be. The more I use this platform, the more spotlight I have that I can use to give back to the people that need it the most. It’s like a reset for me. Every family I help, it’s like a deep breath of ‘okay, I’m going to keep rockin’ and rollin’ so I can help more people.’
PWS: When you started making a name for yourself in WWE, was this something where you went to them and said ‘hey, I have this military background, I would love to get involved in whatever way I can?’ How did these two worlds meld?
LE: I’ve always been very vocal. I think one of my first promos ever with WWE – I’d have to look back in the archives – but I pretty much said ‘I don’t care to be famous, I’ve never cared.’ What I want, more than anything, is to use this platform to help people. When it comes to mental health, that’s a passion of mine. You know, just to remind people what the hell they’re capable of, regardless of where they’ve come from. Because I am a prime example of the fact that you can’t judge a book by where they’re coming from.
Statistically, I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be a WWE superstar. But, you know what, I’m rockin’ and rollin’ and I’m kickin’ ass and taking names. If I have to go out there and get my ass kicked every weekend, I will do that gladly as long as you use my name to help people that are hurting, that are going through hell every day. Because I know what that feels like. It just motivates me. I’m not big on money, I’m not big on fame. But hell, if I have to be famous to open eyes and ears and hearts to what they’re capable of, then hell, I’ll be famous if I have to.
PWS: Let’s pivot briefly to the in-ring stuff. We obviously have a big pay-per-view coming up this weekend with Money In The Bank. I have been such a fan of the stuff that you, and most of the women on the roster, have been doing on social media.
Obviously these circumstances are bizarre and unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. I’ve loved the training videos you’ve been posting. I think they’re so funny and they’re kind of campy and they show your personality. You’re just having a great time. How much of that comes from WWE, at all, or is this just all self-produced and you’re flying by the seat of your pants?
LE: I fly by the seat of my pants with 99.9% of what I do in WWE.
We’re on quarantine and I don’t have to be back in building for another week. I get paid to entertain and that’s what I do. If you mean to tell me I have x-amount of days off, I do the math and see what I can possibly produce in order to continue to entertain. Plus, going into this quarantine, I thought big. I put a lot of time into thinking about the people sitting at home, which gets back to mental health. Trust me, it’s a son-of-a-you-know-what. Any way I can keep them entertained the best I can while I’m here, I knew I was going to do that.
It just sucks right now for a lot of people. They’re sitting at home, so am I, and the least I can do is keep giving them entertainment. Keep giving them something to watch in order to help their days or minutes go by a little bit easier. This is hard for a lot of people. I come up with my own ideas. Me and my husband go out there, he holds the phone and I climb the ladder.
PWS: This is interesting because it’s giving you guys the opportunity and time to do stuff that otherwise you probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do. Has it been kind of invigorating in a weird way, having the chance to explore this at-home, makeshift, DIY stuff?
LE: Absolutely. You know, we’re on the road over 300 days a year and I’m expected to hold this character. But I’m very limited as far as how much I can expand because I’m not home. We’re go, go, go. You’re limited as far as what you can produce and do when you’re traveling, making towns, driving miles and miles, showing up to these live events. When we’re running like that, we have so much media that WWE is focused on. For me, this quarantine really has allowed for a lot of built-up creativity. I’ve always been a creative person. Finally getting to do a little bit of what goes on in my mind has been pretty fun.
PWS: Given how successful the videos have been, is more emphasis on social media something that you might want to keep up when things get back to normal?
LE: I mean, absolutely. Now, mind you, I also juggle my family. When I got in this company, I was a mother. My daughter goes on the road with me, she travels the road with me and I homeschool her. So, it’s definitely a balancing act. I try to figure out a way to make sure my family is taken care of mentally, physically, emotionally while also doing the job of an entertainer. That’s a very difficult thing for me to do across the board because I don’t want to half-ass anything. Not being an entertainer, not being a wife, not being a mother. I have to make sure I’m doing what I need to do and then pushing myself above and beyond at all times.
Right now, I’ve had the luxury of making sure that my baby is having just as much fun as me and we’re taking the time to be creative even more. Now that I’m on a mindset and roll, I’ve been able to express a little bit more of what Lacey Evans is about, which is this sassy Southern entertainer. I haven’t really been able to do that with our schedule. I think it’s going to be fairly easy to keep it rockin’ and rollin’.
To nominate a family for next home re-design on “Military Makeover,” visit www.militarymakeover.tv/tagahero.
*INTERVIEW SLIGHTLY EDITED FOR LENGTH AND CLARITY*