Combat sports and sports entertainment have generally been fields dominated by men. Professional wrestling is no exception. However, wrestling is one field where women have found incredible success in a variety of roles. The most prominent has been through WWE Divas, the predecessor to the women’s championship in the organization.
One highly successful and entertaining “diva” in this organization was Milena Leticia Roucka, better known by her stage name Rosa Mendes. Mendes rose to fame in professional wrestling through WWE’s Diva Search in 2006. Although she placed fourth in the competition, she was offered a developmental contract. Her first appearances were as Beth Phoenix’s intern, although she later grew to perform in her own right. She also appeared on the reality series Total Divas.
Although she retired in February of this year, she still holds a considerable fanbase. While most know her for her professional wrestling appearances, her skillset and background are actually quite varied. Many people may be unaware of her interesting, diverse, and challenging personal life. Here are 10 of the most interesting facts about Rosa Mendes.
10. She once pursued post-secondary education
Professional wrestlers largely entertain through over-the-top antics, incredible stunts, and sheer charisma. What many people fail to understand is that many of these entertainers are highly intelligent and educated. Mendes was actually accepted into the University of British Columbia and studied business for a period of time. However, she felt that her future was brighter in entertainment and did not complete her studies.
9. She has real martial arts training
Although professional wrestling is a show designed to entertain fans, many wrestlers are actually highly proficient in real combat sports. Mendes is no exception to this rule, as she has trained in a variety of disciplines. She has training in Muay Thai, kickboxing, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Not only is Mendes an entertaining wrestler; she can certainly kick butt outside of the ring.
8. Rosa Mendes Net Worth
Unsurprisingly, successful WWE “divas” earn a considerable income. Given Mendes’ fan base, it is no surprise that she has significant personal wealth. The most recent estimates have her personal net worth at $3 million. This sum has been gathered through her many roles in professional wrestling, modeling, and television appearances.
7. Fighting is in her nature
Despite the “diva” name, everyone knows how tough and gritty WWE stars have to be. Putting one’s body through gruelling training and dangerous performances requires quite a bit of toughness. Mendes has stated that she took to fighting from a very young age. A self-described tomboy, she even admitted to being suspended from school for fighting as a child. Luckily, she was able to channel this aggression into a wildly successful career.
6. Trish Stratus is her idol
Like most of us, Mendes looks up to the most successful individuals in her chosen field. However, she has actually looked up to Trish Stratus since before the star’s years as a professional wrestler. She has stated that she admired Stratus while she was appearing in fitness magazines. Although the two never performed together, Mendes must be satisfied knowing that she was able to follow in the footsteps of her idol.
5. She has endured difficult challenges
The lifestyle of a professional wrestler may seem glamorous at first glance. Those who look a little deeper, however, will understand that these stars suffer from the same issues as everyone else. For Mendes, this meant suffering through an abusive relationship.
Mendes filed battery charges in August of 2012 against her then fiancé Steven Slocum, a fellow professional wrestler. She stated that while in this relationship, she feared for her life. In addition, Slocum was engaged to another woman at the same time.
4. She has done acting work
Although best known for her professional wrestling, Mendes has also used her entertainment talents in other venues. Perhaps most notably, she appeared in several commercials for large brands like Trident, Chrysler, and Lux Soap. However, she also had a notable role in the popular video game Need for Speed: Most Wanted as Isabel Diaz.
3. She is a successful manager
Mendes is a highly talented performer. However, she is an exceptional businesswoman as well, having seen great success as a manager. While she has managed a long list of professional wrestlers, her most notable clients were Primo & Epico. This duo eventually became the WWE Tag Team Champions.
2. She identifies as bisexual
Mendes came out as bisexual in 2014, establishing herself as a notable member of the LGBT community who has found great success in the entertainment industry. She and her partner, Bobby Schubenski, have a daughter named Jordan Elizabeth. Jordan was born on February 13, 2016. Mendes retired on her daughter’s first birthday.
1. She was a highly successful model
While it may come as a surprise to fans who know her only from professional wrestling, Mendes’ first foray into the entertainment industry was actually in modeling. Most impressively, Mendes was the first North American to win the Piel Dorada, a prestigious modeling contest in Latin America.