The Bellas Are Building An Empire, One Fan At A Time
The Bella Twins are slowly building an empire. They’re most famous for being the twin sisters who have dominated the WWE for ten years, but it’s much more than dropkicks and body slams these days. They’re reality TV stars, appearing in both Total Divas and Total Bellas, as well as philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and YouTubers.
As kids they grew up playing competitive soccer. Nikki played in college and won MVP at Grossmont College in San Diego. After graduating, they moved to Los Angeles to pursue an entertainment career.
It didn’t come easy: They waitressed, modeled, and took small acting gigs when they could.
“There were so many times that, as waitresses, you look at your bank account and you literally have 100 bucks and you’re thinking, ‘How am I going to pay my utility bill, my rent?’ But at the same time thinking, ‘How am I going to accomplish my dreams?’ And that’s how we got to cocktailing. We could have a full day, we could make more money, so we started planning and thinking, ‘How can we use the 24 hours in a day, while being a waitress, but still trying to get to your goal,’” remembers Brie.
They were always hustling, while pursuing their dreams.
Nikki said, “I started working at 15 and haven’t stopped since then. So I always knew that my bills get paid first and dreams come next. I would always make sure that I made my shifts, bills were paid, saving money, and then I’d start to do what I loved.”
Brie was the one who started thinking about wrestling as career. It combined everything that they loved: Entertainment and sports. “When Brie started showing me what the women were doing at WWE…That’s my calling! I get to be athletic, and I get to entertain, and be larger than life and be this character. And I get paid for it? It was like God came down and said, ‘This is it!’” said Nikki.
It definitely didn’t come overnight. They shared a car, so they’d have to coordinate auditions while working shifts to pay the bills. They participated in the 2006 WWE Diva Search, but didn’t make the cut. They begged the producers for another chance and eventually got signed to a developmental contract and headed to the WWE’s training facility.
That was their big break.
“The moment you know you made it is when you get paid to do something that you love. For me it’s like, I get paid because this is my job, but it doesn’t feel like a job. It feels like summer camp," said Nikki.
They made the most of their opportunity becoming, arguably, the most successful female wrestlers of all time.
Last year they stepped away from wrestling when Brie got pregnant and Nikki sustained a major neck injury. When I asked them about their return, Brie said, “I won’t go back without Nikki because it’s been almost two years since we’ve been in the ring together. We feel like 2018 is a good time. Nikki has to make sure her neck has healed.”
During this hiatus they started thinking about life after wrestling. Brie continued, “We were sitting on a plane. Everyone was talking about women empowerment: Rhonda Rousey, the Williams sisters, etc. We want to walk the talk. What can we create that will continue after we retire? We’re not educated on women’s hygiene. Sex education. We’d love to create feminine hygiene products. Big picture.”
That is how Birdiebee was born. “We want to be more than just being the Bella Twins and the stars of these reality TV shows. I want to have a bigger purpose in life. So that’s why, with Birdiebee, we really want to give back,” said Brie.
They want to give back to charities that help women and people in need. They want to help people suffering from cancer, those without health insurance, people who are bullied, and anything involving children.
Other strong female entrepreneurs gave them inspiration to pursue their dreams. Brie said, “We look up to Jessica Alba. I loved that something bothered her and she created products around it and built an empire around it. For Nikki, she looked to others. “Kara Ross’s jewelry line, Unleashed, was empowering because she dedicates so much time to women. Also, reality TV stars turned entrepreneurs, like Jessica Simpson and Lauren Conrad, because they built an empire beyond the screen.”
It’s not all serious causes with Brie and Nikki, though. The girls who would shout, “Rosé all day!” figured it might be a good idea to start their own wine brand. Nikki remembers the start of their project. “We were always in Napa. We love wine. So winemakers came to us. They said, ‘You’re always here. You’re always drinking wine on Total Bellas. Why not make your own wine?’”
The wine is launching on September 19th and will be available only online, at BellaRadici.com. It’s a limited run so once it’s gone, it’s gone.
The final piece of the Bella empire is their YouTube channel, which has quickly gained almost one million followers. It’s an extremely shrewd move for the sisters, as younger audiences are “cutting the cord” and ditching cable for YouTube.
Also, YouTubers frequently get more views than mainstream television shows, so the sisters are hedging their bets and growing their audience on multiple platforms. Nikki said, “My goal is I want to create this circle and get the same people on board everything. When Total Bellas is on E! they’ll want to learn more about us, so they’ll subscribe to our YouTube channel. And they’ll also follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.”
They look at YouTube as a place to show a more intimate side of them: The non-filtered view of their life. They frequently just pick up their phones and shoot.
“We sometimes don’t come off as the brightest tools in the shed,” said Nikki.
Brie laughs, “It’s the sharpest tool in the shed!”
Nikki laughs and replies, “Bella Brains has become the huge hit, because of stuff like I just said!”
Be sure to tune in to Total Bellas Season 2 on E!
To see full interview, please click below.