Brie Bella and her twin sister Nikki have expanded their public profile within the last year thanks to the success of WWE’s reality show “Total Divas” on the E! channel.
Now the duo, along with the other cast members, finds themselves on even more red carpets, magazine covers, award shows and talk shows.
The Bella Twins have become a brand, right up there with twins Tia and Tamera Mowry. And “Brie-mode,” referring to Brie’s wild side, has developed into a life of its own with the term found in the Urban Dictionary.
“Brie-mode” will be on hold during the final episode of the second season of “Total Divas” (9 p.m. EST Sunday, June 1 on E!) as the wedding of Brie and WWE world champion Daniel Bryan is the focus.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
With a third installment of “Total Divas” on E! set for the fall, the program is a bona fide hit, and Brie couldn’t be happier.
“I look at all of us girls, and we all bring something different to the table,” Brie said. “I think women can relate to us because I think it’s very common women have to balance career and relationship. At the same time, you never know what the world is interested in at that moment. There was the thinking of, ‘I think it will do well because we have something great here.’ At the same time, are people interested in women fighting in the ring and fighting for relationships outside?”
The answer is a resounding ‘Yes,’ something Daniel Bryan knows.
“Total Divas” continues to do well in a number of demographics during the show’s initial airings and re-runs.
Brie is watching, too.
“It’s funny because you never realize the way you talk and interact with people or just how Nikki and I bicker,” she said. “I mean I know we bicker a lot, but I’ve never seen it until watching the show. I’ll listen to our conversations and think, ‘Oh my gosh. People probably think we’re not educated.’ It’s just how you are with your siblings. There are moments where I see myself getting into ‘Brie-mode’ where I’m like, ‘I can’t watch.’ There are other times where it’s really neat to see how Nikki and I are. I’ll watch, and it’s kind of touching. I’ll think we have such a cute relationship. Then I’ll see how Bryan is with me. To kind of see how John [Cena] is with Nicole, that’s what’s neat to watch.”
“Total Divas” has been educational for Brie.
“My sister always says my mind thinks way faster than when I speak,” Brie said. “She is like, ‘Sometimes you just don’t finish your thoughts or sentences.’ I tell her she is so wrong. Watching the show, and I will see I don’t. I will literally interrupt myself or cut myself off or just stop talking in the middle of a thought. It’s so funny because that has been a 10-year battle of her telling me that. Now because of ‘Total Divas’ I think, ‘Oh man, she’s right.’”
Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan’s relationship is an integral part of “Total Divas,” something meaningful.
“When I brought it up to Bryan [about doing the show], he was just like, ‘Brie, I don’t think we’re entertaining to watch. I don’t think this is a good idea for you and I.’ I was kind of like, ‘I think you’re right. We are kind of boring.’ It’s because we are very private, so it was hard for us to open up with all the cameras.
“He is such a good sport. He is just so good to me. With anything I want to do, he is 100 percent for it, even if he thinks I’m crazy. It was very hard for he and I at first, but now we have fun with it. We are so comfortable that sometimes we forget that the cameras are there. Bryan and I came to look at this as people can see he and I are very into the environment. That’s our passion outside of work.”
“Total Divas” has opened a door to their cause.
“It’s something we wanted to share but weren’t sure how to,” Brie said. “The one thing that we actually love and never realize was that we get to show people we are minimalists. We might make money and be in the careers we’re in, but we don’t need a bunch of stuff. We like showcasing that and letting people know that it’s OK to not want things and keep wanting bigger and better. It’s kind of the one thing we’ve enjoyed about the show.”
This season on “Total Divas” it was important for the environmental enthusiast to reveal causes near and dear to her heart. On the top of the list was taking a stand against animal cruelty and bringing the truth behind where grocery store food originates. In one episode, she presents some graphic footage to Nikki and the audience on how badly chickens and other farm animals can be treated. She then takes sis to a pastured chicken farm where they are treated better.
“I really fought hard to bring that story to life on ‘Total Divas,’ the factory farming and free-range chicken,” Brie said. “I’m shocked to see the positive response because you never know. People could be sensitive to certain things. Sometimes it’s the elephant in the room. People may not want to see or hear about it. It hurts them, but sometimes that is what we have to do. Open up our eyes and see it and know this hurts and want to do something about it. All these tweets I got about people not knowing about free-range chicken.
“They say, ‘I had no idea. I just go to the store and buy chicken.’ I was so happy I was able to educate people in those ways. Now with season three, I hope to bring more of that to people, even environmental issues. It’s a positive step having girls my age and girls older or younger realizing that we can come together and really change the world.”
With “Total Divas” being on E!, it has helped bring new eyes to the WWE product. Sports entertainment fans aren’t the only ones who tune in Sunday nights to watch the drama unfold.
“It’s been amazing,” Brie said. “We’ve had so many men come up to us thanking us for the show because they say, ‘Now my wife will watch wrestling with me.’ It’s so cool in a way because I see girls who would never, ever watch wrestling or even look at it or didn’t grow up with it. They come to us now and are like, ‘Wow, you guys are bad asses.’ You guys are really empowering, strong women. We didn’t realize this existed.’ I just find that so neat because being a diva sometimes we can get lost in this man’s world of WWE. I look now and think, ‘Wow, we are standing strong in a mainstream world and being looked at as role models, and that’s really cool.”
The former WWE divas champion can also feel the positive impact the show has on WWE’s other programs. It certainly gives many of the female talent on the roster more television time.
“I think we are still building and making that division bigger and more,” she said. “I think because of ‘Total Divas,’ people have gotten to know who we are and kind of see more of the personality of the divas. It’s become that even if you’re not familiar with a particular story on television, they know they can tune into ‘Total Divas’ to see what has been going on backstage and what’s kind of going on in our lives at that time. It’s almost like if our story isn’t on ‘Raw,’ at least there is one on ‘Total Divas.’ It’s adding another show to the WWE brand.”
The cast members are closer through the production process of “Total Divas.”
“Sometimes there are girls who are very vocal about how they were raised or the issues they go through,” she said. “Then there are others who aren’t. They are very closed off and to themselves. I think the one thing about ‘Total Divas’ is that we all had to open up our lives. We all had to open up that book and show you every chapter we’ve been through. Then when you start comparing, you see we all have something in common. That’s what made us all close. Eva Marie, with her issues and Ariane and Nicole and I with our dad stuff. You see people start relating to it, and I think that really connected us on an emotional level.”
The next season adds more spice to the mix with WWE diva Rosa Mendes joining the cast. The “Total Divas” veteran thinks she will do well.
“She has kind of been in this business for a really long time but has never really gone to the top,” Brie said. “It will be neat to see her story and her struggles.”
As the season finale draws near, Brie can’t wait to watch and share her dream wedding with the world. Make sure to have a box of tissues ready. WWE superstar John Cena should have.
“For me, to just get to relive all those moments, but also to see how everyone was watching is exciting,” Brie said. “To be honest, that day I was just so swept into Bryan. I felt nobody else existed that day. So it will be fun to watch how people were watching like for example John crying. I just can’t wait because Bryan’s vows were so beautiful, and he totally did a way better job than myself. Not that it’s a competition with vows, but usually the girls are the more sensitive and emotional ones. No, Bryan, he just knocked it right out of the park. They were just so beautiful and touching. I was like, ‘Wow, these words I will remember for the rest of my life.’”
Brie appreciates having a companion cut from the same cloth as her. They share the same passion for this unique industry, something that became a successful career.
“It was a struggle to be with other people because they didn’t understand the business,” she said. “Being with Bryan, it’s just a breath of fresh air because we understand the hard work we put in. We both understand the exhaustion of just traveling. We understand the crazy schedule. We understand we might not make it home in a month or we may only have two days off, but you’re on call for something. We just understand the craziness. When you have that kind of support system, it makes the job way easier.
“I’ll want to try this new move or want to vent about something, and he relates to me 100 percent. And I’m also lucky because I also have the number one best coach in the world. I’ve gotten compliments that my in-ring ability has gotten good. Well, Daniel Bryan is my teacher. I have no excuse for it not to.”
With the current family of Brie, Bryan and their loving dog, Josie, will we see a baby of the two-legged variety in their household? The answer is ‘Yes!’
“I’m 30, and I’ll be 31 in November. You do get that baby fever where everyone around me is having children,” Brie said. “I think in two years Bryan and I would love to have kids. Now it could be sooner, or it could be later. I’m not ready just yet, so for me it’s later. You never know. I just can’t wait to be a mother and to see Bryan as a father because I know he will be amazing at that. It will be crazy.”
Sunday is not only wedding night but also WWE Payback at 8 p.m. EST on pay-per-view and WWE Network. WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon is forcing Daniel Bryan to surrender the WWE World championship because of his neck injury. She told the leader of the ‘Yes Movement’ if he doesn’t, then she will fire Brie for putting her hands on her. Bella enjoys interacting with her boss in angles.
“I have to say I have like a girl crush on her,” she said. “She is just an amazing woman. She is so talented and with the way she is with all the charities to represent WWE. Then she can put that all aside, when she gets to that ring. It’s just insane to me. I just really admire her, and it has been a lot of fun to work with her and learn from her. I’ve really enjoyed it. The storyline is insane, and you never know what it holds. I’m excited for Payback because I think it will have a really great twist.”
• Watch Brie and Bryan tie the knot during the season two finale of “Total Divas” at 9 p.m. EST Sunday, June 1 on the E! channel.
Visit www.TotalDivas.com for details.
• See if Bryan surrenders the WWE World championship to Stephanie McMahon for the sake of his wife’s career during Payback at 8 p.m. EST Sunday, June 1 on pay-per-view and WWE Network.
Visit www.wwe.com for details.
• Follow the Bella Twins on Twitter @NicoleandBri.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN and look for live tweets during Payback and “Total Divas”