By: Nikki Van Blair
Diary of a Diva: Pride
Hello beautiful people, and those of you less fortunate,
It is your favourite Diva from Down Under, and one half of the most elite sorority Prima Pi Kappa, Nikki Van Blair here. And I am ready to share with you all my thoughts, feelings, and happenings of the hottest bitch in Australian wrestling (tied first with Frankie B, obvi).
Given that it is June and we are currently celebrating Pride month, it would be remiss of me not to talk about Pride and discuss queer representation in Australian wrestling, and talk about my own journey in wrestling as a queer, bi-gendered woman.
Growing up, there was very little to no visual queer representation in mainstream wrestling. Pat Patterson was openly gay, but had a much more reserved persona compared to myself; and then you had the over-the-top and, to be quite honest, offensive characters in Billy and Chuck and Rico which depicted queer men as heels that fans were expected to hate for the sake of being ‘queer’. It was for this reason that I found myself represented in the sexy, confident and powerful Divas of the late 90’s and early-to-mid 00’s, but more on that another time.
Even from a young age, I was never scared to be myself, and when I started wrestling training in January 2017 at the Australian Pro Wrestling Gym, that wasn’t going to change. I walked in as myself – I even think I had half blue half pink hair at the time – and figured that if anyone had an issue with me, then that was on them.
Luckily, I was welcomed with open arms by the folks at APWG and I am forever grateful for them. When I first started working and wrestling matches, there wasn’t anyone like me in the Australian scene. That’s not to say queer wrestlers didn’t exist before me in our scene, and big shout out to people like Harley Wonderland who really paved the way for queer wrestlers such as myself. But the genuine flamboyance, confidence and unapologetic sensuality that I carry had never really been seen by Aussie wrestling fans before from someone like me, so that itself was a personal challenge.
I’m not going to sit here and say that my entire wrestling journey has been a breeze. I’ve faced adversity within the Australian wrestling scene, both to my face and behind my back. But for the most part, Australian wrestling has embraced not only me but all of the rainbow warriors in this scene, which I am so pleased about. Of course, there is still a ways to go, and there is still more that we can do, both as members of the queer community and allies alike, and if you’re reading this and want to know what you can do, feel free to reach out to me. I listen without judgement and love to educate others in a respectful manner.
Inspiring young LGBTQIA+ folk to be themselves wholly and truly is something that I am very proud of and don’t take lightly, and the fact that I’m able to do that just by spin kicking someone in the ring is very heart warming; I’ve received messages from queer folk in Australia who’ve told me I’ve inspired them to give wrestling a go, and have even received similar sentiments from queer folk on the other side of the world, and to me, that is the most humbling experience of my wrestling career by far.
As queer wrestlers, we don’t want special treatment; we don’t demand more opportunities than others just because of our minority status; we just want to be viewed as a wrestler, period. I’m a wrestler as much as Jack J. Bonza is, as much as Damian Slater is, as much as Delta is.
Oh, and for the love of Tamra Judge, if you are going to do a Pride themed show this month, don’t book queer talent and then conveniently forget about them for the rest of the year. That’s tacky, performative, and is definitely not the vibe.
When I first started wrestling, my goal was probably like everyone else’s; I wanted to get signed and live the dream. Now, my main goal without hesitation, is to continue to knock down barriers, shatter glass ceilings, and to inspire queer fans, trainees and wrestlers alike to be fucking proud of themselves in all aspects of their lives, because I’m fucking proud of anyone who unapologetically lives their truth.
Happy Pride Month, and Prima kisses to all!