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"Even if you're not a die-hard fan of the WWE you probably know the name Joanie Laurer, aka, Chyna. If you are a fan, you not only know Chyna, you idolize her. The muscle bound former pro wrestler turned herself into a world wide household name thanks to her ability to beat the crap out of steroid enhanced males 3 times her size. Unfortunately, Chyna's story didn't end there, but it does end happy. And I mean really happy... if you get my drift. A best selling author who has graced the cover of Playboy twice, starred on numerous reality television shows, including "The Surreal Life" and "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," Chyna's career low was when she was booted from the WWE by Vince McMahon. The banishment was sparked by an affair between her then boyfriend Triple H and the bosses' daughter. An emotional meltdown was followed after a sex tape was released on the internet. It seemed as if Chyna's once remarkable life couldn't get any worse. Enter Vivid Video's CEO Steven Hirsch who saw XXX rated potential in Chyna thanks to a fan base in the millions. Fast forward "Backdoor to Chyna" has turned the former wrestler into the porn industries biggest new superstar and something tells me she's just getting started.
I recently sat down with the wrestling icon to discuss her past and what twist of fate led her to become the new "It" girl for Vivid Video.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT YOUR YEARS WERE LIKE WITH THE WWE?
Chyna: The years with the WWE were wonderful in the scene that it helped me build my foundation. I always knew I had to be in some form of entertainment. It was always in my blood. From day one it was so natural for me and it just took off.
It paved the way for me. But now that I look back at what my body has been through and how I had to fight to get my wrestling name back, how aggressive and violent that whole scene was. It messed so much with my psyche.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO CHANGE CAREERS AND GET INTO ADULT FILM MAKING OF ALL THINGS?
Chyna: Not a lot of people questioned me about it. But some people do ask why I'm doing it.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: AND?
Chyna: I say to them, "Are you serious? What do you mean why am I doing this?" I've been treading water for 12 years now.
So I got this big opportunity and it treats me well and puts some money in my pocket instead of somebody else's for once. I look healthy and I feel healthy.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: I have many questions about your new career choice. But first, lets talk more about wrestling and what it did to you body. Are you in constant pain like so many wrestlers who are retired from the ring now?
Chyna: Yes! I've broken every bone in my body. I've always been admired for my body and my body has made me who I am today. But regardless of how you look at it I was dancing around the ring with guys who were twice my height and size. That took a big toll on my body. There would be days I would cry on the floor with a broken hip or broken back and not know what to do about it.
I wasn't taken care of health wise. I had to do it myself. So I discovered yoga and acupuncture, hoping my body would recover. And it has. It changed my body.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN:DID YOU EVER TAKE STEROIDS?
Chyna: Luckily I did not. I think that's because I started off as this killer monster. I knew I wasn't the most conveniently pretty woman anyway. But that was my role and I did it well. So right off the bat people were asking me if I took steroids. I didn't even know what they were talking about. I was called ugly so many times. I was used to it. But steroids were a very dark world. It scared me. I knew about it very early on and decided to look the other way. I knew some people had to do them and I didn't judge. But I also didn't want to be a part of that world. I knew I was ugly but inside I was a very feminine woman. Steroids are a lifetime choice that few come back from.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: YOU SAY YOU'RE UGLY BUT YOU HAVE ALSO BEEN IN PLAYBOY. DOESN'T THAT MAKE YOU A SEX SYMBOL?
Chyna: That's the thing. The WWE were going in a different direction with my character. But when Playboy offered me the chance to be in the magazine,
the feminine side of me jumped at the chance. I didn't want to be know as Chyna the wrestler. I wanted a chance to show my sex side. I didn't want to be known as
"if she a man or is she a woman" killer. It was great for Chyna the character, but I had to live a life outside of that. Right? So when Playboy came along I said, "yes". I wanted to feel pretty and it did make me feel pretty. It changed everything for me.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: What was your greatest moment in the ring?
Chyna: Wow. Just being in the ring and fighting with the guys was such a big thing. I didn't know anything about wrestling at first. I just wanted to be on TV.
I thought I was going to be the female terminator or like this James Bond girl. I ended up being discovered by Shawn Micheals, Triple H and Steve Austin outside a hotel room one night. They said come down and show the powers that be your fitness book and your modeling pictures. So I did and the next thing you know they paired me up with Hunter [Triple H] and the rest is history.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN:YOU AND HUNTER BECAME A COUPLE. BUT THAT HISTORY WASN'T THE BEST FOR YOU
Chyna: The problem was that wrestling didn't take care of me. After the affair happened between Hunter and Stephanie McMahon they dropped me and that was the end. They didn't just let me go, they also took my name. They took everything they could.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: WHY DID VINCE MCCMAHON HOLD HUNTER'S RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS DAUGHTER AGAINST YOU?
Chyna: You would have to ask Stephanie or Vince McMahon himself. But I was never like, "Look what they did to me!" I was a lady and I just stepped aside. I said nothing while I went through so many years all on my own. Literally, on my own.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: WHY DIDN'T YOU SPEAK OUT?
Chyna: How do you fight a billion dollar company alone? You can't. So I waited it out and I did Playboy again. This time Hef let me do it with my real name, Joanie Laurer. That really was the thing that allowed me to start again.
There were so many emotional things going on behind the scenes that I can never talk about. So I just tried to keep my head up and do reality shows here and there.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: "THE SURREAL LIFE" WAS ON AND WHO COULD FORGET YOU ON "CELEBRITY REHAB"?
Chyna: Also "Celebrity Fear Factor" among others. But those were really small jobs in the grand scheme of things.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: IS IT TRUE YOU NEVER REALLY HAD A PROBLEM WITH ADDICTION AND THAT YOU ONLY DID "CELEBRITY REHAB" FOR THE MONEY? TRUE OR FALSE?
Chyna: For the gig and also because of the men in my life had been so abusive and on every kind of drug you can imagine. I never saw anything like it.
So I did the show to learn some tools to deal with the situation.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: WHICH BOYFRIEND ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
Chyna: That was when I was with Sean Waltman. But he doesn't even deserved to be mentioned anymore. But looking back I wouldn't have done "Celebrity Rehab" because it put me right back in the situation where I was dealing with the kind of people I didn't want to be around anymore. Plus I wasn't able to talk about the real issues that were upsetting me, like a guy selling an illegal sex tape of me and butting a butcher knife to my throat. I wasn't allowed to say that stuff.
So it was hard for me. The show didn't hurt me, but it didn't help me.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: LETS TALK ABOUT THE SEX TAPE. HOW DID IT IMPACT YOUR LIFE?
Chyna: It was the most violating disgusting and humiliating experience that has ever happened to me in my life. If you check Wikipedia, which I hate to do, it even says the sex tape was backed by the WWE and TNA, which makes it even worse.
What else could they do to me? I was almost 10 feet under. I almost really was. I can't believe I was driven to that point. It makes me very sad. I did try and hurt myself. I ended up in the hospital and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. That was actually good for me. It was the kind of help that really addressed my issues. I was like, "Oh my God, they're letting me talk about my issues." I was really crazy in the hospital. But I'm glad they put me there. It helped make me sane again.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: IT'S AMAZING YOU BOUNDED BACK AND CAN TALK ABOUT IT TODAY.
Chyna: It really is. Even after the hospital when I started to feel better, I reached out to Vince McMahon because they have a wellness program for ex-wrestlers and their families. I ask him if he would help me pay for the medical bills that it took for me to get better. He never responded.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: So here's the million-dollar question: How did you end up doing porn?
Chyna: I was dating another real jerk who made a phone call to the president of Vivid Video, Steven Hirsch. He knew how much money the sex tape made and so he tried to do the same thing to me that happened the last time. He said he had pictures and tapes and was prepared to sell them. So I booted him out the door and a week later Steven Hirsch called me and offered me a deal. So I said, "Okay, let's talk." If it wasn't Vivid I would have been scared, but I consider them the Playboy of adult videos. It changed my life. I'm back in the gym everyday and I almost lost ten pounds.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: WAS IT HARD FOR YOU TO HAVE SEX ON CAMERA OR DO YOU SEE IT THE SAME AS WRESTLING? A PERFORMANCE IS A PERFORMANCE.
Chyna: I would agree with that. Plus I haven't had sex since my last abusive relationship. So I looked at making porn as therapy in a way. It got me back into having a sexual life and not being scared of it.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: SO WILL THERE BE ANOTHER ADULT FILM IN YOUR FUTURE?
Chyna Absolutely! The next one will be wrestling related.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG, BUT DON'T GUYS PAY HUGE SUMS OF MONEY FOR THE CHANCE TO WRESTLE YOU IN PRIVATE?
Chyna: Yeah! I'm just realizing all that stuff now and I love it! But here's the thing, I'm a really good girl. I'm pretty straight lace and I love to work hard.
However, whenever people want to play around and have me put them in a headlock it always starts out silly, but then it ends up with me body slamming them and people don't expect that to happen.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: DO THEY DIE?
Chyna: (Laughs) No! They usually end up belly laughing and it makes me laugh as well. It makes me happy.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: DO YOU STILL SING?
Chyna: I loved it and I tried it. But I've learned I'm definitely not a singer. I'll leave that for the pros. (Laughs)
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: IF YOU WERE TRAPPED IN AN ELEVATOR WITH VINCE MCMAHON WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO HIM?
Chyna: Gosh, I don't even know what to say to him. I can't understand how a man can treat an innocent, hard working woman so badly. I was considered his family at one time. I just don't understand it.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: BUT HE DID GIVE YOU BACK THE NAME CHYNA DIDN'T HE?
Chyna: No! He didn't. I went to court and fought for it for 7 years. I won my name back.
CHAUNCE HAYDEN: FINALLY, HAS ULTIMATE FIGHTING TAKEN THE STEAM OUT OF THE WWE AS FAR AS YOU ARE CONCERNED?
Chyna: I think it has. When I was with the WWE it was what I consider the golden ear. Plus I paved the way for all of the divas there. I was part of a group that made Vince's company go from 50 folding chairs at a high school cafeteria to ringing the stock market bell. I was there during all of that. But it's not the same anymore. Of course I'm bias, but I think the WWE lacks a lot in luster now and a lot of character. "