now most of the world knows that World Championship Wrestling has
been purchased by the World Wrestling Federation. How quickly things change!
gorgeous Vanessa Sanchez sat down with YourMVP
just a few weeks ago, WCW was slated for purchase by Eric Bischof,
the former Creative Director - but none of that mattered to her. The
week before her character "Tygress" had been released from
her WCW contract and she was on the prowl for a new gig.
cat landed on her feet, though! Flanked by four of her sexy cohorts
from The Nitro Girls (Fyre, Spice, Storm, and Chae), Vanessa was
readying the launch of Diversity5 - a musical "girl-group"
with unique credentials. In addition to her singing aspirations,
Sanchez is looking to return to her acting roots. If all else fails,
the sexy CPA could always return to the world of corporate
accounting, which she did for several years with Deloitte &
as we explore the inside story behind WCW's disintegration, the final
weeks before its purchase by WCW and why it appears female wrestling
talent is undervalued in the industry. We also grill Vanessa about
her upcoming plans, whether or not playing "Tygress"
supported a negative ethnic stereotype, and what it means to be
a great feeling. At the same time, the entertainment industry is
what I chose to do, and I know it's very, very unstable, so it goes
with the territory.
Until recently, you were working with WCW in an on-air role. Did you
feel that ended abruptly?
I think we all thought it was a possibility. Everyone at the company
is walking on eggshells. That's just how the nature of the business
is. Whenever someone comes over, and there's a change of management,
it's always a possibility. I think the timing of it was really
surprising. There were talks of the company going "dark"
for a little while, and that's when we anticipated the phone calls
would go around. So it was a little early. It's never good to be let
go - it's
your "Tygress" character developed in ways that you were
I loved what I did. As bad as the company was - or as bad of a
position as the company was in - often everyone's morale wasn't very
good and the ratings weren't so well. There was no stability at WCW
for a very long time. Even as bad as all that was, I always said to
people, "I'm still my happiest when I come to work." I
think it was a lot of my work I [enjoyed], but it was also the
people. You build strong friendships. But my character definitely
developed into somebody I loved to play because she's totally
opposite the person I am. Tygress is full, full, full of attitude,
and she's ready to throw anybody down in a split second, and she
talks with this obnoxious Latino accent and all this fun stuff. The
moves I ended up doing are usually compliments of Rey [Mysterio, Jr.]
or Konnan or somebody and really gave my character definition. Like
"The Face Full of Stuff" - which is Rey Mysterio's
"Bronco Buster" only, you know, Tygress's legs.
Then the face buster - when Konnan does it, but it's the "Stuff
Buster" when I do it. Thanks to those guys, it really helped me
come up with a character that's really fun to play.
came up with the name "Stuff Buster"?
"Stuff Buster" was named by Jamie Noble (of "Three
Count"), but "Face Full of Stuff" Konnan came up with,
and that kind of came first. So it started with that. Then I learned
how to do the "Face-Buster" at the Power Plant, and Jamie
said, "You could call it the 'Stuff Buster'" and I was
like, "I love you! That's great!" So that's how it kind of
did you actually get into a role working with The Filthy Animals?
And did you find think that was . . . It had kind of a Latino Gang
feel to it.
that was kind of the feel of it.
did you think about that?
I guess I got into it about six months before I actually moved into
that role. That was when they were first incorporating The Nitro
Girls into the story - back in the day. I pulled Vince [Russo] aside
and said, "I've got an acting background. I'm a trained actress
and I'd be interested in doing more things within storylines."
So all the girls would talk and be like, "If you could be a
valet, who would you want to work with?" And I said I'd actually
like to be hooked up with Rey. I think we look good together and have
that Latin thing going on. Besides, I'm a fan of Rey and his work. I
didn't say anything to anyone, but about six or so months later,
Vince called me up and said, "Guess what? You're going to be
Rey's girlfriend." That's pretty much how it happened.
did you feel you were playing an ethnic stereotype?
guess I did. I guess I didn't have a problem with it, though,
because I am still the person who I am. I still do interviews and
everything. I think people realize it's just a character on a show.
Within movies and TV and life, there are stereotypes and I think it's
just portraying a character - that's all.
the company, who are working so hard to impress all the powers that
be, they never give their valet any spots. I was put in a great
position. Those guys have been around, they're very established, so
they allowed me to be used in the capacity that a lot of valets don't
get to be used.
how did you feel about working with Rey and Konnan and that group?
It seemed like a pretty dynamic group always involved in stories.
was very happy to be paired up with that group. A lot of the valets,
you can be put in bad situations. You can be paired up with top guys,
and then it's all about them and they don't utilize the valets. Or
you can work with brand new guys that just came
do you feel WCW's roster of female talent was the first to go?
wrestling is a male-dominated industry, and that's not going to
change, I don't think. From what I understand, it was a budgetary
thing. We were told that, in order to bring other people on, they had
to make other cuts. Unfortunately, they value the male talent more
than the female.
you had side-projects like Diversity5.
Yes. And it's so fun. Diversity5 is made up of five girls who all
found each other working at WCW as Nitro Girls. Myself, Sharmell (Sullivan),
formerly Paisley, Chae - who is still a Nitro Girl, Melissa Bellin -
Spice, and Teri Byrne, Fyre. Basically we fell in love with each
other, we can't get enough of each other. We would always try to come
up with things we could do. We would go to get coffee and people
would come up and be like, "Are you a group?" and we'd say,
"No, but maybe we should be." That's kind of how the idea
came about being a singing group.
you doing any of the writing? What role are you actually taking in
one of the lead singers. Also, from a business aspect, I'm also a
CPA so I'm handling the financial issues. I don't write the music,
but Melissa has written some of the songs, as has Sharmell. We
haven't gone into the studio with those, but we plan on it in the
next month or so.
does Diversity5's schedule look like?
work every day for about three to four hours. In fact, when I get
off the phone with you I have to run to rehearsal. We do that
everyday. We also have vocal lessons, and we work with her once or
twice a week. We also have meetings in the evening to discuss the
business issues. Then we're meeting with radio stations and program
directors. There's always something. It's amazing. Basically, we own
our own business, and business is an eight- to ten-hour day, which is
what we're finding out.
know each of you has side projects. Teri has her comic books and
fantasy art. What are you doing in addition to Diversity5?
also an actress as well, as I've mentioned. My agents right here in
Atlanta have been putting me to work. I do a lot of print work. I
just finished doing a project for IBM. I did a print brochure for
them - some kind of new software, I'm not even sure what it is. I'm
also on their Internet website. I'm constantly auditioning. I just
auditioned for a production of "West Side Story." I'm
constantly trying to expand on my acting ability.
act until you're dead. There'll always be parts for older people. So
I would say yes, long-term, it's always going to be a part of my
that what you will fall back on? Your acting ability?
thinking it will be. I kind of had to sit back when I turned a
certain age - I won't mention it, since that would give my current
age away - and say, "OK, I love the arts and entertainment, so
what's going to keep me in it long-term?" And I like the
performing aspect. The only thing I could think where people are very
receptive to you for long periods of time is acting - and you
WCW character had a very sexy edge to it. Do you think that's very
representative of who you are as a person?
I would say. I'm not overly sexy, I don't think. <LOL> That's
my personal opinion of myself. I always go out and have fun, dress
myself in a kind of classy manner with a subtle, sexual cue to it.
That's more me than the Tygress you see on TV who's wearing a little
skimpy skirt and little skimpy top and all that. I don't really dress
that way on a day-to-day basis. I would say I'm subtly sexy.
you're saying you're subtly sexy, would you say Teri [Byrne, aka,
Nitro Girl Fyre] is more "overtly sexy"? I'm just trying to
get a gauge on this.
think she'd agree with that! <LOL> She's total flaming sex
appeal. All the time. Daily. She's always beautiful. She always looks
great. She dresses to the nines all the time. I'm in sweats and a
baseball cap half the time and just don't care. She's a little sex
kitten in my opinion!
seems you definitely have a little diversity in the group - in
absolutely! We go from one end of the spectrum to the other. We all
just really get along. We often have differences of opinion, but,
when you're friends with somebody, you take the good with the bad and
respect their opinions. We've never gotten into any huge, heated
arguments or anything like that. We have disagreements, realize we
don't see eye-to-eye, and then move on.
funny to me that you refer to Teri as a Sex Kitten. Melissa referred
to Teri as a "Sex Kitten," too.
referred to Melissa as a Power Puff Girl.
sooo a Power Puff Girl! She's "Bubbles"! Melissa's so many
things. She's a ball of energy. She's so funny. She's always making
these sounds and noises. She's a very energetic person.
Melissa is "Bubbles" and Teri is a "Sex Kitten,"
who are you?
. . . So "Subtly Sexy" won't work?
can if you want.
then I'm going with that.
who is Sharmell?
trying to think of a character in existence, but I don't think there
is one! She's her own person. She's the extravagant, over-the-top
type of girl. She'll go to the bar around the corner in a huge afro
and giant stacked heels. You know what I mean? She's way over the
top. It's the only way I can describe it.
the members of the group, Chae seems to be the least spoken about.
Is she the silent member of the group? What's going on there?
. . . she is just like, "You girls lead, and I'll follow."
She's the quieter one when it comes to decisions within the group,
but when it comes to anything else, she's just as loud as the rest of
us. She's what I'd call the "Classy Biker Chick." She's
kind of got that edge to her, but she's always very classy with what
in a fairly well-publicized relationship with a well-known wrestling
star [Kevin Nash]. Are any of the rest of you dating wrestlers - or
. . . No. I'm not for two reasons. One, I already have a significant
other who is not involved in the wrestling business.
well . . . that would . . .
even if he didn't exist, I wouldn't because it's just too much drama
involved in a situation like that. I consciously kept all my
relationships with men in the company on a friendship, platonic level
- not even really, really close. I don't have any close male friends
in WCW just because it was a conscious thing I wanted to do. You
know, it was funny. You could just walk down the hall, say hello to
somebody, and walk away. Before you know it, there are rumors flying
about the two of you! That's the business we're in, unfortunately, so
I chose to keep all relationships at purely friendship level.
there any plans on your part to pursue other opportunities in
I'm definitely going to pursue any other opportunities that come my
way. We'll see what happens. It's kind of ironic. We had gotten the
phone call that we were not going to be on WCW on a Thursday and the
next Monday [WWF] RAW was in Atlanta, and so was I. I stopped by and
said hello, and who knows what will come of it. I don't know. If I
were given an opportunity, I feel it would be silly not to take it.
seems WWF is doing a lot more in-ring activity with its women, and
toward the end in WCW, you were doing a lot of in-ring work. How did
you feel about wrestling?
loved being utilized in that capacity. When I first started the
whole wrestling thing, I was really unsure of whether or not that's
what I really wanted to do. Then the more I did it, the more you find
out how much you enjoy it. It's the performer in me, it doesn't
matter what realm of performance it is. As long as I'm entertaining
the crowd and utilizing my talents, it's a rush to me, so I
definitely enjoyed it.
learn what you're doing, the pain gets less and less. Also, the
travel schedule was really, really hard. I've got a place out in LA,
and I was flying from the show to Atlanta to get beat up for a few
days and then back to LA by Thursday. I'd be there Friday and
Saturday and then back on the road Sunday. It was just a lot of work,
traveling and stuff like that.
were put through a formal training process at The Power Plant. How
was . . . interesting. It was difficult. It was strenuous. The first
time we went in there, the first week, the amount of pain my body
went through . . . You don't know what you're doing, so you're doing
everything wrong! I didn't know if my body would be able to continue.
Medusa really put us through the wringer. Then, as you
traveling must be really strenuous.
is. It is. If there had been a Power Plant in LA, then it wouldn't
have been so bad. The traveling . . . everyone thinks it's a
glamorous thing, but it's not. Finding that you spend more time in
traffic and on the plane than you do working . . . it's not that
glamorous at all.
we mentioned, Teri is doing - and has done - things for Playboy.com
and has some very sexual fantasy art out there. Are those realms you
I'm not opposed to doing any of that. Personally, I wouldn't do any
nudity - but that's just not my thing. Then again, I don't know that
I'd do Playboy.com either. I think all of the stuff Teri did was very
tasteful, and she looked great in it. It also got her a lot of
publicity, which ultimately is the point.
wouldn't you even do Playboy.com?
kind of have this thing - at least where I think I am now, and your
opinions change all the time . . . I'm trying to figure out how to
say this without sounding vulgar.
For me, I would do like some really cool nude photographs by some
artistic photographer that were going to be in some coffee table
at the same time, I wouldn't do it for Playboy or any of the other
magazines of that nature, because I know what people are going to do
to those photos! You know? <LOL> That's the part that doesn't
sit well with me. <LOL> And while they might still do it with
the coffee table book . . . the other way it's a sure thing! People
who buy the coffee table book are coming from a different place.
They're buying it for the artistic value.
so I might have to be vulgar here - because this is really funny to
because of what happens after people buy the magazine . . .
the intention behind it.
right. So it's the intention . . . OK, this sounds like a very
"female perspective" type of thing. I don't think men think
about it that way. Is this like how if a guy compliments you, it
doesn't always come across that way because he thinks it's a great
compliment and you think he's looking at you sexually?
no. It depends on how they compliment you. If they're just, "You
look nice today", it's OK. If they're all, "Hey, baby!
Gimme some of that!", then it's not.
since most people that would buy a magazine do it for sexual
gratification, it makes the difference.
There you go. Again, I'm not saying I never, ever would in my whole
life, because opinions change. But as it stands today, that's how I
feel. I'm just leaving myself this out.
where should we look to find you, Vanessa?
at Diversity5.com - where you can purchase our two-song CD. We'll
have to keep you posted where to see us next. We're looking to do
some actual shows in the Atlanta area and we'll see where that takes
us. You can also go to my website - VanessaSanchez.com - to find out
you'd like to say to your fans?
you so much for all of the support in the past two-and-a-half years
I was at WCW. I want to promise you that you haven't seen the last of
me. I won't disappoint you in what I'm doing in the future.
by Paul E. Pratt
more information on Vanessa, visit: www.Diversity5.com
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