Music, TV

Top-Down Smackdown: An Interview With Ariane Andrew, a.k.a. WWE Diva Cameron

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On TV, WWE’s Cameron is a spoiled and dismissive character, liable to wave off her haters with a curt, “Girl, Bye!” In real life, Ariane Andrew is making it a goal to stop people from ever behaving that way. The star of Total Divas and various WWE shows is expanding her career further with a new single and an initiative to combat bullying, dubbed Hashtag Wrong Number. And not only did she not dismiss The Robot’s Voice, she had her publicist reach out to us – when a WWE Diva does that, the correct response is a very polite “Yes, Ma’am!”

Well, that, and everything else we said below.

Ariane Andrew: Hi, how are you?

Luke Y. Thompson: I’m good. Total Divas is actual one of my wife and I’s favorite shows. It’s one of the few we can agree upon.

AA: Really?

LYT: Yeah. She really loves seeing strong women on TV. It’s kind of rare, I think.

AA: Totally.

LYT: So now you’re adding music to your repertoire as well as a reality show and live events. Basic question: Where do you find the time to do it all, and how little sleep do you get every night?

AA: Umm, I guess, I’ll sleep when I die. [chuckles]Yeah, 24 hours is definitely not enough time in the day. You have to sacrifice a lot. I mean, it’s kind of like putting, you know, personal stuff to the side. For me, being in a relationship – my boyfriend just being on the same page and knowing, OK – 24 hours is not enough day – enough time in the day, so I have to kind of balance as best as I can. It does get very difficult, but if you really want to do something, you just do it. You don’t use excuses. You just make it happen.

LYT: Is this new single part of a larger album? Is there a larger album in the works, or is it just a one-off for now?

AA: There’s more music to come. Obviously that’s not my number one goal. Me being a WWE Diva is number one priority. So I still have to do things based on what priority is, then I’m able to squeeze in time to do other things. But there will be more music to come in the future.

LYT: Do you and [former tag-team partner “Naomi”]Trinity get competitive about how well your singles are doing?

AA: No, we have two different – we’re two different people, and that’s something we’ve always been kind of, like, lumped in as one person, and we’re two different individuals. We’re both doing two different things. This single is really not about the music. It’s more about the message that I have behind it, and that’s my main focus.

LYT: In terms of the in-ring stuff, where are you right now? Are you competing on NXT fairly regularly?

AA: That’s something that I’m just going to say stay tuned with. Stay tuned.

LYT: OK. When you watch Total Divas, do you ever feel like maybe the editing changed things, or maybe you’re not portrayed the way you wanted to be? It seems weird sometimes – the episode where Natty thought she ate a pot brownie, I was like, “Why are you covering that up? You know you’re on camera, right?”

AA: I mean, TV is TV. So it’s kind of what you see is what you get. It kind of is what it is. I mean, obviously it is television, and things are meant to be sometimes a little bit more exaggerated than what they are. I mean, there have been occasions where sometimes I felt like, “I didn’t say it like THAT!” Or “It didn’t come off like that.” And it’s just, you know, how it ends up coming off once you take hours and hours of shooting, only a certain amount of things are going to make it.

I mean, more so for me, there’ve been things that I’ve shot that I’m like “Oh, I wish that would have made it,” over other things that have.

LYT: I’m always amazed at how well they coordinate it, given how Total Divas has to be shot quite a bit ahead, but it seems that they manage to coordinate it with the story lines that are being shot absolutely up to the minute, so that something that airs that week is suddenly part of a story line on RAW that same week. That’s so well-coordinated – has there ever been a time that they’ve tried to coordinate something like that and it didn’t quite work?

AA: To be honest, I don’t mean to be rude or anything like that, I really wanted to talk about the wrong number campaign. I really didn’t want to go into the whole WWE and Total Divas thing. So if we could stay down that route, that would be great.

LYT: OK, no problem. So tell me about the campaign. I think a lot of people might be surprised to hear that you might have been bullied. You seem like you’re an athlete and you could easily beat somebody’s ass if they tried to step to you.

AA: I mean, I’m definitely not about violence at all. I mean, what I do with sports entertainment is to entertain, so I go out there to put a show on. It is definitely very physical, but I definitely don’t advocate violence. We are a physical company, but at the end of the day, we’re out there to entertain and put smiles on people’s face.

As far as my campaign goes, it’s just – I have been bullied. I haven’t really gone into – I one day do plan on taking a bearing, talking about the stories of the things that I’ve gone through, just because, like, basically don’t judge a book by its cover, just because someone looks like they’ve never been through something, you never know what their backstory is.

Like, people see me as Cameron – she’s the character I play, but they don’t know the things or all the things I’ve had to go through in my life, you know. When I go out there, it’s not for me to go ahead and talk to you about my sad story, everything I’ve gone through, but to go out there and put on a show.

And now that’s my time where I can kind of open up so people can know more about Ariane more so than the character that I play, because the character that I play is completely different than who Ariane is, you know. And I think sometimes people get confused and think, “Oh, Cameron is this person who’s out of control and has this attitude.” Yeah, that’s the character I’m playing. At the end of the day, that’s not who Ariane is.

But as far as the campaign goes, I just wanted to use my platform to bring a positive message. I sometimes feel like when someone does have a platform, it’s easier to be able to deal with or think, as opposed to someone just saying “Don’t do this.” And I kind of wanted to be a little creative and do it through music. Like I said, instead of being like, “Hey, don’t bully!” I wanted to make it creative, so people would be able to relate to it and be able to vibe to something creatively.

My whole message is for every hater, there’s a believer, and if you’re not about positivity, you have the wrong number. I mean, I know – I don’t know, maybe for you, I don’t know if you’ve ever been told that you can’t do something, or felt like you’re the underdog, but I mean, a lot of people out there in the world have experienced being told they’ll never accomplish things, or you know, being picked on because they look a certain way, dress a certain way, because they’re original.

This is just kind of my way of being like, hey, be happy in the skin you’re in. Love the skin you’re in. And don’t ever let anyone tell you ‘no,’ because if you’re determined, you’re going to have no limits.

LYT: So it sounds like you’re putting some focus on verbal bullying, which is kind of a cool thing to spotlight, because I think a lot of people think of bullying and they think of the kid stealing some other kid’s lunch money, and threatening to slug them in the face.

AA: Well, my thing is, I want to focus on bullying as a whole. But cyber-bullying is the biggest thing because social media is so big. So for me it’s like, yeah, I want the focus on bullying as a whole, but I really see how big cyber-bullying is, and I was like, I really want to speak on something like that. I mean, I get crazy things on my stuff, but I’ve put myself in that position because I’m a performer, so no matter what, everyone’s going to have an opinion.

I talk a lot with my fans. I write back to them and we communicate a lot, and I get a lot of stories from them. And that’s one of the reasons that made me want to do something like this. Just hearing their stories and what they’ve gone through – I was like, wow. I want to be able to use my platform to have a positive message for these young girls and boys. Even for adults.

LYT: Was this always a big issue for you, even before you were in the public eye and getting all the trash talk or whatever online?

AA: I’ve had my fair share of stuff I had to go through when I was younger, yeah, that’s for sure. I know it doesn’t seem that way now because of what I’ve made of it, but I think everything combined – the bullying that I had to go through my whole life is what made me end up doing what I do and being in the position I am in today. Which I’m happy to be, but it’s like, wow – after all that, I was still able to live my dream

LYT: So aside from sharing your stories and letting people know that they’re not alone, what sort of tangible steps would you take as some kid who was bullied? What sort of advice would you give to become maybe the next Cameron, or the next Sheamus, or whoever?

AA: Well I do, on my website – www.ArianeAndrewNow.com – I have a page where they can share their story, and pretty much how to join the movement. That’s just one step. But when I do write back to my fans and they share their stories, my motto is just don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not pretty or handsome enough, smart enough, tough enough, to achieve your goals and dreams, because if you’re determined, the sky is the limit.

I know I’m not a fan favorite in WWE, and people probably would never have thought that I would be where I’m at right now. Coming from a whole different world, it’s like from day one, all my things have been uncommon. My size, my race, my lack of wrestling ability – all that has been like, “Why are you even here?” You know?

And I stayed determined, and it was like, “You know what? I really want it. It’s something that I love to do.” So I was determined to do it. I’m here to stay. I feel like if you have that mindset and if you really, really want something, even if it’s not maybe the number one goal you have, you can still do something that you’re next best thing. You know what I’m saying? Like, everyone has goals and dreams, but it doesn’t mean obviously that you’re going to get that number one thing that you’ve always wanted in life.

But if you are determined, I know that you will find something. For me, originally, I was going to school to study psychology, and I was going to become a doctor and continue working with autistic children. I feel like now with being in WWE, I’m able to do all three. I’ve always loved sports. I’ve always loved entertaining, and I want to give back to the community. So I’ve combined them all into one, which is great.

LYT: You’ve got a fan base for WWE, but you also have a fan base for the reality show that may not even be into sports entertainment. Do you find one group of fans more receptive to this message than another, or is it about the same?

AA: Umm, I would say it’s about the same. I mean, it’s crazy, because there’s some of the WWE fans, even with me doing this, they’re like – I still get crazy hate and stuff like that. So it’s definitely sponsored, but I feel like if anything, people are just looking at this like, wow, they didn’t really expect me to use my platform to send a positive message.

There’s so many different things that people can do when they have a certain platform, and I’m just being more of a positive model. At the end of the day, before I even did WWE, I used to work with autistic children. I’ve always been the type of person, I’ve always loved giving back and trying to find a better way to make someone else’s life better, or more positive.

LYT: Since the music video came out, are you reaching music fans who may have never heard of you in any other form with this message?

AA: It’s not a music video. It’s a lyric video. I would definitely say it has been great, being picked up on Lift Every Voice – they put it on their page after I talked to them on their platform, and being able to talk about music. I mean, it’s not really about if it’s a WWE fan or if it’s pop culture – it doesn’t really matter, as long as the message is getting out there. Even if it just touches one person’s life, that’s really all I care about. Then it’s not really even about the music. Yeah, the music – the idea is to be creative, but it’s more just about, for me, the message.

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LYT: WWE in the past has had a larger anti-bullying campaign. I haven’t seen any recently, but I know I’ve seen them before. Are you affiliated with that, or is it a completely independent thing?

AA: Mine is completely different. I just wanted to do something on my own. WWE does have “Be a Star,” which I’m heavily a part of that too, which is their whole anti-bullying thing. They’re completely different. I do both. I mean, I just feel like you can’t – you don’t have to be subject to one thing. I wanted to be able to speak more personally for mine. Doing the “Be a Star,” that’s great – I love going to schools.

This has actually helped me be a little more personal with my fans, than just doing something with the “Be a Star” with the WWE. I mean, I do it all, but I just feel like I wanted to make it a little bit more personal, so I just came up with my own campaign. I’m also working with StopBullyingNowFoundation.org. We’re working together too for the month of October to bring awareness to anti-bullying.

LYT: So it sounds like you can be with WWE, you’re more Cameron, and with this one, you’re more Ariane. Would that be accurate?

AA: Umm, yes and no. I guess you could say that. I mean, back in the day and WWE, I’m Cameron. I’m my character 24/7, and I don’t think people ever get to see that side of who Ariane is, since I am a heel, and having to play that role of a villain. So it’s like, sometimes it’s like people don’t know how to take a chill and be like, “OK, that’s not really her – that’s just her character.” And so it’s great to be able to be Ariane, to be able to talk and be able to be me with this campaign.

I guess you could say I’m having to be Cameron and to be “on” 24/7 with that character. But even when we go to speak at the “Be a Star” rallies, we are kind of who we are. I mean, I’m ‘Cameron,’ but we’re not, like, acting our characters. We’re in front of a group of kids at school, and we do discuss with them what we do. It’s like, yeah, we’re being physical, but what we’re doing is a character. We talk about that whole thing with bullying and all that stuff.

And it’s a little bit difficult, because I think it’s harder for people to understand when we are talking about all these bullying things, and they see us as a character, and maybe we’re, you know, Big Show picks on someone the night before. I think sometimes the kids can get a little confused. So it’s kind of great to be able to be Ariane, and be able to talk about it like this.

LYT: When I was a lonely kid in high school, I always identified with the bad guys, because I always felt like they were the underdogs. I think I might have made the connection with the bad guys more if they had come and talked with me.

AA: Yeah, well, everyone’s different with what they can relate to!


Feel free to talk back about this and tonight’s Raw below.

About Author

Luke Y. Thompson has been writing professionally about movies and pop-culture since 1999, and has also been an actor in some extremely cheap culty and horror movies you will probably never hear much about (he is nonetheless mostly proud of them, as he met his wife on one). As editor of The Robot's Voice since 2012, he can take the blame for the majority of the site's content, all of which he creates because he loves you very, very much. (Although he loves nachos more. Sorry.) Prior to TRV, Luke wrote for publications that include the New Times LA, Los Angeles CityBeat, E! Online, OC Weekly, Geekweek, GeekChicDaily, The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and Nerdist