TORONTO — On television, she’s a mysterious sassy southern belle known for her elaborate costumes and bombshell beauty.
But make no mistake, Macey Estrella-Kadlec known to World Wrestling Entertainment fans as Lacey Evans, is equal parts beauty and brawn.
OK, maybe there’s a bit more emphasis on the brawn part.
She is, after all, a former United States Marine, member of the Special Reaction Team and, for all intents and purposes, a trained assassin.
“Growing up, my upbringing was pretty rough,” Evans admitted during a telephone interview ahead of SummerSlam in Toronto on Sunday. “I had a lot drug addiction with my parents, depression and a lot siblings who followed suit.”
Evans speaks honestly and openly about her upbringing, admitting that her family problems only fuelled her to be the exception.
“I just knew that I did not want to have that life,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to be a mother, I wanted to be a wife and I wanted to be sober and happy and healthy. Drug addiction and depression is hard to deal with.”
In search of a better fate, Evans turned to the military.
“I joined the United States Marine Corps to learn a different way of living and I challenged myself in every way, mentally, physically and emotionally,” she said. “I couldn’t think of anything better than the finest fighting force in the world to really push me and create the person that I am.”
Who that is today is military veteran, mother and wife and rising wrestling talent in the world’s foremost sports entertainment company. Not bad for someone who hasn’t even reached their 30th birthday.
A staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps who was an independent wrestler introduced Evans and her husband to the world of professional wrestling, forever altering the course of Evans’ life.
“My husband and I just wanted to go check it out and see what it was about because I was pretty interested,” Evans recalled. Destiny called, she said. “The minute I saw the show, I knew I wanted to be part of it. By the next weekend, I was part of the show and I have been ever since.”
Not long after that fateful night, WWE learned of the marine-turned-aspiring sports entertainer, and invited Evans to a tryout. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship, Evans said.
“I just knew that I really wanted to be part of this and give it my all, so that’s what I do. Every single day.”
The irony of being a trained killer in real life but a beautiful belle on TV is not lost on Evans, who admitted that adapting to her WWE persona has been an adjustment.
“That’s one of the most difficult parts,” she said. “However, I’m a businesswoman. I’ve owned a construction company, my husband’s a general contractor, I know business. I know that what you are required to do takes a lot mental strength and planning.”
Truth be told, Evans said, is that while she is in every sense a strong independent woman, at the end of the day, she’s also proud to be a woman, period.
“I was born in Georgia so there are two sides to every story. Obviously, I’m an assassin, I was on a Special Reaction Team, I am a United States Marine, I’m mean as hell, but I can bake a pie just as well as I can fire a weapon.”
Evans also added that unlike so many of today’s women in pro wrestling, who are out to be better than their male counterparts, she’s not looking to be the proverbial man. Far from it.
“Everybody wants to be the man, this big, tough, rough ‘women can do it, women can do what men can do.’
“Shut up,” she snapped emphatically. “Women can also be women and still be badasses. I feel that today in 2019, women are missing that point. They want to do what men can do so badly that they’re forgetting what we have on the men. Women are amazing. We are wives, mothers and strong, but (so many of us) want to be the man, they want to be these men and it’s slowly being forgotten what women are capable of. We can balance and juggle and be so many things that men can’t.”
That is how she views her Lacey Evans character.
“That’s the lady of WWE,” Evans said. “She is all woman. She is beautiful, confident and mean as hell. That’s what I bring to the table, it’s something different and it’s refreshing and it’s what I stand for as a woman. Like I said, I will make my husband dinner and put it on a plate and feed that man and then go out and fire a couple of rounds because that is what women are capable and still tuck my baby into bed before school. That’s strong women. That is what Lacey Evans is.”
So strong and confident is Evans, in fact, that she rejected the notion that joining the WWE women’s division at the height of its rise to prominence was intimidating.
“It may be intimidating for somebody who has half the
confidence I do, sweetheart,” she said. “I am a United States Marine. I was
forced to do things and put myself in situations that would make the average
person run. There is not a single thing a woman within WWE can intimidate with.”
But don’t mistake her confidence as disrespect. Evans has nothing but respect for her colleagues.
“I am very blessed to be a part of this women’s evolution,” she said. “I believe that WWE/sports entertainment and women within this company are proving to the entire world what women are capable of. It’s just a timing thing. I couldn’t be more blessed to be part of that whole transition. If I had it my way, I would have tried to have an impact sooner in this career, but I am just blessed to be standing next to these women because I know how hard work. And it is hard. This job is hard. Being able to entertain fans and keep a healthy mentality … we’re always on the road, we travel so much, we’re always tired. But we entertain. It’s what we do. That can be intimidating but you just have to take it for what it is and continue to work hard every day.”
Evans is proud of her place as a strong female role model for the women of the future.
“I was one of the only women on a SWAT team in the United States Marine Corps,” she said, adding that only six percent of the entire unit is comprised of women. “Seven spots open and one of them was given to a blonde haired, blue-eyed bombshell that could almost outshoot everybody on that team. Why? Because she kept her head focused and she worked her ass off for it,” she said.
In wrestling, while it’s improving daily, nothing can be taken for granted, Evans said.
“You’ve got Charlotte Flair, you’ve got Becky Lynch, Trish Stratus, who is coming back two kids later … I mean, these are women who are putting their bodies and minds on the line and working hard to take these spots,” she said. “Becky Lynch just main-evented WrestleMania. Ronda Rousey is one of the baddest women on the planet and this is what your 10-year-old daughter has to watch, see and grow up ad role models… It doesn’t get any better than that.
“You’ve got badass women who are setting the proper example and WWE is at the forefront of a lot of that. We have a lot of strong women on our roster — from models who can kick your ass to college graduates — who really worked their whole lives to show the world. These women are a force to be reckoned with. Every single one of us. I’ve got a six-year-old daughter who watches this. I’m proud to be part of that. I honestly am.”
SummerSlam meet and greets