With no prior experience, model turned World Wrestling Entertainment diva Kelly Kelly has grown in the ring and proved she is not just another pretty face.
The blonde bombshell, real name Barbara Blank, was discovered by the company through a modeling agency in 2006.
“I was the youngest diva they ever had, which is really cool,” Kelly said.
She began training at Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE’s former developmental territory in Louisville and was called up almost immediately to be part of WWE’s new ECW brand. The diva was billed as an exhibitionist who performed stripteases for a worldwide audience.
Kelly was the girlfriend of jealous on-screen boyfriend Mike Knox and a member of the all-girl dance trio Extreme Expose. She caught the interest of viewers. Good looks may have got her in the door, but a strong work ethic earned her the respect of fans and co-workers.
“When I started in ECW, I would have to say Tommy Dreamer and Andrew [Test Martin], who is not alive anymore, have helped me out,” Kelly said.
“On the diva side, I would say Michelle McCool has helped me out a lot as well. They took me under their wings.”
The 24-year-old was rewarded for her strides in the company and popularity with an increased on-screen presence. On a recent episode of WWE SmackDown (8 p.m. Fridays Syfy), she teamed with Edge to defend his world heavyweight championship against LayCool and Dolph Ziggler.
“I think the match we just had is one of the first main events the girls have been a part of, probably within the last 10 years,” Kelly said.
“So it was really cool to do that and finally have a main event match and be at the beginning of the show with [acting WWE SmackDown GM] Vickie [Guerrero]. They put a lot of effort into me and my character lately. It has been great. I hope they continue to spotlight the divas more.”
Even though a showdown against the official SD consultant isn’t a possibility right now, (Guerrero fired Kelly on-air), Kelly has other plans in mind for the future, when she returns to WWE TV.
“I hope to win a championship because I have never had a title,” Kelly said. “That would be a dream of a lifetime.”
Her dream could become a reality this year or 2012 when WWE WrestleMania 28 heads to Miami. Kelly appeared at the Mania 28 press conference at Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The diva, born in Jacksonville, was excited at the prospect of having her family ringside for the big event.
“All my family lives here [South Florida],” Kelly said.
“Actually my dad, my cousin and uncle are all here supporting me [at the press conference]. I’m so excited to be with them and perform in front of them.”
She also loves the fact the show will occur at Sun Life Stadium, an open-air venue that’s home to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
“I love being outside,” Kelly said. “I’m a Florida girl, so I love being in the sun. Being able to perform here is going to be awesome.”
Kelly has a solid background in gymnastics, evident by the moves she executes in the ring.