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Fan Fest EXCLUSIVE: Brandi Rhodes talks her TNA Impact Debut, Hype Music and Horror Films

NICK: Seeing that you’re getting all geared up for the Heroes & Villains Fan Fest in Atlanta this month, it’d only be right to talk back story; because, every great superhero has a backstory. So, tell me a little about how you broke into wrestling and how you met your husband, Cody Rhodes.

BRANDI: I broke into wrestling ‘the old fashioned way.’ I guess I’m that old? (laughs). Back in the earlier days of wrestling…good lord! They would look to athletic models to try and find potential female wrestlers. A lot of girls from Kelly Kelly to Eve Torres; some of those girls were part of a Diva Search. The way you’d get into the Diva Search was through modeling agencies, just like normal casting. I, interestingly enough, was able to bypass the Diva Search; which is cool, because, there’s a lot of girls that used to go out for that. I guess they had a little bit more confidence from me coming from a figure skating background, that I did have the athletic ability. They had me in for a try out, I tried out…having never stepped into a wrestling ring before. I think the first time I fell down, I knocked myself out; but, I just kept going! (laughs) It’s really not easy. Not at all! It’s definitely the little intricacies that look so easy on television that are about 20 times more difficult than they look. But, really, it was naturally a fit once I got into the ring having been a figure skater for 17 years; I was really missing that athletic portion of my life. It was just so much fun to start learning and training…while getting beat up; but, still being able to exercise that side.

As far as Cody goes, we met through WWE. He had already been working there for a number of years and was a very prominent figure there. His dad, Dusty Rhodes, was actually one of my first trainers. So, I actually knew Dusty before I knew Cody. Actually, I was reluctant to introduce myself to Cody, because I always thought he looked mad. (laughs) I never really spoke to him until he spoke to me. But, once we started chatting, I just realized that that’s kind of just his business face.

NICK: Let’s talk a little about that epic entrance you had on TNA Impact last night. Not only did you own the ring with such an incredibly powerful and badass introduction; but, that theme song was fire. Can you tell us about the track and what tone you were looking to set with it?

BRANDI: So, I LOVE that theme song. I have a good friend who is from Atlanta, who will hopefully show up at Heroes & Villains in Atlanta, but, he’s sort of everywhere at the moment! He’s a producer, his name is Ty Cutta. I had heard little bits of stuff he had done in the past from the time I spent living in Atlanta. But, when it came to getting actual entrance music, you can either leave it up to the production to do (which, most of the time they do a solid job); but, for me this was kind of a one and only chance. So, I reached out to Ty [Cutta] to see if he wanted to do the music. He’s done music for Naomi with WWE, so, her theme song was all him and he actually uses her voice on it, which is kind of cool! So, I figured I’d see what he can do. He got in the studio with a bunch of guys and threw my track together in no time…and it is SO good! I expected so much less, not from Ty, but, because I didn’t really ask for anything specific. I basically just said: I want something upbeat, something that people can dance to. I gave him a couple song ideas that I like. I really just wanted something that when you hear the beat, you kinda start moving your shoulders. Man, he nailed it! I honestly didn’t even think it would have words…and the lyrics are insane. I find myself from time to time walking around going “Brandi, Brandi” (laughs). I keep hearing it! He did a really good job. We’re working on it with iTunes right now, but, hopefully it’ll be released pretty soon and people can just jam all the time.

NICK: Well, the track was definitely the best hype music for your opening night. What are some other tracks that really get you pumped up currently?

BRANDI: I think people were surprised. There’s actually this side of me that my husband [Cody] likes to call me ‘Detroit Brandi,’ which is where I’m from. But, there are a lot of nuances to that ‘nickname,’ like, the kind of music that I dive into can be a little be…’thicker’ than what people could imagine from me. I don’t know! I really like good music. It could be country one day, and Lil Wayne the next day…and SO loud that I can’t hear you. It’s just ridiculous.

So, Cody and I recently had a near couple fight over some music; because, I get so amped up about music, that I can’t not make Cody listen. He ‘claims’ he doesn’t know a lot of rap music. Which, growing up in Atlanta, I don’t know how that’s not a thing. I think he isn’t telling the truth! But, he claims he doesn’t know different artists and different songs, and so, the other night I had had enough of it, so I got on Spotify and just played a bunch of stuff for him…and he actually got kind of mad at me, because it was so excessive.

Mercy by Kanye West is one that when it comes on at the gym, I’m ready to run an extra mile. Anything Kanye I love. Rick Ross is another that I’m big into at the gym. I also found a Spotify playlist that has a little bit of everything, and on it is Thunderstruck by AC/DC; and when that comes on, I’m ready to bench twice what I can normally!

But, if you ever give me Lil Jon…I will be listening to Lil Jon until I’m in my 70’s.

NICK: I think it’s safe to say we all will. (laughs) You have a website: beingbrandirunnels.com where you discuss Beauty, Decor, Family, Fashion, Travel, Health & Fitness…and, last but not least, Horror. You’ve recently stated that you’re a horror film fan: what have been some of your favorite horror films this year?

BRANDI: Okay, here’s my thing with horror: I like everything. I’ve never really watched anything that I have to turn off. If it’s super disgusting and making me queasy, I might have to turn it off…but, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it; it just means I can’t stomach it. (laughs) This past year, I’ve really like the Conjuring 2. I thought that that was pretty amazing for a second. In horror, usually when you start getting prequels and sequels…things tend to get a little iffy. But, that one was pretty fantastic! If they decide to do a Conjuring 3, it’ll probably be amazing too.

I have always been a big fan of The Purge series. I know a lot of people don’t classify that as a horror film, but, I do. And, if it’s at Halloween Horror Nights, then it kind of wins. It’s a horror film! I’ve been so impressed with that whole series, because they are so different. It’s just something that could actually happen one day, I feel like. I just feel like we’re in such a weird society where we could actually somewhere like that where you really do have to lock yourself down for a night, because you think anything could happen.

Also, I know it’s not a film, but, I’m super big into American Horror Story right now. So good! I don’t want to spoil anything for anybody, but, this season…man, they are outdoing themselves. How are they going to keep going after this?! So, yeah, they are doing amazing stuff in horror right now.

The talent that is on that show is just so versatile. Whenever I see one of my favorite characters pop up in another season, I’m like: “Oh my God, I can’t wait to see what she does like this. Because, last season she was junkie and that was crazy!” It’s so insane to see them.

It’s funny, because, recently we moved out to the LA area, and I started working with someone who just cast some people in American Horror Story, so, I’m like: “Hey, anything that comes in American Horror Story, please let me know! I will get killed 20 times. I really don’t care. I love it so much!” And, she’s like: “Noted, noted, noted!”

NICK: Ah, that would be so amazing to see Brandi Rhodes in American Horror Story.

BRANDI: Hey, you never know! Look at Lady Gaga…she’s killing it!

NICK: I mean, there’s so much room for new, fresh scream queens in this day and age; so, maybe it’s not too far off to say you might find your way into horror.

BRANDI: I feel like if I don’t find my way into horror at some point, I’ve failed. Because, it’s my absolute favorite genre. It is funny, because, recently I’ve been saying I’m into. But, for a while it was almost a freakish thing to say your into. When I’d walk into rooms and people say: “Hey, if you could do anything, what would it be that you’d do?” I’d say: “Well, you know, we’d go back in time and do another Halloween movie and I’d get killed and this is how I would do it.” And, they’re like: “Wow. That’s so cool. That’s so brilliant.” Ten years ago, if I had said that, they’d try to put me in a mental institution! Now I feel like I can say things like that and it’s not so crazy.

NICK: On top of television and film, what are a few other things that you’re a big fan of right now?

BRANDI: Well, being that it was just Halloween season and I’m always a little sad when it’s over. I’m a huge fan of horror stuff. Haunted houses, events and even real haunted stuff…I mean, they tell you it’s really haunted, but, nothing ever happens when you’re there. I did Halloween Horror Nights in both Orlando and Hollywood; which is the first time I’ve been able to do both in one year. They were amazing! The events are night and day. They still have the same stuff, but, they are so difference. For instance, in Hollywood, they like to swing knives and things right at your face. In Florida, they don’t do that. Our friend is the Creative Director in Florida, and the scare-actors are always supposed to swing down. I think that’s the rule. I’ve got to ask him: “why is it that you guys don’t do that?” (laughs) And, back in Hollywood…I literally had to limbo at times. I even asked one of the scare-actors: “do you want me to limbo?!” But, now I’m going into a slight depression now that Halloween is over..at least until Christmas.

NICK: Who’s to say that Christmas can’t start now for you?

BRANDI: It pretty much is. It’s funny, I went on the day of Halloween to pick up some Halloween stuff for the house; and, it was all gone. It was all Christmas stuff. I was like, what happened to Thanksgiving? Did I miss it?! Halloween is today…and I’m looking at a Darth Vader Christmas sweater! But, I didn’t get the Darth Vader sweater, and Cody said: “you’re going to come back on Christmas Day and you’ll be mad you can’t get the sweater.” They’ll be on Easter at that point.

cwhcjf0vuaakimmNICK: I have to say, the photo of you as Catwoman with the actual cat is one of the greatest photos ever.

BRANDI: Is it totally apparent that that cat is not actually in the picture?

NICK: NO! The cat isn’t in the picture?

BRANDI: This is why I really like this picture! Okay, so, that cat is a real cat; but, he is not in the picture. He was photoshopped in. The reason why we put that cat in the picture, is because he was the photographers cat and he kept walking into the picture. So, as a joke, we decided to just photoshop the cat into the final photo.

NICK: From competitive figure skating at the age of 4, to modeling, to news presenting, to blogging and wrestling with WWE and now TNA; you’ve proven to be unstoppable. What other awesome stuff can we look for from Brandi Rhodes in 2017?

BRANDI: Well, you know, one of the running jokes with me is how much I just have an insatiable lust for doing so many new things and getting better and better at them. I never just want to do one thing. It almost becomes a situation that I become so obsessed with the chase, that I finally get where I want to be and I want to be somewhere else. Right now, I’m really enjoying wrestling. I’ve trained and never gotten the chance to wrestle; and now, finally having the ability to go out in front of crowd and do these things…whether its good, bad or ugly; because, there will be all kinds of days. It’s funny, because I think people expect absolute perfection, because of who I’m married to, but, I’ll be the first to let you know: there’s a learning curve, and I’m still on it! It’s not going to be perfect, but, I’m so much fun doing it. It’s the perfect amount for me! But, aside from that, I’m really hitting the ground running as far as the LA scene goes. I’m very invested in contouring my craft as an actress. I’m learning more, taking classes and getting better in that realm. I’m reading all of the time for stuff! So, you never know what that fit will be. It would be awesome if it was horror! (laughs) But, if it’s not, that’s okay. I’m an interesting one in the fact that I have done so much stuff. Like, all the time they’re in need of reporters with actual experience; and, I’m usually one of 20 in a room that actually has that experience. It’s great to be able to be versatile. It helps that I wrestle, because I have a strong athletic background which is good for anything where I’m needed to stunt a little bit. I’m all for it! I’m keeping myself open for everything. I will say that there are a couple of interesting things for me and Cody as a duo in the television world…which we aren’t able to fully disclose yet. But, I’m hoping it all works out, because, I think our fans that like the Cody/Brandi together thing would be really into. Right now, we’ve been focused on separate stuff a lot, so it would be nice to do something together!

NICK:  Last but not least; you have a swimsuit collection online and being in LA, which is one of the fashion capitals, do you see a Brandi Rhodes collection with a designer at some point in the near future?

BRANDI: See, why would you put that idea in my head? Now I feel like you challenged me! Confection Swimwear was always something I was really into at the time being in Georgia. It was very difficult to do there, and once I started training for wrestling again, I lost the ability to captain that ship. There was no one to hand it over to. I still have it, and am just waiting on the right opportunity to start captaining that ship again. I definitely love fashion and have a lot of ideas about fashion. If I were to jump into that world again, I definitely wouldn’t limit to just bathing suits. Hopefully, considering that you basically challenged me, I will probably cross that bridge at some point.

NICK: Thanks so much for taking the time. We all look forward to seeing you at Heroes & Villains Fan Fest next weekend in Atlanta! Your career is always such an amazing one to follow, and I look forward to all of your future successes.

BRANDI: Thank you! See you all soon.

Be sure to catch Brandi Rhodes at Heroes & Villains Fan Fest in Atlanta on November 19th and 20th.

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Nick Floyd

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Beauty and the Beast was the first film he can remember seeing as a child. He used to listen to film scores in his front yard and recreate full scenes using only his "imagination." The Goonies is a film he can quote from the opening credits to the end credits. He’s patiently awaiting the day when someone actually captures Sasquatch just so he can prove his parents wrong about what he really saw run across the street one dark and stormy night years ago. In 2008, he had a near death experience/encounter with a moose on the Stampede Trail in Alaska. To this day, he’s trying to adapt it into a full length film.