Tegan Nox, the first-ever Welsh female WWE superstar, came out as bisexual one month ago and her visibility has already saved someone’s life.
Tegan Nox, real name Steffanie Newell, came out publicly on 10 July when she shared a photo of herself and her girlfriend Sierra St Pierre on Instagram and captioned it: “Life is good.”
The 25-year-old wrestler told PinkNews that after living for years under a self-imposed “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, she has been blown away” by the people she’s managed to help simply by being herself.
She said: “I’ve been out to friends and family for a while, they all know that it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female to me, if you make me laugh, make me happy, I’m all for it.
“It’s just always been a don’t ask, don’t tell situation with me, if no one asked, then I’m not going to say anything, you know?”
WWE superstar Tegan Nox ‘clicked’ straight away with girlfriend Sierra St Pierre.
Part of what made it the right time for Tegan Nox to come out was wanting to share how blissfully happy she is with her girlfriend.
“It’s been a few months, we were talking for a while before we got together,” she said. “But it just felt right and we clicked on everything. She’s super supportive of my career.
“She wasn’t a wrestling fan per se, she watched as a child but didn’t watch it as an adult, so that was kind of nice to have someone completely away from wrestling… I knew from the beginning that she was something special and I’m very, very happy that she’s in my life.”
She added: “She’s such an incredible person. And I just wanted to show her that I’m happy with her and she’s someone that I love very dearly.
“It just felt like the right time to not only make her comfortable, but to just be like, ‘OK, this is it. This is me. Do what you shall with it.’”
Although it was a big step for her, Nox said she didn’t feel nervous before putting out her Instagram post.
“I guess social media, as toxic as it can be, was the easiest way to do it,” she said.
“I could just press share put my phone down and it’s done. Like, it’s a split second, you know?”
“I don’t know these people so it doesn’t matter to me what they think,” she added.
The bisexual wrestler said her fans’ reactions have ‘blown her mind’.
Although she has encountered the odd homophobe online, she said “95 per cent of reactions have been the most positive thing”.
Nox said: “I’ve had people come up to me at work, congratulating me. I’ve had people message me, people that I knew beforehand, people that I don’t know.
“So many people have messaged me saying that because I came out, they felt the confidence to come out too.
“Which is such a big deal for me, because I want to use my platform to be able to help people like that.”
I want to help people be comfortable in their own skin, because I’m comfortable in mine.
Helping people, she said, makes “all the negativity worth it”, but one fan’s reaction sticks out to her more than all the others.
“There’s this one guy, he said that he’d hidden who he was for years from his family. He said he had girlfriends and all these other things just trying to make his family believe that he was a straight guy.
“But me coming out helped him come out and saved him from what he said was a very fatal time in his life, which blew my mind.
“Knowing that something as easy for me is pressing share helped save someone, that really sticks out for me. That something so simple can affect someone in such an incredible way, and make their life better where they see a light at the end of the tunnel instead of just darkness.
“If I’m having a bad day, I’m like, ‘No, you’ve done something good, like you’ve helped people. And that’s what you want to do, you want to help people.’”
She added: “I want to help people be comfortable in their own skin, because I’m comfortable in mine. So if I can make others feel that way too, then that’s all I want in life.”
Tegan Nox has had a ‘hectic, crazy career’ with WWE.
Tegan Nox being signed by WWE was something she never saw coming, and while she was overjoyed, she has come up against a lot obstacles in her career.
“It was always something I wanted to do”, said Nox, “but didn’t know that women could necessarily do it, or that was even a career option for me.
“I mean, I started to train just for fun without even thinking, ‘Oh yeah, WWE will pick me, there’s no problem.’ I never thought that would happen.”
In October, 2016, she went to a WWE tryout in Glasgow and was asked on the spot to join NXT and move to Orlando.
She said: “Without even thinking or even consulting my family, I said: ‘Yeah, no worries. Yeah, I’ll be there, no problem. Just tell me when, I’ll be there.’ So it’s been a hectic, crazy career. It’s been eventful.”
It was always something I wanted to do, but didn’t know that women could necessarily do it, or that was even a career option for me.
But just over a week into training, Nox tore her ACL and had to be replaced in the first-ever Mae Young Classic tournament.
She said: “It sucked, it was such a historic moment. The tournament is in honour of arguably one of the best entertainers this industry has ever had.”
It took her around 10 months to recover, but she made her return for the second Mae Young Classic. However, she was about to experience something much worse.
“In the quarterfinals against Rhea Ripley, I did a dive to the outside and we used to have a ramp that was really long and my foot just caught the ramp – my toes were on the ramp but my foot was on the floor.
“I just dislocated my knee and everything inside of my knee was just destroyed. I tore my ACL, MCL, LCL, both meniscus, dislocated my kneecap, broke part of my tibia and had some bone contusions.
“During the match, you’re so full of adrenaline that I didn’t feel the pain, I didn’t know that was the extent of the injury. If I did, it would have stopped.”
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Today marks the 6 month anniversary (to the day & date) of the best/worst day of my career! It’s been a tough 6 months full of blood, sweat and tears but I wouldn’t change it for the world…even the knee scope in November! I’ve taken the time off to change both physically and mentally, plus I’ve been picking up some extra skills along the way! I’m still a little ways away from returning but every day is better than the last! #ShatteredGlass …just saying
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Nox had to undergo two surgeries in three years, and then extensive rehab.
“Rehab was tough,” she said. “It was physically demanding, mentally demanding.
“I saw darkest depths, which I never want to go back to. Luckily I have such an incredible friend group and family, it made everything a little bit easier.”
Finally, her knee feels “fantastic” and “stronger than ever”, but it doesn’t stop her girlfriend from worrying about another bad injury.
She said: “At the moment, with everything that’s going on, we film two episodes every two weeks.
“If I’m on the first episode, she’ll watch it while I’m driving back from work, and I’ll get a text saying: ‘Are you OK? What’s happened?’
“I’ll text her before my match, I’ll her afterwards, and she’ll be nervous for the entire thing but you know, it’s part and parcel of the job.
“We get a little niggling injuries here and there, she knows that when I come home I’m going to be sore so usually there’s a bath run. She understands.”
Tegan Nox features on WWE NXT, which broadcasts every Wednesday at 1am exclusively on BT Sport 1 HD.
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