March 6, 2005 -- TRISH Stratus has a serious shiner - but it's not a problem. No, for this World Wrestling Entertainment diva, getting elbowed in the eye is a badge of honor - and she certainly wears it like one.
"It really hurt, and I knew it was going to leave a mark. There's a different pain factor when you know it's going to leave a mark," she says.
"I got backstage and it was like a golf ball on the side of my face. I thought, 'Maybe this will go down,' so I iced it all night long, and the next morning my eye was closed shut, all purple."
Still, the blond bombshell reported to work the next day - for a job that involves live wrestling events and traveling throughout the country 250 days a year.
"I have a reputation for being as tough as nails," she says. "I cut my top lip in Hawaii and I had two stitches in it. I lost a knuckle. My tooth got cut in half once."
It's hard to believe that someone so tough could look so good - and still act like a lady, to boot.
But Stratus does.
She was in town to promote WrestleMania XXI (which airs April 3 on Pay Per View), and we challenged the former fitness model to put together an outfit with just $100.
She rolled up in a black stretch limousine, wearing an outfit that would have made Legally Blonde's girly-girl Elle Woods proud: a pink corduroy jacket, a white tank top, pink leather boots and a cute beret.
"I'm a huge bargain hunter," says Stratus, who wears a cat suit with "Stratus-faction Guaranteed" printed on the top for wrestling matches.
"The thought of spending $200 on one item? I can't do it, and I really hunt down these stores that can provide the trendy stuff without spending that much money."
She likes to find one-time outfits that are not too expensive.
"I do a lot of personal appearances, so a lot of the time it pops up in a picture, and I'm like, 'Oh darn, I can't wear that again!'" she says.
Over the next five weeks, there are live main events that will culminate in WrestleMania, so Stratus has to be in full fashion gear. "I am the champion right now. I will defend it. And I'm sure there are a few women in the division eyeing my title. I do have a lot of enemies on the show at the moment."
Let's make them squirm even more.
We began our shopping extravaganza at Canadian boutique Le Chateau, a favorite of the Toronto-born wrestler diva.
704 Broadway; (212) 674-5560
Stepping inside this trendy, eclectic Canadian boutique gives you an instant shopping high. The spring collection is sexy and chic, with lace tops, cute crocheted sweaters and cargo jeans.
"These jeans are adorable," I say.
"We have a dress code where we're not allowed to wear jeans, and although it's a trendy item, they want us to look professional," says Stratus.
She eyes a pair of suede purple heels and for $14.99, they are a steal. With that in mind (perhaps she is inspired by her shiner), she finds a lilac chiffon top, matching earrings and a great fedora - all for $66.93.
"I love the trends in this shop," says Stratus. "I was born in Toronto, so I used to come here all the time growing up."
Next stop: Mystique Boutique, for a pair of low-rise pants.
547 Broadway; (212) 274-0645
This place is Trend Central. Sesame Street T-shirts, cargo pants, cotton dresses and chic corduroy blazers are everywhere.
It's perfect for what Stratus needs: a one-time outfit.
"There's so much to choose from," says Stratus, who is looking at white blazers and grabs a cute purple-and-white polka-dot skirt.
The store seems never to end. It keeps going on and on and on into the back, where there are crazy sales on overstock items.
Stratus finds the exact pants she's wearing for only $14.99.
"Oh my god, are you serious?" she balks at the price. She finds her size among the bunch and takes them. "I can't believe it."
It seems she's not only a pro in the wrestling ring, but in the fashion ring.