By Melissa Hank
Trish Stratus may have been named ďDiva of the DecadeĒ by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) before she retired from the ring in 2006, but in reality sheís anything but a prima donna.
Bubbly, personable and quick to laugh, Stratus made an unexpected career move when she signed up for hosting duties on the 2007 CBC reality show The Second City's Next Comedy Legend.
Now, with her next TV project, the former fitness model isnít just testing the waters in the lifestyle genre Ė sheís jumping in head-first. In Stratusphere
, airing Mondays on Travel + Escape, sheís an adventure-lover with an acute case of wanderlust.
Travelling to exotic locations around the globe and undertaking physical challenges, the petite Canadian tries activities such as glima wrestling in Iceland, muay thai boxing in Thailand, reindeer racing in Norway and paragliding in the Himalayas.
TVGuide.ca: First of all, why did you decide to do this show?
Trish Stratus: So I could travel the world! The producer thought I must have seen the world while I was wrestling, but I hadnít Ė I saw airports, arenas and hotels. Luckily, this show came about and now I get to actually see the world.
TVG: Were you involved in choosing which activities you undertook?
TS: The producer and I came up with that together. In our first meetings, we thought weíd just do adventure activities around the world. But as I look at it now, I realize it became more than an adventure activity show. Thereís a cultural look at the places we visited.
TVG: Can you give us any examples?
TS: They do muay thai boxing in Thailand and itís not just about learning a roundhouse kick. Itís been passed down for generations and their ancient warriors did it. The show became an inside look at what different people were about and thatís what made it a more satisfying show in the end for me.
TVG: Doing such physical things, you must have drawn heavily on your wrestling background. How did people in the different countries react to you?
TS: A lot of times I was met with, ĎReally? Youíre up for this? You want to fight with a sword?í [Laughs.] My sense of adventure made it easier since Iím one of those kids who want to do everything. We tended to gravitate to the fighting activities on the show because of my background and because of the cultural link.
TVG: Do you see yourself as a role model for girls? Theyíre not often encouraged to be physically active.
TS: I donít think Iím a role model, but I think itís neat for girls to realize that to be strong physically is usually a reflection of a strong mind. In any sport or physical transformation you definitely need a strong mind and body and determination Ė thatís something girls can take away from the show. And when you watch the Olympics, the girls just look like strong, powerful women. I think thatís how we all should be reflected.
TVG: Who inspired you growing up?
TS: My mom was a great role model. She always had us into physical activity. I remember doing the 20 Minute Workout with her when I was little.
TVG: I did that too!
TS: Itís funny, when I look back at the 20 Minute Workout I realize that not only was it good for girls, but I think the boys liked it for other reasons! [Laughs.] Itís all good, though. We all benefited. My mom and I also had a yoga record that weíd put on. A lot of girls I grew up with did tap and ballet and things like that, and I was doing soccer and boy sports. But my mom encouraged me to do whatever I wanted. And with the wrestling, it was neat to be a woman and make it in a male-dominated sport.
TVG: Iím sure many people dream about doing things like the adventures on your show, but they never get around to doing it. How do you think people overcome fear, procrastination or self-doubt?
TS: Just go out and do it. You should always be up to trying everything once in life. Thatís why it was important for me to do activities Iíd never done before. Itís fun to see a journey and everyone goes through one in life. If I failed at an activity, thatís OK because thatís what happens.
TVG: You did professional wrestling for nearly seven years, hold a record for winning seven WWE Women's Championships and retired in 2006. Do you still dabble in wrestling?
TS: No, unless Iím doing an episode in Vietnam or in Iceland. [Laughs.] I had my retirement match in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It was my final battle and I won it for the seventh time. It was a picture-perfect storybook ending, and I would never want to spoil that ending.
I have a great relationship with the WWE and theyíve asked me back to do a couple things, like a cameo appearance on the WWE Raw 15th anniversary special. And if any riveting storylines came by, I might consider it, but there are other countries I must travel to and do other fighting activities.
TVG: So is this series what you want to concentrate on or do you have others on the go?
TS: Are you kidding? I have my list of activities for Season 2 of Stratusphere already! [Laughs.] I have my fingers crossed for another season. Also, I have a yoga studio that I opened in April, also called Stratusphere.
TVG: Is that in Toronto?
TS: Itís [just outside Toronto] in Vaughn. The website is stratusphereyoga.com. The beginning of this year was interesting for me. I moved into a new house, I built a yoga studio, I filmed a travel show Ė a lot of things on my checklist. Now I just want to sit back and enjoy things Ė watch my shows, go to my yoga studio and focus on the things that Iíve worked for.
Stratusphere airs Mondays, 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT on Travel + Escape. Check out episodes online at travelandescape.com after Sept. 8.