By Greg Adkins
It pays to be Trish Stratus.
The seven-time WWE Women's Champion found that out while traveling through India recently while filming her new travel/adventure documentary program, Stratusphere. As Stratus and her crew, with all their equipment, were having difficulty clearing customs, a look of recognition suddenly struck one of the stern-looking Indian officials.
"He said, 'Stratus?'" recalls the blond beauty. "'You're Trish Stratus.' All of a sudden, there were a hundred people whipping out their cell phones and taking photos." And just like that, all that pesky, bureaucratic red tape was cast aside.
Such is the life of one of the world's most recognizable women. Since her retirement from WWE in 2006, Stratus has still managed to keep a raised profile. From her appearance on the U.S. reality show Armed & Famous to a stint in her native Canada with legendary comedy troupe Second City, the adventure-seeking starlet has parlayed fame into her latest exciting endeavor, Stratusphere on Canada's Travel + Escape network, and a Gemini Award nomination for Hottest Canadian Female TV Star.
"I'm so excited about the opportunity to win," says Stratus of her Gemini nomination, which is roughly the Canadian equivalent of an Emmy. While online voting for the award ends Friday, Stratus won't know if she won until the ceremony on Nov. 28. (Vote for Trish HERE
When network execs approached Stratus, also a co-producer, about doing a travel show they got much more than they bargained for. The self-proclaimed "tomboy" told them that she wanted to do more than a traditional travel program, drawing on her adventurous spirit, Stratus envisioned a show in which she would not only visit more tourist-oriented sights and explore the culture but would also, in true Stratus-fashion, delve into a local athletic endeavor.
"Travel was on the top of my list," says Stratus of her post-retirement plans. "A travel show is a dream job, but I didn't want to do a traditional show. I wanted to put my special twist on it."
Mission accomplished. Now in its second season, the show has allowed Stratus to explore her daring side with exploits ranging from paragliding in North India to reindeer racing in Norway. Stratus wouldn't be Stratus, however, if she didn't harken back to her WWE roots.
"A lot of the activities happened to be fighting," says Stratus, who notes that of the first 10 episodes, six feature a form of combat. "WWE fans would love it because they get to see me kicking [butt]. The idea was that I would learn activities I had never done before."
Those "activities" also included kalarippayat (Sword Fighting) in South India, Vo Binh wrestling in Vietnam, Pecak Silat fighting in Central Java, Glima wrestling in Iceland, Maori fighting arts in New Zealand and Muay Thai boxing in Thailand.
The fighting, however, doesn't come without risks. After one particularly intense sparring session, Stratus found herself battered, bruised and hobbled with a swollen foot. Not that she's complaining. After all, the injuries are par for the course for the former Diva and WWE Universe favorite.
As for plans to return to the ring, Stratus doesn't plan to shut the door on that idea any time soon.
"I've heard that Beth Phoenix and this new Diva Natalya have talked [trash] about me," says Stratus with a gleam in her penetrating eyes. "I've said it before, but if they ever decided to call me out, I wouldn't hesitate to step into the ring."
Beth? Natalya? The Universe awaits.
(Check out Trish's WWE Universe profile