Daria Berenato, known more by her stage name, Sonya Deville, is plenty comfortable taking down opponents in the ring.
It’s a similar comfort level she now has with her own life, as the first openly gay wrestler in the WWE.
Berenato just opened up for the first time about when she came out to her family and friends. Berenato shared the story while guesting on AfterBuzz TV’s Acting Class Weekly with Sean Whalen.
” I was in such denial within myself for the longest time, just because of the, like, the place I grew up in. Like, it wasn’t common. I didn’t know anybody that was gay. I think I had one gay friend in high school and she never even, like, came out. It was just, like, we all just knew,” reflected Berenato. “I think I was more just not comfortable with saying it.”
She said dated guys growing up, and hid her feelings.
“I was also in denial,” admitted Berenato. “I was like, ‘I’m not gay, am I?’ Cause like, I think, also the fact that I didn’t fit the stereotypical mold of what a lesbian is supposed to be or act, like, I, I was just this girl that nobody would have expected.”
It wasn’t until she was with her friend’s mom that Berenato came out.
“I was, like, 17 living in Florida, wh–, when I just graduated high school,” Berenato shared. “My friend’s mom said to me, ‘honey, I think you’re gay.’ And I go, ‘yeah, I am.’ Like, as soon as someone vocalized it to me, gave me permission. I was like, ‘yes, yes, yeah!'”
Now, Berenato is free, and dating wrestler Zahra Schreiber. She’s also focussed on acting, taking lessons from Whalen. She even using her former lifestyle of playing someone else to help her in the ring.
“One hundred percent,” said Berenato, “and that’s something I’ve only started to perform in recent years. I’m like, wait a second, I think that makes a lot of sense, looking back at it.”
You can catch Berenato as Sonya Deville on WWE’s Smackdown.