Career / Entertainment / Entertainment Interview

Cathy Kelley Talks Career in WWE, Life Lessons, Future Goals and More

If you’re a WWE fan, chances are you are familiar with the name Cathy Kelley. Her resume contains a long list of hosting gigs in the wrestling world such as Raw, SmackDown Live, WrestleMania 32 and currently hosts WWE’s NXT series. Her signature interviewing style and distinctive look makes her a star and fan-favorite. She’s become the go-to person for all the WWE breaking news and important interviews, which isn’t a surprise considering she has an actual journalism degree! In her own interviews, Cathy asks the questions fans all want to know and her bubbly, positive attitude makes her the one we want to watch. 

I had a chance to speak with the star about her career, her platform as a woman in media, self-confidence and her future plans! 

Cliché: Hi Cathy! Thank you so much for speaking with us. Growing up, did you always know you wanted to be in front of the camera? What was your initial dream in regards to the entertainment industry?

Cathy: As long as I remember, I wanted to perform. I begged my mom to put me in dance classes and figure skating lessons, and because she’s such a tomboy, she threw me into ice hockey and soccer! When I started school, I threw myself into every theater performance we had. Then in high school was when I started taking it seriously, joining our high school’s news program and even producing a feature film with a group of my friends senior year!

Is there anyone who you’ve looked up to in the past, that you modeled your career after?

There are so many people I look up to for different reasons! Right now, I’m inspired by women in the industry who are wearing multiple hats, like Olivia Wilde who is so incredibly fun to watch on screen, but then also killed it in her directorial debut. I also have loved Olivia Munn going back to the days of her hosting on G4, and now she’s got her hand in everything from acting to producing! Patty Jenkins, Greta Gerwig, Ali Wong… I have girl crushes on all of them too!

In a past interview of yours, you mentioned dealing with a lack of confidence and depression in high school. You’re now living your dream and seem very confident and happy. How were you able to overcome your past struggles, and what advice do you have to other young women who feel like their inner struggles are getting in the way of them accomplishing their dreams?

As I get older, I get more and more comfortable in my own skin and care less about what others think of me. I was bullied in high school, and that was a major factor in the self-confidence issues and depression I battled. It was really hard shedding that image of myself that others projected on me, but I realize in retrospect, them putting down another person said more about them than it did about me. I thought for the longest time if I were “perfect” everyone would like me, and I’ve learned no matter where you are at in career, or how much talent you have, or how far along you are in your journey of personal growth there will still be people who have an opinion. The moment you are able to embrace and own your imperfections is when you can truly be free!

Hair: Emily Zempel
Stylist: Eric Owes
Makeup: Bethany Garita
Clothing: Beaded Di Moda Atelier Jumpsuit

Growing up were you a wrestling fanatic? What was your introduction to the world of wrestling? 

My mom put a strict limit on how much tv I could watch growing up, so I didn’t get the opportunity ever to watch. It wasn’t until I moved to LA after college and started working for an online network, AfterBuzz TV, where I was introduced. They produce after-shows for popular television series and every Tuesday morning our executive producer would turn on Monday Night RAW. I got hooked so fast!!

Have you ever thought about training to become an in-ring competitor? 

A lot of people have asked me that, and the answer is no. I have way too much respect for the people who have sacrificed years of their life to training, plus my lack of body strength kind of makes the decision for me haha. Prior to getting signed to WWE though, I did have some wrestler friends teach me to run the ropes and take some bumps, more so that I would appreciate how difficult it is! WWE Superstars make it look so easy, and it’s FAR from it!

Since joining the WWE in 2016, what has been the most surreal career moment for you?

Last year, we filmed the first season of ‘Talking Snack’ my cooking and interview series for… one of the episodes we filmed in Denver where my mom lives now, and our shoot location fell through. My mom offered up her kitchen as a backup and next thing you know she’s showing Jeff Hardy drawings of fruit I made in 7th-grade art class!

Behind every success story, there is someone who was willing to give another person a helping hand. As you began your career, who do you feel gave you your big break?

I don’t know that it was my “break,” but I don’t think I would be in the position I am in without my high school film teacher, John Condne. At the time, I had so many people telling me to pick a career that “made sense.” My family and guidance counselors telling me to become a doctor or go to college for math and science, since those were always my better test scores. He gave provided students like me a creative outlet. I’d go on my lunch breaks, in study hall and even stay after school to learn to edit and how to operate a camera. In my senior year, he helped us raise money, produce and shoot a feature film, which was well out of his duties as a teacher but helped me and several other students who were looking to pursue careers in the entertainment industry. He also cast me on my first tv show during college, GenY TV a local entertainment series, that was short-lived, but provided me such an invaluable experience so early on in my career.

How would you describe the WWE fan base in one word and why?

Passionate haha and I think they’d agree! WWE fans are so invested in the shows and the superstars! 

Why do you think the women’s evolution in WWE, (and sports in general) is so important?

Everyone needs a role model, or someone to look up too. It’s easier to have big dreams when you see someone who looks like you accomplishing big goals. I can’t tell you how incredible of a feeling it is, seeing so many young girls attending WWE shows decked out in the gear of their favorite superstar. It gives me all the feels!

Hair: Emily Zempel
Stylist: Eric Owes
Makeup: Bethany Garita
Clothing: Gold @jeanlouissabaji Pant Suit

As a reporter, whose career in wrestling has been the most exciting to follow? 

I would have to say Becky Lynch. My tryout with WWE took place during the very first NXT special (NXT Arrival) and she was a small part of another Superstar’s entrance. Seeing how far she’s come and how much she has put the Women’s Division on the map has been incredible. I interviewed Becky prior to this year’s Royal Rumble and referenced how someone close to her years ago told her that her goal of main eventing a Wrestlemania was unrealistic. A couple of months later, alongside Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey, they became the first women to do it!

As your own career continues to grow, is there any other cause you would like to use your platform for?

Regardless of whether my career grows, I’ve always been passionate about human rights and the environment. My grandfather was a holocaust survivor, and his biggest lesson to me was the importance of giving back. Through WWE I’ve been able to work with Girl Up, UNICEF, the Special Olympics and I’m also really passionate about non-profits like Unlikely Heroes and TEAK Fellowship.

In WWE, fans mostly see the female athletes onscreen, as well as personalities such as yourself, Kayla Braxton, Sarah Schreiber, and Renee Young. But who are the unsung female heroes behind the scenes that you think fans should know about and why?

While she is a public figure, the work Stephanie McMahon does behind the scenes awes me. She has been such an advocate for both the women’s evolution as well as all the community outreach WWE does, from being involved in Be A Star anti-bullying rallies to holding female empowerment panels with Girl Up, to collaborating with UNICEF.

I have to say, from looking at your Instagram it’s so clear that you have an eye for fashion! Who are some of your fashion inspirations?

I usually wear whatever I think looks cool! Right now, I love pretty much everything Olivia Culpo, Dua Lipa, Hailee Steinfeld, and Kendal Jenner wear. I’m usually really picky when it comes to my clothes like three days a week, and then the rest of the time I’m in the same pair of yoga pants haha.

Hair: Emily Zempel
Stylist: Eric Owes
Makeup: Bethany Garita
Clothing: Beaded Di Moda Atelier Jumpsuit

Lastly, where do you see yourself in five years? Would you like to get back into acting? 

I want to do everything–hosting, acting, producing, directing! In addition to being a host, I’d love to be in a movie or two. I also have always enjoyed producing whatever projects I am working on, would love to tap into that on a bigger scale. One of my five-year goals is definitely to develop more projects for TV and digital platforms and see them come to fruition!

Cathy Kelley Talks Career in WWE, Life Lessons, Future Goals and More: Featured Image: Curtousey of Christopher Patey

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