Daria Berenato made history when she emerged as WWE’s first openly gay female Superstar. But then, her journey to self-acceptance wasn’t that smooth. The 27-Year-Old, popularly known as Sonya Deville (her ring name), accepted herself because some fantastic people accepted her first. Daria has always been an athlete. She grew up in New Jersey, doing everything from four-wheeling, running track, and playing basketball.
Daria Berenato, known as Sonya Deville, is the WWE’s first openly gay wrestler paving the way for diversity.
But it wasn’t until high school that she got into watching UFC, obsessed by the fact that women could fight mixed martial arts. Thankfully, her mom was supportive, driving Daria (at this time was 14) to an MMA training over an hour away from their home each day throughout her junior and senior years of high school. She wanted to act and fight but didn’t know the two could be combined into one world until she got introduced to WWE in 2015.
And what attracted her to wrestling was watching how into the show the fans get and how physical it is.
The introduction originated through Maria Menounos, who Daria was friends with, and her husband Keven Undergaro when she relocated to Los Angeles. Menounos had been approached to appear on the WWE competition series Tough Enough, and while she wasn’t interested, she thought to recommend Daria for the gig.
For Daria, both worlds (acting & fight) she loved were combined in one larger-than-life world.
YES! Daria appeared on the series 6th season and instantly fell in love with wrestling. She made it 4weeks into the show before elimination. But it was during filming that Daria came out publicly, which wasn’t necessarily her intention. While her family and close friends had known she’s gay for years, she told Womenshealthmag: “It was a wild moment; I remember running upstairs after the interview to the performance center and being like, Oh my god. What did I just do?
At the moment, she’s helping others realize it’s okay to be whoever they are or want.
“I had no regrets, though, and for the first time, I actually felt genuine relief about my sexuality. It felt so good to say it once and for all, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I called my GF and my family, who all told me they were just proud to see me finally show my true self to the world.” Coming out in any form is a personal journey, and for Daria, the most significant aim is to create a conversation that sparks change and promotes acceptance.
And as she expands her reach, the Superstar has launched a doughnut company with fellow WWE star Mandy Rose.
“This is your life and your journey, so be proud of who you are, regardless of what you identify as or who you love,” Daria added. And as she expands her reach, the Superstar has since launched a doughnut company with fellow WWE star Mandy Rose known as DaMandyz Donutz, and she’s currently serving as WWE official, hoping to attract more views to what’s happening on Raw and Smackdown!