CHRISTI JAYNES: WRESTLING TO STARDOM
Posted on 07 November 2016
Professional wrestler Christi Jaynes is IHWE’s Queen of the Ring. Benevolent leader she is, she only has one rule: Don’t touch my gear, or I will kill you.
Much more than just a pretty face, Christi is fiercely passionate, and packs a serious punch. More importantly though, she’s carrying the torch for women’s empowerment in a male-dominated industry that makes tickets sales on sex appeal and drama.
Christi is pictured in custom sets from Artista. On left, pieces from her Comic Book Girl character. On right, pieces from her Star Girl character.
Her introduction into the world of wrestling is far from sexy. Struggling to make friends at the age of 12, Christi’s mother encouraged her to join a team sport where the comradery would help her to overcome a language barrier and her self-professed awkwardness. Christi had other plans though, and threw her mom’s advice by the wayside to pursue her interests in the solitary sport of collegiate wrestling – complete with singlets and head gear. While she pursued many other sports in her lifetime including football and swimming, and even pursued more mainstream careers in both nursing and business, she kept coming back to her love of contact sport. Two years ago she dropped everything to train professionally, and the decision paid off. “The first time I jumped off that top rope I was like, Wow, I’m gonna do this forever. That hurt! – but I’m gonna do this forever, or until my body stops” says Jaynes.
Ever since then, she’s been fighting more than just her competition, but the uphill battle to get noticed and make money in an industry that’s similar to Hollywood. Though the hits, she tells me, are real. “It’s entertainment, but it’s not choreographed. You get hit, you fall down. You can’t fake falling,” says Jaynes who has broken and dislocated many bones in her body including her shoulder, ribs, and elbow.
Action shots in the ring. Images courtesy @christi_jaynes on Instagram.
Similar to Hollywood, the opportunities available to women wrestlers are few and far between. “It’s a rough lifestyle,” says Jaynes who often has to travel to matches as the only girl in a group of four or five men. Even though she’d love to split the cost of a hotel room with her fellow travelers, she’s more likely to sleep in the car than in bed with a strange man. At matches, “they don’t even have separate dressing rooms for guys and girls,” she says. “I bring a big Mumu to change under.”
The other challenge for most women is finding the right uniform, or gear as it’s called to those in the industry. “It’s hard to find someone who makes good gear for women,” says Jaynes, “because you don’t want a wardrobe malfunction. We already show enough skin.” Yet there are very few manufacturers making women’s wrestling clothes, leaving most girls to scour sex shops for their gear, which is ill-suited to the wear and tear of the sport, not to mention the stigma of sexism.
The other challenging aspect of selecting the right gear is finding your persona inside the ring. While Christi keeps a very strict separation between her personal life and her stage persona, she maintains that, whoever you are in real life translates into ring. “I’m weird. I’m awkard,” says Jaynes, who admits to terrible bouts of stage fright before each match, so she needed a stage persona (and accompanying gear) which could overcome those things.
Some of Christi’s first gear came straight from the dominatrix aisle, and included not one, but two pairs of booty shorts because the first didn’t provide enough coverage. Cue Megan Weinzierl, owner of Artista Active Wear. The two were connected through friends, after Christi was impressed by the integrity of her garments. “We talked for like two hours,” says Jaynes, after which Megan showed her some fabrics. Jaynes was struck by a comic print fabric, littered with callouts of “Bam” and “Pow” and be-decked with nailpolish and skulls. “It was girly, but also mean,” says Jaynes.
Megan set out to custom design the first outfit which included a top, bottom, knee pads and kick pads. “I was worried,” says Jaynes, “because my butt’s big and my waist’s small, but it all fit on the first try. Megan is good like that.” Thus, Christi’s persona as a comic book heroine was born.
Behind the scenes is constant work, from prepping for matches to recording story line drama. Images courtesy @christi_jaynes on Instagram.
Since then Jaynes has toured across the U.S. and Mexico as Star Girl – her latest red, white and blue ensemble – taking down villains internationally. And she’s not done yet! Christi has three more costumes in the works which she’s hoping to debut at her next big performances with organizations ranging from the NWA – “not Ni***s With Attitude” she laughs, “the National Wrestling Alliance” – to Stardom USA, and Lucha Libre Fighters.
Currently based out of Austin, Christi Jaynes hopes to one day make it big on the international circuit. “I want to go to Stardom in Japan” she tells me, or WWE, “but only if the price is right,” she smiles coyly.
Ashley Steel fell into the world of pole dancing in the same way she once broke her foot – completely by accident and with much bruising. Currently a novice she hopes to be a performer someday. She’s continually amazed by the cast of characters she meets within the world of aerial arts and loves exploring the topic of female empowerment within the industry. When not pole dancing she can be found painting or playing with her pig, Henry.