Back in the day, to make it as a WWE Diva you had to be a model. The majority of the women who made it to the WWE had to have some sort of modeling background. This was a common factor in the locker room, and especially in the ring. You must admit, this physical stuff clearly wasn’t designed for the ladies. While some terribly failed at it, others did their best to stay relevant.
WWE has signed up a huge number of models over the past decade. They mostly did this through Diva Search contests, then later attempted to convert them into in-ring wrestling athletes.
The main logic behind this move was that it would be easier to turn an already photogenic woman into a wrestler as opposed to turning women wrestlers into swimsuit models. The outcome of this experiment has been a little bit patchy, with a few successes such as Rosa Mendes. But some girls just aren’t cut out to take severe bumps or get thrown around the ring for entertainment.
However, it would be a bit unfair to assume that WWE’s strategy hasn’t churned out any good wrestlers. With that in mind, here are 15 WWE Divas Who Had Successful Modelling Careers.
15 Rosa Mendes
It’s hard to think of a WWE Diva without Rosa Mendes coming to mind. She has been with WWE for 10 years. Her career at the WWE started out with her as a contestant for the 2006 Diva Search. Sadly, she got eliminated before she could get to the finals. She finished fourth. Luckily, she was offered a contract with WWE soon after. Quite easy on the eyes, but what won people hearts was the fact that the same can be said about her technique in the ring. Prior to her wrestling career, she had won a Latin America modeling contest in 2004. Her modeling background has been of great influence in WWE, especially from the Hispanic community.
She started out as a fitness model before getting to WWE. Besides her fitness fascination, she didn’t have any wrestling experience. However, even then, she was still doing well for herself. At one point in her life, she won the third season of NXT. She retired from wrestling in 2014 to open up her own clothing line, and also to pursue her fitness passion. She stills models for fitness magazines, and helps run her husband’s business. She’s also made headlines for posing nude for Bodybuilding.com, in case you want to check this out, you can find the pictures on her Instagram handle.
13 Alicia Fox
Before joining WWE, Alicia Fox was a catalogue model, mostly for lingerie. If the rumors are anything to go by, it is believed that John Laurinaitis discovered her from a fashion catalogue. She’s had a lot of changes in her looks through the years, and is famous for her dynamic hairstyles. It's hard not to notice her evolution in the beauty department from her WWE photo shoots. In the ring however, she has become sort of an underrated performer. She was also part of 2015’s Divas revolution.
12 Nia Jax
While this might come as a shocker, before Nia Jax joined WWE, she was a plus-size model. She has credited her modeling career for helping her gain a lot of confidence in her body. Because of her unique physique, she has become quite popular in the WWE. While she is not the first plus-size model in the WWE, her modeling career did a lot to get her there. A great part of her success lies in her lineage in the Anoa’I family dynasty, who are known for their flawless genetics. This helped her a lot in both wrestling and modeling. She is also a force to reckon with at the ring.
She is a former WWE announcer, who has also featured in a bunch of magazines such as Maxim before her Debut in WWE. She’s also modeled for KFC and Budweiser commercials. While Eden wasn’t a nude model, her portfolio included racy photo shoots. There is no doubt that Eden is attractive and photogenic, a trait that has helped her a lot, and the reason behind her inclusion in the WWE Diva Photo Shoot while at WWE. Apart from announcing, she has also done a series of video blogs for WWE. Eden currently runs her own line of swimwear suits.
10 Alexa Bliss
She is Smackdown’s newest female who came from NXT, and was once a model. She’s done a lot of modeling for fitness magazines, and was also in competitive bodybuilding. Alexa Bliss has always been active in sports and fitness and once cited Trish Stratus as a great inspiration in her career. Bliss also confessed that her bodybuilding passion helped her overcome a nasty eating disorder while she was young. She’s recently been on the cover of Muscle and Fitness Her’s magazine. With her quirky and cute personality, Bliss is destined for greatness in WWE.
9 Eva Marie
She is perhaps one of the most popular WWE superstars with a modeling background. Since the onset of her career with WWE, it’s been a well-known fact that she was a model prior to signing with WWE. This fact didn’t go well in the ring, and the fans totally resented her. She has featured in Sports Illustrated as well as a variety of magazine covers. While she did a lot of fitness covers, Eva was actually considered a fashion model. She has also been a cover model for Iron Man, Muscle and Fitness Her’s, as well as her own spread in Maxim.
Well, Lana has had quite a controversial WWE career. She had a rather racy past in modeling. The controversial part came up through Triple H’s comments back in 2015 about Chyna not being inducted into the Hall of Fame, simply because of her adult movies. He stated that children could look her up on Google and find her content. The fans were completely enraged and argued that Lana had fully posed nude and still got hired by WWE. Lana has done a lot prior to WWE, and has been a spokesmodel for Matrix and Redbull. While she may not have made it in the WWE yet, her valet work speaks for itself.
She has been a model throughout her career, pre and post WWE. She also created her own line of bikini wear in addition to her own fashion line after leaving WWE. Maryse had also posed for Playboy before signing with WWE. She has also been a model for various magazines. Her debut in modeling began after she won the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Canada competition in 2003. In 2004, she was the runner-up in the International Finals of Miss Hawaiian Tropic. Today Maryse is back in WWE and going strong alongside her real-life husband, WWE Superstar The Miz.
6 The Bella Twins
When the twins tried out for the Diva Search back in 2007, they were just aspiring models. Their modeling work pre-WWE is a bit scanty, and no one really knows what modeling they did. 10 years after walking into the WWE, the Bella Twins have made an empire for themselves. While fans question their passion for the business, the fact is, the twins have become one of the most popular brands in the WWE. The Bella twins have been successful in and out of the ring; clearly, the twin magic is working in their favor. They are clearly on a lucky streak at the WWE.
5 Candice Michelle
When she started out in 2004 as a Diva Search contestant, no one really thought she could make it as a wrestler. The only thing she had prior to WWE was a GoDaddy commercial. But through her hard work and effort, she made it as a wrestler, and even beat Melina to clinch the WWE Women’s Championship at the ill-fated Vengeance 2007 pay-per-view. This made her the first ever Diva Search contestant to win a WWE belt. Her injuries greatly affected her momentum, and she was released from her contract in 2009.
4 Kelly Kelly
Better known as Barbie Blank, she is yet another former model who defied all odds during her WWE tenure. It’s hard to believe that a model who signed back in 2005 had a strict eye-candy role in SyFy’s ECW, and still emerged as the best performer on the roster. Some of her best woman bouts that have ever taken place in the WWE were between her and Beth Phoenix, in their 2011 series of matches. While she wasn’t the most athletic WWE Diva, she surely wasn’t afraid to take a beating in the ring, or get thrown around like a rag doll. Her success came as a result of her determination to never give up.
3 Michelle McCool
She’s probably one of the best Diva Search success stories in the WWE. Fun fact, she started out as a middle school teacher. The longtime wrestling fan entered the 2004 contest, and spent a better part of 8 years as a cornerstone in the Women’s division. Since she was naturally athletic, she took on wrestling with a lot of ease compared to other Diva search entrants. She clearly knew what she was doing in the ring. Her first run as a blonde with an annoying babyface was a complete flop, but after teaming up with Layla El, there was no stopping her.
2 Layla El
She was a former Miami Heat dancer, who won the WWE fans in 2006 thanks to her vibrant personality. She had real potential from the start, and it wasn’t hard for anyone to notice this from the London-born star. However, no one could imagine she would have such success, having been a backup dancer on ECW. An impressive bit about the 35-year-old Diva is the fact that not even age or injuries could put her down. Clearly WWE needs to realize this, and give her some well-deserved airtime.
1 Eva Torres
After she won the 2007 Diva search contest, she took to pro wrestling like a fish in the sea. And while WWE were content with using her vivacious and beautiful model features as a valet for Chris Masters back in 2009, it was clear to everyone that she was destined for better things. In 2010, she entered the wrestling scene and quickly made a name for herself as one of the division’s highlights. Her background in gymnastics and dancing did a lot for as a performer. She however parted ways with WWE in 2016, and ventured into women’s self defense. She also got married the same year.