I love talking to people. You can learn so much from just talking to someone. Whether you’ve known them a life time or have never met, sometimes you just connect with people and learn that you have many things in common. Social media has it’s good sides and bad sides. One of the reasons that I love social media is that it helps to keep people connected and helps you to connect with people that you might not get the chance to connect with otherwise. For me, one such person is Vale Anoa’i, a fellow writer and belly dancer. It was suggested that I connect with Vale from a mutual friend of ours on Facebook. Upon hearing that we had many things in common, I decided to take the leap and see for myself. Turns out, our friend was right. Not only do Vale and I have a love of writing and belly dance in common, we also share a mutual love of the professional wrestling business. I dabbled in the squared circle in my early twenty’s after watching wrestling with my dad and cousins. Vale is known for her announcing skills in World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) and is also the daughter of wrestling superstar Afa “The Wild Samoan” Anoa’i. Growing up in and around the wrestling business has given Vale a unique perspective into the crazy business that is professional wrestling and as well as into the crazy game known as life.
Vale is not only involved in WXW but also in her family’s non-profit organization the Usos Foundation which has been established to help offer young men and women to stay off the street and out of trouble. Vale is an accomplished author of several books as well as owner of her own business called Vale’s Buried Treasures. This is one busy, talented lady!
I’m thankful that I got the chance to ask her some questions about writing, her dad, and belly dance! Check out my interview with Vale below!
1) Considering how immersed in the wrestling business your family is have you ever wanted to get in the ring yourself, or have you ever wanted to take a step away from the business?
For many years (from very young childhood to about age 15) I seriously wanted to be a manager. I wanted to be involved somehow, I wanted to be part of the show. It was tough, always being on the sidelines, watching your brothers get to do it, and not being allowed to do it yourself. I didn’t want to WRESTLE, but I so badly wanted to manage! Dad never let me or any of his daughters get involved with wrestling, and it took me many years to understand why. I was never away from wrestling, literally born and raised with it being part of my life every single day, even now! I never wanted to be away from it, either. It’s a fascinating life. Though I’m not in the ring, I do SO much for WXW. I run all the behind-the-scenes and business end of things. So I’m very much an indispensable part of the show after all.
2) Other than your dad, who was your favourite wrestler growing up? Today?
I had a gigantic crush on The Undertaker when I was little, he was my favorite forever. It was funny, in the early and mid 90s, my nieces were all crazy about Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, and I was the only one in a blazing passion for The Undertaker. Typical Vale. Always going for the tall, mysterious, spooky long-haired, tattooed motorcycle guys. It’s difficult to say who my favorite is today, I rarely watch anything but WXW, but The Undertaker still gives my heart that flutter!
3) What or who inspires you the most when you are writing?
A LOT of my inspiration comes from my dreams. I have a very vivid, active dream life, and many times, a poem, a short story, or even a whole novel will erupt from a single image in a dream. I’m a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King (“IT” is in my Top 3 Favourite Books of All Time list), Anne Rice’s Witching Hour series, anything kind of darkly romantic.
4) I’ve read some of the quotes that you’ve posted on Facebook that your dad has made. He seems like a really funny guy. Have you ever though of writing a book about him?
I’m actually in the very beginning stages of writing my 8th book- “The FOB Files”. It will contain a huge number of his “FOB-Outs”, the times he messes up his English and causes mass hysterics.
5) What are you currently working on?
The FOB Files is my current writing project.
6) What made you choose to go with the self-publishing route?
When I get an idea in my head, I MAKE it happen. I originally tried sending the manuscript of my first book (my poetry book) to every publishing company I could find. 99% of them never got back to me, and I did get one “Thanks, but no thanks” type of letter. I got sick of waiting around, I got really frustrated. Then, and it’s really funny how fate works sometimes, one day I was going to Philadelphia to do a TV show pilot episode (I was heavily into acting at that time, living in PA). The limo driver picks me up (he looked EXACTLY like Saddam Hussein, which was kind of nuts!), and we were making small talk, then all of a sudden we got into the subject of Greek mythology (turns out, the driver was from Greece), and he told me that he wrote and self-published a book about it. He told me about Lulu.com, the website he used, and I was intrigued. So I looked it up when I got home, and was really happy with my research. I felt that this was the way to go, so I did it. I self-published my first book, promoted it like crazy among my family, friends, business contacts, etc., and it did really well. After that, I self-published all the rest of my books the same way.
7) How did you get into belly dance?
That’s another one of those funny Fate In Motion things. I had always been fascinated by it, and when I lived in PA I bought two Veena and Neena belly dance fitness DVDs to get a feel for it. It was obviously more fitness than actual dance, but I did learn some very good basics. Shortly after we moved to Florida, I received a friend request on Facebook from a lady who lived in my area, and was also a big fan of all things Geisha. Soon after that, I saw an ad in the newspaper that there would be belly dance classes at the recreation center right up the road from my house. Of course, I went…and they were taught by the woman who sent me the friend request, Maria Gimmeshimmy. We became great friends, and I’ve been going to her classes for 3 years now. But what are the odds, she lives in my neighbourhood, right around the corner from me, and the classes are a minute from my house! Can’t beat that! I fell madly in love with belly dance after the first class.
Do you have a particular style of belly dance that you study, or have you tried many styles?
Maria teaches the classical Egyptian and Cabaret style, but I’m also very inspired by Tribal Fusion. Just like in my writing, I like something with a darker, more sensual flavour.
9) What is your favourite thing about the dance?
The way it makes me feel when I’m performing. There’s nothing like it in the world. Dance has completely restructured my body, I’ve lost nearly 40 pounds JUST from dance, and I get such a fierce rush of joy and energy every time I dance, it’s the best feeling there is. It’s so beautiful, the movements are ancient, and make me feel very connected to the whole Universe. It’s like you’re performing a worship and invocation to the Goddess.
10) I see you won an award for a 15 minute non-stop shimmy. Did you have to train for that? I don’t think I could shimmy that long!
That was a blast! I knew about the contest about two weeks in advance, and told Maria that I intended to enter. So she sort of drilled me, playing a 3-minute song and having me shimmy non-stop, then a 5 minute song, then an 8 minute song. I built up my endurance, and felt I had a pretty good chance…until the night of the actual event. When I saw the women who were competing in it, my heart sank a little. They had been dancing WAY, way longer than I had, I had just under a full year of classes under my belt. At that point, my only rule to myself was “Don’t be the first to stop!” So the contest began, and I shimmied like I’ve never shimmied before. I blocked the rest of the world out, and just kept on going. I was very proud of myself for making it the entire 15 minutes. They didn’t tell us the winner until the very end of the night, and when I heard it was me, I SCREAMED and was so beyond excited. I won a fantastic 3-hour photo shoot! I couldn’t believe I won, I had never even officially performed on-stage yet! It was one of the major highlights of my year.
11) What does 2013 have in store for Vale?
I started my “Vale’s Buried Treasures” business this year, and I’m hoping that takes off and gets a lot of interest and attention. They’re personalized, themed, customized message in a bottle creations, each one is completely one-of-a-kind, unique, and hand-crafted by me. The message inside is hand-written, and can be whatever you want it to be. They make awesome gifts, and I ship them anywhere in the world. They’re only $10 apiece! That’s my main goal for 2013, to make the bottles a success. I’m also working on my next book, and there are WXW Wrestling shows every month, always something going on! I never know what the future holds, things can change in an instant, so I’m always prepared for anything.