Joseph Bruen: Were you a wrestling fan growing up as a kid?
HHW: Most definitely! My weekends were spent wrestling my older brother around the living room while we watched the NWO take over WCW! I had to learn at a very young age to be quicker than he was because there was no way I could ever escape his sleeper hold. I have dozens of photos of me with Sting face paint and my Randy Savage bash buddy! I grew up watching my favorite superstars and I feel very heavily that they helped mold me as a performer today.
Joseph Bruen: When did you first decide you wanted to get into the wrestling business? Tell us about your first experience once in the business.
HHW: While I’ve been a devoted wrestling fan and entertainer my entire life, it wasn’t until 2012 that I decided that this was the life that I wanted to pursue.
I trained almost every day for about two months solid before I got the OK to wrestle my first live match. Not only was I ready to take over the wrestling ring in the middle of Ocala, FL but Jerry “The King” Lawler was going to be my special guest referee!! I was so grateful and humbled to have such a legend a part of my first experience in the wrestling business and while I still think I was cheated out of victory, I’ll never forget the thrill and electricity I felt while I was in the ring, the adrenaline that surged through my veins and left me feeling more alive and more powerful than any other moment in my life.
Joseph Bruen: How did the Hollywood persona come about? Explain what you stand for and what Hollywood is all about.
HHW: I absolutely love this question! I’ve been Hollywood since the day I was born. I have always been an entertainer, thirsty for the spotlight, the center of attention and so it was only natural for my family nickname to turn into a persona that I plan to make a household name all over the world as I gain momentum in the squared circle. However, Hollywood has evolved over the past few years. I began my career as Hollywood Heather, a vivacious, sassy blonde with a taste for victory and a drop kick that could take your head off to my most recent figure, The Empress of Entertainment, Hollywood Von Royal. Hollywood Von Royal is about class and about establishing a level of glorious nobility that no one else in the sport of women’s wrestling is capable of reaching. While I carry myself with glamorous grace that does NOT mean when I step between those ropes that I don’t still bring a ferocity and vicious competitive nature that almost ensures my win every time.
Joseph Bruen: You spent some time with the Funks in Florida, tell us about your time with them and what that meant for your career.
HHW: Learning from Dory Funk Jr. was a wonderful way to start my career. He’s a WWE Hall of Famer for a reason, his knowledge is priceless for someone who wants a solid foundation in the wrestling world. They gave me an avenue to explore my physical abilities in a safe environment as well as develop a strong psychological understanding for wrestling as a whole.
Joseph Bruen: You recently went toe to toe with Brandi Lauren in ACW. How was she as an opponent and tell us more about that promotion.
HHW: I am so excited to be a part of the ACW promotion! American Combat Wrestling is a quickly growing promotion in Florida that houses some of the most promising talent in the South.
Brandi is such a great up and coming, young talent. Girls like her ensure that the future of women’s wrestling is in good hands.
Joseph Bruen: Who has your toughest opponent been so far?
HHW: Every opponent you face is different, they bring something unique to the ring with every show. I would have to say that this far in my career the women that has challenged me the most is Awesome Kong. I’ve stood across the ring from the likes of Mickie James, X-Pac and Ron Simmons but to work against someone who I both physically and professionally look up to is more daunting than I ever expected it to be. To be in the ring with someone of her physical dominance and reputation, my experiences with her were a mix of me fighting to defend my title and trying to soak up what knowledge I could. Luckily I managed to survive with my reputation and head intact and look forward to butting heads (amongst other forms of physical violence) with her soon.
Joseph Bruen: What other promotions have you worked for so far and tell us a little about them.
HHW: As of right now I’m content working for ACW, however I am looking forward to expanding my territory and will be working with The Masters of Ring Entertainment in July as well as a few more promotions up North….so stay tuned!
Joseph Bruen: Where have you traveled so far and looking to travel for wrestling moving forward?
HHW: Thus far my career has been based mostly in Florida with a few trips up to Georgia and North Carolina. What I’m looking most forward to is expanding my wrestling knowledge by travelling to Japan as well as Mexico. Both places are so important to the history of wrestling, my career could only get better by spending time visiting them and soaking up what I could.
Joseph Bruen: What are some of your other hobbies outside of the wrestling world?
HHW: When I’m not kicking people around in the ring, I use my downtime to unwind and decompress. I find solace and relaxation on any of the many sunny beaches that are within driving distance of home. Wrestling is a career that requires you to travel A LOT so when I’m away from it I thoroughly enjoy spending my days at home with a good book or writing something of my own. Of course fitness is incredibly important when I’m away from the ring so I’m in the gym anywhere between 4-6 days a week when it’s possible. I also work with a personal trainer who keeps me in top ring shape. And in true Hollywood form, I love the finer things in life as well. I’m lucky that I can indulge in nice dinners, nicer champagne and of course wonderful people to do it with!
Joseph Bruen: What are some of your long term goals?
HHW: As with anyone in this business, the WWE is definitely the end game. To work in the most powerful company, for the most well-known family in wrestling history, on the grandest stage and for the biggest crowds is exactly what I’ve always dreamed of. Working for the WWE would not only solidify my wrestling reputation but would allow me the kind of platform I need to show the world exactly who Hollywood Von Royal is!
Joseph Bruen: Any interest in acting, modeling or anything outside of pro wrestling and have you done any of that yet?
HHW: Actually, yes! I modelled and acted professionally from the time I was 16 to when I dedicated my full attention to wrestling at 19! I have a few independent films under my belt as well as some smaller roles in a few major motion pictures, needless to say my time on set helped me develop my Hollywood starlet attitude. My modelling career was a wonderful experience that allowed me the confidence I have now to declare myself the Empress of Entertainment.
I hope to go back to it one day soon and dominate the silver screen in the same way I plan to dominate the wrestling world.
Joseph Bruen: What are your top 5 wrestlers that you look up to from any era and why?
HHW: Beth Phoenix: The “Glamazon” Beth Phoenix is the woman who inspired my career more than any other. It was seeing a match that pitted her against Mickie James that solidified my decision to become a wrestler. Watching her physically dominate her opponents with brutal athleticism and strength while still being undeniably glamorous and beautiful gave me the passion and fire that I needed to step foot inside the ring. Truly she was the perfect combination of beauty and strength.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin – I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Steve Austin last year when I appeared on his show “The Broken Skull Challenge”. Needless to say I was star struck because I had watched this man rebel against none other than Vince McMahon on more than one occasion. He was one of the biggest stars WWE had ever produced and here he was shaking my hand. The Texas Rattlesnake was a bona fide badass, who got me in so much trouble for throwing up inappropriate hand gestures and pretending my cans of coke were frosty beer cans, spewing foam all over our living room. Hs career was iconic in the way that it has transcended the wrestling world and is now a household name.
Chyna: Clearly, this woman was a trailblazer for every girl out there who would be considered “bigger” or who didn’t fit the mold of the average lady wrestler. At a time when most of the “divas” were working bikini matches and lingerie battle royales, Chyna was dominating the men’s division with raw power and brute force in a way that no woman to follow has ever achieved. She set such a high standard for women in this industry and I do hope that in my own way I can honor her legacy.
Triple H: I have been a wrestling fan for a very long time and still when I hear Triple H’s entrance music hit I get goosebumps. When he began wrestling it was clear he had the type of presence that was going to make him a living legend. His self-assured confidence, ability to command the attention of wrestling fans and non-wrestling fans, and his dominance in the ring made me a huge fan right from the beginning. He is someone who others aspire to be like. He is fearsome. His showmanship, overall dominance against his competitors, and shrewd tactics as a businessman have made me a lifelong fan
Mae Young & The Fabulous Moolah: I count these two woman as one because both of them have had an undisputable impact for female athletes everywhere! Without these two ladies there would be no place for women like me and every other woman out there to go to celebrate our talents.
Joseph Bruen: Where can fans follow you on the web/social media?
HHW: Everyone can keep up with my upcoming shows, live events and check out all my available merchandise at hollywoodvonroyal.com
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @HollywoodVRoyal as well as my Hollywood Von Royal Facebook page!
Joseph Bruen: Any upcoming events for you that you would like to plug?
HHW: On July 23rd I’ll be heading up to North Carolina to take part in The Masters of Ring Entertainments Pro Wrestling event. Fans will recognize some familiar faces like, Diamond Dallas Page, Awesome Kong, Terri Runnels, James Storm, Karen and Jeff Jarrett and many more!
Joseph Bruen: What are your words of wisdom for someone just getting into the wrestling business or even thinking of doing so?
1) Never stop learning – train with different people, soak in what you can and realize that there is always someone that knows something you don’t.
2) Listen – Sometimes the best thing you can do is shut your mouth and take criticism, constructive or otherwise. If a veteran is offering you advice, take it. Do not argue your point with someone who has experience that you don’t.
3) Learn the difference between confidence and arrogance and then leave your ego outside the locker room – Maintaining a respectful, working relationship with those in this industry is key to a successful career. No one likes a show off. Be confident in your ability inside the ring, carry yourself with humbleness outside of it.
4) Never, ever stop working towards your goals. Whether you’ve been working for six months or six years, if wrestling is your passion, if it is what makes your heart beat and your adrenaline race, keep working. This business is full of ups and down, injuries, deception and road blocks that feel like the end of the world but it is also the most rewarding and unique industry you could ever enter. We do things that other people only dream of. We fly, we fight, we steal the spotlight, we inspire the people who watch us and while it’s not an easy business, it’s most definitely worth fighting for.