(Catching up with Michelle Elizabeth AKA Shellie Lepere)
Joseph Bruen: Thanks for joining us Shellie! It`s been a long time but let us start from the beginning. Were you fan of wrestling growing up as a kid?
Shellie Lepere: It's a pleasure to be here Joe! I was a huge wrestling fan growing up, and am old enough to remember the first Wrestling. PPV as we knew it didn't exist, so we relied on the newspaper, and I remember cutting pictures of Wendi Richter and Cyndi Lauper out of the newspaper and hung them in my bedroom.
Joseph Bruen: When did you first get involved in the wrestling business? Tell us about your debut.
Shellie Lepere: I'd been attending college for a degree in broadcasting, but had a hard time continuing financially. Not wanting my education to go to waste, I decided to use the experience and explore local broadcasting opportunities. After talking to some friends, I stumbled into the New England wrestling community, and from the beginning, they were very welcoming. The scene in this area really was like a small family.
Joseph Bruen: You were a manager/valet at several shows over the years. What companies did you work for and which was your favorite?
Shellie Lepere: I ended up working with K.I.A.S. (Kevorkian Institute of Assisted Suicide) as their nurse, and had a great time as their valet. Getting involved with other companies was a blast, and I remember working on shows in Fall River, Braintree, and Providence. At NECW I did mostly behind the scenes work, but it was a very unique company in the sense that Sheldon's love of wrestling was infectious. It created a vibe that resonated throughout and it was hard to not get excited when you spoke to him. In many ways he was a mentor, and I value the knowledge he shared with me before I left the business. With NWA New England, I did ring announcing and on-air interviews. It was which was a blast and they were a great group of guys! PCW wasn't a company I did a lot of work for, but was close with them after they tried to fill the void after ECW became defunct. Studley Steve and I worked with Big Jim at WHJJ on Saturday nights on The Wrestling Forum. We had an absolute blast, and got to talk with a lot of performers and industry insiders. One of my favorite shows was Headlocks for Humanity. Jose Perez brought everybody together from the entire community, which at the time was no easy fete. The show was to raise money for The Red Cross after 9/11, and everybody united in a way they had not before. I'll never forget how hard Jose worked to make it happen.
Joseph Bruen: You have a background in writing which some may not know, tell us about it!
Shellie Lepere: Gladly! Writing was really my first love. I wrote a lot of wrestling pieces back in the 00's. There were a few interviews, and some were longer than others depending on how much time I was able to spend with the talent. I really didn't get back into writing until a few years ago, and have had some short stories published online, and have have been working on a science fiction novel that is in the final stages of editing.
Joseph Bruen: I know you had a major scare in life which caused you to leave the public eye. Tell us that story and the journey to recovery.
Shellie Lepere: In 2008 I suffered from an Amniotic Fluid Embolism and my child and I both coded during labor. They didn't know if I was going to survive and there were a lot of critical moments. When I woke up from my coma, I had no idea what happened, and had no idea I'd even been pregnant. It was tough on my family, especially with all the complications, but the support system I had was incredible and I couldn't have survived without them! I was very weak and worked very hard on being able to walk, which was more difficult than I could have imagined. We also had to rebuild my fine motor skills and it was a long time before I could change a diaper, but I finally did! The physical aspect was tough, but so was the mental. It took a long time to come to an inner peace, and I still suffer from amnesia, but I'm OK with it. In a weird way, the AFE was probably the best thing to happen to me because it forced me to understand how fragile life is, and that having fear is a waste of energy. After my recovery, I went on a bit of a daredevil binge because I felt like I had to do absolutely everything life had to offer. The ride-along in a NASCAR auto at 180 MPH was the most terrifying experience of my life, and after that I realized I was fine with simply being alive!
Joseph Bruen: What other hobbies keep you busy?
Shellie Lepere: My favorite hobby is cooking, and I love experimenting in the kitchen. Food brings people together, and I love everything about it!
Joseph Bruen: Do you ever have the urge to get back in the wrestling world or ever plan on doing so?
Shellie Lepere: Wrestling was so special to me, without it, I wouldn't be who I am today. It's hard to not get the urge to get back into it, and when you talk with friends still in the business I'm not actively planning on it, but if something came up and I had the time, it would be nice to have an excuse to wear an evening gown again, ha-ha!
Joseph Bruen: I remember meeting you for the first time many years ago and helping you get some wrestling bookings. What was your favorite experience in the wrestling business during your short run?
Shellie Lepere: I'm still adjusting to not referring to you as "Hardcore Joe" ha-ha! I remember working with you several times, and I always admired your professionalism. I learned so much from you, and feel proud when I see how far you've come. My favorite experience without a doubt was announcing Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. I was such a fan of him as a kid that I had a difficult time not marking out!
Joseph Bruen: Any upcoming projects for you? What keeps you busy post wrestling?
Shellie Lepere: I'm working with the very talented multi media artist Griffin Ess on new show titled Clowder Bowl that will be premiere on the website http://www.shadedareas.com as well as on YouTube. I'll be doing some voices for the project, and am really excited. Griffin has been working incredibly hard and is coming up with a really exciting concept.
Joseph Bruen: Any final thoughts or anything else you would like to say to the fans out there?
Shellie Lepere: You all gave me such happy memories, thank you from the bottom of my heart! I miss you all, and still love you! You can't see me, but I'm blowing you all a big kiss!