WWE.COM: How did your association with Rusev come about?
LANA: When I was living in Russia, I heard a lot of things about Alexander Rusev's physical ability, in and out of the ring. From his unique fighting style to his incredible strength and aggression, I was extremely curious about what he had to offer. Growing up as a lover of all kinds of sports and entertainment, I was really excited to go to his matches. After I saw in-person what he was capable of, I knew I wanted to invest my time into him. I was also happy to help a man from my side of the world hold titles and become a WWE Champion.
WWE.COM: What is the relationship between you?
LANA: My parents told me I needed to find a hobby. Because I wasn't married and didn't have children, they told me I should find a hobby like my uncle, who owns a sports team. I looked into the possibility of investing in a team or an athlete, and that's when I found Rusev. I guess you could say we have become good friends from working to make the #RusevLegacy the strongest force in NXT.
WWE.COM: What are you responsibilities as Rusev's Social Ambassador?
LANA: I take care of all his public relations matters, I handle his social media, I am his cultural ambassador and I schedule his appointments and public appearances. I make sure he has his proper dietary consumption of meat along with his favorite Greek yogurt for energy and strength. The American and Eastern European/Russian cultures are very different. I make sure there is nothing that distracts him from staying focused on building his legacy.
WWE.COM: Some critics might say that Rusev was doing very well prior to working with you. Why did he need you?
LANA: He was doing well, but what attracted me to him was his passion and ambition, which you don't see very often. I saw a man that wasn't just doing things for money and quick fame, but a man that wanted to impact the world. He wants streets after him, monuments built for him and his name to be remembered for thousands of years. It is my job to help make this happen for him. It is not enough just to win matches. You need a social media push to let the world know what you are doing. Otherwise, your success in pointless.
WWE.COM: Rusev was previously associated with Sylvester LeFort. Why are you a better fit?
LANA: Lefort never understood Rusev's vision and stole his money. Let's be honest, with Lefort, Rusev was flying economy, but with "The Ice Queen," we have our own private jet. Who would pick?
WWE.COM: Who are some marquee opponents that you'd like to see Rusev face in the WWE?
LANA: The Champ, John Cena! Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Brock Lesnar. If given the opportunity, I believe Rusev also has the ability to end The Undertaker’s Streak at WrestleMania.
WWE.COM: Tell us about your background growing up in Russia.
LANA: Our culture and mindset are completely different than those of Americans. I had a tennis court in my backyard that eight months of the year my dad would turn into an ice skating rink because it was so cold. My brothers played professional hockey, and I would figure skate for fun. Starting at nine years old, I went to the elite Vaganova Ballet School, where the famous Mikhail Baryshnikov attended.
When I was 10, I started dancing professionally in the Boloshoi Ballet Theater. I would train 40 hours a week. My teachers would throw their shoes at me if I was off by even a count, and if I messed up a dance step, they would throw their chair at me because they demanded perfection and anything else was unacceptable. I remember coming home with awful bruises from my teacher's paddle. We also were not allowed to drink water while we trained. Sometimes training would go for five hours, but they believed drinking water was a form of weakness. I didn't have the easy life of an American teenager, yet I loved my life.
WWE.COM: Despite your hardships, you come from a wealthy background?
LANA: Quite frankly, my parents are very rich. I lived in the richest part of Moscow with many international dignitaries. My neighbor was the South African ambassador's daughter. She eventually became my best friend and taught me English. I grew up with two full-time cooks, three drivers, four maids, two nannies and a gardener. Besides our three cars, we also had a private bus. My family has a summer dacha (summer home) in the Jurmala resort, which is located in the country of Latvia, where the mayor and president were our neighbors. Not to mention, we also have penthouses in New York City and Miami, plus a house in the Hollywood Hills.
WWE.COM: I understand you’ve done a significant amount of acting and modeling as well.
LANA: Modeling came very easy to me. It just landed on my lap and made me a lot of money. But I found it boring. Yes, it was nice to make six figures but the act of just standing in front of a camera for hours didn't inspire me as much as acting and dancing did. Dancing for Pink and Usher in front of thousands of people made me realize I was destined to be seen by large audiences. I worked on the set of countless television shows when I was in Hollywood and really fell in love with acting and producing. After I help cement the #RusevLegacy as the greatest legend of all time, I want to move into the film business and produce great films and television shows.
WWE.COM: What are your views on the Divas of NXT?
LANA: They are cute little girls that do not know much about the realities of life. I dress more conservatively than most Divas because we live in a man's world, and to be as powerful as a man, you have to think like a man but act like a lady. I am not just a pretty Diva. I am an entrepreneur and businesswoman.
WWE.COM: Could you see yourself competing against any of those Divas in the future?
LANA: Under the right business and financial circumstances, yes.
WWE.COM: What is the biggest misperception of yourself and Rusev?
LANA: The biggest misperception is that we are angry because we do not smile, or that we are rude because we do not say hello to strangers. Where we come from, it is actually very rude and offensive to smile and say hello to strangers. Rusev and I have the discipline and passion from our European background, yet we’ve also adopted the modern thinking of Americans. That is what makes the two of us unstoppable.