Dallas native Stephy Slays, 22, is not your typical college student. She works three jobs and is famous in the realm of female wrestling.
Slays is one of the superheroes for Women of Wrestling, or WOW, on AXS TV. Even while studying for a career in the medical field, Slays says she enjoys every part of her busy schedule.
“It’s a lot of work and a lot of pressure put on me,” Slays says. “But at the same time, I am super happy and enjoying every moment of it.”
Slays began training to wrestle at the age of 17. She says there was an incredible amount training involved in transforming her body before her first match.
“To start off as somebody who can’t even stand straight without falling,” Slays says, “to now being a strong, female wrestler.”
She says one obstacle she faces is her strict diet, which consists primarily of fish.
“It’s hard because you’re from Texas and all you want to do is eat ribs,” Slays says. “And I can’t do that anymore”
But the physical challenges don’t outweigh her love for the sport. Slays says she began to wrestle at a point in her life when she needed an escape. After years of bullying throughout middle school and high school, she says she no longer had the will to live.
“I came to a place where I no longer wanted to exist and I no longer had confidence in myself and I just felt empty,” Slays says.
But, wrestling provides Slays with an outlet to express herself even to this day.
“Because of wrestling, I was able to gain confidence and find who I really was. And I am somebody who is a survivor. This is what wrestling does for me, it’s more of a self healing rather than wanting to go for the championship bell,” she says.
Written by Libby Cohen.