You probably remember Chyna, the female wrestling champion, but did you know she is now a star in the world of adult films and will be in Miami for the Exxxotica convention at the Miami Beach Convention Center? Born Joan Marie Lauer in 1970, she was a performer for the World Wrestling Federation from 1997-2001 and dubbed “the Ninth Wonder of the World.” Chyna, who legally changed her name to adopt her WWF moniker, competed heavily against the men and became the first woman to hold the Intercontinental Championship. But in 2004 she was in a sex tape ‘1 Night in Chyna’ with her then boyfriend Sean Waltman. She filmed her first adult movie for Vivid Video, ‘Backdoor to Chyna’, in 2011. Her next feature, ‘Avengers XXX: A Porn Parody’, will be released in May.
You appear in the new Avengers XXX: A Porn Parody as She-Hulk. How cool was it to be involved in a project like that?
Any comic book movie is cool to be in, no matter what it is.
How did your part in the Avengers come about?
The wonderful thing is I’ve really gone past the ring now. It’s not a pornography type of thing for me. That’s almost kind of the awkward part of it because I’m getting to do some major feature films, which I always wanted to do. It’s good stuff. It’s pretty cool.
Were you a comic book fan growing up?
I loved Wonder Woman and that type of superhero stuff, mostly watching it on television. I used to read things like Casper and Bazooka bubble gum. I was always drawn to the drawings, the visuals of it. I still can’t read a comic book to this day. I can’t figure out [the text bubbles] left to right, right to left, up or down.
Do you have any fond memories of your past visits to Miami?
I lived in the Florida Keys for quite a while. I interviewed in Miami with the D.E.A. and the F.B.I. for many years before I ever got into wrestling. I went to school at the University of Tampa, and then I moved south. I used to always go to Dadeland Mall, drive up to the mainland basically. I was just talking about Hurricane Andrew today. I was down there when that happened [in 1992]. Just crazy stuff, Opa Locka, the street signs in Miami, those are the things that I remember about that area. Of course, the bay, going out on the water, taking the tours, the fiesta boat, a lot of fun.
Do you have a favorite restaurant or spot to hang out when you’re in Miami?
I love fajitas. I would always go to Dadeland and go to Ruby Tuesday’s to get the fajitas. I love the Cuban food. I love the food. Miami has some fine dining restaurants.
You enjoyed an accomplished career in pro wrestling. What are your fondest memories of your time there?
While I was there, it was one of the happiest moments in my life. I loved wrestling. I’m an athlete first and foremost. I started out as an athlete, a world class one. I loved that, the entertainment value of it all. I loved everything about it, every day really.
You posed twice for Playboy shoots. How awkward was that, the first few minutes of the first time you did it?
It was very strange for about two seconds. The scenery was so beautiful. It was so classy. It’s not like a zoo. You knew you were doing something beautiful. It was almost like being in a fantasy land. I remember when each Playboy shoot I did, I cried at the end of it. I always cried at the end because you know it was a once in a lifetime experience. To be considered one of the most beautiful women of Playboy and Hugh Hefner is still one of the highlights of my life. But the experience of first taking off my clothes was very odd. But it was very artistic and classy, and I think everybody loves the curves of a woman’s body, sculptures and pictures and paintings. That’s what it was to me, basically, in a photograph.
Many of those who view your new endeavor grew up watching you on television with the WWF. Is it awkward for those fans to engage you in a conversation and talk about the two worlds?
The funny thing is, when I first decided to do a movie, I didn’t tell anybody because, in my mind, I was like, ‘What are people going to think?’ Then two seconds later, ‘I don’t care. I’m just going to wait and see, wait for it to happen.’ I get more respect from people now than I ever have because it’s gone beyond the wrestling. I think that people are just understanding, whether they like what I’m doing or they don’t which apparently most people do, you have to respect that. It’s a choice that I made finally. I’m treated well. I’m happy, and it shows. I think that, in some ways, I’m just starting to get it myself, sending a message to people. I thought people are really going to beat me up over this. People talk bad about all kinds of stuff, but I get so much respect and love from people everywhere. It’s really quite amazing.
What made you more nervous – performing at Wrestlemania or filming an adult film?
I would say Wrestlemania. Getting ready for a match was always on my mind because I was always . . . Even though I knew I’d be taken care of, you’re taking care of each other. You could play the jolly green giant on TV, but you have to have the physical stamina to back it up. That was always a concern for me, safety wise. Also, my performance level, that it was up to par with the boys if I was going to be in that position. That was always very important to me. Whereas, if I’m doing a movie, it’s more of a physical thing. I’m not really nervous. I just really enjoy it.
You underwent certain physical preparations for your wrestling appearances. What type of preparations, both physical and mental, must you make before you film a scene?
As long as it took my body to gain muscle and be strong – I spent my whole life up to that point – I had to do the opposite. I did a lot of yoga and ballet and dieting and completely changed my physique again. It feels different. Now, I have to do the dieting type of stuff, which is really different for your body. It’s a really different feel. I’m definitely much more looks conscience than I ever was before. That type of stuff, just getting the hair done, the skin done, getting ready to be beautiful.
What’s next for you?
Traditional films are more my speed, but I’m getting to do that. Vivid actually was my first opportunity to really allow me to shine in that way. And it didn’t hurt my sex life either. It got started again.