There is no stopping Eve Torres.
She is a former two-time WWE Diva's champion, she holds a blue belt from the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy and yesterday she was named the winner of NBC's reality series "Stars Earn Stripes."
Torres beat out seven other competitors who all worked with trained members of the U.S. Armed Forces and law enforcement authorities in a series of real-life military training drills.
Born in Boston, Torres grew up in Denver, Colo. Her mother is Swedish and German and her father is of Nicaraguan descent. Torres, 28, says her diverse background has helped shape many aspects of her life, but we'll let the bombshell tell you herself in this exclusive interview.
HispanicBusiness.com: Describe how your family and cultural background have influenced, hindered or helped your career.
Eve Torres: I believe my mixed cultural background has helped me throughout my career in many ways. Being raised with the influences of two very different cultures, I feel, created diversity in my interests, human relationships, and helped me open my eyes to the world's possibilities.
I believe I got my passion for entertainment and the arts from my Latino father. He is an artsy musician who is fascinated by human emotion and relationships. My mother, who is one of 10 children to farmer parents, taught me the meaning of hard work and discipline. I have embraced my appreciation for both cultures throughout my career, but I know that had it not been for my father's cultural influence, I would not have developed my passion for performance and human relationships, nor had a free enough spirit to pursue my dreams.
HispanicBusiness.com: How does it feel to represent for U.S. Hispanics, and for Latinas in particular?
Eve Torres: It's a great feeling to know that, through my hard work, I am adding to a long list of accomplishments for Latinas in the United States. I am proud to not only represent that demographic, but also support it in any way I can. I am proud of the strength I have been able to demonstrate both physically and mentally, but I know I did not build it all on my own. I was supported and led by Latinos and women before me. I embrace my Latina background because I know that by doing so we will continue to break down stereotypes that may exist of Latina women.
HispanicBusiness.com: How do you calm your nerves -- if you have any -- before competing?
Eve Torres: I definitely have nerves! But I can't calm all of them, because I need them to perform to my fullest. Emotion and excitement are what drive me in my matches, and nerves are just a part of it. When I do get exceptionally nervous or distracted, I focus on my breathing and recite my favorite poem, "Invictus," to calm myself down.
HispanicBusiness.com: What gets you excited about wrestling, and having to "bring it" at each match?
Eve Torres: Hearing the people and the crowd is the number one drive for every match. If I am not making someone jump out of their chair, or hold their breath, or hate me, or cheer me, then I am not doing my job. Reactions -- that's what drives me to take risks in every match.
HispanicBusiness.com: Have you ever experienced any discrimination for being a female or Latina? Please explain.
Eve Torres: Absolutely. I have been in a "man's" world as long as I can remember. I was an engineering major in college, I am a sports entertainer in the WWE, and I teach self-defense. I can't tell you the number of times I have been underestimated, objectified or deprived of fair credit for my accomplishments based on my gender or ethnicity. We can either be discouraged by these societal limitations, or we can overcome them and strengthen our will to succeed.
HispanicBusiness.com: What's next for you?
Eve Torres: Besides continuing to take WWE by storm and starring in a blockbuster action flick, my number-one priority is using this platform to influence others in a positive way. I am a head instructor of the Gracie Women Empowered self-defense program, and I am committed to helping other women realize their fullest potential through physical and psychological empowerment. I know the secrets, and I won't stop until women everywhere know them too!
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