Natalie Eva Marie has never been one to shy away from a challenge. Her athletic background has seen her take on some surprising turns, from soccer to WWE, and while she is now excelling with an acting career, starring in the Amazon Prime Video hit Paradise City, it seems that her journey, however taxing, has brought success because of her willingness to step outside of her comfort zone.
Muscle & Fitness sat down with the 36-year-old California girl and learned that despite her status as an Instagram goddess, Marie is just like the rest of us at heart. There are those days when she just wants to sleep in, but that doesn’t stop her from making her bed, facing the world, and grabbing life by the horns.
Marie is now finding fame with a different audience as the character Jade, in the highly-praised Paradise City. Still, there are different ways of doing things in Hollywood. “You are constantly doing the same scene, in 17 different shots,” says Marie. “They have to get my beauty shot, and then they have to get Bella Thorne’s beauty shot. I’m stoked to be part of such an awesome cast with Paradise City. The late Cameron Boyce is also absolutely amazing in it, I’m so glad that I got to work with him.”
In the show, which follows the ups and downs of a popular rock band (and is based on the movie “American Satin”), the portrayal of Jade has allowed Marie to present a different side of her personality. “She’s devious!” says Marie. “It’s fun to play these characters, because there are little aspects of my own personality traits. I feel like every female character really sticks to their guns, so it’s cool to see the ladies do their thing.”
Marie started doing her thing back in the day with her brothers on the soccer field and fell in love with the beautiful game. Her parents signed her up for training, and she continued to play all through high school and college. “I’m the youngest of all boys,” says Marie. “I’m Mexican-Italian. We are a very athletic, competitive family, and I wanted to do all of the sports that my brothers played.”
She added: “You know what’s weird? Especially now, looking back, I don’t particularly love running, so it’s funny that I picked a sport where you are running for 90 minutes, and even when you are practicing, you’re doing either the long runs down the pitch, or high-intensity interval training like sprint, stop, sprint, stop type of work. But I loved soccer and forced myself to run because I played striker and needed the cardio.”
Post soccer, Marie is still working those challenging runs into her training, having recently completed a 52K ultramarathon. She understands that hard work and taking on her least-favorite tasks are the secrets to her success. “I think what I really fall in love with, and it dives into soccer, WWE, acting, and ultrarunning, is the discipline,” she says. “You need discipline to stay with it, and then complete in something, whether it’s a pro wrestling match or a football game or completing my latest ultrarace.”
It’s a message that Marie spreads to clients on her NEM Fit program at natalieevamarie.com, and she believes that pushing yourself is just as important to your mental health as it is on the physical side.
“Health is wealth,” says Marie. “I truly believe that.”
Graduating with a bachelor of arts in business management and a minor in human resources, Marie started to put the pieces together in order to get into acting by moving to Los Angeles, but an open casting call for WWE’s Diva Search in 2013 changed her life forever. Not only did she win the contest that year, but Marie also went on to sign on full time with the wrestling juggernaut.
“I felt like, if I can get this [WWE contract], then this would be my dream job,” she says. “Because it allows me to go into that competitive, athletic world, as well as build upon this character, and persona, and who I want to be.”
Her WWE run lasted for four years and, as Marie progressed, she earned respect from pro wrestling fans because of her commitment to training and a tireless desire to improve on her grappling technique. But more than that, “Eva Marie” remains a highly memorable character because of her command of the crowd’s emotions, and of course, her stunning beauty.
“The WWE Universe are the best fans in the whole entire world, hands down,” she says.
While she stepped away from the ring to pursue other ambitions, many people would love to see a WWE return one day. So, is that possible?
“I love WWE so much,” she says. “I owe my career to Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and of course, Triple H. They took a chance on a no-name kid. When it comes to me stepping back in the ring, absolutely. I mean, I feel like now is the time for some heat and we all know your girl got a lot of that. So, I would love to definitely step back into the ring, it just has to be the right time, and the right moment, and if that opportunity arises, you better believe your girl is coming through.”
Whether or not fans get to see this welcome return, and some much-needed heat in WWE, there’s no doubt that her experience with the company, and those matches and promos on live television, served as a baptism of fire for taking the next step in her acting career. Marie feels that those high-pressure moments and quick changes on the fly, on “Monday Night RAW, gave her great grounding for working in Hollywood.
“In WWE, you are creating your character and then performing live on television. There’s no off season, and if you are able to manage all of that, then you are going to kill it in anything else that you do.”, says Marie. “I’m so grateful that I started in WWE, because it prepared me for walking on to a TV set, or a movie set.”
Or for lighting up social media. Over on Instagram, where she has a whopping 4.5 million followers, Marie is full of motivational messages, but she also believes in keeping it real. “Do I love training? Not always, but I do a lot of these things to make me better”, says Marie. “My inner self just wants to stay in bed sometimes, watch “Paradise City” and binge on food that I shouldn’t. You have an angel and a devil on your shoulders and it’s about which one of those you feed. So, now I try to feed the angel all the time. Working out does a lot for my mental clarity, and gives me structure. When I do those things, I feel good about myself.”