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I want to learn Bollywood dance: Wrestler Rebel

Once a professional cheerleader-cum-dancer, American TNA wrestling star Tanea Brooks says she’s smitten by Hindi film music

Wrestling was never a career option for American Tanea Brooks until Total Nonstop Action (TNA) "just happened' for the American cheerleader-cum-dancer in May last year.

TNA wrestler Rebel aka Tanea Brookes strikes a pose
TNA wrestler Rebel aka Tanea Brookes strikes a pose

A former cheerleader with American National Football League team Dallas Cowboys for a decade and a half, Rebel, who hails from Owasso, Oklahoma, has been a professional dancer too following which she participated in full-contact football in Lingerie Bowl. However, the fact that some of her family members were wrestlers and she too cheered for a wrestling team in high school, probably drew her to the sport, she said.

Cowboys' cheerleader
"When I was in high school, I cheered for wrestling and football teams. It is then that I became more exposed to the world of professional wrestling and football. I was a cheerleader for 15 years before I got into TNA.

Ringing a bell: TNA wrestlers Mahabali Shera, Rebel and Ethan Carter III have a blast at the mid-day office in Parel yesterday
Ringing a bell: TNA wrestlers Mahabali Shera, Rebel and Ethan Carter III have a blast at the mid-day office in Parel yesterday

My cheerleading skills especially the jumps and stunts helped me a lot in wrestling," said Rebel during a visit to the mid-day office yesterday alongwith fellow TNA wrestlers Ethan Carter III and Mahabali Shera. Sony Six and TNA yesterday launched a second search for India's next big wrestling star to partner Shera on the TNA roster.

Professional wrestlers are prone to injuries and serious dislocations, but Rebel said she never feared losing her pretty features. "I've never been scared of injuries since I am a country girl. I take pride in it. It gives me the confidence to go out there and be a better player than my opponents," added the 37-year-old, who appeared on the cover of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders' swimsuit calendar at 18.

'Diet, exercise is key'
Rebel credited a carefully watched diet and meticulously planned fitness regime for her success. "I follow a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Every two to three hours I consume 25-30 grams of protein in various forms like shakes or chicken. There is no off-season in wrestling so taking care of our bodies is an integral part of our lives.

Reading right: TNA's executive vice president John Gaburick (left) and his wrestlers go through Mumbai's favourite tabloid. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Reading right: TNA's executive vice president John Gaburick (left) and his wrestlers go through Mumbai's favourite tabloid. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

Since I have a dance background, I also include a lot of dance routines to stay fit. I'm very keen to learn Bollywood dance," said Rebel, who is admittedly smitten by the Bollywood bug but more importantly, is a huge fan of actor Priyanka Chopra.

"I watched Tanu Weds Manu on the flight here and simply loved the lead actor Kangana (Ranaut). The film was so funny. I've also watched the American drama series Quantico (starring Priyanka) and I think Priyanka's done a fab job," said Rebel, who is now looking forward to some saree and jewellery shopping on her maiden visit to the country.

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