Scottsdale native Brianna "Brie" Garcia-Colace has dropkicked, kneed and clotheslined her way into the upper echelon of World Wrestling Entertainment. She's used a little twin magic to get there – Brie is one half of the Bella Twins, along with her sister and tag-team partner Nicole (aka Nikki, who lives out of state). Garcia-Colace made her WWE debut in 2008, earned her first Divas Championship in 2011, and in March 2013, she and her sister joined the cast of E! Network reality show Total Divas. The show's first season captured Brie's real-life relationship with WWE superstar Bryan Danielson (ring name: Daniel Bryan), who popped the big question on the season finale. With the second season of Total Divas premiering this month, her Arizona wedding to Danielson slated for April and a second Divas Championship in her sights, 2014 is looking bright.
What led you to choose a career in wrestling and what keeps you doing it?
Nikki and I were always athletes. Growing up, we played soccer on the Sereno Golden Eagles club team. Nikki was going to get a scholarship to play soccer in college, but broke her leg. I was an artsy child. When it came to college, I didn't want to play soccer anymore. I got involved in theater and the arts. When I saw the [WWE] divas on TV, I thought, "This is our calling." We found Diva Search, and it turned out they were looking for twins. We tried it out in Georgia, loved it, and headed to Tampa for developmental... I always want more. I work hard to get better in the ring. Daniel is the best in the ring, and he's my coach and mentor. I never give up striving for the best.
How does the character of Brie Bella differ from real-life Brie?
My character before was mean! In the past six months, they've changed my character to more how I am: Very sweet and nice. I have a huge heart.
What's it like working with your sister and tag-team partner Nikki? How did you navigate her stress fracture and absence from the ring this year?
When you're the Bella Twins and your partner is injured, you think, "Am I done? Would [WWE] allow me to be on my own?" But they did. They saw I can stand strong on my own. She's a bonus to me, and I'm a bonus to her. They look at us on our own now, like two different people.
How have you and Bryan maintained your relationship with both of your careers flourishing?
It's funny, because even though we work for the same company, we could be doing different tours or appearances and hardly see each other. This year we've had to put thought into our relationship to make sure we have date night, or just five minutes to see how the other person's day has gone. We're both the same way. One happy text or hug goes a long way. I'm very lucky to have him at work. He's become my coach and mentor, as well as my best friend and fiancé.
The Phoenix restaurant North appears in an episode of Total Divas. What are some of your other favorite Valley hangouts?
We love North! We love the pizza there. We're very big into supporting local restaurants. We love The Parlor and Chelsea's Kitchen. My workout spot is the Madison Improvement Club. I go to spin class or hot yoga. Bryan wants to start hot yoga there. Bryan works out at Crossfit Full Strength. I love Carmel's Coffee & Bakery, too. Those are my little stomping grounds.
What's next for your career?
The biggest thing is the Divas Championship. I want to find a way to win the championship and still have Nikki at my side. We're in talks of working on a movie. She and I love to entertain. And my wedding's a big one! So many brides say it will take up so much of your time, and it does. It consumes me! And while we're going through our outside-of-the-ring stuff and trying to win a championship, Total Divas is filming every second of it.