Joanie Laurer, better known as Chyna, (27 December 1969-20 April 2016) was a woman of many facets. From modeling to acting, wrestling, body building, and writing, Joanie was a huge influence on many young(ish) women.
Queen of the Ring
From the first time she jumped into the ring in 1997 for the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) she was a force to be reckoned with. Billed as “The Ninth Wonder of the World”, she was a co-founder of D-Generation X stable, the first, and so far only, woman to win the Intercontinental Championship (twice – although she did co-win it once, but that is no longer recognized in WWF history), and the WWF Women’s World championship. She was the first woman to compete in the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring, and was also the first female number one contender for the WWF Championship. Chyna has left a lasting legacy as the most dominant female competitor of all time.
2000 found Chyna no longer the Intercontinental Champion in WWF, but it brought her another type of international fame. November 2000 was Chyna’s debut in Playboy, the beginning of her more “adult” career. She parted ways with WWF in late 2001, and in 2002 began a short stint in New Japan Pro Wrestling. In 2004, Chyna released the first of six pornographic movies, winning two AVN awards along the way. She also appeared as a guest in several TV shows, including Fear Factor and The Surreal Life.
Chyna Taught Me
To many women, Chyna has been an incredible inspiration. She showed us that you don’t have to be “Hollywood” pretty to be beautiful. That being muscular is sexy, being strong is nothing to be ashamed of. That women can be just as dominating as men. That you can be femme and strong as well as butch and pretty. To never sell yourself short. That you can’t smash the patriarchy without hurting some male egos.
There is a hashtag on Twitter, #ChynaTaughtMe, and some of them have me almost in tears. Thousands of women, and men, opening up about the lessons that they learned from Chyna. There are some incredible lessons from all over the world. And as for my own #ChynaTaughtMe? Grab life by the throat, be fearless, own your femininity, follow your dreams, forge a new path. But most of all, the most important thing that Chyna taught me? Unleash your inner badass.
Thank you Joanie. Thank you for teaching millions of women that we truly are badasses.
Robin is a semi-coherent, almost sentient being. She has some strange ideas, and some even stranger friends. Disabled, queer, agnostic, accident-prone & other adjectives.
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