Words by Ebony Williams
PHOTOGRAPHER VIKTORIJA PASHUTA @viktorija_pashuta
PRODUCER/CFO JACKSON CHONG @jacksonchong_
STYLIST NAOMI ZINNS @naomizinns
STYLIST’S ASSISTANT ESTELLE APORONGAO @estella.png
MAKEUP ARTIST ALEXIS OAKLEY @alexisoakley
HAIR STYLIST PETER PEREZ @peterhairbh
VIDEO GEORGE MASIN @perspectiveout
SPECIAL THANK YOU CLASSIC CAT RESTAURANT @theclassiccatla
From Gainesville, Florida to South America and dancing with the Russians in Latvia, CJ Perry, also known as “Lana” from WWE, is just as badass outside the ring as she is in it. With her infectious personality and unbeatable talent, it’s a no-brainer as to why she’s a crowd favorite. Fresh from the release of her latest film Cosmic Sin, Perry is a natural performer who opened up about her dreams in fashion, entertainment, and life beyond the ring
BASIC: You became a ballerina at a very young age and danced with the Latvian National Ballet. What was more challenging: training for the ballet or WWE?
CJ PERRY: Ballet 100 percent! I trained at a very strict Russian ballet school in Latvia. When I went to New York City I got into Juilliard, but I opted to go to Alvin Ailey because I wanted to have a more diverse experience. I was a good classical ballerina, but I wanted more types and cultures of dance, so I also know how to breakdance.
BASIC: You are a multi-dimensional woman with an eclectic professional background. Congratulations on Cosmic Sin, by the way. What was the film like for you?
CJ: Thank you! It felt so good. I couldn’t believe that I was there! At times we forget that our dreams do come true. I had amazing costumes and my armor suit was badass. Not to mention, my gun was taller than me. Cosmic Sin is sci-fi, but it has a ton of action and it was a lot of fun.
BASIC: When it comes to film, what is your dream role?
CJ: I think now that I’ve had the opportunity to be in an action-thriller, I would love to be in something that has a lot of physicality in it. I love to wrestle! I want to do my own stunts and beat some people up! I would love to be a Russian spy and have different haircuts, colors, and clothing. If men can be Bond and do all the spy movies, why can’t I?
BASIC: When it comes to fashion, the freedom and creativity you display is evident—from your daily attire to glamorous magazine shoots. If you could walk in a runway show for any designer, whose would it be?
CJ: I love fashion so much. It truly is a form of storytelling, an art with full production. I would love to work with Versace because they are very glitzy, glamorous, loud, and sexy. They have a lot of drama, which I love.
BASIC: Finish the following sentence: When I’m not on TikTok or wrestling I am…
CJ: Watching a fashion show.
BASIC: Envision your life after the ring. What does it look like for you?
CJ: My life would be colorful and happy. I would travel the world and tell stories—regardless if those stories are in film, television, or fashion. I feel like I was put on this planet to tell stories and put smiles on peoples’ faces.
BASIC: How does WWE Lana differ from the everyday CJ Perry?
CJ: Man, both are so intertwined, but Lana is a little bit more ice cold. She went through a lot in 2020 and is learning to be more refined, empathetic, and understanding. She’s tapping into more CJ thoughts, but is still a stone-cold badass when she needs to be.