These girls with muscles may inspire more than the muscular men out there.Read article
WWE Superstar Mandy Rose, aka Amanda Saccomanno, entertains crowds in and out of the ring with her signature blend of athleticism, looks, and charisma. But before she was performing in front of thousands of fans filling arenas almost every night, she had a typical childhood in Yorktown, NY, part of Westchester County, playing sports with her three older brothers and dancing in high school before earning a degree in speech pathology from Iona College. So, if ever there were a direct path to wrestling stardom, that probably wasn’t it. But she got on the right track when her friend suggested she train for a fitness competition after college.
“I was conflicted at first,” she says. “I always worked out, but I wasn’t super strict with my diet. I hired a trainer and approached it like a hobby, but once I saw the progress and how my body was changing, I loved it.”
That initial attempt turned into a first-place finish at a fitness competition in Boston in 2014. She followed it up that same year by coming out on top at a show that was aired on pay-per-view—by all measures, a solid rookie season.
With some high-profile wins under her belt, Rose began to build up her social media presence and secured a couple of sponsorships. Soon, she received a call in 2015 to audition for the sixth season of WWE’s reality show Tough Enough, in which participants competed against each other to earn a WWE contract. She didn’t win (hey, second place isn’t bad), but she got a contract anyway. Shortly after, she was offered a role on E! Network’s reality show Total Divas for its fifth season in January 2016, right around the same time she made her in-ring debut for WWE’s NXT brand. This all set the stage for her call-up in November 2017 to the WWE’s main roster, where she’s been ever since.
Now that she’s become a constant presence on WWE TV, Rose is a recognizable star in and out of the ring, known as much for her storylines and bombshell looks as she is for her prowess between the ropes. “You’ve got to have charisma and other things in addition to athleticism,” Rose says of finding success as a WWE Superstar. “But I’ve got my background in fitness, I’ve done my training and put time in to develop my craft. So I can push the envelope with those seductive storylines but still show people that I can kick butt, too.”
And there have been plenty of memorable moments for Rose inside a WWE ring since her debut: In January 2018, she earned a spot in the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match, and this year she had her most high-profile storyline yet when she competed in several bouts against former SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka, whom Rose defeated in a sizable upset earlier this year on SmackDown Live.
In-ring success means a life of training, and when you’re in the gym as often as a WWE Superstar, you’re going to need a whole lot of food to fuel progress and recovery. Rose says that she tries to eat as clean and healthy as possible, usually following a high-protein, low-carb regimen. But even WWE stars have to deal with long nights and occasional on-the-road fast-food stops. “Overall, I try to be consistent,” she says, “but sometimes you just have to eat what’s available.” That dietary flexibility includes an affinity for doughnuts.
Rose started a YouTube series on her channel alongside fellow WWE Superstar Sonya Deville called Damandyz Donutz, wherein they sample and review glazed doughnuts across the country. At more than 30 episodes in, the series is a lighthearted, unchoreographed look at the women behind the personas. The dynamic duo have proven that their chemistry extends off the mat—particularly when commenting on fried dough. It’s a lot of fun, says Rose, noting that doughnuts probably aren’t a staple on many pro athletes’ personal menus. “I’m lucky to have good genes,” she says. “And life’s all about balance.”
Beyond her budding career as a pastry vlogger, Rose’s personal brand is going strong, with nearly 2 million Instagram followers. She’s also launched a new fitness app called Fit With Mandy, which features a 12-week at-home program geared to participants of all ages and skill levels. It’s easy to follow and requires minimal equipment. “My first love will always be fitness,” she says, “so I want to share that with as many people as I can.”
As for what’s next, Rose is excited to continue her role with WWE and to see how far women can go in the world of sports entertainment.
“Women are breaking down barriers,” she says. “I’m so grateful and honored to be a part of it.”